Guide to being a NSP SEcond Photographer!


I am fairly laid back, and want every wedding day to be a fun and memorable time for everyone! Even us photographers should enjoy each and every wedding as much as we can. Although I (hopefully) I am not high maintenance when it comes to second photographer guidelines and expectations, I want to make sure there is an open line of communication and 'expectations' are outlined.

  • Be on time. If you are late, it not only looks bad on you but also on my business. I understand you may be a little late from time to time, but try to be about 10 minutes early to each wedding day.
  • You will have a schedule emailed to you the week leading up to the wedding! Please look it over before the wedding and ask any questions that you may have!
  • You are NOT an assistant, you are a photographer. All of my brides know and appreciate this, so you should never have to do menial tasks (such as a coffee run for the bride + bridesmaids). Frustratingly this happened to me all the time when I was a second shooter and my primary did not care. I got you!
  • No drinking. This is for the entire wedding day! If the couple are good friends of mine, I may grab a beer at the end of the reception when we have packed up and are finished shooting, and you may join me! But until we clock out, it's a no-go.
  • Yes snacks. I bring snacks and water to every wedding or else I get hangry. Most weddings I will get the a-okay from the bride/groom to eat dinner but it's always good to be prepared.
What are you responsible for?

I confront every single wedding differently, and also every timeline. Rarely will I ever have a second photographer leave and drive to another location without me, but it does sometimes happen so please be prepared! I trust my second photographers to understand what I am looking for and strive to allow you creative freedom!

For every single wedding, I try and single-handedly photograph every detail and aspect of the day. This does not make your job as second photographer any less important, as you are an artist yourself, and provide another artistic and creative mind and eye to the mix! I ask that you photograph the entire wedding, details and portraits. There is no need to photograph family formals, I just ask that you help arrange people for each grouping.

Family groupings are the only aspect of the day that I do not expect you to photograph as you should be helping me with the list of family photos or arranging people accordingly. You should be working alongside me the entire day. If you need a break, no problem! Usually I schedule a break before the ceremony, but if you need an additional break please let me know.

  • Occasionally you may be solely responsible for the groom getting ready. Isolate him near a window and have him put on the finishing touches of his outfit (vest, tie/bowtie, cufflinks, jacket, shoes, etc). I would also love a few candids of the guys getting ready and boutonnieres being put on. Also, please keep the backgrounds of this set of images clean. I know getting ready rooms are always a disaster, but move stuff if necessary or use a 50-85mm and isolate your subject. Please and thank you :) Here are some example photos of Grooms detail shots and also the Groom getting ready, I was the second photographer for this wedding and these are my images!
  • First look: I would love to get two different aspects of it. Most of the time I will shoot the reaction of the person up close and I would also like a wide shot! During the wedding day, I will specify which angle I would like you to shoot. Example photos below! Again, these images are mine as a second photographer.
  • Bridal & Groom Individual Portraits, I am always looking for detail shots! While I am photographing the bride (camera aware etc), I would love some images like the ones below. I love the shot of the bouquet with the ring in focus!! Bouquet shots are always a win win with me as well!
  • Ceremony: I will be up front until the bride walks down the aisle. At the moment when she reaches the alter, I will run to the back of the aisle which is where I would like you to be! As the bride walks down the aisle, please get a shot of the grooms reaction (bonus points if you frame the bride in the shot). After I am in the back, I will move around and go up to the balcony (if applicable) and get various shots.
  • Family formals: please help arrange. This make the process faster and less frustrating! I will have a list of groupings that the bride wants, and I would love for you to cross them off and start calling the next victims.
  • Bride/groom & bridal party portraits: Show me what you got! Give me some awesome angles and detail shots!
  • Cocktail hour: I am looking for Grip n' Grins here. The main goal here is to get a bunch of photos of the guests smiling at the camera in groups and also of any specialty drinks and food!
  • Reception details: Please take a few minutes and get some wide room shots, full table shots and details. For the first dances, I like to take a few photographs and then let the couple have a stress free rest of their first dance. Same with f/d, m/s dances.
  • Night Portraits: For various weddings we may have built in night portraits into the timeline. I LOVE THESE! I might ask you to hold a flash or run around like a crazy person with sparklers!
Other random thoughts
  • Shoot RAW: If you need extra cards, I have plenty to spare.
  • Please come prepared with fully charged batteries. Once I had a second shooter leave about 3 hours into the wedding day because they didn't have an extra battery or charged their sole battery. I was not happy, and will never work with them again.
  • If you're wearing sandals: bring an extra pair of shoes just in case they break *this has happened to a second of mine before (not naming names.. marisa... cough cough).
  • I wonder if there's a such thing as a Cheetos Bar.
  • During reception: don't be afraid to shoot 2000 or 3000 ISO.
  • I bring a ton of gear, and a checklist to make sure I have everything! It has saved me a few times from leaving expensive stuff behind.
  • I love my job :)
  • Ask questions! If you are curious about anything, ask. I don't bite.
After the wedding
  • At the reception, I will download your cards and you will be free to go! You don't need to cull or edit (unless you want to use the images for your portfolio).
  • Please don't post to social media or blogs. Once 90 days have passed from the wedding date, you may post the images to social media and your website/blog as long as you write "Second shot for Nicolette Sessin Photography" with a link. I ask for 90 days to ensure my clients have received their images!
  • Don't tag my clients or contact them. this goes without being said, but I second shoot a lot and have those clients contact me. My clients know not to contact you with any questions, they come to me.
Thank you!

I appreciate you and your hard work! Second shooting is extremely important. You provide different aspects of the day, and also a form of backup. I could not do this without you and I just want to shout 'thank you so much' from the hilltops, but we don't have any of those because we are in Kansas. So 'thank you so much' anyways!!

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nicolette sessin

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