Welcome to another fun installation of this Adventures of a Wedding Photographer series! This series is meant to help answer so many of the frequently asked questions while you’re planning your big day! Definitely check out other posts in this series about topics including engagement sessions, hiring a professional and candid vs. posed imagery!
Without further adieu, let's chat about second shooters! What is a second shooter? Why are they a good idea? Are they a good fit for you?
As you’ve been browsing sample portfolios of all your favorite photographers have you fallen in love with the wide variety of images and moments captured by that photographer? Well, what most people don’t realize is that the majority of photographers in the industry have a second shooter with them onsite at 99% of their major events.
A second shooter is exactly what it sounds like- a second person onsite with your photographer that day that is carrying around a camera and capturing moments. They also do tons of other things like carry props, find missing family members, run errands.. Really, whatever needs to be done to make that day run smoothly. Second shooters are something many people don't think about or just don’t believe are an essential component to a successful timeline and day. I have had the opportunity to photograph tiny elopements as well as 300+ people events and all I can tell you is that having another person there, particularly at those larger events, is absolutely invaluable for a number of different reasons we will discuss below.
A good photographer will choose a second shooter that they jive with both personally AND creatively, so that the final product is polished and streamlined giving the client the best final product possible. My second shooter happens to be my very cute and talented husband who has, at this point, shot over 65 weddings with me. We've got our dynamics down pat, we can anticipate what is going to happen at the event and where each of us should place ourselves to get the best and most diverse angles. PLUS, we have fun while we do it :)
So why exactly are second shooters so important?
The Main Reason: You Can’t be in Two Places at Once!
Below is an example of a very powerful and important moment on this particular wedding day that never would have been possible to capture both aspects without a second person.
While I was placed at the front of the aisle capturing the bride and her father walking in, my second was placed to the side of the crowd with a distance lens and was able to capture this sweet hug between father and daughter just as he gave her away. It would have been literally impossible for me to capture both of these images with the configuration of this venue, so having Charles there was a huge benefit to these clients who would not have had both of these images otherwise.
In the next situation I was able to focus mainly on capturing the grooms expression as his gorgeous bride came down the aisle and Charles was able to focus on the bride and her father approaching.
And below: While I was hanging out with the ladies as they got ready and drying my own tears as the bride and her Mom hugged it out before the ceremony, Charles was spending time with the guys and capturing this special time in their friendship, too. Both equally important and wouldn't have been possible without us both there.
Here’s another really common situation: The bride and groom are getting ready in two completely different places more than 20 minutes away from each other and the venue. I was able to spend time working with the bride and capture some fun details while Charles spent time with the guys across town!
Reason 2: You Need Help.
Let’s just be real here. During most wedding events there is SO much going on and so many people it can certainly be overwhelming. There’s the bridal party, family, vendors providing you with services to make your event special- grandparents, kids, long lost cousins, friends and co-workers... There are so many people and so much going on that it can be hard to really wrangle every person for photos, keep track of who you’ve had photos taken with AND keep stress levels down.
You shouldn’t have to worry about any of this. A successful photographer will plan out an approach, a timeline and create a shot list with you long before the day arrives. Then all you have to do is sit back, relax and let me and my second be sure we track down Aunt Judy and your great Grandma, keep the stress levels down and capture all the people you love.
Here are a few examples of larger family or group shots and working with larger bridal parties!
Having a second shooter not only allows for different angles and more possibilities, but you can have peace of mind in that there is another body there to help specifically with capturing everything you want efficiently and smoothly.
Every single wedding and event is different and I fully understand and appreciate that. In all of my experiences I have found that having a second shooter onsite has never been anything other than fabulous (and it's not just because it's typically my wonderful husband!).
Cheers, friends! Thanks for reading!