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Working with a Second Photographer with a Different Camera System

September 27, 2022

We have all seen the posts in Facebook groups:

“Second shooter needed. Must be able to shoot groomsmen alone. OCF knowledge a must. Canon preferred.”

Sure, we all prefer to work with those who shoot on the same system as us. It is easier to match color profiles overall, even if they are on a different body. But there will inevitably come a time when you need to shoot with someone who is on a different system than you.

If/When that happens, be sure to discuss overall settings throughout the day with your second photographer. Despite a difference in color profile, shooting with similar settings throughout the day helps to maintain the consistent style of the images. The main thing I mention to my seconds is the average aperture I use throughout the day. If I typically shoot between 1.8 and 2.5, but my second is shooting in the 3s, that will be a more noticeable difference than the colors profiles from different systems. So make sure that you are communicating your typical style to your second so that they know where their settings should be throughout the day.

When discussing those settings, let your second photographer know the exposure you typically capture in camera. Every photographer is different, but I have found that this greatly impacts the post-processing when I am editing in Lightroom. Generally speaking, overexposed images are more difficult to bring back down in exposure, as opposed to bringing up the exposure of underexposed images, so keep that in mind!

White balance is also key when discussing settings with second photographers. If you shoot in Kelvin or in auto or you use an expo disc–whatever it might be. Communicate that with your second. One experience of mine resulted in a second photographer delivering much warmer images than I anticipated and it was really difficult to match those images with mine…and we were on the same camera systems!

Finally, let’s directly address the differing color profiles of different camera bodies. Generally, the consensus is that Canon has a little brighter colors overall, while Nikon may be less saturated and typically pulls a little more magenta. Last year, I outsourced my editing to a private editor; however, she showed me a really great Lightroom capability that I never knew existed before.

Within Lightroom, you can sort the images by the camera body on which they were taken. The best strategy to create consistency throughout a gallery that was shot on different camera systems is by matching two images, one from each of the systems, then syncing those settings for the remainder of the images that match that lighting scenario.

In order to see which images are from which camera body, follow these directions:

  1. Go to the Library Module in Lightroom.
  2. View in Grid View (simply hit “G” on your keyboard).
  3. Click on “Metadata.”
  4. Navigate to “Camera” section to see how many images from the different types of camera bodies that were used that day.
Screenshot directly from Lightroom Catalog

Going through the editing process in this manner, matching whole portions of the day at a time, will save you a lot of time trying to continuously re-match images throughout the day as you go image-by-image.

Now you can shoot confidently with any second on any camera system to bring consistency to your images and your client’s final gallery!

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