So do you need a second shooter? Well that depends on who you ask? Ask a bride on a budget and they will tell you, no its not needed. Ask a prima donna photographer and they will tell you they can cover everything and no, they don't need one either. Ask a guy that is needing work and trying to build a portfolio and they will tell you yes, of course you need one.
Ask me a while back, and I would of told you yes, yes you need one. Why? Well because I was the last guy I just mentioned. I was the guy struggling to get bookings and stuff to show. I was the guy still learning how the flow of a wedding went down. I didn't matter how many tutorials I watched, It didn't matter how many YouTube videos I stayed up till 3 in the morning watching.
Its not the same as going out there and shooting.
Do I still second shoot? Of course I do and I love it. Why? Well because I know the main photographer can depend on me to get the shots they don't always get. There are a handful of well know photographers that work as a team that have acted as second shooters some way such as Lin & Jirsa in California, TWO MANN Studios, who is a husband and wife team made up of Lanny Mann & Erika Mann out of Canada, There is Easton & Laura Reynolds who make up LuRey Photography, and Ben & Erin Chrisman who make up CHRISMAN Studios. Even Well know Jasmine Star who brands herself as a solo photographer has her husband JD for a second shooter. These are all well respected Wedding Photographers that work as a creative team to give the Bride and Groom the best experience they can give.
The Key word is CREATIVE TEAM. Throwing ideas back and forth, asking what works and what doesn't, challenging each other to get "THE SHOT", pushing for something better, something different.
What is a good reason a bride can relate to needing a second shooter? Well how about letting moments go by. Moments that were caught but maybe from one angle or it was caught but an iPad was sticking out in the isle as the bride and groom had their first kiss we've all seen that photo of the groom leaning over to see his bride because of all the cell phones. We can't control every situation and we can't be in all places at one time. Trust me, Ive tried!
The image above of Will dancing with his mother is a great shot and shows the joy and love he is feeling on his wedding day. I captured that! I mean look at his smile. Its end to end! Badass if you ask me! I love it, Im calling my mom right after this. (Not really its late but shout out to my Mom!)
Ok, one thing is missing. What in the world is his mother feeling at that very moment? Is she crying? Is she sad? Is she as happy as he is? Well take a look below.
That shot above would not have been captured if it wasn't for my second shooter. I mean I got the shot of the groom but doesn't having the photo of his mom make it even more special. I think so. Talk to me years from know when they are 60 and tell me it don't mean anything.
SO, the image below..........
We only got two pictures of this lady. She sat down most of the night. I captured both of these second shooting for a great photographer friend of mine Rick Davila. He didn't catch her and if you know Rick you know he don't miss many moments.
This is the grooms aunt. He was so happy we caught these!! Unfortunately, she passed away that Monday morning. Thats right, two days later!
The top image is during the dollar dance where generally the main photographer will cover the bride and second will cover the groom, and the bottom image is of her son and her dancing. They danced one song and stayed on one side of the dance floor which at the time I was covering.
Do what you need to but please think about it really hard when you pass up a second shooter opportunity. Maybe you can cut back on something else? The limo or on the food, a cheaper cake, but don't miss out on the opportunity of coming up short on moments. After all, we can only be in so many places at one time.
If your reading this and you second shoot, please don't take second shooting lightly. The images you capture may be so much more meaningful come that Monday morning.