Second Shooter – who are they and do i need one?
Second shooters at your wedding can really make a difference
During your search for a wedding photographer, you have probably seen that a lot of us like to work in pairs, either with a partner or a Second Shooter. It might seem a bit strange at first but you’d be amazed at just how much a second photographer enhances your coverage. Especially if you’re a fan of more natural, documentary photography.
Personally, I prefer working with a Second Shooter whenever possible because it allows for more creative freedom when working within a tight wedding day timeline. I always recommend booking a second shooter if you are having a larger wedding (100+ guests) or a wedding with more than one location to get the most from your photography.
On a very practical level, it also means you have an immediate backup photographer in the highly unlikely event I should become ill or unable to attend your wedding at short notice. This has never happened to me in 10 years of shooting weddings, but it’s still good to know a backup’s in place if it did!
Here is a little guide to help explain the benefits of having two photographers and why they’re worth every penny…
When you have been looking for your Wedding Photographer you may have seen the term second shooter and wondered what that actually means.
Well, briefly it means that there will be two of us taking photographs of your day and telling your story with a much better candid coverage. Most of us wedding photographers like to work in pairs, I know I do. Having a second photographer in your wedding photography coverage gives me the chance to have more creativity without worrying about tight timelines and missing parts of your day. When you are having a larger wedding or a multiple location day, I will always recommend a second shooter so that you get the most from your wedding photography.
Let me tell you more.
What is a Second Shooter?
A Second Shooter or second photographer is an assistant photographer who works alongside me, your main photographer to help cover your wedding day to its full potential. Usually, they will be someone your main photographer already knows and trusts and will have a photography style similar to your main wedding photographer. I tend to stick with the same 3 or 4 second shooters and I am lucky to have a great network of wedding photographer friends who I know will do a great job every time.
Do I need a Second Shooter?
To answer this properly you need to answer these questions. Do you want a variety from your wedding photography coverage with different points of view? Are natural images and details important to you? This one is important; do you want equal coverage in the morning for both of you? We cannot be in two places at once, but with a Second Shooter, this makes it doable. Large Weddings with lots of guests, weddings that have fewer daylight hours or logistics from a multiple location wedding, can benefit enormously from having a Second Shooter on board.
What photographs will a Second Shooter cover?
A Second Shooter will normally capture all the things your main wedding photographer won’t be able to cover when they are on their own. This gives you more detailed coverage of your day. This makes covering the groom and groomsmen at the pub while the main photographer is still with the bride much more practical. You will get alternate angles of your ceremony and all those natural moments which happen while we are away taking your family photos and couple shots. This is often referred to as Candid shots.
Morning Prep photos – two places at once
I love morning prep. It is an exciting time and the last few moments before you get married can make the most fantastic photos. Your wedding day is about both of you and having equal coverage for, showing both sides of your morning means your story is more complete. It can also be handy for the Second Shooter to get a few extra group shots in the bag, freeing up more time later.
Guest Arrivals – see who was late
When there is just one photographer the guest arrivals can be missed. Only if you’re getting ready in the same place you are having your ceremony, your wedding photographer will normally arrive just a few minutes before the bride walks down the aisle. This timescale means there is rarely any time for shots of guests arriving when they are working solo. Having a Second Shooter means they can capture lots of great guest shots in a short space of time.
Ceremony Shots – don’t miss that first kiss
Venues and churches differ but often during a ceremony, your photographer will have to stay in one place. This means you might be missing out on some great images. Every venue has different rules, even registrars at your venue, but churches can be strict when it comes to wedding photography. When you have two photographers one can be at the front to capture you walking down the aisle, the perfect viewpoint for your vows and ring exchange. The second photographer can be at the back getting that all-important first kiss photo, and not forgetting your guests who are doing readings too. There is no better photo than your partners’ reaction seeing you walk towards them. Having a second photographer increases the chance of grabbing this photo. If your venue or church has a balcony or organ area up high then you can get the most amazing aisle shots from up there too, which isn’t possible when you only have one photographer.
Natural Images – friendship groups and families
I am sure that friends and family will tell you that their wedding day went by too quickly… well, this is the same for us wedding photographers too. If I could be in two places at once and have eyes everywhere then there would be no need for a second shooter. During your wedding reception, there is a time where guests are at their most energetic and expressive, the canapes and champagne are flowing, and people are genuinely happy to be with you. This usually happens when it is time for your family photos. Having that second pair of eyes looking for those nice natural and candid shots while your main photographer is busy with group photos. If you have got a big wedding with lots of guests then the chances are it’s even more important to photograph as many guests as possible, which a Second Shooter will help out with.
Details – pretty as a picture
It is the people around you that make your wedding a day of celebrating, but you will have put a lot of thought and effort into your details that make your wedding unique to you and you will want great photos of them too. If details are important to you a Second Shooter will be on hand to ensure everything is ticked off the list.
Speeches – he said what!
I never like getting in the way during speeches so when a Second Shooter stays on for the wedding breakfast, they can capture extra shots of the Speeches and different angles. Perfect if you have a lot of guests to capture or if the room has any interesting balconies/viewpoints to get some different angles.
Won’t the Second Shooter’s pictures look different?
This is the reason I try to stick with the same 3 or 4 second photographers. A Second Shooter’s work should be similar to the style of your main photographer, meaning your final set of photos will appear consistent and blend together seamlessly. All the images are edited by me so there will be no colour difference and will be in the editing style you love my work in.
WHAT’S THE PRICE?
This can vary for lots of reasons. Photographers will have their own costs when adding a Second Shooter to their wedding photography packages. Some photographers will have a standard rate whilst others have variable rates to reflect the Second Shooter’s level of experience. You should expect to pay more for an experienced wedding photographer who is Second Shooting than a novice or beginner. I tend to book experienced Second Shooters who are also full-time photographers. This makes sure that you will only get the best quality pictures shot with professional equipment or equivalent. It’s important to book a Second Shooter early as they can get booked up just as quickly as wedding photographers!
I have a second photographer included in my packages and for those that don’t, you can always add one. Find out more about my Wedding Photography Collections here
Have any questions about wedding photography coverage or second shooters, then drop me a message here. I can’t wait to meet you
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