What does it mean to have a second shooter at your wedding?

March 26, 2023
Bride and groom exit manor in black and white

A question I often get from couples is whether I would suggest they choose a wedding photography package that includes a second photographer. So, in the spirit of transparency (a central moral of Tower Photography), I want to explain the parameters I apply when I’m asked this.

What does a second shooter do?

It sounds like this may be an obvious question, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for not knowing. Before I became a wedding photographer, I definitely would not have known. Here are some things that my second shooter does on your day:

  • Shoots from all the places I’m not! Partner 2 prep, down the aisle, guest shots during vows, cocktail hour, and speeches, gets unconventional angles up high or down low during pivotal moments
  • Fetching and setting up lighting and equipment
  • Drives me around! My main second shooter is often the driver, and this gives me a big chance to relax and plan on the way to the wedding as well as a chance to go over photos on the way home
  • Drives guests around! My second shooter has done this a surprising amount
  • They otherwise fully assist me on the day: which may include helping me carry and hang wedding gowns and finery, getting detail shots while I focus on the couple, getting primo photos of your guests, catching special moments while I run to the loo or grab a high protein snack, etc

When (and why) you should have a second shooter

  • Have you got more than 100 confirmed guests? With two shooters you’ll feel secure knowing that you and all your guests will have photos in your final gallery.
  • Are you hoping to get shots of wedding prep from two perspectives? Unfortunately, I can’t be in two places at once! If you and your partner are getting ready in separate places, it’s best to have a second shooter.
  • Are you buying a full-day package? Having a second shooter on a full day means that, as your main shooter, I get to be more creative while knowing that the photographer I hire can cover the more traditional aspects. It also means that I have an assistant, someone who can fetch lightning and equipment while I keep shooting

So, WHY hire a second shooter?

That’s all well and good, but what is the benefit to your actual gallery?

  • Photos from multiple perspectives help to tell a complete story of your day
  • Wedding prep is a special time for BOTH people in a couple. Sometimes one partner gets overlooked, but having prep photos of both partners shows off all the detail, thought, and emotion that has gone into your big day for both of you
  • It’s the best insurance for getting those pivotal, and all-too-quick moments! First kiss, ring exchange, aisle walk, first dance- All amazing moments that aren’t easily repeated. Thus, having two photographers mean that those moments are a slam dunk
  • My second shooter enhances wedding galleries because I’m clear in what I need from them. I have a vision for your gallery and they help me execute that vision.

What happens when you book a Second Shooter package

Well, that’s great! But what does that mean for the photos exactly?

Your photos are taken by two people, but I am the one that compiles the images, picks what goes in the gallery, and edits them all so that they tell your story in a cohesive and aesthetic way.

Below you can find some recent shots I particularly like from my second shooters.

Check out a brief introduction to Colin, my typical second shooter, on Instagram

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