Tips and Advice for Hiring A Second Shooter for Wedding Photographers

Tips and Advice for Hiring A Second Shooter for Wedding Photographers

Have you been thinking about hiring a second shooter to help you out at weddings? They are a huge help when you are hired for a wedding that is 6 hours or longer, or when the entire event is quite big.

But what if you don't know how to hire one? Or what the expectations should be from a second shooter?


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Think about all the responsiblities you have as a wedding photographer. Before the wedding even begins, everyone is off getting ready. The bride to be and her party are at the hair salon getting their hair and possibly nails done. If they hired you to document that, who is going to be taking pictures of the groom to be and his party? Who is going to document them helping eachother with their ties, capturing the boutonniere's being pinned on, as well as all the goofy moments they are probably going to have. Because lets face it, when guys are nervous, they tend to act sillier than normal. And those are the fun moments you need to capture. Also if the bride and groom have opted to not see eachother before the ceremony, you are going to ware yourself out running back and forth so much. 

You can't be in two places at once. 

It's time to start searching for a second shooter. If you are shooting weddings, then by now you have a pretty good idea of who other local photographers are. Maybe you can reach out to them and see if they might be interested. Also, if you belong to local photography Facebook groups, check with the admins of the group and see if you are allowed to post in there looking for a second shooter. 

You will more than likely get a few people that are interested. I personally created a form on Google Docs. I had a few questions for them, some information I wanted to collect, and I was able to go through the inquiries that way. 

Here are a few questions you should be asking to help find your second shooter: 

  • Do they shoot in RAW

  • What camera/equipment do they use

  • Do they have reliable transportation

  • Are they reliable (meaning, if they have children, do they have a reliable babysitter)

  • How long have they been a photographer

  • Have they ever shot a wedding before

  • Do they have a portfolio they can show you

  • Can they shoot in manual mode

  • Are they OK with you editing their images after the event

Having piece of mind that your second shooter is at least experienced in photography, and is reliable, is one less thing you have to worry about. It is also best to get together in person so that you can get a feel if you can work together well. 

The next step is, what are your expectations? Obviously they are going to be taking direction from you the day of the event, but what about afterwards? Will you allow them to use the images they shot for their portfolio? A second shooter is just that. They are there to help you. You need to make your expectations clear to them so that there is no miscommunication the day of, as well as after the event. Here are a few suggestions that will help in hiring a second shooter, and what to include in your contract for them.

  • Rate of pay

  • Date and time of the event they are needed

  • Number of hours they are expected to work

  • What they are expected to pay for (gas, equipment)

  • Arbitration/legal standings

  • Gear they are expected to have

  • Will you allow them to use the images for their portfolio, and if so, a stated time frame of when they can be posted

  • They are not allowed to contact your clients in any way for future bookings

When searching for a second shooter, send them highlights of your contract in order to attract the right fit for you. 


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