One of the most common questions I hear from aspiring wedding photographers is ‘How do I get hired as a second shooter for weddings?”
It makes sense that they ask. What can you do? Where do you start?
Second shooting for weddings is one of the fastest ways to break into the business. I highly recommend to anyone who is considering becoming a wedding photographer that you SECOND SHOOT first.
And whether you are just starting out looking for work as a second photographer for weddings or you’re an experienced pro who wants to get hired for more gigs, here are six tips to help you get hired.
Join Local Wedding Photographer Facebook Groups/Online Forums
So you want to get hired as a second shooter for weddings? Look for the places that established photographers go to hire people for those jobs!
Most metropolitan areas will have at least one (if not more) Facebook groups or online forums where wedding photographers look for second shooters. That can help you see which photographers are regularly looking for second shooters for weddings.
You can respond to them in these groups, but you will most likely be submitting along with other, more experienced wedding photographers. If that doesn’t bother you, go right ahead.
But, if you are still just getting your feet wet with wedding photography, you may want to take a different approach.
Choose Photographers Whose Work You Really Like!
While you’re doing research on potential wedding photographers to work for, you are probably going to come up with a pretty extensive list. Pick your top five.
Pick the people who you REALLY want to work with. The why on this will become more important later.
Spend some time on each of their website and check out their social media feeds. Familiarize yourself with their style of shooting. Read what they have to say in their blog posts.
Interact with Them on Social Media
One of the greatest things about social media is that you can interact with photographers before you reach out and contact them. Leaving some genuinely nice comments on their posts will get their attention BEFORE you ever contact them about second shooting for them.
Don’t ask immediately. Leave a few comments and then reach out. That way when your email shows up they will most likely recognize your name.
Never Send a Mass Email!
Nothing pisses me off more than getting a bland email from someone looking for me to hire them that they have sent to fifty other photographers as well.
How do I know they sent it to fifty other photographers? Because they included us all in the ‘to’ line in the email. Some people might think this is okay if they use the BCC feature. That is certainly preferable but you should avoid mass emails because they lack a personal touch.
You want someone to potentially pay you hundreds of dollars for a day’s work and place their trust in you? Send them a personalized email. Remember, you will be representing their company.
Flattery Will Get You Everywhere
It is always nice to hear nice things about yourself. So, if you mention a blog post of a wedding, or a particular social media post, or just what you love about their style of photography, you are going to go much further than just saying, “I hope you will consider hiring me as a second shooter, here is my portfolio and resume.”
This is another reason why you shouldn’t send a mass email. You can create a boilerplate/template email and fill in the parts that are more personalized if you want to save time. But don’t send everyone the same message.
If you don’t have Experience, be Flexible!
The people you contact might not be looking to hire a second shooter at the moment, or they might want to see if you are trustworthy and reliable and have you work as an assistant on a wedding before bringing you in to take pictures.
If you really want to do this, I recommend being flexible. Work as a third shooter or a lighting/photo assistant for a couple of weddings to get more experience.
Your reasons for wanting to get hired as a second shooter for weddings might vary. You might be looking to gain experience as a wedding photographer or just looking for work that can help pay the bills. Either way, by taking the time to reach out thoughtfully to the people who might hire you, give you money, and trust you with their business reputation, you can yield better results in your job search.
I hope you found this article helpful! If you have questions or thoughts for future articles, please reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and let me know! Or find me on Clubhouse at one of my regular photography rooms (@caseyfphoto). I look forward to hearing from you!
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