Working with a Second Shooter
When you are working with a second shooter there are many facets to consider. From training to contracts to personality, all facets of bringing someone into your business need to be factored in. In the first part of the series I addressed how many people often search for second shooters on Facebook groups and how as a general rule I disagree with this practice. Keep in mind that this is your business and your reputation on the line, not someone else’s. I am about to lay down some of the most straight forward blunt information I will probably ever put out there. To begin with . . . this isn’t personal, it’s business.
The reason I believe that so many photographers end up hiring their spouse or sibling as a second shooter is because you can trust family to protect your business and reputation as if its their own. I have had the honor of having some amazing second shooters in the past who cared about my business and my brides as if they were their own and for that reason, I ask them work with me. I have become a strict gate keeper when it comes to who I work with because the hardest thing to build in a business is reputation and its also the quickest and easiest thing to destroy. Who are you letting represent your business on a wedding day? Is it someone random off of Facebook or someone you have trained and trust to be a good surrogate for you throughout the wedding as they interact with guests.
Get it in Writing
I can’t tell you how many issues have popped up in mentoring groups dealing with second shooters. The first question I ask is do you have a contract? It’s great to have expectations that are clear on the part of both the lead and the second but if it isn’t in writing, those words are like dust in the wind. Get a solid contract and make sure that it is reviewed by a lawyer, not just something you created for yourself. This is something that needs to be outsourced to the experts. Once you have that contract then go over it with your second shooter. Make sure there is no confusion on what the expectations are. These may change over the years as you and your business mature. When it does change, go back over these changes with your assistants and make them aware of it.
Early this month I wrote about how I take the time to train my second shooters so that the content they are creating is usable and of a quality that I expect. You can’t expect to pick up a second shooter on Facebook like a blind date and know that they will create the images you need. To do so sets you and them up for failure and potentially angry clients. Determine what their skill level is, what they need to know to perform the tasks you need them to perform.
Revisit and Rate
After each wedding, I revisit it with my second shooter. I go over it as an after action review to help them continue to grow. This also lets me to rate them using the 3A+ model I use and gives me a clear and unemotionally biased look at what they are doing. Are you assessing your second shooter? When you do this, you are able to catch patterns and weaknesses to help them improve. In having this post wedding meeting, it also allows you to recognize where they are excelling as well. Want more information on second shooting and how to find them and hire them? Sign up for our newsletter below and check back soon for our blog post on being a second shooter.