“What’s a second shooter?”

For part II of my new series – Wedding Photography Terms That You Wouldn’t Know If You’ve Never Been Professionally Photographed Before – (aka the longest title ever in existence), I’m answering the question – “What’s a second shooter?”

The person that you book to shoot your wedding is the lead photographer. Typically they’ll bring along a second shooter, also known as an assistant photographer. Some will even have a permanent second shooter, like a husband & wife team.

The second shooter is an additional person who photographs your day but does NOT edit the photos. The lead photographer will edit all the photos so it’s all in one cohesive style and looks like they captured it all themselves.

The main benefit of having a second shooter (there are many!) is it gives the lead photographer the ability to be in two places at once. For example, the lead photographer could be photographing half of the wedding party upstairs in the bridal suite, while the second is downstairs in the basement lounge photographing the other half.

Or during a first look – the lead photographer might shoot wide and capture the whole interaction, while the second shooter focuses more closely on one partner’s reaction to their fiance.

(The below image credits go to Remy Photos!! I was her second shooter, grabbing the close-up angle, while she shot wide.)

OR during the ceremony – the lead photographer cam stand at the front of the aisle and capture your partner’s reaction up close, as well as the front of you coming down the aisle. Meanwhile the second can stay toward the back and get the veil and dress details from behind, the guests’ reactions in the aisle, and even your partner’s reaction over your shoulder if they’re REALLY good (like Colleen Megan Photography – who captured the epic above-the-shoulder shot below)!

Second shooters are chosen and paid an hourly fee by the lead photographer, so don’t worry – if you’re an engaged couple, they require no additional work from you. If your photographer doesn’t already have a permanent second, they likely have a go-to friendor (vendor friend) that they always use. If that person isn’t available, particularly during busy season, we have local photographer facebook groups where we can post about coverage needed! We then review portfolios and/or get recommendations from other photogs. We’re probably more tight knit of a group than you think 🙂

Click below to watch me break down this topic in video form over on Instagram Reels!

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