One of my bigger goals this year was to shoot a wedding. Actually, to second shoot. Its a pretty big difference between the two as the primary shooter is on the hook for really delivering the goods to the bride and groom. The second shooter duties vary a little but for the most part, they are there to help the primary shooter in any way they need to make the day better for them and ultimately for the couple.
There are a couple forums I watch on a regular basis to keep an eye out for postings from established photographers when they need a second shooter. You'd think that in the NYC area, there would be a lot of opportunity for this but there are very few. A couple months back, I was able to line up a second shooter "gig". Not terribly local however, it was a great opportunity.
I exchanged many emails with Erin (the primary shooter) prior to the event and then made my journey up about 4 hours north the night before the wedding to be ready for shooting the next day. My first task was to shoot the groom getting ready. As I got closer to the house, I was waved on by a few guys sitting in the garage drinking beer and smoking. Its 10am.
They were very nice and invited me in. As I was approaching, I heard the groom say to the other guys, "I forgot the photographer was even coming by today". Hmm. Not sure what to think so far. I proceeded into the garage and hung out for a few minutes as they said they were waiting for someone else to arrive. I met the grandmother and the grooms son from a previous marriage. He was about 8. The other person they were waiting for never showed and time was running out so we proceeded into the house to start the prep. The room was poorly lit, on the small side, and had a lot of distracting elements. That's okay, its my first challenge and I was able to get a few images I was happy with before we moved onto the church.
I headed to the church and met Erin in person for the first time. We talked quickly about what she'd like me to get and went to it. She was so easy going and that helped me so much when it came to relaxing and focusing on the images. The ceremony started around noon and felt like it went so quickly. I said to Erin afterward that either that was a super fast ceremony or it was just the fact that I was so focused on capturing as much as I could that I lost track of time. Either way, it was fast.
Onto the formal shots. The weather wasn't cooperating so we shot most everything inside and I was there to catch the alternate angle. One thing I noticed throughout the day was that I really needed to have a second camera body on me because there's NO TIME to change lenses. Next time, I'll have to rent that second body to help me with speed. :-)
For the reception, we setup some off-camera lighting that Erin had so that was fun to experiment with a bit. From what she was saying, its a little unusual to have a second shooter that knows much about off-camera lighting so I was glad I could add that to the mix. I got some table shots and a few of the toasts…and that's about it. Actually, no. One other interesting thing came up that I think is fairly common. Toward the beginning of the reception, we heard that the groom was DONE with pictures. Didn't want them anymore. That was a bit of a problem considering we hadn't taken any "formals" of the bridal party. I managed to kind of nicely talk them into a few pictures which helped Erin out since she really needed these shots and she needed to focus on some other things at the time I was getting these. Hence, the value of a second shooter, right? Anyway, because of the long drive, I had to leave around 3:00. By the time I got home it was around 8:30. Long day.
It took me a while but I finally went through the ~450 images I shot and narrowed it down to about 30 that I was pretty happy with. From that, I've further filtered it down to about 8 to post here and add to my gallery. Its true what many have said about this profession. You really have to love it. Its a lot of work, long hours, and often not much pay. Even still, I'm looking forward to doing it again.!