The Difference Between an Assistant and Second Shooter
What is the difference between an Assistant vs Second Shooter? You may have come across the term ‘second shooter’ in your research and wondered what that means.
If you’ve been following my work, or read the About section, you would know that Clements and the Fox is a duo, with myself as the main photographer/shooter and my husband Ben as my assistant.
Not only is he my loving husband, but he is my confidant, my trusted partner, my guide, my bag carrier, my veil holder, my back up, my shoulder to cry on, my protector. He packs the car, he drives while I navigate, he keeps a watch on the time and tells me if we’re running behind or not, he holds an iPhone light for extra lighting (he once did this for 40mins during speeches and I forgot to tell him he could relax his arm now- oops!), he dries the ground with towels for the bride when doing portraits in the wet, he runs to the car when I’ve forgotten something, he grabs me a ladder when I need one, he makes me laugh and feeds me when we’re moving from one location to the next.
Basically he assists me in everything that I do, and keeps me sane during long shoots. Ben makes sure that I am prepped and ready to go and provides 110% emotional support, never leaving my side. This means that my clients get the best of me on the day. During the ceremony and sometimes during the bridal + groom prep, I may ask him to shoot from a different angle to make sure we are covering the most important parts from different angles. So, you may see him carry a camera from time-to-time, however this is not his primary role. His primary role is to assist me, so that I can focus on what I need to do, and that is to capture the stories, emotions and moments throughout the day.
A second shooter is someone who is trained as a photographer, and has come to provide an alternative shooting perspective. They usually don’t need a lot of direction on the day. They will work with the main shooter, and under their guidance will cover photography from a different angle for the entire day. Depending on the relationship between the two, the second shooter may also act as an assistant as well.
I was a second shooter for nearly four years, which is how I learnt to be a wedding photographer. It is such a valuable role and I am so grateful for the times I have been able to assist + second shoot on weddings. I started my own wedding photography business because I saw how much joy, love and happiness there was in weddings. And I fell in love along the way.
I still second shoot from time to time, and love being the helpful hand to the primary photographer. It can be so much fun.
Why would you need or want a second shooter on your wedding day?
In my situation, as I have Ben with me throughout the entire day and I ask him to shoot occasionally from a different angle during key moments, I don’t really feel the need to have a second shooter with me.
HOWEVER, if you are having more than 150 guests in attendance, then I would suggest having a second shooter to ensure full coverage. I feel very confident in shooting up to around 150 guests, knowing that I can cover all the events that are happening. Any more than 150 and my ability to cover everything can become strained. In those situations it may be helpful to have a second shooter there, especially during the party when everyone wants their photo taken!