Off Camera Lighting

Lessons in Second Shooting {Part One}

No matter your age, or level of experience, I believe there’s always room to learn new things... this applies to everything in life. So, even though I own my own photography business & stay plenty busy, I won’t ever pass up the chance to second shoot for another photographer if the opportunity presents itself!

There are so many reasons I love second shooting. For one, even though you’re responsible for capturing certain images and assisting the main photographer, you don’t feel the same amount of pressure. As the second, I’m able to “slow down” and see things from a different perspective.

It’s also fun to shadow another photographer, because we all have our own flow & style of doing things. Whether it’s how we direct our clients, what kind of equipment we use (and when), and/or certain “rules” we apply to our professionalism… I’m always intrigued to see what I’ll pick up from others.

Kari Otero Photography, who is based in New York City, flew out to Northern California to photograph her client’s wedding at the historic Hotel Petaluma this past July, and had me along to second shoot with her. I was really honored to work with Kari, she’s got a successful business and beautiful portfolio. I had never met her before, so it was awesome to make a new connection! Kari was warm & kind from the start, and I was in awe of her use of off-camera lighting (which is something I’m not used to, since I specialize in natural light photography). To be honest, I was a bit intimidated… but she showed me how easy it was to use, and gave me some great tips. Although I still prefer bringing a “lighter load” and working with natural light & minimal on-camera flash, I can see the benefits of using off-camera lighting for certain occasions & am considering investing in one to use for darker receptions, or studio portraits. Kari helped me see how off-camera lighting can expand my creativity & style.

Kari’s clients, Bill & Rachel, were extremely down-to-earth & sweet. I loved their classic & beautiful wedding style, and sheer enthusiasm for taking portraits. They dedicated a good portion of their timeline to formal portraits, and were always up for suggestions… like when Kari proposed that we go a few blocks away for a river-side location, they agreed without hesitation. During the family portraits, Kari set up an area in the hotel courtyard with her lighting, and while guests mingled around them, efficiently checked off their list of groupings. While I typically shoot family portraits away from guests because I find I can get it done faster, Kari made it look effortless & I was super impressed.

All in all, I learned a lot from Kari and loved her positive & confident “lady boss” demeanor. I’m glad I was able to see what it was like to use off-camera lighting, and work with new people, at a venue I’ve never been to before. Thanks again, Kari, for having me!

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Next time, on “Lessons in Second Shooting,” I’ll be sharing my amazing experience with Athena Kalindi Photography. Stay tuned!