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2nd Shooter Expectations

  
 
Photoguy111
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 2nd Shooter Expectations


Hi everyone,

I have been working as an assistant/backup shooter for weddings for almost a year now. That photographer I've worked with almost exclusively has told me a lot about what to expect from the photography industry based on his experiences working out of NYC.

I was hired last minute for my first wedding as a 2nd shooter with a different company/photographer, and there were some "conditions" that I was hoping more experienced people could comment on.

For context, I've come to realize that no 2 photographers are the same in terms of their expectations and how they operate, so I proactively asked the person hiring me about their expectations of me as a 2nd photographer, ownership of photos, etc. to make sure we're on the same page. Here are the things I was hoping could be commented on:

1. There is no written agreement -- when I've been hired as an assistant, there haven't been any signed/written agreements. However, now that there are potential photo ownership/publications matters involved, I thought it was possibly a little odd that there wasn't any formal contract. Are informal verbal/email/text message agreements generally accepted as the standard?

2. I didn't expect to be allowed to retain ownership of my photos since I'm being hired/contracted as a 2nd shooter (in terms of publishing the photos online, putting them on a website or social media, etc.), but I was hoping to be allowed to keep a copy of all my photos to assess my work and continue learning through experience. However, I was told that I can't keep a copy of my photos -- they said that this was due to their contract with the couple, but that seems confusing to me if I've already agreed to not publishing the photos online. This was made even more confusing when they told me they would pick and send me a few photos that I could use in my portfolio, but I could only show those images to people in-person. Given the importance of emails, online portfolios, social media, and websites, in-person use only seems to be the same as not being allowed to use them at all.

If people could share their experiences, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance!



Aug 05, 2022 at 12:19 PM
pasblues
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 2nd Shooter Expectations


Point 1: I would in no way work as a second for someone on a wedding without a written contract spelling out the terms of shooting, delivery method and times (or if you use the contracting photographer's cards and just hand them over), date and times you are to work, what your specific duties are and how and when you would be paid.

Point 2: yes, you are work for hire when you are a contractor so the terms of that agreement also need to be spelled out in writing. It's common practice for WFH contractors to have restrictions to their usage rights. Many wedding companies that I have consulted with are highly restrictive about usage rights.

I can hear your frustration with this because, like, what is the point of second shooting if you can't use the images for your portfolio? So, you have to think more in terms of gaining the experience in other ways...perhaps the experience of working at a particular venue or weddings with different cultural traditions, etc.

If you look at it that way, you will probably see the advantages and therefore be able to see these restrictions as still having some benefit.

Showing these scenarios in person is still valuable. You can make albums that you can show couples or other venues in person so that you are honoring the terms of the agreement.

You can see where they are coming from if you put yourself in their shoes. It's a bit difficult to explain to YOUR clients (someday) of your own - that another photographer who was your second at their wedding - is using their images to promote THEIR business.

Also, another part of the agreement with a second is that the second doesn't use YOUR weddings to promote THEMSELVES instead of you and your business.

I do know of ONE wedding company that does not restrict its contractors from using the images. Only one of the five I consulted with. I did not agree to the terms of those more restrictive companies. (these were as lead photographer - but working for a company is a WFH scenario whether lead or second).

So, that's the final comment I have. If you don't want to agree to the terms of someone you are working as a second with, you can obviously just turn them down. Sounds like you may be getting close to being able to handle your own gigs anyway.



Aug 05, 2022 at 01:22 PM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 2nd Shooter Expectations


Funny…. I don’t think I have signed a contract…. Maybe one.

Shooting for a ‘company’ think multiple shooters is different than shooting for a husband/wife or single owner.
All of my 2nd shooting is done on honesty and respect.
I go over the entire wedding day, cards/format, and usage of images.

Generally, 2nd do not post anything on social media….. ever!!!
Not your gig.
No blogging images. Again - not your gig.
You can keep images for your portfolio. As in website.
Generally, no posting until the lead has delivered images to clients.

Also, no taking cell phone images while at wedding and post on social media.
Again, not your gig.

In photographers contract there is verbiage about who owns the copywrite.
You are working under that contract representing the lead shooter.
Your image are the lead shooters.


You would also discuss clothing attire, when to show up and agree on your hourly rate and when you will actually have money in hand(or electronic transfer).


Any additional stuff is probably because somebody got burned from shady shooters.
There are no police in this industry. I have seen 2nd shooter ( I was a third shooter) talking to the planner trying to network and get business.
Really un-ethical. On many levels.

But when money is involved…. People morals tend to go down.
So find like minded shooters to work with.

Questions…. Let me know.

I 2nd shoot currently beside my own.
Indian weddings, catholic, Christian, Asian, Latin….



Aug 09, 2022 at 12:52 PM
 


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pasblues
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 2nd Shooter Expectations


Ziffl3 wrote:
Funny…. I don’t think I have signed a contract…. Maybe one.

Shooting for a ‘company’ think multiple shooters is different than shooting for a husband/wife or single owner.
All of my 2nd shooting is done on honesty and respect.
I go over the entire wedding day, cards/format, and usage of images.

Generally, 2nd do not post anything on social media….. ever!!!
Not your gig.
No blogging images. Again - not your gig.
You can keep images for your portfolio. As in website.
Generally, no posting until the lead has delivered images to clients.

Also, no taking cell phone images while at
...Show more

All excellent points why a contract is important. A contract between the first and second defines the terms between them so everything is clear as opposed to unspoken assumptions. It doesn't matter if the work is for a company or for a sole proprietorship. To you what is unethical may be perfectly acceptable to another - since, as you said, "there are no police in this industry."




Aug 10, 2022 at 08:27 AM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 2nd Shooter Expectations


True on the contract…. I just don’t see contracts between lead and 2nd unless it is a studio made up of multiple shooters.




Aug 10, 2022 at 09:08 AM
johnld
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 2nd Shooter Expectations


Having a contract with whomever hired you is important. Ours are just one page describing what's expected, B & G contact, location, travel costs, and digital delivery expectations. After the client receives their album, I request that we can post photos on socials with links to the company that hired us, but with a photo credit for our effort. For our own website use, usually after the season wanes we upload to our own portfolio with permission.
We've also been hired to shoot solo with the same basic contractual agreement. Shooting second has really been a great learning experience. Watching the primary shooter wrangle the guests, interact and motivate those whose are bit more shy has been an invaluable experience. All this and no editing!!! One thing to consider is matching your style and aesthetic to the primary shooter. I was asked to stop down a bit as (I like to shoot wide) and match the f/4's of the primary shooter.



Aug 13, 2022 at 09:30 AM







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