In your packages you refer to a “second shooter”. What is that?
That’s a great question and finally one where I don’t say “it’s up to you”.
In an effort to appear cooler, photographers often refer to themselves as a “shooter”, so a second shooter is simply a second photographer. The definition itself isn’t that complicated, but lets clarify what they do and why you might need one.
There are MANY weddings where I have been the only shooter (see what I did there) hired at the wedding. I feel that unless the wedding (specifically the venue) isn’t Vogue magazine large that I could cover the wedding alone. That said, a second shooter immediately raises the quality of the coverage. I’m good, but I can’t be in 2 places at once…yet.
A second shooter’s job is to make the primary photographers life easier, be where they can’t, and fill in the gaps.
Making the primary photographer’s life easer
That’s a glamorous way of saying they get to carry heavy pieces of equipment while the primary photographer gets the images you paid him to get. This could be setting up lights for portraits or the reception, carry lenses, downloading cards, etc.
Being where the primary photographer can’t
Think about it. The entire bridal party is getting ready at the same time 99% of the time…yet 99% of the time they aren’t getting ready in the same room. Actually, a fair amount of time it isn’t even the same location. Having a second photographer on hand to split the coverage makes it WAY easier on everyone involved. It’s the same with the ceremony. For example, if I’m shooting alone then before the ceremony I am capturing the groom and his groomsmen coming in, the bridesmaids coming in, and then the bride walking the aisle. That’s wonderful, but in order to get all of that I have to bypass getting the bride and her father walking up to the venue and waiting just outside the doors. The next big decision I have to make is when the couple sees each other, who’s reaction do I get? Generally I will go with the groom as it’s usually the most emotional shot I can get of him. With a second shooter, you’ve got a lens on both at the same time.
Fill in the gaps
Being a second shooter is awesome! I always loved second shooting and if I had more time I would still do it. There’s far less stress because a good primary shooter should cover the major portion of the event as if they are alone. That leaves you to tell secondary stories with your camera and explore other angles. While the primary is shooting the formal pictures of the couple with every family member, the secondary should be off to the side capturing the candid moments of everyone getting into position. Those moments of congratulations, joking, and relief are always beautiful. Things like that happen all day. A good photographer is always looking for another angle to show a story, but can’t always shoot it with the time constraints in a wedding day.
If I had my pick, I’d have a second and even a third shooter at every wedding. I say that not only because it would obviously make my day easier, but because it allows us to deliver even better photographs to our couples…and that’s what it’s all about for us.
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