7 Tips For Working With A Second Shooter on Weddings

Your Best Friend Or Worst Nightmare

What is a second shooter?

A second shooter is a photographer that assists the primary photographer on a wedding day. They can be wedding photographers themselves that enjoy a different task set from time to time, photography students that are looking to gain experience in the wedding photography field or photographers in a different field (e.g. food, fashion, family) that second as a side hussle.  The working arrangements also differ greatly; they can be under contract with a wedding photography studio or they can be colleagues that work under a once-off work-for-hire contract.


Why hire a second shooter? 

If you’re photographing large weddings (e.g. upwards of a 100-150 guets) there is so much happening throughout the day that it’s fantastic to have a second photographer by your side. It’s a set of extra eyes that can cover additional angles, shoot the same moment with a different lens (hello 24mm wide-angle & 180mm portraits), assist with lighting set-ups. And the best part, and I know you know what I mean, you actually get to enjoy bathroom and food breaks because they can cover for you!


What does a second shooter do at a wedding?

Helping out with your lighting gear, covering a second angle, covering an area that you can’t because you’re shooting something else (e.g. when the groom is preparing at the different location from the bride). A second shooter helps you out throughout the day to really capture the story of the wedding day at its fullest. You get more angles, more uptime, more creativity and a helping hand. For some photographer a second is like the assistant they never knew they needed and for some photographer it’s a partner with whom they divide up the work. One of the challenges I struggled with most in the beginning on my wedding photography career was:


How much do you pay a second shooter for a wedding? 

This depends greatly on the level of experience of your second shooter and the customs in your local market. Second shooters can be paid by the hour or by a half-day/day. The per hour fees for second shooter in the EU ranges from anywhere between €30 p/h up to €250 p/h. The half-day/day fees range from €300 p/d up to €2500 p/d. Whatever you decide on works for your be sure to formalize it in a second shooter photography contract. You don’t want to regret it later!


How to make working with your second shooter a breeze

I’m so happy to be able to share this customizable seconds shooter contract template with you here! It would have saved me tons of time, mistakes and €€€ if I would have used one of these earlier. The earlier in the process you talk about the serious stuff with your second (Are they allowed to use their photos online? Who owns the copyright? How much are they paid? What do you expect of them? When will you pay them?) the more fun the working process and your work relationship will be.


To make the process a breeze for you I’ve compiled this customizable contract that you can use each time you want to work with a second shooter on a work-for-hire basis. There are custimizable fields for: day/hour fees, copyrights agreements, publication rights and more.



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