Is My Equipment Keeping Me From Booking 2nd Shooter Gigs

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by j_arnott, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. I have been contacting wedding photographers in the area introducing myself and seeing if anyone might be willing to give me an opportunity to second shoot for them. I shoot with a decent range of lenses and two 40Ds. One of the photographers politely told me he was not looking for second shooters and if he was he would not hire a second shooter with anything less than a 5DII (not even a 5D would suffice). I appreciated his candor and am now wondering if I am handicapping myself right out of the gate by shooting with 40Ds. Whether it's actual or perceived the result is the same, at least in this one case. What do you think? A 5D or 5DII is definitely at the top of the list but I need to pinch a few more pennies before I can swing that. If the 40Ds are holding me back I might have to start pinching faster. Thanks in advance for your input.
  2. People can shoot weddings well with far less, and have for decades. Networking is the best way to get these jobs, not cold calling, in my opinion.
  3. A lot of photographers do not want to train their competition. Finding a gig as a second shooter may not be that easy.
    How are you contacting them?
  4. I doubt it. I wouldn't look down my nose at a 40D, since I own one and use it as back up and second camera.
    If you want to work for that particular photographer, then I guess you need to get your hands on the 5DII. Otherwise, keep trying. You might want to consider swapping one 40D for a used 5D, but I wouldn't think that would be worth it unless you were thinking of going cropped/full frame combo anyway. It would impact your lens kit.
    What part of the country are you in (I'm assuming you are in the US, but maybe I'm wrong).
  5. Thanks for your replies, everyone. I am in Los Angeles. I've actually used cold calling (emails with links to my work, actually) with some success and even this morning have made a wonderful contact that may result in some 2nd shooting and mentoring.
    I started shooting with the 40D a couple years ago. When it came time to get a backup camera I considered the 5Ds but was very comfortable with the 40D and actually shooting quite well with it so decided to get another. The money I saved went towards a Canon 85mm 1.8. :)
    Thanks for putting my mind at ease about the camera issue. It's what I understood as well but the exchange I had with that photographer made me think twice.
  6. lol what silly photographer told you that? That's ridiculous! You can get great shots with a 40d
  7. you of the masters of wedding photography (whatever that video series is called) shoots with a rebel...
    your portfolio should be what determines if you can book jobs or not.. as long as you don't show up on a point and shoot you should be ok.
    tell that photographer with the 5dm2 requirement that he should learn some flash :)
  8. Buy a better camera than that guy and than call him back and say no thanks... lol
    -Me :)
  9. That photog is an equipment snob and probebly very anal. You DO NOT want to partner up with somone like him. A lot of brides do not have enough in the budget for a second shooter. Find the local association of wedding professionals and go to one of their meetings. You will find many of its members willing to help sombody starting out. In the begining you will more than likely help sombody to schlep their gear for free but you will learn lots about the wedding business and build your portfolio.
  10. Thanks everyone. LOL... no names. Some great points made here though... all of your input is much appreciated. Again, what you're saying about equipment is exactly how I understood it to be as well. So I was kind of taken aback when I got that reply. I try not to obsess over the latest and greatest gear. I know my equipment, it's a solid kit for the most part and I shoot well with it. Thanks again.
  11. Living in Los Angeles has become very difficult to find wedding work, because 90 percent of the studios are closed and working out of their homes has become the only way to survive. I don't think there are any studios left in Beverly Hills. Another very rich area is Ventura Blvd. Also known simply as the Boulevard. I don't think any studios are left there either. About 10 years ago there were about 35 studios on the Blvd.

    I think very few photographers are hiring now simply because the days of $3000 or more for weddings are long gone. During the film days, before the digital explosion, $2500 was consider about average. Seems like everyone now is charging around $995.

    If we are booked up we usually hire the local pros because most of them aren't working full-time anymore. Most of the pros don't usually hire second shooters anymore. The budget is simply no longer available for the use of second photographers. Even $2000 for a wedding is somewhat uncommon now. Probably the main reason is the onset of digital photography and the sudden boom in wedding photographers offering to shoot weddings for $200 to $300. Needless to say we can't afford to hire second shooters when competing with wedding couples looking for for the bargain weddings. This is probably the reason why hiring second shooters is becoming much less common.

    Your cameras are fine. There is no nee really for expensive cameras unless you want the security of using dual cards. Your cameras should be able to handle up to 24-30" enlagements.
  12. I think that was a easy and simple way to tell you no! I love my 40D for air shows and anything that doesn't require me to shoot over ISO 400. But the focus speed blows my full frame out of the water. BTW, I hate the LCD on the 40D. I don't even look at it during the shoot. v/r Buffdr
  13. ill give buffdr that...after i saw the lcd in my 5dm2, the lcd on my 40d and my 5dm1 looked horrible
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "One of the photographers politely told me he was not looking for second shooters and if he was he would not hire a second shooter with anything less than a 5DII (not even a 5D would suffice)."
    I actually doubt that this photographer was either anal or a camera snob.
    It seems to me like many folk, he is feeling the economic pinch (see Bob's answer) and he was polite enough to say he was not looking for a second shooter, but ego got in the way (as often it does) and he had to make an excuse up to deflect the fact that his business is actually down.
    Regarding your cameras: I make money worth a 20D, 30D and 5D - and sometimes a borrowed 400D - and also a 350D, which I bought at a pawn shop to take out on the water - just in case I fall in.
  15. "he was he would not hire a second shooter with anything less than a 5DII (not even a 5D would suffice)"
    that's funny...i wouldn't shoot with anyone who thought a 5dmkIIIII would make any difference over a d40. he was probably serious when he told you that too. they say ingnorance is bliss.
  16. Dang, i use a 30d still for weddings, and the assistant i have been using and like uses a Nikon d90, her low-light pics are way cleaner than mine, so i am a little more incentivized to upgrade next season than i have in the past. As long as i watch my ISO, i am still pretty happy with the 30d. I will admit i have a bit of a thing for the 7d. We'll see, if i can get some early season bookings, i will go for it, in fact, my first wedding next year is for a jazz musician, so the video feature would be handy, as they are not hiring a videographer. 5dmk2 is nice, but required?? did that guy learn to shoot weddings on a Hasselblad and nothing else would do back then?
  17. Thanks for all your comments. I have a meeting next week with one of the photographers I contacted today which, along with all your input, has completely restored my faith in the direction I have chosen for myself. Yes, it's a difficult market to work in. But I believe wedding photographers like yourselves are putting out some of the most creative imagery today and that's something I have to be a part of. Thanks.
  18. The worlds most famous pap uses two 40D's. He could use whatever he liked, but that was his choice.
  19. I wouldn't work for the guy either, but in his defense it is reasonable to demand the best image quality you can get for weddings, and low light performance alone is important enough.
  20. While I think that the photographer may be a little extreme on his camera choice, his insistence on a certain level of camera does make some sense. As a wedding photographer, you are shooting one of the worst subject dynamic range around-white wedding dress and black tuxedos. To retain detail in both requires top notch exposure technique and a camera with a sufficient dynamic range. If you look around, there are many wedding photographers who don't have a problem with blown out whites and blocked up blacks. Some will rely on post production to fix the camera's flaws. While working in camera raw helps recover some of the lost information, it is always better to do it in camera. Newer cameras generally have better processors-in fact, this is one of the main areas of true improvement in cameras these days-not sensor resolution.
    Another possibility for his camera selection is that as a second shooter you are a representative of his studio. He chose the camera for a specific reason and want to maintain it with all images coming out of his studio. Those of you who shoot with a 40D have your reasons for using it, and may not be happy if someone uses a 10D (A little extreme, I know, but maybe he is extremely picky). Just because you like the images out of YOUR camera, doesn't mean that everyone has to.
    The worlds most famous pap uses two 40D's​
    Not really a relevant comment-paparazzi need to get the shot, the absolute quality of the shot isn't paramount. 40D's are cheap to replace and for him, the more expensive cameras don't offer an advantage.
  21. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    John Tonai makes excellent sense regarding the possible links to business strategy.

  22. I read many of these forums and am always baffled at some of the comments and arguments. Some people do not have the capacity to realize that the way they see things is not necessarily the way others do. It makes no difference if you can get awesome results with a rebel or 30D or 40D or whatever!!!!! If you ask someone to take you in as a second shooter on HIS job, he could ask you to take photos with a mobile phone for all I care and there is no right or wrong here. How hard can this be to understand????
  23. Kevin, that's a lot of exclamation points and question marks. If your response is directed at me of course I understand this, as I believe does everyone else who posted. My original question was posed in a more general sense and that is what people were replying.
  24. Interesting how people can get upset about a photographer asking a potential hire to have particular equipment but the same people don't mind if your government starts giving businesses limitations on what they can do and how much they can pay someone.
    It's a free market and an individual can set any terms they want to ... even if they are silly or lack reasoning. Support a Free Market, imo. lol.
  25. Mitchel is just starting up in this wedding business. I think it's more about learning the ropes about shooting weddings as well as understanding exposure, lighting, and anything necessary to shoot a successful wedding. Since he's just starting out I don't see the need to buy $10,000 or so, worth of camera gear, such as 2, 5Dmk2 cameras, several lenses, and flash units. Mitchel can always upgrade when the money starts coming in.

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