FAQ re: Second Shooters

When hiring a second shooter for their wedding day, couples want to make sure that their photographer isn’t just handing some rando a camera and saying “have fun shooting whatever”. And while we think “of course we wouldn’t do something like that”, it’s part of our job to educate our clients on WHY we wouldn’t do something like that and also to ease their minds by showing them how we handle having someone work for us and, ultimately, for them on their wedding day. Below are 4 of the most asked questions that I receive about second shooters.



“Do you work with the same 2nd shooter for every wedding you shoot?”

Simple answer: No, because all of the people that I contract out as second shooters all own their own photography companies so when I’m looking for someone to work with me, I go with whomever has the wedding date available. I do totally understand though that my clients hire me for who I am and my personality (and shooting skills of course!), so I do make sure that the photographer friends I hire and work with all have a similar personality to my own. Relaxed, confident, and positive attitudes are the top qualities I look for in a second shooter’s personality and it’s that combo plus their knowledge and skills in photography that make me feel confident that I can trust them to work for me and my clients.

Second shooters are also great to use for lighting tests and getting those fun BTS shots for me to share!

Second shooters are also great to use for lighting tests and getting those fun BTS shots for me to share!


“Will I notice the 2nd shooter’s photos versus your photos?”

One of the main parts of the day that my second shooters are responsible for capturing is the getting ready photos for the person that I’m not covering. So yes, you will know that the 2nd photographer captured these photos but the edits will all look cohesive with my own so that it isn’t a jarring transition from one photographer’s images to the others’. All of my 2nd shooters are given guidelines before the wedding on how I want them to shoot during which portions of the day and throughout the day we stay in constant contact about where to be, what lenses to use, if they should put on a flash, etc. I also give them sample guides like the collage below to use as inspiration for the types of moments that I want them to capture. So besides those moments in the morning, unless you were to watch where each photographer was during your wedding, you most likely will not be able to tell who shot which photo (but I think you have better things to pay attention to on your wedding day lol!)

Samples of Guys getting ready and groomsmen group shots.jpg

“Why is a second shooter useful on a wedding day? Can’t I just get away with 1 photographer?”

I always tell clients that it depends on what they want covered. If both of the soon-to-be-wed’s want photos taken while they’re getting ready, it’s much easier on me and on the schedule if I can send my second shooter to the room of the person that I’m not covering. If I don’t have to worry about what time I need to be at the other person’s room or home, the more relaxed the morning will be for everyone! And if you’re really into candid moments and reactions, a second shooter comes in handy during times like short ceremonies that go too quickly for me to capture both your first kiss and your parent’s reactions. Discussing with my second shooter about who will cover what allows us to work as a team to capture all of those special moments.

Second shooters are also great backups for when I may be tied up with portraits or discussing important details with maitre’d or other vendors. If I know that the schedule needs to keep moving, instead of making my couples, the bridal party, or guests rush through things, I can send my second shooter to begin shooting some of the other details that I want to make sure are captured for you. And speaking of keeping the schedule moving, second shooters also help to wrangle up all of your relatives and bridal party members (who somehow always manage to escape to the open bar) when we need them for photos!

Table decor and reception samples.jpg

“Does 2nd shooting mean that this photographer isn’t a professional?”

Not at all! As I mentioned earlier, all of the photographers that I hire as my second shooters all own their own wedding photography companies, so if they’re second shooting for me, it means that they have the date open and want to fill it with some work! Second shooting is a great opportunity to work at venues that the photographer maybe hasn’t had the opportunity to shoot at yet and a great way to try doing something a little more creative with their shooting that they may not be able to take the time to do during a wedding where they are the person in charge. Personally I love second shooting—not only is it great for the reasons above but it’s also a fun way to work with friends in a business that is usually all solo exchanges.


Have any other questions about second shooters? Send me an email at oliviacphoto@gmail.com!