This past summer I gained a lot of knowledge second shooting. Not only did I learn a lot about photography - I learned a lot about how to be a second shooter. Because; really, it's a lot different than being the main photographer on a wedding day.
I hope that by sharing the knowledge I gained I can help at least one person become a better second shooter! This tips are more geared towards a situation where there is only the main photographer and the second photographer and no assistant.
Check your ego at the door.
This is probably the most important tip I can share. Your main job as a second shooter is to HELP the main photographer - and that can take many different forms. No job or task or request is below you - anything that needs to get done, you do it. This especially applies to non photo taking related requests. Someone needs water? Go get it. Photographer forgot something in their car? Go get it. Reflector needs holding? It's all you.
Also, these are not your clients so however the main photographer chooses to approach the day is the way it goes. If you would handle situations differently - or choose different poses - or use a different location, that is fine. Keep your thoughts to yourself and don't become a diva. If asked for your opinion, give it. Otherwise, smile and help the main photographer as much as you can.
Know How Weddings Work
For most brides & grooms along with their families & friends - this is one of the first weddings they've been a big part of. So, all the little details that make up a wedding day are all new to them. You need to have all the answers for them and help them out so that the main photographer can focus on the photography.
You need to know how and where to pin boutonnieres, that bridesmaids should hold their flowers just below their belly buttons, what hand to wear wrist corsage, how rental ties work, how to do cuff links, how to do corset backs on dresses, be ready to pin bridesmaids dresses or get the zipper up, be able to bobby pin stray hairs back up, how to walk down the aisle, how to get into a limo in a big dress, and anything else that might come up on a wedding day.
Helping in these ways can lower the stress factor of the day and help everyone enjoy and be present in the moment - which makes for better photos!
I know, I know. Neither of these tips have anything to do with actually taking photos BUT I really think that the second photographers job has so much more to it than just taking photos. The second shooter is there to help the day go smoother which can result in better experience for all involved.
More tips coming soon!