The first one was me!  Got a second shooter around?  When it comes to photographing  a wedding things can go two ways when there is one about and you might just end up wishing you’d had a gun at the time rather than a camera!

If he’s working with you, as Kaushal did with me in Scotland for Sara & Armagan’s wedding, then they will be a great asset. Much as we’d like to be everywhere we’re not omnipresent. A second shooter can catch things from other angles or places that you can’t be in, help with light shades or reflectors when needed, even get the odd snap of you at work.

As long as you know who’s doing what and when things will work out fine and collectively you’ll get a load of great images from the day. Both you and your second shooter will most likely learn a few things too, even if you’ve worked together before. I’m yet to meet a photographer who can’t get something out of working with a fellow image maker. If you come away from an event with nothing new I’d say you’ve got into a rut and need to rethink what’s motivating you.

After working out the what, when and where don’t forget to sync camera clocks before you start to ensure your time post processing goes smoothly!

If the second shooter is not with you chances are they’ll be working against you and you’ll need to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls. Although guests with compact cameras can cause the same problems second shooters rocking a large dSLR and strobe will be the worst.

  • Be aware of attention being drawn elsewhere.

If you see heads turning away from you wonder why. Someone’s probably raised a camera. Call “My Lens!” and see if the attention comes back. If heads keep turning make a very visible point of stopping and finding the source. Ask them politely to stop, your clients have paid for your services and are being denied the images they rightly deserve.  A second shooter competing for the same subject won’t have the same position as you and their photos will on many occasions be inferior as a result, with most of the subjects not looking at them.

  • Are you seeing others flashes firing while you’re working?

Boy will you feel cheated if that killer shot of the couple is ruined by having another cameras flash go off at the same time, overexposing your shot or casting shadows where they shouldn’t be. If you’re taking formal photos make it clear this is your time. Guests can snap away afterwards.

For this reason it’s good to have your contract with the client exclude the use of a second shooter unless provided through you and make them aware of the pitfalls of not asking guests to refrain from taking their own photos when asked.