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Hmmm - second shooter opportunity - what do you think?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by leahp26, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    So - I recently posted about how I may have a family wedding thing to take some pics at in November (https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=189033)

    I'm kind of curious about the whole wedding shooting thing and so I posted on Craigslist (I know - a bit crazy)

    - explained I have ZERO wedding experience
    - explained that I am an amateur photographer and am simply interested in the whole wedding experience
    - explained that I would like to second shoot but the "first shooter" would have to expect pretty much nothing from me, anything good would be a bonus

    So I had a TON of emails back - a bunch of dubious ones - but one interesting one - he had a really nice website with great images - with a wedding coming on this Saturday.

    He is fully aware that I am totally new to this whole thing so here's where it gets a little strange:

    We've emailed back and forth (and spoke briefly) about equipment/logistics etc

    - First email said he would welcome a second shooter, he wanted me to shoot RAW and burn the NEF files to a CD and mail to him after the wedding

    - I asked about a model release to find out if I could post images to the web (i.e on this forum or maybe for some kind of portfolio years from now) and he said "as far as I'm concerned, anything you shoot is yours" (doesn't really address question right?)

    - Second email mentioned I would actually be the third shooter (which made me relieved as there is zero expectation of me) and he would mostly be looking for me to hold his lights ("this will be a good opportunity for you to learn CLS") and carry his stuff

    - Third email mentioned that he will be working late the night before the wedding and requests me to get to the brides house early to capture her getting ready and he'll either meet me there or see me at the church???

    - Next email asks me how many of my SB800s I can bring to the wedding

    What do you guys think? I really want to do this to see how shooting a wedding turns out. BUT I have a couple of alarm bells ringing. I've asked if the bride is expecting him or me to show - he recommended that I just shoot with the 85 1.4 in natural light or with a little bounced flash.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  2. I would never ask a second shooter to meet the bride without me being there to introduce him/her. It shows a lack of class and tact.

    Even so, it's a good way to get your feet wet. Don't sign anything, show up and get the experience. Chances are this guy will be out of business in a few years, you just don't threat customers that way. Hey, it's Craigslist, enough said.

    Don't let him borrow any cameras or lenses, I don't see a problem with SB-800's as long as he supplies the batteries. If he starts to machine gun and possibly overheat them, then pack 'em up
  3. He sounds a little sketchy.

    I would tell him you do not want to be responsible for her shots getting ready and you need him or the other shooter to be there as well.

    Tell him you do not want to hold his lights, you are looking to get experience shooting, not being an assistant.

    Don't be nervous, be confident and even if you don't feel like you know what you are doing, don't let anybody know that. Between the other two photographers they will have plenty of good shots, so don't put any pressure on yourself.

    Help him out, but don't let him boss you around, you are the one working for free.
  4. I think it would be a learning experience...and that's a good thing.

    I think you'd probably pull off better shots of the bride getting ready than a man would.

    I agree with the above post in that you should explain to him that you aren't there to be a pack mule...you're there to shoot.

    I also agree with the above post that you should be confident. You can handle this, particularly since you're the 2nd shooter. The pressure's off. Go for it.
  5. I second shoot for one of Pittsburgh's finest about twice a year just for the learning experience. He pays me $250, I don't care about the money that much, I want to learn from him. I hold his lights to shoot the couple after the ceremony and before the reception, but that's the only time he asks. I also run for any gear he may need but this may be once or twice the entire day. The rest of the time I'm shooting.
  6. Being a gofer for a top-flight shooter is one thing. Doing it for a guy on Craigslist is another. I'd hold lights for a top shooter with a long-established reputation. I'd also carry a pen and notepad.
  7. LOL yah you're right. It's great experience to shoot with other people no matter what your specialty is.
  8. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Thank you Greg, Xenon & Mark!!!

    I was talking it over with some friends and they were horrified that I would spend the day taking photos for free and carrying equipment - they had me all freaked out that I shouldn't do it. I explained that if I am ever to even THINK about doing a wedding on my own I would need to do this a BUNCH of times and it may not even be something I am good at/enjoy

    After his email about me holding his lights, we spoke and I explained that I was more interested in shooting that carrying stuff and he said that I would need to maybe hold his reflector a couple of times during the "getting ready shots" and hold a strobe once or twice during the first dance.

    He sent me an email today asking me about the longest fastest lens I have. I reminded him that I'd explained that I don't have anything long/fast at the moment, he mentioned that he'll lend me his 70-200 2.8 to shoot from the balcony during the ceremony. I've asked him if I should bring my tripod as I believe that's a pretty heavy lens. Waiting to hear back.

    I too think it's a bit shady for me to show up at the house without meeting the bride but weirdly that's the part I feel least nervous about - figure I can swing it with fast glass/natural lighting and hope for the best. His second shooter is a guy so maybe that's why they're sending me to the house....

    I'm not planning on signing anything! Thanks for reminder. What do you think about his comment "whatever you shoot is yours"?? Should I take a very basic model release to the house and get her to sign so I can post my shots here? Would that be totally unethical??? Maybe I should just do it for the experience and give him all my files never to be seen again?

    I will practice being CONFIDENT!!! Will report back on Saturday night.

    Just had another email warning of bad rain, he wants me to wear a belt for battery packs. Should be interesting if nothing else right!!!

    Thank you for encouragement! I will keep you posted :) 
  9. If "whatever you shoot is yours," you'll need either a release or contract - signed by the bride/groom and the primary shooter. That'll keep you in the clear when your shots are smokin hot. Besides, he was the one making that offer, not your demand.

    I shot a wedding a few months back - my first in over a decade. It was described by the bride's mother as a "small wedding." I was told that I wouldn't be taking any shots during the ceremony. Well, nine bridesmaids and groomsmen isn't small. And I WAS asked to shoot the ceremony. I kinda wanted to do that anyway, so I didn't mind. But if there's a next time, I'll have something on paper. I would've had a contract this time, but it was done on very short notice, and I was helping out a friend who had something come up, so he couldn't shoot it.

    BTW...if you need a wedding contract or model release, just shoot me a pm and I'll gladly send you a copy of mine. Of course, you'll have to edit it, but it's a simple Word document, so it should be a breeze.
  10. For posting shots here, I wouldn't worry about a model release of your own.

    Your D300 and 17-55 f/2.8 are ideal for weddings. The 85 f/1.4 is perfect. Add the 70-200 with tripod from the balcony and you're set. Take a few wide with the fisheye and @17mm both portrait and landscape from the balcony-great shots.

    When you're outside after the wedding and he's shooting while everyone's looking at his camera, shoot from an angle. These are some of my favorites and will be better than his. I know because we always use the second shooter shots, they just look so much more natural.
  11. Does this not sound SUSPICIOUSLY like the second shooter debacle that was related here about two weeks ago? Seriously? This sounds like the same MO the guy used on the other poor, unsuspecting female offering to help. I just searched for the thread, but I can't find it. It ended up being locked, and perhaps even deleted? Can somebody please PM Leah the info so she doesn't end up with a similar horror story? I can't remember the original poster's name, or I'd PM her myself. Leah appears to be in close enough proximity to be this guy's next target...
  12. Uhh, yeah. It sorta almost sounds like this guy wants the use of her SB800's and to use her as a pack mule. Plus it sounds like he just wants to sleep in.
  13. Being a second shooter is the best way to get used shooting weddings. The guy I work with I met through a girl I was dating. He told me he was a wedding photographer. I only had a ps at the time but he invited me to come to his next wedding. Since then I have built a solid kit and shoot weddings on my own. I still shoot with him on occasion. He gives me $100 to cover gas and time. It has always been casual, no contracts or anything. The most mule work I have done for him is get him some batts.
    The point is, find someone who doesn't care about your gear or otherwise. There are plenty of them. The good ones know that there are plenty of weddings to go around and won't feel threatened helping you out. They also shouldn't have a problem paying you without good reason. This guy is looking for cheap labor. STAY AWAY FROM HIM!!
  14. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Mad Hatter & Vinman - I'm on here a lot but I don't remember any weird second shooter incident. I searched and can't find anything. He has a legitimate looking website. I'm planning on keeping hold of all my equipment (locking it in the car if I'm not using it. Using my own car and not getting in his at any time. I think it's a little weird but he does seem to want me to shoot stuff as well. I guess that's Craigslist for you!

    Mark - I will PM you for the contract to take a look at it - thank you for the ofer

    Greg - thank you very much for the suggestions. He sent 3 more emails over night. One with a list of all the shots he tries to get at a wedding (and asked me to print out 3 copies - not sure about that). He told me that my tripod might be too bulky and to try to "find" a monopod. Then said actually bring the tripod and shoot 2 stops under, 2 stops over, 1 just right so he can make some HDR images.

    Anthony - I'm not even sure I'll ever be good enough to shoot professionally but I really want to see what shooting a wedding is all about. I figure there's no contract signed and if he turns out to be really shady or just expect me to carry junk I'll just say I'm sorry but I have to leave. Thanks for the heads up.

    I guess I'll have more to post on Saturday night. Thank you all for your advise and info - here goes nothing!
  15. I however do remember it. I don't remember the lady's name but I do remember what her avatar looks like. Since it isn't near bedtime I'm going to try to find that thread.

    edit: forget it, the thread is definitely deleted. I'm sure there's a reason for it, so enough said. However rest assured the person went into a situation similar to yours and it turned into a nightmare. It was less about being the second shooter and more about the primary shooter wanting to use her D3.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2008
  16. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    I will not let my D300 move from around my neck! :) 
  17. scooptdoo

    scooptdoo Guest

    first he asks how many sb800 you can bring(you have 2 listed in your equipment credtits).then asks what your longest lens is?hes a flake.go on and step threw one wedding with him and youll be schooled on what to avoid next time out.school of hard knocks they call it.
    if its smells like rotten cheese and looks like rotten cheese guess what?its rotten cheese!

    forget the tri pod.there are other simpler ways to stedy camera.a fast 70-200 zoom is not all that gigantic it cant be stedyed with good technique.
  18. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    I'm home! Alive and well with all my equipment!

    Actually turned out to be a cool day - I'm downloading the 800 plus images now and will post some later but all I have to say is that I have UTMOST respect to those who shoot weddings!!

    What a long day! Left my house at 9am this morning, arrived at bride's house around 10:30am, shot them getting ready until around 1pm. Then we went to the church (pouring rain) then to the reception and I left around 7pm. Figured I could skip the garter toss!!!

    He was quite a character but very willing to let me shoot whatever I wanted. Didn't actually use any of my equipment - I think he mainly wanted to make sure I had flash on whatever I was shooting.

    Even insisted on giving me a $50 "tip". Tried to refuse but he insisted. My first "paid" job!!! Picked up sushi on way home - came to $49.60 so I'm still up.

    Huge thanks to Mark for sending me his contracts and check lists. And to everyone else for warning me of the dangers of second shooting - luckily this worked out. Now I just have to see what the images are like!

    I had a ton of fun - made me realise I have a LONG way to go and still SO much to learn but it was great to have no real expectations and pressure.

    Thanks again everyone - images to follow
  19. rocketliv

    rocketliv Guest

    I just read this entire thread for the first time so I was glad to see your day went well!! Good for you! I am shooting my brother's wedding next May and I am sooo nervous! But it will be super small so...:) 
  20. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Thanks Liv

    I'm looking through the images now - will post a separate thread
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