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The best thing I’ve done in my career is being a second shooter for established wedding photographers in my area. A second shooter offers a secondary angle for photos on a wedding day, and assists the lead photographer in giving their clients the best possible experience. I’ve been really lucky to work with patient and kind female photographers who taught me how to best aid them on a wedding day.

The more I learnt, the more I realized how knowing a few things before I started would have helped me better serve these photographers. So I’ve made a list of the top 5 things you should know before second shooting a wedding.

Second shot with Ebby L Photography

1. You’re There Representing the Lead Photographer

While this may seem like common sense, I didn’t fully realize this at first.  Consider yourself an employee of that photographer. This is not an opportunity to talk about your photography business, or to give out personal business cards. The lead photographer spent a lot of time building up a clientele, and they deserve all the credit. If someone asks what I do, I politely tell them “I’ve been working for *insert lead photographers name* for a while now, and I love it.” Every photographer is different, but I can tell you this belief is pretty much universal. Give credit where it’s due! Which leads me to my second point…


2. Don’t Post Pictures on Social Media Unless Previously Discussed

I’ve been really fortunate to work for photographers who pay me adequately and allow me to post pictures I’ve taken on social media. This isn’t always the case though, and absolutely needs to be discussed before you work with them. Like the picture above, and all pictures in this post, you need to credit the photographer when posting pictures of their clients. Not only is it a sign of respect, but also not doing this is misleading, and makes it look like these are your clients. This can get extra confusing if a potential client sees the same couple on multiple peoples social media.

This also applies to entering photos into photography contests and blogging them. (Yes I asked for permission to use these photos for this post!) Unless the photos are of your clients, entering them into contests and blogging them is a no-go.

That being said, using photos I took while second shooting has helped me immensely. I’ve built a beautiful portfolio with these images, and I’ve attracted wonderful clients this way. I’m really grateful some photographers have trusted me in this way. Basically be a good human being and give credit where it’s due!

3. Don’t go for the Primary Angle

What I mean is you should aim to capture a secondary angle.

In this photo, Jess of Viridian Ivy Images was taking bridal party shots. I always try to get a few shots of the full bridal party as extra insurance in case, God forbid, something were to happen to the leads photos. Unlikely, but it’s always best to have back-ups.

After that I focus on getting close-ups and different side angles, like above. These are also images that help out your leads vendors. The florist will love these pictures! This is how you can be an asset to your lead.

Here’s a few more examples of alternate angles during wedding portraits.

Second shot with Ebby L Photography

Second shot with Ebby L Photography

Second shot with Viridian Ivy Images

Focusing on babies is always a safe bet! Second shot with Ebby L Photography


4. You May Need to Assist At Times and Not Shoot

A perfect example of this is during family formals. There’s really no need for a second shooter to be shooting during this time. It’s much more useful to help line up and call out groups of family members that need to get pictures with the bride and groom. This time can be pretty hectic, so be prepared to ask a close relative to point out people you can’t find. Doing this again makes you an asset to the lead shooter. I’ve also stepped back from shooting when relatives have questions that may disrupt the leads shooting. If I’m able to answer them, I do, and allow the lead photographer to stay on schedule.

**BONUS TIP** Wedding days are usually long and hot- it never hurts to remind your lead to drink water and eat something! They’re in the zone on a wedding day, and have a million and one things to remember. Food and water likely isn’t at the top of their list. The key to leaving a wedding day feeling good is staying hydrated!

Second shot with Viridian Ivy Images

5. If You’re Not Sure, ASK!

Another seemingly common sense one, but many moments on a wedding day cannot be re-done. If you’re unsure about what camera settings to have or where to stand, ask! It doesn’t make you inexperienced or unprofessional, your lead will appreciate you double checking these things. Having the proper settings and not being in the shot makes life a whole lot easier for your lead when they cull and edit. Once again, proving you’re an asset to them. It’s really helpful when leads email me the schedule for the day. If it’s a wedding with a lot of moving parts, I’ll put alarms in my calendar for all of the times a new event needs to be happening. Then I sync it with my Apple watch. This way I know exactly what we’re supposed to be doing without having to rely on my phone.

Second shot with Viridian Ivy Images


I hope this was helpful! If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try my best to get back to you.



Melissa Rose


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