So last weekend I had the privilege of shooting a beautiful wedding in Chesapeake, VA. And it was WONDERFUL! Danielle (bride), a soon-to-be nurse, was beautiful! Dalton (groom) was a much calmer person but at the right moments was also very excitable! And all the bridesmaids and groomsmen were honestly just adorable with how excited they were to be there in the wedding. It was awesome! And to top it off, the weather was magnificent!
BUT, I did however find myself in a situation that I had never imagined I would be in! I was not the primary photographer of the event… Nor was I the second photographer… I was the third photographer… Which in essence means that I could give input into artistic decisions NOT ONLY after rate primary photographer but ALSO after the second photographer! I could have the BEST ideas in the whole entire world but… I didn’t really have a place to share these ideas until after the groom was well beyond tired of us sticking a camera in his face and saying “Cheese.” I would put him in the category of people who you would call “anti-phogenic” and yes I know that I just made that up but it’s the best I could do in the moment. Alas though, third shooter! What do you do when you find yourself as the third shooter? And it’s not as if you can just never be in this situation because all new photographers will inevitably find themselves here! You have no work and so you need experience. But, no one wants to hire a bad photographer with no experience. So, you find any work you can get and if that leads you to work as a third photographer with no say, what do you do? It is a real challenge. So, I have put together a small list of my thoughts on the subject and I hope they are helpful for new photographers coming into this world.
1. Don’t lose heart! Have patience! If you need a portfolio, then you need to take pictures! And you need to take them wherever you can in a variety of lighting situations and with a variety of variables that you’re not used to! What better way to do this than to be tossed into a situation where you have ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL over anything except your camera? You are forced to take the best pictures you can with the people you have in the poses they are placed in! Example, the best way for me to think to demonstrate this is to just show a couple examples from the wedding I shot. So, example #1 shows a photo that I love and I only got because another photographer had them looking at her!
2. Practice your detail shooting! Weddings are special in that the bride and groom want to remember EVERYTHING! That includes the rings and the flower arrangements and they even want photos of the food! Absolutely everything! And there are photographers who build an entire brand on shooting these details. I am no expert at this but here are a few examples of how I have tried to begin trying to get the details.
3. Know your job and get good at it! In this wedding I was assigned to shoot the family during the ceremony and so, I made it my AIM to get the family after every special moment. After the bride walks down the aisle, when the first kiss happens, after the kiss happens, and then after the bride walks away. I wanted to be the BEST third photographer possible so that, HOPEFULLY, the main photographer would begin to trust me enough to let me be the second photographer and then eventually trust my skills to give me the clients she doesn’t have the time to take on!
4. Capture candid moments! Sometimes even when people are super awkward when posed, simply catching them laughing when they aren’t ready for a camera can’t get SUCH wonderful emotion!
5. Even though yes, the groom I was shooting wasn’t the most photogenic of all people, the bridesmaids were a HOOT! If you can’t coordinate everything, then find people who will love to take pictures no matter HOW MANY pictures they’re in and when there’s a dull moment, grab them!
6. Just have fun! I mean, the best part of being a third shooter is that literally there is no pressure! You are THIRD! So, no one will blame you if the bride and groom kiss is out of focus! Who’s fault is it? Not sure but it certainly isn’t yours because a main photographer should not have in trusted that one to anyone but himself/herself. So just enjoy the ride and learn as much as you can! Ask as many questions as possible to the main photographers. But don’t stress about it! Final thought: the best way to not be a third shooter forever is to be the BEST third shooter you can be! That’s the best way to get better!
So I hope some of this helped! I will be posting a lot more stuff like this in the near future and I’d love to take any questions you have because you know what, I may not be the best photographer in the world BY ANY MEANS but you can learn something from every person you meet! So, don’t hesitate to reach out and say hey.
At the moment I’m about to go on a field trip with a second grade classroom so I can’t actually add the rest of the photos right now! BUT tonight when I get the chance I’ll throw them up here!