Surprisingly often, simple courtesy is overlooked by photographers when hired to perform work as a peer. These principles sure seem like common sense, so what could be the problem? Take a look at these basic standards of professionalism.
First Standard: Be Punctual
It goes without saying right? Like any job you take, you want to be punctual. When you are being paid to contribute photography skills as a contractor, you will certainly be expected to uphold the same, or even better standard for yourself as the photographer who hired you to second shoot the job. Not only do you represent yourself, but also you represent the hiring studio's photography brand for however many hours you are hired for, best not to wedge your trusting peer in a tough spot by strolling in twenty minutes after the start of a shoot. It’s a fast way to tarnish your reputation, and will surely damage your odds of working along side the studio in a meaningful way again down the line.
Second Standard: Dress Appropriately for the Gig
Most studios have a dress code. If you are not sure on the appropriate attire for second shooting an afternoon wedding venue on the beach, then reach out to the primary photographer, a simple chat ahead of time will get everyone synced up and on the same page.
Third Standard: Camera Time Is Not Relative
Nothing worse than importing a large stack of memory cards, and beginning to cull through a daunting twelve hour collection of wedding images, only to realize the photographer you hired to shoot alongside for the day had their camera set to a completely different time, miles way off from your camera’s correct time. It just creates an additional task, steals precious time from the photographer who hired you, and again while a relatively small error, it is so easily avoidable. This is something that goes into consideration when it’s time for you to bid on shooting with that photography studio again. Don't be that person, ask to sync up right from the jump. This site is handy for doing just that.
Fourth Standard: Record to Multiple Cards
It takes only a couple seconds to physically place a second, redundant card into your camera. Memory cards sometimes fail; this is not an internet myth, it happens. Again you are representing someone's brand here, one that is not your own. This lazy, careless mistake can close the doors for good on someone who had hand-picked and entrusted you to be a professional. No one should want to have a finger, let alone a hand in creating such a disastrous situation for a peer, and no photographer I know wants any part of telling their client they lost any files from an important shoot. Just plan to utilize both card slots, overall a pretty simple and expected courtesy.
Fifth Standard: Carry a Backup Camera Body
Along the same lines as utilizing both cards, when you show up for a paid job, have a second camera body set up and ready to roll incase of a dreaded mechanical failure, or even a freak occurrence of accidental damage. It would seem kind of silly to tell the photographer that hired you to second their wedding gig “I’m so sorry but I'll need to leave early, my camera’s mirror seemed to have just locked up on me”. Again be professional, have a fail-safe in arm's reach.
Sixth Standard: Experiment on Your Own Time
A studio will vet, and ultimately hire second shooters based on their existing portfolio. Not only in the body of work's overall quality and consistency, but just as importantly to see if it plays nicely with their style of imagery. This is crucial for the sake of the job being delivered with a similar look throughout, no matter which one of you took the images. Be creative, you were hired for a reason, but also be responsible behind the camera. Handing over a memory card full of out of character, failed shooting experiments that you recently learned on YouTube is going to have little to no value to the studio that hired you.
Let rip in the comments with some more golden rules that all of you wish you could have from those you hire to second your jobs!