Some professional wedding photographers have
no problem handling a wedding on their own, but most prefer having a second
shooter on location to help out in various ways. Maybe you’re a seasoned
photographer who wants to try out wedding photography or maybe you’d like to
dive head first into creating a wedding photography business. Whatever your
reason, being a second shooter provides a rich learning experience, in which
you can learn a lot about the industry while working beside someone else.
So what does it take to be a second shooter at
a wedding? Here’s what you can expect when taking on the job of supporting
Weddings typically have dress codes, but even if the one you’re shooting is a casual dress kind of affair, show up looking clean and put together. You’re a professional, after all, and are representing the main photographer and his/her business. Ask the primary what the dress code is and if he/she has any suggestions. If you’re not sure about an outfit, show it to the primary for a thumbs up or down and go from there.
the Supporting Role
Show up with a friendly attitude and do your
part to make things easier for the main photographer. Always look to see where
you can be of service, whether that means bringing a glass of water to the
primary photographer or providing a bandage to the bride. It’s the little
things that stick out in people’s minds. Even main photographers try and go out
of their way to provide assistance, even if only in small ways. These things
aren’t necessarily expected, but they are definitely appreciated and can result
in stellar reviews and more jobs.
As a second shooter, we can assume that you know enough about photography and the different types of gear, but make sure you have the right gear for a wedding. If you’re not sure, ask the primary photographer what kind of lenses, filters, etc. are expected and suggested. Since you’ll likely be further away from the action, consider packing an extra focal length lens so you can capture ceremony and reception moments. And don’t forget little things like backup batteries, memory cards, tripods, and the like.
Related: Essential Wedding Photography Gear
One of your most important jobs as a second shooter is capturing the moments that fall through the cracks – those moments the main photographer might not get to or notice. These include candid shots of the guests and wedded couple. Candid shots are a great way to round out a wedding album and are a welcomed addition to a photographer’s portfolio.
Related: How to Capture Candid Wedding Moments
Another way to be a great second shooter at a
wedding is to photograph moments from different angles than the main
photographer. A different point of view adds creativity and is the whole point
of being a second shooter. You’re not there to shadow or photograph exactly
what the primary is shooting. Your job is to capture moments and details from a
different perspective so that the couple gets a complete picture of their
As mentioned above, you’re in a supporting
role as the second shooter, so leave your ego at the door. Don’t pass out your
own business cards or try and get the best shots. Make the main photographer’s
job as easy as possible, hand out his or her business card should someone ask,
navigate politely around guests, and don’t try and one-up the primary shooter.
You’re not being hired to get more or better photos. If you go into the job
with that understanding and an open mind that’s willing to learn and support,
you’ll do just fine.