So you are merrily planning your wedding and you have finally found a wedding photographer that you really love, but then you notice they are talking about you having a ‘Second Shooter’ in some of their packages. But “What on earth is a second shooter!” I hear you cry, and “why is this photographer suggesting I need one?!”
Well, I’m hoping to enlighten you on that very thing, right here, right now!
A ‘Second Shooter’ is a friendly term for a second professional wedding photographer that assists your main photographer on your wedding day. Essentially they are an extension of your main photographer, they are a second pair of eyes and ears, they allow the main photographer to effectively be in two places at once, and they are super useful to have at your wedding!
Where an ‘assistant’ might help your photographer with things like carrying the bags and lighting equipment, helping to organise the group shots, and other general bits and bobs, a Second Shooter will do all that and so much more!
A Second Shooter works with and complements your main photographer’s work by taking their own set of professional photographs (that I then edit along with mine) of your day. They work hard to find alternative angles and view points for your wedding photographs. Having a second shooter also allows your photographer to capture periods of the day that run concurrently, such as both the bride and groom prep sessions for example.
While I am photographing you getting dressed with your best friends in a cloud of laughter and hairspray, my second shooter might be over at the pub with your groom and his mates, or down in your venue capturing your guests as they arrive. While I am at the front of the ceremony with you both, capturing your expressions and reactions, and capturing the really important moments of that very special occasion, my second shooter might be at the back taking wide shots of your ceremony space or the back of your beautiful dress, or she might be over on the sides taking photographs of your guests.
While I am spending time with you both, photographing your beautiful portraits, my second shooter might be capturing shots from a different standpoint to complement my photographs, or she might be back with your guests ensuring that lots of candid moments are not missed.
As a specialist documentary wedding photographer you have a hired me to preserve the memories of your day through lots of candid and storytelling photographs; you want me to capture what it felt like to be there on your wedding day and to capture all the fun that everyone had! As you can see, a second shooter helps me do that to greater effect.
Some people might possibly be concerned that having a second photographer there might make the wedding day feel worryingly intrusive? But I can’t emphasise enough how that just isn’t the case. As a documentary wedding photographer my approach is to make sure you feel relaxed and comfortable at all times, and my skill is in taking natural candid photographs where often you don’t even realise I am taking photographs. I therefore hire photographer friends of mine that also value this approach. It is my hope that by the end of your day you will feel like we were just two friends of yours, hanging out with you and your family!
I regularly fill the role of a second shooter for my photographer friends too. I think it is an important for my development as a creative and innovative wedding photographer. When I am acting as the second photographer at a wedding I am relieved somewhat of my ‘main photographer’ duties such as worrying about getting all the key integral shots, and instead I can focus on finding new and imaginative ways of capturing a moment, or I can spend more time in amongst the guests capturing the fun they are having, or I can try out new creative techniques and new equipment. This therefore also benefits the wedding couple too, as they get a wonderful wide range of photographs to enjoy!
So you have decided that you would quite like the benefits of a Second Shooter at your wedding. How do you go about getting one? How does it all work?
You just need to opt to have one when you book your wedding photography package with me, either by choosing a package that contains one, or by choosing to have one as an ‘add-on item’. Then you don’t need to do anymore! I then organise who the Second Shooter will be and I book them for your wedding date. Then they sign my code of conduct contract, so that you can be sure they will act in accordance with my high standards and principles. Then after the wedding day they transfer their Copyright to the photographs they took over to me, and I add them all to my own photographs that I took, and I edit them all together so that there is no difference in how they look for your gallery. Simple!
Have a look at the example images below: one photograph out of each pair was taken by me, and one was taken by my second shooter. Both photographs in the pair were taken within mere seconds of each other, either from a different angle or from a different part of the wedding entirely! It shows how different and varied the photographs are and how much we can achieve when there is two of us focusing on one of the most important days of your life!
I hope this article has helped you in making your decision on whether a Second Shooter is something you would like to have as part of your wedding photography package.