NJ Wedding Photographer – Tips for Second Shooting

April 8, 2014  |  1 comment

Pretty early on in my photography journey, I decided that being a wedding photographer was not for me. Guys, wedding photography is TOUGH! It demands a lot of time, investment, and passion for that type of photography. I knew that I did not have the time to dedicate to pursuing weddings. However, I still had the passion! After my own wedding, I never stopped looking at wedding blogs like Style Me Pretty, and pinning wedding ideas to Pinterest. So what did I decide to do? Become a second photographer, aka assistant photographer, at weddings for my good photographer friends Alex and Jay of Idalia Photography!


Over the past two years, I have now assisted them at a few different weddings, and I thought I would share with you some tips I’ve learned on how to be a good second shooter, along with some photos from the most recent wedding I did with them this past weekend. Although I never plan on becoming a wedding photographer, for those of you who are, second shooting is also a great way to gain experience and build a strong portfolio.


1. First and foremost, have a contract!

You need a contract so that you and the primary photographer know the terms of the agreement – including hours of coverage, dress code, delivery of images, payment and what you as a second photographer are or are not allowed to post to your own website or portfolio. Photographers vary in their agreements but for us, I am permitted to include some photos in my portfolio and will only post AFTER Idalia Photography has posted their sneak peek. And I do not tag or share the photos with the clients of course! That is for the primary photographer only!


2. You represent the primary photographer at all times.

At no point do you promote your own photography business. If I am asked who I am by the family or guests (which I often am!), my response is assistant photographer to Idalia Photography. Leave your own business cards at home and be prepared with a few of your primary photographer’s business cards.


3. Your job is to HELP.

Help the primary photographer in any way you can. Carry equipment, open doors, find drinks, corral family members, check the details during portraits. You are not there to get the shot, you are there to help your primary photographer get the shot. Pay attention to the little stuff – fluff the bride’s dress, straighten the groom’s boutonniere, make sure the background is clear.


4. Be where the primary photographer cannot.

One of my main jobs is to be with the groom when he is getting ready with his guys because the primary photographer is with the bride and the girls. She physically cannot be in two places at once. So that’s where I step in. Arrive prepared with a shot list of all of the photos you want to get while with the groom. Below are some groom shots I captured at the wedding over the weekend. Are groom shots as exciting as the bride and bridesmaids shots? Typically not. But it is fun to get creative with some of the groom details like cuff links, ties, sunglasses, etc.


Tips for Second Shooting-01 Tips for Second Shooting-02

Tips for Second Shooting-03 Tips for Second Shooting-04 Tips for Second Shooting-05 Tips for Second Shooting-06 Tips for Second Shooting-07 Tips for Second Shooting-08 Tips for Second Shooting-09 Tips for Second Shooting-11 Tips for Second Shooting-13 Tips for Second Shooting-14 Tips for Second Shooting-15


5. Get different angles.

There are times when you will need different angles of the same event. Especially during the first look between the bride and groom. You need to capture both the bride and the groom’s expression, and the best way to do that is to coordinate with the primary photographer so one of you is getting the groom and the other is getting the bride. This past weekend I photographed the bride while Idalia Photography photographed the groom!


Tips for Second Shooting-17 Tips for Second Shooting-18 Tips for Second Shooting-19 Tips for Second Shooting-20 Tips for Second Shooting-21


Similarly, during bride/groom, bridal party and family portraits, never shoot over the shoulder of the primary photographer. First, the primary photographer does not need a second copy of the SAME EXACT photo he or she is taking. Second, doing this often confuses the people you are photographing and they do not know which camera to look at. You would not want eyes straying away from the primary photographer’s camera and looking at you. Instead, put on a different lens and get creative. For example, I usually throw on my favorite lens – the 135mm – while Idalia has a wider angle on her lens so that I can get close up shots of the bride/groom and the details while they are busy looking at her.


Tips for Second Shooting-23

Tips for Second Shooting-24 Tips for Second Shooting-25 Tips for Second Shooting-27 Tips for Second Shooting-28 Tips for Second Shooting-29


6. Be a back-up – most important during ceremonies!

The first kiss, the exchange of rings… they only happen once. You are there to make sure that between you and the primary photographer, you are getting a lot of photos during those times. Imagine what would happen if the photographers “missed” the first kiss! You are there to help make sure that doesn’t happen. We also typically use different focal lengths to vary the photos – if Idalia Photography has the 70-200 on her camera and getting close-ups, I make sure to have a wide angle on mine to get full body shots.


7. Photograph guests and details at receptions

Receptions are often busy for the primary photographer, so as the second photographer, go around the room getting photos of the guests – table shots, couples, dancing, etc. Make sure to get some of the details as well. It’s always good to make sure you got shots of all the little parts of the day, even if the primary photographer shot them also! The primary photographer will appreciate being able to include those in the set!


Tips for Second Shooting-32



8. Be prepared…and have fun!

Know your camera and how to quickly change your settings like the back of your hand. There’s no time when you are standing in the middle of an aisle during a wedding ceremony to take your time adjusting ISO. Bring water, bring snacks, and wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be running around and barely sitting… but you will also be having tons of fun and laughs in the process!


Announcing Pixieset – Our New Online Gallery!

March 19, 2014  |  no comments

Starting this spring, I will now be using Pixieset’s online gallery as the way to provide all of the edited high resolution images to my clients. I’ve been searching for the perfect online gallery to use and I believe I have finally found it! This is a great replacement for the CD of images I have provided in the past because with one button, you can download all images directly to your computer.  CDs and DVDs are a dying technology! Most of today’s computers are even sold without CD/DVD drives! And by uploading your images to Pixieset, they will be saved on the cloud, the safest form of image backup.


Pixieset is very easy to use and allows for downloading, sharing, bookmarking and printing of images with a touch of a button. It is phone and tablet compatible, so you can view your photos from anywhere. All galleries can be password protected, so strangers can not view or download your photos.


Here are some views to show you what Pixieset looks like and how it works.


Beautiful layout, similar to Pinterest. There are buttons at the top that allow you to favorite photos, download the entire set, view your cart (for prints) and to share (to facebook, pinterest, twitter, Google+ or email).





You can click into each photo and view the entire set as a slideshow. Once you click into a photo, there are buttons above the image that allow you to add to cart, download individual photo, share, and favorite.





Finally, ordering prints has never been easier! Through this gallery, you can purchase all different sized photos and canvases. Your order will go to one of the best professional photo printers out there – White House Custom Color. Ordering prints through this service will guarantee your photos will come out beautiful. I will soon post more information about the difference between printing at your local CVS or Target and a professional printer. The difference is stunning!




Can’t wait to start using Pixieset with all of my clients!


New Jersey Newborn Photographer – Fresh 48 Session

March 13, 2014  |  16 comments

On the day our newborn son Sean and I were discharged from the hospital, I snapped a few photos using my professional camera. All during my hospital stay I took tons of photos with my cell phone. As a brand new mother, juggling my own recovery, a new baby, nursing, constant medical monitoring, it was hard enough to take cell phone photos let alone getting out the real camera! I was disappointed that I was only able to get “real” pictures during the last hour I was in the hospital. And since I was the one who took the photos, I only have a couple of pictures of me with Sean (taken by my patient husband), and none of my husband at all!  I am sad I did not have a photographer come into the hospital and take more photos for me!


So I would like to help others capture these special moments! I am now offering Fresh 48 newborn sessions, where I come to your hospital room within 48 hours of your baby’s birth to capture those first precious moments with your newborn and family. You can see some examples below of my own little boy! The last two images are cell phone pictures I took to show you the difference hiring a professional photographer can make!


New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-05 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-08 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-09 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-04 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-06 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-10 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-01 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-02 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-07 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-03 New-Jersey-Birth-Photographer-11



Cell phone photos below.  See what I mean?




And one day when my schedule is a bit more predictable, I will launch a new offering – birth photography! I also regret that I did not have a photographer come and take photos during labor and delivery. At the time, I thought I would not want another person in the room, and I figured I would take some photos myself. In fact my husband did take a few when we first checked in and my OB took a few of the three of us after our son was born. But I am still missing the moments in between because we were both too busy (and nervous) to think about taking photos. And as the days go on, I am slowly forgetting the details of one of the best days of my life! So hopefully I will be able to offer this service to clients as well!  Stay tuned…