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Behind-the-Scenes Series #3 – All About Second Shooters

Behind-The-Scenes Series – Wedding Tips From a Wedding Photographer!

       Welcome, welcome! If you are recently engaged and have a million things on your mind – you have come to the right place! As a wedding photographer, I get to see so much of what goes on at a wedding and I can’t help but share some insightful info with you. There is just too much goodness to share and I must share this with you!! 

If you’d rather watch the video re-cap, here ya go! Or feel free to read along. 😉 

This week, I had my friend (and fellow photographer), Sara Stewart join me on facebook-live to talk about all things related to second shooters. Sara and I went to photography school together so we both view things very similarly – making her a great addition to my team! We have an absolute blast photographing weddings together! No dull moments with us.

One of the main questions I frequently get asked is “Do you include a second photographer?” And the answer is = YES! I make it manditory in every package. 

With wedding photography, a second-shooter is a common term/lingo, but commonly it get’s a little fuzzy on what that actually means. And truly it depends on the main photographer you hire but for me – this is what you can expect!

Main photographer vs. Second Photographer

When you hire a photographer for your wedding, their main role is to be your primary photographer. (ps…that’s me!) Their focus is on all of the main moments; portraits, family pictures, first-look, ceremony, etc. 

With each second-shooter I hire, they are also a business owner and have been photographing weddings for just as long as me. No beginner photographer! Their photos are going to be the same professional quality as mine. Even though our skill levels are the same, we both have two different jobs at a wedding. It would be easy for them to jump in and take charge as if the wedding was their own – but a skilled second shooter has a very distinct role they play when photographing a wedding. 

The second-shooters focus is primarily on candid moments, details, different angles and assisting the main photographer (who is focused on those main moments). There have been so many times when i’ve send the second photographer to the reception hall early to photograph details before the guest arrived – all while I am busy photographing the family portraits. It saves so much time!

 We love photobooths at weddings! 

We love photobooths at weddings! 

One of the benefits of having a second photographer is also having that extra helping hand. Even the smallest thing can make such a big impact on your photos!

Some of this includes:

Tossing the vail to get that wind-blown look

Holding a reflector in just the right way to provide beautiful light

Making sure we stick to the schedule

Crossing off family pictures off our list and making sure we got everyone! 

What do you wear to weddings?

We also like to focus on blending-in and not being noticed at your wedding. Think of us as secret spies that take your pictures and make you look amazing without you noticing. So we mainly wear black or neutral colors. Believe us – we’ve seen photographers wear everything from denim shorts to hot pink dresses at weddings. Not professional at all. So we like to dress up and blend in!

Who is the second photographer?

I tend to use the same handful of photographers, depending on who is available. These photographers also have their own business and have experience photographing weddings. I also use photographers who have a similar style to me, so that the pictures are cohesive when you look through your gallery.

Would you really save money on not having a second photographer?

Surprisingly, I do get asked this question a lot! I completely understand having a budget. One of the first things brides want to cut out from their package in order to save money, is the second photographer. Thus….that is why each package I offer makes it mandatory. Not optional – that is how much I value having a second shooter at each wedding. Not having a second photographer would almost be like having you choose which photos you do not want. Example: you walking down the isle & the grooms reaction. I can only do so much and I value these moments that are happening for you. Believe me…you want this!!

In Case Of An Emergency!

I am the queen of backup plans. I have a back-up plan for my back-up plan. If there was ever an emergency (so far that’s never happened) but if anything were to happen to me before a wedding (car breaks down, sickness, family emergency) to the point where I am unable to make it to your wedding – this is one of the benefits of having such an amazing second photographer already on board for your wedding. Since they have the experience and knowledge to photograph a wedding, they can easily switch hats to be the main shooter if needed. Only in the case of an emergency would I ever do this! But I do like having someone with a similar photography style and experience already hired for your day. And of course I would edit the photos, but having this as a back-up plan can give you a peace of mind and let’s you focus on getting married! 

 Veil toss picture - Sara tossed this veil at just the right moment to get this look! 

Veil toss picture – Sara tossed this veil at just the right moment to get this look! 

Two are better than one!

One of my favorite things about having a second shooter, is the beautiful images they capture in addition to the ones I take. It truly captures every angle and saves each moment that happens during your wedding. Even with 2 people photographing the exact same thing at the exact same time – our results are going to be completely different, based on our gear and creative eye. So if you are hesitant about having 2 photographers – just realize that this day will go by so fast and you will only be left with photos (and maybe some leftover cake!). So seize the opportunity and go for that package with 2 photographers – you won’t be sorry.  

If you have any questions about having a second shooter at your wedding and would like to inquire to see if your date is open – contact me here.

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