Professional Photographer Mai Duong, the most enthusiastic photographer you will ever meet.

Why I like to Second Shoot/Assist for other Photographers

Photographing and assisting for other photographers is one of my favorite methods of learning.  All the workshops, books, and online resources don’t compare to working along side your peers.  Every photographer has their own methods, their own style, and their own personalities.  In 2012, I second shot/assisted for several different photographers, and I found myself not learning things about photography, but learning things about myself.

The biggest lessons I learned:

1. I am enthusiastic.
It may sound weird that I figured out my personality while assisting other photographers, but it’s true.  I realized I couldn’t be calm and sarcastic (and twice-my size).  It just didn’t work.  I’m small, hyper, and easily excited.  But, I can aspire to create as amazing photographs as others.

2. It’s okay that I’m enthusiastic.
While working with another photographer, he told me his exuberance and volume (think booming voice) were a few of his strengths.  I thought to myself… ding ding ding!  Enthusiasm is a strength, and I’ve learned to embrace it.


Nate showed me that it’s okay to be enthusiastic.

3. I love to know my couples.
As a second photographer, you don’t communicate with the bride and groom beforehand, which means you don’t get to know them.  This aspect of second shooting has often been the most difficult for me.  While traveling to a wedding, a photographer shared some background of the couple whose wedding we were photographing.  I soaked it all in.

4.  I am detail oriented.
Some photographers have all the information, such as schedule, wedding details, and family photo list. I thrive on those lists.  Other photographers don’t need the details and let the day unfold.  They even perform the family photos without a list.  Amazing.


A game I play is to try and get different angles for the photographer.  Here, Stephen was down below on the other side of the couple.

5. Everyone shoots differently.
I love to use artificial light.  Whenever there is an opportunity to observe photographers using flash, I study them up.  And so far?  Everyone has different gear and different methods.  When it comes to how people move, where people stand, what angles they like, everyone is different.  There’s no need to try and do something exactly like someone else.  Do what makes sense to you.


Nate asked me to shoot wide here, so I did.  Sometimes I get asked to shoot nothing but telephoto, sometimes wide, it all depends on what the photographer wants.

To the photographers who I assisted in 2012, thank you for letting me study you.
Chris of Becerra Photography
Craig of Mitchelldyer Photography
Dy of D. Leng Photography
Heather of Espana Photography
Nate of License to Still
Stephen of Remembrance Photography
Tara of Tara Francis Photography

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