giving second shooters direction.

One of the biggest things I learned from second shooting for JordanQuinn Photography and Brittany Bekas Photography in September, was that I appreciated the direction they gave me when sending me to shoot the guys’ portraits by myself. I knew what I would want to photograph for myself, but when you’re second shooting it’s all about what the primary photographer wants. Having this direction gave me peace of mind and also a better idea of what to focus on (see what else I learned from second shooting).

This inpsired me to create Jill Tiongco Photography Second Shooter Guidelines that give all my second shooters a better idea of what to expect and what I am looking for. The idea is to get us on the same page before the big day so that when the wedding day comes, the second shooter and myself don’t have to worry about each other and can focus on capturing the love, laughter, and tears for the bride and groom. Here’s what I send them… 

Second Shooter Guidelines

First and foremost, I want to thank you for coming along to second shoot with me! I really think we’re going to do an amazing job, and I can’t wait to work together as a team. To make things a little easier on you and myself, I wanted to pass along this information to give you a better idea of what I need from my second shooter when it comes to photos, family formals assistance, etc. Please also feel free to let me know if there’s anything you’d like to gain out of this experience, and what I can do to help make things easier for you!

Just a reminder, if handing out business cards please only hand out cards for Jill Tiongco Photography to all guests, vendors, etc. More on this can be seen in the attached contract. It’s all pretty common sense, but I just wanted to reiterate to make sure we’re on the same page 🙂

Now down to the important stuff. Below I’ve listed some guidelines to help you throughout the day. I am fully confident that you are going to do an amazing job – that’s why I hired you! I just wanted to give you some direction so you know what to expect and you know what I’m looking for. But please don’t forget to have fun and be creative in your own way, too!

Groom/Groomsmen Portraits: As you can see on the timeline, you will have the sole responsibility of photographing the groomsmen. All I’m really looking for are a few shots of the groom getting ready by himself, groom getting ready with the boys, details (bow tie, boutonnière, cuff links, shoes, etc.), candids of the groom/groomsmen hanging out/laughing, and some group formals if you have time. I’ve included a few sample shots of the style of photographs I like, but of course feel free to use your own judgment and eye!

{photo credit above: Zipporah K Photography}


Wedding Ceremony: Positioning for the bride/wedding party entrances will be more of something I’ll need to assess once I see the ceremony location, so let’s make sure to discuss where we’ll be before the ceremony starts. As for throughout the ceremony, a good rule of thumb is to try and stay opposite of each other, but always being mindful of being in each other’s shots.

Family Formals: This can be one of the craziest parts of the day, and we’re usually under a time crunch! To make it easier on us, I like to do as much prep work before the wedding as possible. Attached to the timeline I sent you is a list of the family formals we’ll need to get, which includes names of family members and relation to the bride/groom. While I’m shooting the first photo, I’ll need you gather the people that are needed in the second photo on the list; and so on and so forth. Sometime it’s helpful to grab the maid of honor or best man to help you point these people out. This is really crucial in getting through family formals quickly and efficiently and moving us onto (my favorite part!) the wedding party portrait session.

Wedding Portraits: Depending on the timing throughout the day, I may or may not have you shoot the groom/groomsmen portraits while I shoot with the girls. We can discuss that the day of. If/when you are shooting with me, I’d love it if you could grab different angles on the shots I’m taking. Side angle candids with shallow depth of field are my favorite! Also, I really love detail shots of just the bouquets, shoes, or any other details when I’m shooting the entire group of girls. Feel free to take the girls bouquets and shoot details if I’m shooting the bridesmaids without their bouquets. I’ve included a few examples below.

{photo credit above: Katrina Mather of BMK Photography}

Details: Sometimes I may not have time to shoot details, and I might send you to shoot pre-ceremony/cocktail hour/empty reception room while I shoot portraits. This will be decided day of, but I wanted to include some examples of detail shots that I like. Again, please use your own creative eye as well, especially since I love seeing what my second shooters come up with on their own 🙂 Bonus: If you can get a few “action” shots of me shooting with the bride/groom that’d be great as well!

Reception: The same suggestions about details and mirroring each other apply here. But, we’ll have a little more time to talk about everything in person at this point. Just take note of the timing of the events in the timeline I sent.

As for sharing your images, if possible, I’d like to transfer them over to my laptop before you leave for the night. That way you won’t have to worry about culling/editing. If we don’t have time, you can always upload your images to DropBox, or you can send me a CD. Please have all images to me within three days after the event.

Once I have posted my blog, full client gallery on my website, and Facebook album, you can go ahead and use the photos you took for your own purposes (website, facebook, blog, etc.). I will let you know when you can go ahead and do so (usually after 4-6 weeks). Please make sure to mention you were second shooting for Jill Tiongco Photography and link to either or when using the photos. And of course I will do the same for you on any photos I use of yours 🙂

One last thing, please make sure your camera is set to the correct date and time. If possible, I’d love to meet up in the morning to sync our cameras (this will make it easier in post to sort by Capture Time).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I can’t wait to work with you and hopefully this gave you a better idea of what to expect!

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