March 15, 2022

How to Become A Highly Sought After Second Shooter

Wedding Photography

Collage of photos of bride and groom with their backs to the camera and black and white photo of male photographer smiling; image overlaid with text that reads How to Become a Highly Sought After Second Shooter

It’s a wonderful luxury to have a second shooter at a wedding. They are on hand to capture moments from a different angle and alleviate any possible stress that you might miss any key moments. It doubles the chances of getting those perfect shots and is a huge asset for any photographer.

Being a second shooter is a great way to meet photographers in your area, and give you invaluable experience on the job. There is no better way to learn! Plus it will help you to develop your own portfolio of wedding photography.

If you are starting out as a wedding photographer and want to become a highly sought after second shooter then I have pulled together some tips here on what you should think about doing. I do hope you find this useful.

#1 – Understand how your photographer works

To become a highly sought after second shooter the first thing is to understand how your lead photographer shoots. Familiarise yourself with their wedding work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. What is their style? Do they over or under expose? What settings do they use? 

Bride sitting on a chair and getting her make up done by a makeup artist as she prepares for the wedding ceremony

The more you sync up with them and their way of working, the more they’ll appreciate what you are doing, as it will essentially save them time. This will make them want to work with you again!

Look through their portfolio (mine is here as an example) to get a feel for their tone and style, which you should be aiming to match on the shoot. 

#2 – Know the brief 

A truly top-notch second shooter has taken time to understand the brief of the specific wedding you are shooting and taken the time to ask the right questions beforehand.

It will be helpful for you to know a bit about the couple and what they want from their wedding photography. Do they like posed or more natural shots? Are there any surprises planned for the day? Are there key guests to be aware of?

Bride walking down the aisle with her father as they approach the groom while the guests take pictures and look on, captured by Divine Day Photography

Make a clear plan with your lead photographer. Ask them what particular parts of the wedding day they want you to capture, where each of you are going to stand at different crucial moments, and what their timeline for the whole day is. It is extremely beneficial to have these conversations in advance, as it will lead to more beautiful results. 

Essentially, this level of detail will make you stand out and eventually become a highly sought after second shooter.

#3 – Dress smart 

This one is pretty straight forward – photographers should always dress professionally. Make life easy for yourself and dress appropriately smart for the day.

Sandra from Divine Day Photography sitting on the ledge with her sunglasses on and camera beside her

#4 – Have the right equipment

A highly sought after second shooter should have at least two lenses with you, ideally one wider lens and one with zoom on it. The reason for this is that your main photographer may position you at different vantage points throughout the day and you want to make sure you have enough flexibility to get the perfect shots wherever you are.

Bride and groom holding hands at the altar during their wedding ceremony, with the guests seated and using umbrellas, shot by Divine Day Photography

You could be placed at the back of a room or right at the front, so it’s best to be prepared. If you don’t have this equipment then you should consider renting them for the weekend – it’s a cost effective way to keep your equipment bag locked and loaded while seconding.

Don’t be nervous to have this conversation with your lead shooter in advance, as it’s best to be prepared.

#5 – Think about your angles

A great second shooter will be prepared to be flexible but a highly sought after second shooter will go above and beyond. Go low to try a different angle. Snap from a different vantage point than the obvious – you could end up with great results.

Bride and groom, with their backs to the camera, each holding umbrellas above their heads during the wedding reception

#6 – A highly sought after second shooter doesn’t overshoot

If you’ve ever shot a wedding before, you will be aware of just how many images you have to sort through before you even begin editing. 3000 images or more is just overwhelming. You can help with this by trying not to overshoot. Don’t capture unnecessary shots just to look busy, I know it can be tempting!

Groom, wearing sunglasses, giving a thumbs up and smiling during the wedding reception, with the bride and family members beside him on a long table

Your lead photographer will appreciate fewer but better shots from you, so be intentional and picky.

#7 – Keep your eyes peeled and stay on your toes

The beauty of weddings is that the emotions of guests are often high and this can lead to some beautiful unexpected moments for you to capture. Stay alert for these moments. It could be the bride having an emotional hug with a family member, or the groom in fits of laughter with his ushers: these are small but special little moments that could easily be missed. 

Bride laughing out loud as the bridesmaid touches her face during the wedding reception, taken by Divine Day Photography

Capturing people’s reactions to the big moments, such as in the ceremony, is a great thing to focus on as a second shooter. Couples love to see their friends and family laughing or weeping with happiness – it’s all part of the magic.

It’s the small details like this that not only the couple will adore, but will also transform you into a highly sought after second shooter.

#8 – Market yourself well

Create a website for yourself that is dedicated to getting second shooting gigs. This should list your shooting experience so far, what gear you use, and, of course, showcase your portfolio. This will make you stand out.

Bride and groom sharing laughs and holding hands during the wedding reception, photographed by Divine Day Photography

Be open and honest when talking to photographers about your experience and your goals. If you  make their life easier, make the process of working with you enjoyable, as well as deliver some brilliant shots, then you will be well on your way to becoming a highly sought after second shooter. 

How to Become A Highly Sought After Second Shooter

I hope these tips have given you some ideas for growing your business as a second shooter at weddings. It’s a wonderful and fulfilling job! If you have any questions or want to talk about this topic then please drop me a line  and I’ll be happy to discuss with you.


Black and white photo of a female photographer holding up the camera to her face as she snaps a photo; image overlaid with text that reads How To Become a Highly Sought After Second Shooter
Sandra from Divine Day Photography sitting on the ledge with her sunglasses on and camera beside her; image overlaid with text that reads How to Become a Highly Sought After Second Shooter

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