I think all wedding photographers can agree on at least one thing: we can’t live without second shooters!
Like Robin is to Batman, a second shooter is the trusty sidekick of a wedding photographer. They are constantly working behind the scenes– helping carry bags, keeping track of time, and assisting the wedding party in any way they can.
During my time as a wedding photographer, I have had the privilege of being both the main photographer as well as a second shooter. Here is a breakdown of the responsibilities of a second shooter that I have found makes the wedding day process smooth and stress-free.
Second shooters usually start with taking photos of the groom and groomsmen details (shoes, cufflinks, ties, cologne, love notes, gifts), as well as the groomsmen prepping and hanging out. When it comes time to photograph the bridal party, second shooters are typically focused on flowers and laughter, specifically using tight shots on the side angle.
During the first look, the second photographer is shooting close-up with an 85mm or 70-200mm lens. This view really captures the tear-jerker moment. Their job is mostly focusing on the bride and getting her reaction as the groom turns to see her.
Wedding Party Portraits
I suggest that second shooters use a 50 or 35mm lens when taking pictures of the wedding party, depending on how tight the shoot location is or how large the party is. We all know how unruly groomsmen can be sometimes, so it’s always best to start with formal portraits first to get them out of the way, saving the less formal for last.
Tip: While the main photographer is focused on bride and groom portraits, the second shooter can be taking individual and group photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Once the bride and groom portraits are complete (and if there’s enough time), have the second shooter capture assist with the individual shots of each member of the wedding party with the bride and groom.
The ceremony is obviously the reason why we’re even taking photos in the first place, so it’s important to have a game plan in place before the ceremony begins.
I ask my second shooter to have a wide lens as well as a 70-200 or 85mm lens. Their job is to stay in the back and get the wide shot of the bride walking down with her father while all of the guests admire her beauty. Using the 70-200mm lens, they’ll capture the moment that the father gives away the bride. Remaining on the right side, they will focus on the bride during the ceremony. They’ll also take some shots of the parents and guests.
During the receiving of the rings and first kiss, I ask them to be on the same level as me, but they will be shooting tighter, focusing on the close-up images of the hands and kiss.
By this point in the day, everyone is ready to have some fun, including the photographers! But before the fun begins (and before guests arrive),I like to have my second shooter take a variety of tight and wide angle shots of the venue. After the introduction of the wedding party, we tag team and capture as many dancing photos as we can.
Like I said, second shooters are basically superheroes when it comes to capturing the many special moments during the wedding day. Without their help, a photographer would nearly go crazy with all of the photos that need to be taken in such a short amount of time.
To all of the second shooters that I’ve had the pleasure of working with (as well as the main photographers that have brought me along as their second shooter), thank you for all you do!!
Myra Roman is a New Jersey wedding photographer and destination wedding photographer who loves capturing beautiful moments and turning them into lasting memories. Myra is now interviewing couples for weddings in 2020 and 2021! View her website for more information or follow her on Instagram!