Four Reasons to add a ‘Second Shooter’

Aug 2, 2019 | planning tips

Since I started my little Salisbury based wedding photography business back in 2011 I’ve shot hundreds of weddings. The vast majority I’ve captured with just me behind the camera. I actually started out shooting weddings on my own, and only added a second photographer to my packages in 2015 for just over a year to ease the pressure while I was shooting when pregnant with my son and while he was a baby.

I still do a mix of both shooting alone, and with another shooter as a second photographer will always be a firm favourite on the a la carte menu of add ons which you can use to customise your wedding package with me to make it just what you want.

Now, unless you’re a wedding photographer you might not really know the benefits of adding a second photographer, or, ‘second shooter’ to your package.  Or whether your wedding might need one or not, so I thought I’d put together this little post to explain a bit more about the role of a second shooter so you can make up your mind. 

I’ve illustrated this blog post with images entirely taken by my second shooters so you can see what shots might have been missed without them. In the shot above, you can just see me behind the bride and groom, capturing their first kiss, in the shot below.

first kiss between a bride and groom at their wedding at New House Estate near Salisbury photographed by Lydia Stamps
During this close up by Freya, I was shooting from the window above where the guests are looking.
While I was focussing on the speaker, the Father of the Bride, Sam captured this beautiful shot of the bride’s Mum.

1. Another Perspective

The most popular reason people add a second shooter to their package is to get another perspective on the day. Quite literally to get shots from another angle. This is great during the speeches, especially if the tables are tightly packed making it hard to get around, and get a variety of reaction shots of different guests.

But nowhere is this more obviously beneficial than during the ceremony. During the ceremony I’ll generally be at the front, and if there’s a second photographer, they’ll shoot at the back. This means you’ll get photos of both the emotional expressions on your faces, as well as beautiful wide shots of the ceremony location with your guests from the back of the venue.

You can just about spy me at the front in this shot by Libby.
bride and groom exchange a glance during their wedding ceremony at Romsey Abbey. Photo by Lydia Stamps Photography
Meanwhile, while Libby was capturing the wide shots above, I was able to capture closer shots like this one.
Brides waiting outside St. John's Place Salisbury
The brides await their entrance, shot by Holly. At this point I was at the top of the aisle, ready for them to walk in.
An alternative perspective of the confetti throw (I’m in the front!) captured by Sam.

2. The Reaction Shot

Nick’s expression, captured perfectly while watching Laws come down the aisle, as shot by Libby.

When you come down the aisle, I’ll be capturing you as you walk in. If it’s possible, I’ll try and grab a reaction shot of your partner as they see you for the first time, but when there’s only one of me, especially if the aisle is short, or I’m tight on space it’s often just not possible. If you’ve got your heart set on that perfect shot of your beloved wiping away those tears or beaming with joy as you walk towards them it’s best to book a second shooter. Their only job when you come in is to focus on your loved one, perfect.

I love this shot of Lewis seeing Christie come down the aisle shot by Freya.
grooms accessories, detail shot flat lay photo by Lydia Stamps Photography
Groom’s accessories flat lay, shot during Groom Prep by Sam.

3. Double Coverage of the Preparations

Some people aren’t fussed about prep shots but I absolutely love them. They really add to telling the full story of the day in your coverage and if you’d both like coverage of the wedding morning and preparations it’s essential you book a second shooter.

Even if you’re getting ready in the same hotel it’s pretty hard to capture both of you as all the real action tends to happen around the same time. One of my fave parts about the preparations is how much detail we capture, the accessories, the gifts. I love it. And if you want all those memories preserved for both of you then you’ll need more than just me.

Groomsmen preparing, detail shot by Sam.
Photo by my second shooter Sam of Jason on his wedding morning.
A wonderful shot of this guest by my second shooter Hannah.

4. Even more relaxed shots of your gang & moments captured

My whole vibe with photos is that for the majority of the time I want to be capturing the moments naturally, as they unfold in an unobtrusive way. During the drinks reception there’s a lot to get done (family photos, detail shots, photos of you and your loved one etc. more on this HERE) and depending on how long the reception is that leaves me with not long to grab what shots I can of the guests enjoying the day.

So often I hear people say ‘the shots we really want are of our friends when they don’t even realise they’re having their photo taken’. I completely agree, and aside from the main events that’s what I’ll shoot all day long. But while I’m with you shooting family photos, or whisking you off for photos of you two a second shooter can be capturing more of these relaxed, natural shots while I can’t.

I always prioritise natural, candid moments and capture lots on my own but if you’ve got a large guest list and you want as many people captured as possible, or you know you’re going to have a fairly short drinks reception (ie: less than 90mins or less) then I’d strongly recommend it. 

I adore this moment, of the groom adjusting his new wedding ring, captured during a drinks reception by Sam.
The kids playing games captured by Freya.
guests relaxing on the grass at wedding reception
Guests relaxing during the reception, shot by Sam.
I love this beautiful moment during a reception on a boat, captured by Megan.

I hope that’s helped to give you an idea of what a second shooter does, and why adding one might be right for you. If you’re still unsure you’re welcome to see some full galleries of weddings shot just by me, or me with a second shooter along so you can get a really good sense of the coverage you’d receive either way.

If you have any questions just ask. In the mean time, happy planning….xo

Thank you to my lovely second shooter Berni for this shot of me at work.

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