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Second Shooters

Today's blog is all for my photographer friends as I share my experience starting as a second shooter. If you're a beginner photographer or maybe just a photographer tired of the editing grind, I hope this will be a help!

When I first started really learning about photography, I was BLESSED to find an amazingly sweet local photographer that helped me in so many ways! One of the greatest ways she helped me was by allowing me to tag along at a few weddings as an "unofficial second photographer". At these weddings, I was able to shadow the main photographer, ask questions and learn more about the wedding industry. As time progressed and we worked together, this eventually turned into a paid second shooter position. I had gotten a taste for wedding photography and I was hooked! After second shooting for a year with at least 5 weddings under my belt, I felt ready to finally venture out on my own for my first solo wedding. Since then, I continue to shoot a combination of my own weddings as well as second shooting. I've loved every minute and couldn't be more thankful for the opportunities I've had!

So let's get down to business!

What is a Second Shooter?

A second shooter is an additional photographer hired out by the main photographer. The second shooter's job is essentially two-fold.

  1. The Second Shooter will assist the photographer with equipment, lighting, organization, etc. Some examples may be to move and adjust off-camera lighting throughout the day, assist in transporting equipment and lenses, and gather family and bridal party members to facilitate a smooth and quick portrait process.

  2. The Second Shooter will, obviously, shoot photos! At times, the main photographer and the second shooter may split up to photograph two separate areas of the wedding that happen at the same time (for example: bride and groom getting ready photos). The second shooter will also photograph important parts of the day from different angles and possibly using different lenses to create more variety. This is especially seen during the ceremony and reception.

What are the benefits of being a Second Shooter?

  1. If you are newer to photography and want to build on your skills without the pressure of flying solo, second shooting is the perfect scenario! You will get a chance to practice, build your portfolio, and get your feet wet in the wedding industry. Just remember to let the main photographer know you are a beginner/still learning so they know what you are comfortable with shooting.

  2. NO EDITING! If you have little feet running around the house like I do, second shooting can be a great way to earn some extra income without the pressure of having to cull and edit photos for hours and hours. Essentially, when you leave the wedding day, your job is complete!

  3. Some main photographers will allow you permission to edit and use your own photos for your own portfolio and advertisement. Of course, not all photographers allow this! Please check with the main photographer to see how you will be allowed to use the photos you have taken!

How do I find a Second Shooter position?

  1. Check in your local photography Facebook groups! There are countless photographers out there looking to hire a second shooter. You can also post in these groups that you are interested in trying second shooting and see if anyone needs help at an upcoming event.

  2. Be prepared! Have a portfolio or website ready to share with main photographers so they can see your work. Be professional, but also show your personality. You will likely be spending a full 10 hours working alongside each other, so you need to make sure you can work well together.

I hope these tips on second shooting are helpful! I'd love to hear any questions you may have.

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