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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 10th, 2015, 05:13 PM   #1
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Second Shooter Add On

How exactly does it work? You obviously can't get a part-timer who is nothing to do with your business to happily commit to a random date 18+ months in the future - can you?

I worry that if I offered it, I'd find myself running around frantic last minute trying to find somebody who was free to shoot with me.

Or do you have a clause in your contract that second shooter depends on availability and final balance will be reduced in the event a second shooter cannot be found?
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Old August 10th, 2015, 05:35 PM   #2
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If you worry you might not be able to get someone or might fear he would not show up then I would not take the risk to offer it.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 05:40 PM   #3
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But lot's of people do it. Especially photographers I know. I see it all the time on facebook etc... "I need a second shooter this Saturday - whose free?"

But then there's many more of them to call upon. Cinematographers are still fairly rare in my country that most of us manage to keep busy enough with our own bookings.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 06:23 PM   #4
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Clive you have tapped a nerve here - currently i offer 2 prices for bridal prep - one where it`s at the same location at the ceremony, and a higher price where at a different location as my wife has to come along and film the last half hour or so as i head off down to the church

Problem is even though she's self employed she might be getting a new contract that means weekend work so i'm thinking along the same lines as you - i need someone reliable that i can book for possibly 18 months in the future for just a few hours on a saturday - a hard sell!
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Old August 10th, 2015, 06:40 PM   #5
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
But lot's of people do it.
I think you know as well as I that to shoot a wedding it is very hard to find someone with the right skill and wedding experience and someone that has the right equipment, expect to get burned when your second shooter who you never shot with before misses important shots, takes out of focus, overexposed and badly framed shots or shows up too late or not at all at the wedding.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 07:35 PM   #6
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Guys? It is so simple ... Just find a woman half the age of your current wife who used to be a fashion model but decided to get loads of experience as a videographer and then dump the missus and marry the model..problem solved!!

I had the very same issue as Clive and Noa suggested with 2nd shooters so I eventually did without them! If I have to do prep some distance away I simply leave earlier so I get to the ceremony at least 30 minutes before it's due to start. You really cannot expect someone to commit to a date months ahead never mind years for the chance just to earn a small amount of money. The only real solution is to use your partner/spouse or just do it solo.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 07:58 PM   #7
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
How exactly does it work? You obviously can't get a part-timer who is nothing to do with your business to happily commit to a random date 18+ months in the future - can you?

I worry that if I offered it, I'd find myself running around frantic last minute trying to find somebody who was free to shoot with me.

Or do you have a clause in your contract that second shooter depends on availability and final balance will be reduced in the event a second shooter cannot be found?
Hey Clive, around here there's plenty of companies that seldom work with fewer than two videographers. And there's other companies, for instance Indian wedding specialists, who need to be able to have more than one team operating at the same time, because of the way Indian weddings are structured. But pretty much none of these companies is big enough to be able to employ people full time. So there is a demimonde of shooters, myself among them, who freelance for a number of companies.

What sort of people do this? Video enthusiasts. Photographers. Film students and recent graduates. And sometimes people who freelance for the film and TV industry as a full or part time job.

How to find a second shooter... Well, sometimes you do find someone willing to commit 18 months in advance. But you'll quite easily be able, anyway, to find people willing to commit one month in advance.

The main solution is to have a little black book of names you can call on. In my case, the names on my list are people whom I've worked with while freelancing, so I know what they're like. But if you're building a black book from scratch, one place to start is with recommendations from other video companies as to who's reliable.

You can also go the route of the open cattle call on Craigslist (or Gumtree or Starnow in Australia), and you'll be flooded with eager responses, most of whom have never shot a wedding before. But there will likely be some diamonds there. It's then up to you to be able to meaningfully sort through the list, and it's also up to you to prepare them properly for the day and to supervise them on the day. Ask them to come along and be an observer at a wedding first, before you let them loose on the first paid job.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 08:17 PM   #8
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Wow! that is a scary way to do things Adrian. Start looking for a second shooter just a month before the wedding and maybe someone you have never even worked with before?? Surely that's inviting disaster?

The only sensible way is to have a permanent second shooter who you can trust and will do what's asked of them producing good work. This means they will attend every wedding with you and be your working partner on not only big jobs but also small ones ... a permanent team

Looking thru your list of possible shooters just 30 days before the wedding and hoping they are good and available is a very dangerous way to do it surely. What happens if no one is available???
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Old August 11th, 2015, 01:23 AM   #9
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I have to agree with Chris, you need someone to rely on, not just some random freelancer with a camera, weddings are not exactly a playground to do some experimenting and hope it will turn out alright. I have been burned 3 times the past years asking for a second shooter, one of them had a 5D and shot primarily corporate and his portfolio looked ok yet he managed to overexpose a shot that badly it was almost not recoverable, what made it even worse was that he had plenty of time to prepare for that shot (the first meet of the couple) and I asked him to shoot wide and just keep the camera still and well framed. It was a cloudy day and he had plenty of space to take his shot. I was shooting from indoors to get the grooms reaction)
A lot more looked like that, overexposed, wobbly handheld shots, wrong whitebalance inside and I can go on.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 02:29 AM   #10
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You'd have to be pretty bad to get severe blow-out on a cloudy day!
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Old August 11th, 2015, 02:49 AM   #11
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
But lot's of people do it. Especially photographers I know. I see it all the time on facebook etc... "I need a second shooter this Saturday - whose free?".
Apart from practical temporal or geographical reasons e.g. shooting bridal prep & groom prep simultaneously most weddings don't need two photographers & it matters little whether the second shooter images are any good or not as they won't be needed. Having said that there is an enormous pool of competent wannabee wedding photographers who are prepared to work for very little or even nothing in order to gain experience or build a portfolio. The skills required for a video second shooter are vastly different to those of a second photographer.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 03:30 AM   #12
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Old August 11th, 2015, 03:31 AM   #13
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Wow! that is a scary way to do things Adrian. Start looking for a second shooter just a month before the wedding and maybe someone you have never even worked with before?? Surely that's inviting disaster?
Well, I usually try to book people further than one month in advance. But one trick is that you've got enough names in your little black book -- maybe a dozen, two dozen people -- and you've worked with all of them before. So, even if you start looking just a month out from the wedding, it's unlikely you're going to be caught out.

Quote:
The only sensible way is to have a permanent second shooter who you can trust and will do what's asked of them producing good work.
I guess the main problem with that is that it's a sort of eggs in one basket situation. What if that person becomes unavailable? Then you're left leafing through your little black book again. So I'd suggest that having a stable of reliable people is better than having just one permanent second shooter. There's also the problem that if you want someone to be "faithful" to you, and free whenever you call, you have to be giving them regular enough work that they can afford not to freelance with other people, and that's not necessarily the easiest thing either.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 03:51 AM   #14
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Over 30 years, the only second shooters I have had are those that I have been training to become solo shooters when I was running a bigger business. My wife only works with me when we just have one photo/video package on to lighten the load, otherwise we both work solo.

I've never felt the need for a second shooter if solo shooting is planned well. I have occasionally been asked to film the bride leaving the house for the church or venue, but always explain that I like to leave the preps before the bride is in her dress, so that her first appearance in the dress, is with Dad in the car as the star of the show. It has never caused a problem and brides seem to like that idea that it is all about the glamour of that first arrival.

With modern lightweight equipment, small cameras for different angles and remote control, I just don't need a second shooter. If you can plan your strategy to work without one, you will not be building potential problems or missed shots as Noa said. I also feel that if you use a second shooter regularly, you will start to rely on having one and begin to believe that you can't manage without.

Just my opinion of course :-)

Roger
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Old August 11th, 2015, 04:10 AM   #15
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

I shot with a 2nd shooter back in March; it was my first time working that way and to be honest it sort of made me lazy in some parts thinking that I didn't need to work so hard. I've been booked next year for a Wedding where a 2nd shooter has been requested, so look forward to doing better. For things like covering Groom and Bridal Preps at the same time, I think its necessary; maybe for the Photo Session, covering that whilst the other is inside getting table decorations, though most Weddings I can flip back and forth inbetween with no trouble.

Really its those Weddings where the pace can be quite fast, where I miss a 2nd shooter. Church Weddings that allow less than an hour arriving at the Reception to grab your shots before they go in for the meal. As Roger said, careful planning can eliminate many issues. There are a still a few Weddings I can look back on and know that even with the best planning that I did, I could have done a much better video with a 2nd shooter.

I have a list of people that I've worked with before; necessary really for cover if I was ever taken ill. So I've got assistance when needed.
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