Going Professional – Hiring a Second Shooter for Weddings

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  By Jonathan Ma
Going Professional – Hiring a Second Shooter for Weddings www.sleeklens.com

Weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime event for many people. Hence, photographers are one of the main expenses of a modern-day wedding. Couples that get married want lots of photos on their special day to remember all of the friends and family that attended the wedding, as well as all of the important moments of that, happened. This can create considerable pressure for the photographer on the wedding day. Proper preparation is key in reducing the stress leading up to and on the wedding day. We will be discussing the pros of hiring a second shooter for the wedding day.

Covering More of the Angles

Let’s be realistic – one photographer can only cover one angle at a time. Most often, The photographer needs to be photographing the couple or stay somewhere near them. This greatly limits the photographic opportunities of the photographer. By hiring a second shooter, you can be photographing from two angles at the same time. This means that it would be possible to photograph both the couple and the guests’ reactions to certain events at the same time.

For example – during the first official kiss as a couple, as the couple are walking out of the ceremony, as the couple is taking their first dance, etc. It can be tough to be creative and think on the spot when you are photographing a wedding due to the limited time of each event. But hiring a second shooter means that one of you will be taking the “expected” wedding photos, while the other photographer can have more creative freedom in their photos. The end result is an album of photos that is both complete and creative. Your clients will love the result, and the number of different angles that you were able to capture the event from.

Handing Off Assignments

When hiring a second shooter for a wedding, the photographer has more freedom to decide what he wants to shoot and what he wants to assign to the second shooter. By communicating with the second shooter beforehand, the photographer can rest assured that certain shots during the wedding day will automatically be taken off. These can range from getting ready photos, photos during the ceremony, photos of the family, or candid photos of all the guests at the reception.

It’s important to talk to the second shooter before the wedding about what type of photos that he or she is comfortable with. With this information, the photographer can then make an informed decision about which shots to assign to the second shooter and which shots to take care of himself. For example, during one wedding I had my second shooter take candid photos during the event of the guests at both the ceremony and the reception. These turned out really well, because she is a deeply emotional person and was able to capture the emotions of the guests during the event in a way that I could never have. Needless to say, the end result was that the clients were very happy with their wedding album.

An Investment That Pays Off

Some photographers may worry that hiring a second shooter for a wedding day would be too expensive or cut into the profit margins too much. Don’t worry! There is a solution to this. The simplest solution is to simply increase the initial charge for the clients by the amount that the second shooter is charging. Explain to the clients that they’ll get 2x the photo coverage for a fraction of the total cost of photography, and they’ll happily agree. If most of your profit is through final prints and the wedding album, remember that with two shooters you’ll have around double the number of photo options for the client! They’ll be more likely to find amazing photos that they won’t be able to resist buying. This will lead to more sales after everything is said and done.

Also, it may be possible for the main photographer to use photos from the wedding for promotional purposes on his/her website. This would depend on the contract between the main photographer and the second shooter. Therefore, it is a good idea to communicate with the second shooter before hiring them about how the images will be used. Will they only be sold to the client? Or will they also be watermarked with the main photographer’s logo and be added to an online portfolio?

Happy shooting!


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Jonathan Ma

Jonathan Ma is a freelance writer and professional photographer. He grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the United States. The natural beauty that surrounds this area has helped him to learn to appreciate art and photography. Jonathan's favorite styles of photography are nature and sports photography. He enjoys learning and teaching others what he knows.

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