Being a Second Shooter

Being in the photography business, it’s easy for me to forget that not everyone knows what we actually do. It’s more than just choosing a location and deciding how you want your subjects to pose. Working together with your subjects is huge, especially for something like wedding photography where your entire purpose is to help people make memories of one of their most important days. That’s not all of it, though.

When you think of a photographer, you probably remember when you’ve seen people directing photoshoots in television or if you’ve had pictures taken. That’s what we call a lead photographer: they’re the one in charge. For weddings, the lead photographer does everything they can to make sure the day runs smoothly, swapping lenses as necessary to get the best shots, adjusting lighting and moving backgrounds as necessary, and other things like that.

There’s also something called a second shooter. Their entire job is to support the lead photographer. Being a second shooter is very different from being the lead–you get an entirely different perspective of the event, not just because you can’t stand in the same place as the lead, but also because you aren’t front and center for shooting portraits and staged photos. 

It’s almost like an assistant, in a way. Oftentimes, the second shooter will make sure to back up the lead shooter, has extra lenses on hand or brings water on hot days. At the same time, you’re able to float about a little more, capturing candid moments that the lead photographer might not have a chance to get. Part of it is making sure you snap extras of key shots in case something goes wrong, but you also get to experiment a bit more. Alli and I love changing things up every so often, from second shooting or doing different kinds of sessions, just to keep the creative juices flowing. In an industry where creativity is huge, it’s important that you always try to keep growing, and second shooting definitely lets you try new techniques or angles without the pressure of being the lead.

This was my first time being a second shooter for another photographer. It was refreshing! Seeing an event from a different point of view gave me lots of ideas that I’d love to bring to our own work and see how they turn out. After all, we need to push ourselves further to improve our craft and do the best we can for every one of our couples.

Thank you, Yasmine, for having me tag along! It was an honor!

As always, thanks for reading!



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