blog navigation

How to Succeed at Second Shooting for Photographers

How to Succeed at Second Shooting for Photographers

spotify | apple podcast | stitcher

I’m back with a solo episode for the latest episode of All Angles Photography Podcast! Today we’re talking about second shooting. Getting experience as a second photographer is really beneficial for your portfolio, whether that’s because you’re diving into a new niche, market, or even state! However, there are certain ways to succeed at being a great second photographer and that’s what I’m sharing in this episode! You’ll learn how to support the lead photographer, better serve the couple, and take photographs that really add to the whole of the gallery. Tune in (or keep reading) and start being everyone’s go-to second with these tips.

1. Be a second photographer not only to build your portfolio, but also to serve the lead photographer.

Photographers know when you’re only wanting to be a second photographer for your portfolio. While it’s super amazing to second shoot to grow your portfolio, get experience, and have new content in places you’ve never been, focus on serving the lead photographer and the couple first and foremost.

Be sure to watch for things the lead photographer may need, even if it’s just simply a glass of water. These things go a long way and (speaking as a lead photographer) it’s so nice to have an extra set of helping hands.

When I moved to Colorado, I feel like second shooting really helped me get my foot in the door at venues. It also helped me have more Colorado content to share from actual weddings, instead of just styled content. So I totally get how amazing second shooting can be for your portfolio. That being said, go into it with a servant heart, as helping hands for the photographer, over only thinking of your portfolio. This leads me into my second point!

2. Be intentional with photographing different angles for the lead photographer.

While you may be there to grow your portfolio in some way, getting different angles and photographing things that otherwise may go missed is essential!

When I get a gallery from a second photographer and they have venue photos in there, plenty of candids, different angles where we weren’t bumping shoulders at all, and more, it makes me extremely happy and honestly relieved. There is so much that happens on a wedding day, so having someone be on the lookout and being very intentional about it just enhances the couples gallery that much more.

This is KEY in becoming someone photographers you are dying to work with want to go to for second shooting. They know they can trust you to get shots they might not have had the chance to capture.

3. Candids, candids, and more candids.

When I have a second photographer, most of the time, I don’t need a million photos of the same thing I’ve photographed from a different angle. Now I know I just told you in point number 2 to photograph different angles for the lead photographer, but I mean different, unique, and cropped angles that add to the whole of the gallery. I don’t need more of the same to cull thru, I need your unique perspective on each shot. Give me something that adds value to the gallery!

Additionally, photograph the special people at the wedding. The lead photographer, for the most part, will be focusing on capturing all the special moments and angles of the couple. In those moments, if you see special moments amongst family members or friends of the couple, capture those! Having those photos of their loved ones is normally equally as important to the couple, but the lead photographer can’t always capture them. Again, always be thinking about how you can add value, not just photos, to the gallery!

4. Always be on the lookout for ways to help the lead photographer.

Do they need bags carried? Would it be helpful to grab them some water? Could you look at the timeline and help them brainstorm a different approach when things are shifting around? Do you see something really creative that would possibly be amazing?

Do all of the things! I never feel like my toes are stepped on when the photographer I’m working with has an idea. If I simply don’t want to do that, I won’t. Creativity and inspiration are never frowned upon. Sometimes it might not be best for the couple, but the lead photographer might be able to riff off your idea and come up with something that fits the couple. At the end of the day, I know my couple so maybe it wouldn’t fit them, but I always welcome ideas and inspiration!

5. Ask questions to ensure you are getting what the lead photographer is hoping for.

This is especially important for newer photographers or photographers newer to second shooting. Hopefully, your lead photographer will guide you in what they’re hoping for from you, especially if you will be photographing an important part of the day on your own. If they don’t, don’t be scared to ask them questions! I, personally, send all of my second photographers an email about a week prior to the wedding just letting them know what I expect as far as shots, composition, etc.

The more you work with someone, the more you know their capabilities and it starts to kind of go unsaid. If you don’t feel prepared or ready to do something on your own, definitely just communicate that! I know most (if not all) lead photographers would agree that we would rather have you communicate honestly than give us images that aren’t great – and I don’t say that in a mean way. We’re happy to work with ya around what you feel comfortable with!

More Thoughts From the Episode

This is a shorter episode this week. I wanted to keep it short and to the point so we got straight into the info. Most of my tips + tricks I give above, but there are plenty more examples and knowledge bombs in the episode around second shooting. So make sure to tune in to learn even more on how to support the lead photographer, better serve the couple, and take photographs that really add to the whole of the gallery!

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

The Top 10 Resources You Need for Your Business Freebie

Follow Along and Chat With Us

Follow Claire:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Keera Knight says:

    This is just the upmost perfect advice to give to anyone. ESPECIALLY a brand new, just starting out photographer for me! I love the idea of being someones sidekick and trying my best to help them in any way I can! That just opens up opportunities for friendship and many learning moments to observe and appreciate the lead photographers style and interaction with couples:) Claire, you are the number one example of being the most kind and caring photographer I would want to interact with as a client or photographer! Much love!