Second Shooter, what are they and do I need one for my wedding?
I get approached a lot by clients who are considering having a second shooter at their wedding. They are playing with the idea and want to know if it is a necessary expense for their wedding.
I will dive into what a second shooter is, if you need one on your wedding day, and what that entails.
Keep in mind, each photographer runs their business differently. Some photographer’s packages always include a second photographer, some photographers always shoot alone. One of the beauties of running a small business is having the ability to do what is best for that business to serve their clients.
What is a Second Shooter?
A second shooter is a second photographer who works with your hired photographer. They are covered by the same business and contract that you have with your professional photographer (this is not hiring a second company). A second photographer is there to get a second angle/view of things than the primary shooter. Some examples of this.
The second shooter covering the groom getting ready while the primary shooter covers the bride.
The second shooter getting a different angle during the ceremony, i.e. sitting up front while the primary photographer captures things from the back of the ceremony site.
The second shooter getting group shots at each table while the primary shooter covers the dance floor (or vice versa).
The second shooter photographing along side the primary shooter but getting a different angle or using a different lens.
Should you have a second shooter at you wedding?
This really depends on your photographer; their level of experience, how comfortable they are with the size of your wedding, how confident they are with your style of venue; what their abilities are in handling the timeline of the day.
What I suggest
I make all my packages custom, depending on the details of your wedding day. These are some reasons you may not need the second shooter:
If you have an all-inclusive venue, getting ready, ceremony and reception at the same location
If you have 250 or less guests
If your wedding day timeline has a lot of margin and is not too rushed
These are some reasons you may consider having the second shooter:
If your wedding day timeline is crowded
If Groom & Bride are getting ready at different locations
If the getting ready, ceremony and reception are at different locations
Some photography businesses allow clients to have partial second shooter coverage, this is not something I offer often, because my second shooters often ride with me to the wedding, and work alongside me throughout the day of the wedding. Whereas, some photographers have their second shooter only attend the wedding for the ceremony portion, or just the reception.
I prefer to have the second shooter with me for the full contracted time, for a few reasons.
The bridal party and family should feel comfortable with the second shooter and having them come for a short time does not allow for the relational side to be built as much
The second shooter helps in more ways than just shooting a specific moment, they also help gather and organize the groupings for family formals, they help with detail shots, and orchestrating the first look.