ith everything you already have on your plate as a photographer, finding a second shooter can be an extremely time-consuming process and one that falls to the end of your never-ending to-do list. What if there’s an easier way?
I’m Nathan Desch, wedding photographer and owner of ShootWith.Me, and I knew there was a better way.
Before the editing, before the wedding, even before the engagement session… You have that chunk of time where you’re nurturing the couple and helping them any way you can; timelines, expectations, etc… but somewhere in the back of your head, you know you’re putting off finding a second shooter. The process can be terrible. Well, at least it used to be.
See, the problem is… hiring a second shooter is a huge responsibility and hard work! This person will be representing your business after all! We want to see someone’s portfolio, know what gear they have, learn about their experience and more. We go post a job on Facebook only to have countless comments without the information you requested. Someone is bound to comment that they’re available, only for you to find out they live 2000 miles away and want you to cover their flight and hotel… Yeah, no.
That’s only the beginning though. You have to vet potential second shooter candidates. Sure, it’s great when someone you already know is free, but what if your go-to people are all booked up? This process can take hours of research and span multiple days once all is said and done. I found myself procrastinating on this often, and sometimes wound up hiring someone last minute who was less than ideal.
What to Look for When Hiring a Second Shooter
Some weddings are significantly more challenging than others. Knowing that you are working with someone who has your back is key when you’re in work mode. Lighting can be tough, the timeline can be hectic, and a bridal party of 36 people can be taxing as well. Having someone with plenty of experience is a must.
2. Shooting Style
Seeing a photographer’s work beforehand helps you know if their style will mesh well with yours. If you mostly shoot with zooms, like me, and don’t ever want to be right of the couple. For you, they may be the exact opposite. Know your shooting style so you can match it well with a second shooter’s.There is no right or wrong when it comes to shooting styles, but you want to make sure your approaches align with each other.
3. Image and Gear Quality
The gear someone uses is a personal preference and doesn’t matter as long as it’s quality. We all make jokes as photographers on what is best: Canon, Nikon, Sony. At the end of the day, all that matters is if your second shooter knows their way around the gear they bring or the gear you offer them to borrow. If so, that second shooter gets a mental checkmark on image and gear quality. If you want additional security, there are some photographers that only want their second shooters in the same ecosystem in case something breaks. Those preferences are up to you and your needs.
Personality is a big deal. If you have awesome work, but are a complete stooge, I’m not going to hire you. Your personality and how you interact with clients mean more than photography skills. Make sure you are confident the second shooter will show up dressed nicely, not talk behind anyone’s back, or do something unprofessional. It’s not worth the risk.
Risk. That’s what we’re ultimately trying to mitigate here.
We need to hire someone that, at the bare minimum, is going to meet the minimum standard. We all have a different caricature in mind for who we’re looking for. Yours is going to be different than mine and that’s okay. But ultimately, we’re going to take the time we need to find the right person for the job.
So it’s website click after website click… Facebook page after Facebook page… So much wasted time. Then, like manna from heaven, a solution appears!
(I’m going to omit the part between when this solution sucker-punched my brain and three years later when we launched said solution, ShootWith.Me, because story time today is only supposed to take 15 minutes or less)
ShootWith.Me helps studios connect with available photographers and assistants. People who want to fill in the gaps in their schedule can create an assistant, second shooter, or lead photographer account, upload their portfolio, list their gear, experience, skills and so much more. After that, they go through their schedule and make themselves available when they want to work, set their hourly rate and working radius, then kick back and let studios send booking requests to them directly.
On the flip side, when a photographer has a hiring need, they can enter the job details like the date, location, event type, etc, then see all of the people who align with their job needs. Then you easily check out their profile and see everything you need to see in one place. Simply review their profile, and if they’re a good fit, add them to your job queue.
Once you have a handful of people who you’d be happy to work with, you put them in order, set a response time, and boom, the job offer goes out to the person at the top of the list. If they decline or run out of time, the job offer goes to the next person in the queue automatically. Then it happens… You get an email notification stating someone accepted your job. Happy dance time.
Too good to be true? Check out what one of our users has to say:
"ShootWith.Me is brand new and already a total game-changer for my business. As someone who uses an assistant for every shoot and a second photographer for every wedding, I'm always in need of help. I used to spend hours posting in Facebook groups and sorting through the dozens of comments in hopes of finding a gem. Now, with ShootWith.Me, I can immediately see who is available, review their portfolio and gear, and make them an offer in less than a minute. I really can't recommend ShootWith.Me enough to any photographer!" - Scott Josuweit, SMJ Photography
Just like how CloudSpot simplifies the way you deliver images to your clients in a beautiful way, ShootWith.Me streamlines the way you find and hire help for your jobs and fill the gaps in your schedule.
Do you need one more reason to stop what you’re doing and create an account right now? It’s 100% free for studios who are looking to hire help for real. For those of you who are looking to fill the gaps in their schedule, you don’t pay a dime until you get your first booking request. We don’t get paid until you get actual value. We also don't take a cut of the money you make on ShootWith.Me!
Also, by being a loyal CloudSpot user, if you sign up using the links featured throughout this post below, you’ll get a free ShootWith.Me success call (normally $199). You have nothing to lose except that nagging reminder in the back of your head telling you to stop procrastinating with finding help for your jobs.