The second shooter has become this benefit that everyone enjoys when they book their wedding with me. Almost every inquiry asks do we really get a second shooter? Are they shooting or assisting? You really include a second shooter? We get two photographers?!!!! And enthusiastically I reply with yes there will be 2 of us taking photos.
Because I’ve always done this I’ve always felt like this was a standard. However after a conversation with an engaged friend the other night I learned that it isn’t standard. Not everyone has one, or offers one. And those that offer were sometimes charging up to 40% more as an additional expense to bring the second photographer. I was a little baffled. I can’t imagine a wedding without a second shooter. And if you didn’t know, brides don’t like random additional expenses
The second shooter is very valuable. For the couple. And, for me. So if you’re a photographer considering the idea of adding one, or a bride looking for a photographer, here are some reasons you might want a second shooter to be there.
- Backup. Unfortunately things happen. Technology can fail. Last summer I photographed a wedding where a card failed. It malfunctioned. It died. But on that card were my photos from the ceremony and a boat ride following the ceremony. Fortunately I was able to recover about 80% of the photos I had taken from recovery software and such. But I was still missing the beginning of the ceremony. Thankfully I had a second shooter covering as well and we had some photos. Without him I would have had to deliver a wedding missing the beginning of the actual main event!
- 2 places at one time. For example, getting ready. There are times that the bride is getting into her dress at the same time the groom is getting into his tux. And lets be real. We can tell men wait for me to come before you get dressed. When he either didn’t hear that or heard get dressed before I come Then I miss him getting ready and have to re-enact it, taking more time. Or often the bride and her gorgeous ladies are getting ready in an entirely different location than the groom and his men. Do you choose to just photograph the bride or try to cover both losing moments happening in each place? My second shooter spends getting ready time with the boys and I’m with the girls. So we don’t have to worry about being in 2 places at once, cause we already are
-Simultaneous moments. There is ALOT happening at once during weddings. For example 30-60 seconds of the bride walking down the aisle. In this one minute of time there is his reaction to seeing her, her seeing him, her dad walking her down the aisle, mom beaming with tears in her eyes at her seat, the maid of honor with the biggest smile on her face, Grandpa in the front row with a tissue to his eye cause he “doesn’t cry” , the best man giving the groom a pat on the back of encouragement. How can I try to capture all of this in 30 seconds by myself? Especially without making a scene! And lets be honest the bride and groom are fixed on each other. They don’t see everyones reaction, or remember that pat on the back. Without the images telling that part of the story they wouldn’t even know Instead, my second shooter and I split the duties. Usually one covering the groom and the bridal party, the other covering the bride and family. The bride and the groom are top priority here. So if I’m on bride duty as soon as I know I nailed a couple great photos I’ll turn to grab 2 images of the groom. That goes back to the first point, backup. In the unfortunate case that my second shooter has something happen to the camera, or card I grabbed a couple quick images of the groom.
-Different points of view. I love how much we can cover during portraits with 2 of us getting 2 points of view. With 2 points of view comes awareness and understanding of what the other is doing. If I’m shooting wide my second is going to shoot tighter and vice versa. Then we’re shooting at 2 different angles. One might be straight on and the other to the side. Each giving a different look. Giving my clients double the opportunity for killer images during the bride & groom part of the day. Which can be extremely beneficial for those weddings where only 20 minutes are given for portraits, or things run late and you have less time, etc.
-It’s more fun. Who doesn’t want more fun?! Although my brides always become my friends and we have a great time together. By the end of the night I feel like I’ve known that group of girls my whole life. But it’s still more fun to have someone along side you for the adventure. Coffee in the morning, a little jam time before it’s go time, someone to eat with, to laugh with, to dance with, someone there to support you and encourage you when you doubt yourself, someone to carry your things (ya I said it), and even though you ate at the reception you’re burnt out and hungry now you have someone to grab take out with.
So whether you’re a bride or a photographer, the second shooter is of benefit to both of you. And even when I’m photographing a 2 hour elopement where the ceremony is only the two of them I bring an assistant. To carry things, to help me coordinate or pull her dress out just right during photos, to point out things happening that I might not see, chances are they’ll take a few photographs giving that other point of view, and I’ll definitely have a little more fun. And my brides, they get security in knowing I’m doing all I can to cover every moment, doubling up at important times to make sure it’s never forgotten even in old age, they’ll receive more because of the extra view, their groom isn’t being left out or put lower than her on the photo priority list, and having both of us just brings a little ease and comfort on their big day.
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