Second Shooter

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by chimera_h, May 19, 2010.

  1. OK, I have a couple of questions regarding second shooting. I have a couple of people who are wanting to shoot with me and I'd like to establish some policies/guidelines first.
    Here are a few questions.

    1. Approx. how many images from a second shooter should the main photographer expect to be able use?

    2. Does the main photographer send the 2nd shooter out on his/her own assignment or do they stay close by?

    3. Is your 2nd shooter paid or do you give him/her the option to use their own images for their portfolio instead?

    4. Is there a contract?

    Not sure what else to ask so please feel free to share whatever info you may have.

    Thanks : )
  2. 1. Depends
    2. Not at first
    3. Yes, No, Maybe
    4. YES. No choice in this one.
    Others will chime in I'm sure. :)
  3. 1. depends
    2. depends
    3. depends
    4. yes..duh.
  4. Depends why you've chosen to use a second shooter. I'll assume it's because you want to increase the breadth of your coverage and offer your client the prospect of enhanced coverage beyond what you could typically provide by yourself. So my answers are on that basis ...
    1. Not worse than your own keeper ratio. If it's much less than your own keeper ratio then it means they're not actively contributing to your coverage.
    2. No fixed rules - it's best to consider what the venue offers and what you cannot cover yourself. For instance, two shooters could do concurrent getting ready sequences in different locations, or different focal lengths in a room, or reverse angles of the same scene, or work different themes - such as close-up detail shots or portraits. What they should not be doing is taking the same shots as you, unless by prior agreement - e.g. where you want them to get 'safety shots' of key formals.
    3. Depends on where you are in your business and how much of a relationship you have with your second shooter. For someone who is equally skilled and a long-term equal contributor to your business you might consider sharing the fee. For someone who is 'testing' with you, then you'll probably make more fluid choices. And someone who is an experienced, confident independent contractor will tell you what their fee is, and leave it you to decide whether you hire them on that basis. If you plan and market your business in the right way you'll be able to leverage the advantage of a second-shooter in your rates, allowing you to afford responsible hire of a sub-contractor.
    4. If they're providing you with services there should always be a contract. If you're re-selling their services there should always be a contract. It doesn't have to be a full-blown employment contract, but it should be a clear statement of your relationship, define ownership and use of the work, limit liabilities and be legally competent.
  5. Wow. Great interpersonal communication skills.
    Thanks Neil! I appreciate the help. : ) The second shooter I've been using gives me considerably fewer images that I can use. She is improving though and I'd love to use her, but I do have others asking to work with me, so I thought I should get organized and be clear as to what I expect, etc. Thanks again.
  6. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Wow. Great interpersonal communication skills."

    Hmm, . . . if this is a commnet upon the first two answers, then it seems to me that you are very quick to throw stones - I can't interpret the comment any other way, but I might be mistaken???.

    IMO this trait also shows somewhat limited management, interpersonal AND professional skill's set.

    In fact, your four questions were indeed precisely answered by the first two respondents, albeit in short, succinct text.

    I do note however, that you have yet to answer my questions, though. . . .


  7. You are a character. : ) Note that I have three young children William and while your answers are always very in-depth and incredibly helpful, I can't respond to everything right away. I'll get right to it!
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you, but I was not seeking accolade - I was just making a point.

    I assume (and hope) that my somewhat sharp comment above, was of use to you, also.


    In regards to these questions here:

    1. At least near as many keepers as what I can pull - but note I do not use Second Shooters very often, I will use an Assistant whose main job is to assist, but will also take photos too - that is a bonus.

    2. Again depends - I have sent the “second” to the Groom’s House to get the boys preparing, but we might be quite close during the Formals and she (usually a she) would not take any pictures at all but rather be in charge of arrangements and logistics - depends on what your product is and what the day's routine is - at the Church it is good to separate I think – two angles is always a bonus.

    3. Always paid - employed as a casual employee - ALWAYS, you should investigate what is best for you.

    They have the option to use mostly all the images they shoot (I have veto) provided that any image is always displayed:"Photography by ACME STUDIOS photographer Jane Doe"

    4. Under the terms of “casual employees” where I reside that constitutes a contract - your rules are different in the USA - I think you should have a contract.

    (I have two children they think they are not children, but in many ways they still are – because they live here. I mention this not as a competition – but having a family is not an excuse in business, either.

    IMO one’s Family must always come first, however family should never be used as an excuse for not performing in business, just thinking out-loud.)

  9. Good grief. I ask because I want to learn. If I didn't care about performing well I wouldn't ask questions. I am a member of the local professional photography association, as well as several other photography groups (in person and online). Obviously, I'm still getting into this and learning the business aspect of photography. I come to this website for help because there are many wonderful, experienced people on here who share, give polite/professional opinions and encouragement.
  10. Neil was nice enough to set up a set of conditions in which to answer your questions. I did as well, but much less limiting except for #4. In Canada if I pay I own the photos, no contract required, period, end of story. I set my answer to the US scenario, where you are, a contract is mandatory with a second shooter. If you read Neil's response to #4 the summary of it is a one word answer, yes.
    If you are looking for verbose answers, setting your questions in point form which can be answered in less than three words each, you are not helping yourself. You have to set the scenario and ask questions based on specific references to that scenario. For example, the term "second shooter" can apply to anyone from an absolute rookie, William W's assistant in training, to a 20 year veteran. The answers would be totally different if you qualified the person's experience.
  11. Thanks Bob. Your 1-4 answers were at least polite. Ok, I will be more direct next time. However, I thought it would have been easy for someone to say "if they have experience I do this" or "if they are new and less experienced, then I do this" and so on.
  12. You might try a search on 2nd shooters and read-up on some past threads...........
  13. Yep. Guess I will.
  14. 1. As many as I can get - we usually shoot with a pre-specified, researched and agreed shot plan, where everyone knows what they're expected to shoot and from where, so usually this number is quire high...
    2. 2nd shooter always shoots with me. If she gets her own assignment through her own contacts, I might play the role of second shooter then too...;-)
    3. 2nd shooter is budgeted separately when preparing a customer's quote, so she gets exactly that amount. The amount depends on the coverage she's expected to provide, hours spent either shooting or organising or even postprocessing, etc, etc. She then pays her own taxes and issues me with an invoice.
    4. Of course. A standing contract for events' coverage and separate ones for specific high volume or profile jobs. That way we both have the flexibility to formulate an agreement beneficial to all...;-)
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    What does "Good Grief" mean? ? ? and moreover: "at least polite"

    Methinks one is unnecessarily emotive.

    I shall rest my commentary forthwith, as it seems it is mistaken and causing much angst.

    Such a shame, it is mistaken, I think.

  16. we usually shoot with a pre-specified, researched and agreed shot plan, where everyone knows what they're expected to shoot and from where​
    Interesting! How do you know what's going to happen before it happens? Do you capture spontaneous moments, as well?
    2nd shooter always shoots with me​
    Why bother paying a second person to stand in the same place? I'm sure that you have a strategy and it seems to work for you. I just can't envision it.
  17. 1) Enough to make it worth your while. If it's more of a pain in the butt to fix their stuff or not being able to fix it due to technical/artistic issues, it's probably not worth it.
    2) Depends on their experience level. I don't see much of a point in keeping them close by - I'd rather go for a completely different angle.
    3) Paid if the couple requests a second shooter.
    4) Always.
    As for the OT comments, at least you haven't been advised to purchase a membership for the privilege to ask questions. ;-)
  18. " least you haven't been advised to purchase a membership for the privilege to ask questions....."

    Now that you mention it............ :) BTW, considering the wealth of information that gets passed-on in threads like these from several experienced pros, the P-net membership is quite a bargain and extremely convienent/user-friendly.
  19. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

  20. 1- That will depend on the experience of the second shooter. In my case, since I am a Pro. Photo and have shot weddings by myself for the studio I used to work in, 90% of my pics are keepers. When assisting the Main Photographer as a second then I still have the same porcentage of keepers or even more since I shoot less and have less pressure to capture the main pics so I can take my time to adjust settings as I wish and also be able to wait for the right moment.
    2- Again depends on the event itself, in a big wedding with Cathedral type church and many guest, as second shooter I would get the artistic shots since I have the liberty of moving away from the bride and groom since the Main Photog. has them as number one objective. In the reception I ussually take over the dance floor, people calling photog. for a shot with wife and children, etc. Sometimes doing some of the main photographer's work to let him rest a little.
    3- I started getting paid as assistant to photographer and I have always gotten paid for my work. You do not make anyone work for free even if they are begginners. If this person just volunteers I would still give them a couple of bucks for them to spend later. Keep in mind that work is = to money.
    4- I still live in Dominican Republic, we ussually among photographers do not sign or make contracts but in the USA I'm sure you need to always sign a contract for everything.
  21. Thanks Katrin, Marios and Jose for the info!
    I like the second shooter being close by for the family shots, but I think I need to have her turn so she can be there, but shoot candids while I do the formals. At this point she's shooting too many of the same images I have, which I know is my fault in the sense that I need to give her clear directions. I have a few others wanting to tag along as a 3rd assistant and I think I may pay them something. Local photogs tend to either pay the assistant OR let them use their images for their portfolio. I've been paying and letting them use their images, which I think I'll keep doing!
    Thanks again!
  22. A 3rd assistant???? Borders on overkill or silly depending on your POV, at the reception will the B/G feel responsible to feed everyone?
  23. I meant a 3rd person (not 4 people total) following along and helping out. I actually know of many photogs that bring a 3-4 person team. I would only allow this at a larger event.
  24. I've been shooting for many years in Chicago and I've never seen 3-4 photographers (maybe at a wedding with 350-500 guests or more). I've seen two video-guys with an assistant a couple of times but a 3-4 person still photography team....and these are photographers that you know personally??? Three people total would typically be overkill, at least at the common weddings that I shoot with 150-200 guests.
  25. 1. Depends if they worth a flip, or they "think" they can photo a wedding
    2. Needs to be at same wedding as you are. May leave with your equipment or not even show up, or leave too soon,,,
    3. Paid, or they will be contacting the bride trying to sell their images.
    4. Yep, all the images are yours
    we are talking business, not friends.

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