January 30, 2019





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GEM Photography’s Do’s and Don’ts to Being a Second Shooter

 Shot with Rachel Black of Rowanberry Lavender

Shot with Rachel Black of Rowanberry Lavender

Being a new photographer is tough. Becoming a wedding photographer is easier than it used to be, but building a photography business is harder. Trying to stand out in this market is becoming more and more difficult to navigate.When I started I was an assistant to a very kind photographer who let me take pictures in between tasks. After spending time strengthening my craft, I decided to become a second shooter.I have actually been a second shooter quite a few times, and it really is a great way to become a better photographer. I have also learned how to work with various people, some nice and some not so much.

I thought I would share my Do’s and Don’ts for being a second shooter that doesn’t get you on the “Dont work with” list (yes there is one).

 Shot with Rachel Kimberly Photography

Shot with Rachel Kimberly Photography


  1. Forget your place– I know that some people who second shoot have been shooting for a lot longer than the lead they are shooting with, but that is not the time to take over, bad mouth, or disrespect the person you are shooting for. Now I like to treat my seconds like equals because if I didnt think they were at the same standard I wouldn’t hire them, but they still have the understanding that its my business they are representing that day.

  2. Hand out business cards– This goes along with the above, but it is continually needing to be addressed. To take it a step further this means not giving them to friends you may see at the wedding.

  3. Shoot the same shots– You are not hired to get the same shots as the lead. The only time you shoot the same angle is when you are at a different focal length.

  4. Share on social media before the lead– I get it you want to get exposure but it is disrespectful to the person who hired you to help.

  5. TAG VENDORS OR CLIENTS– I could write a whole blog post on this. This is basically stealing.You are taking credit for something you did not get contracted for. This will get you on the “no shoot list“ fast. When you do this you are showing yourself as untrustworthy.

 Shot with Carrie Kinsella

Shot with Carrie Kinsella


1, Do your best- I find people who second shoot tend to not put in the best effort because it is not “his/her” wedding. Be just as friendly, just as professional, and just as skilled as if it were “your” wedding

2. Credit the lead shooter– If someone is kind and gracious enough to let you work with him/her be sure to tag them in social media and let know people know who actually booked the wedding.

3. Ask Questions- Even though a wedding is not the time to treat a lead like photography Google, but they are a wealth of information, and when time allows use your time with them to learn.

4. Learn post wedding expectations – The best way to have a good experience for both parties is to know what you can do with the photos you took after. the wedding If they say website portfolio only, do that. If they say wait til gallery is delivered and not tag the venue, the couple, or vendors. DO JUST THAT.

5. Shoot different angles and get creative- When I second shoot you will find me in bushes and trees getting different angles than the lead. You don’t have the pressure to get must have shots like a lead does this gives you the opportunity to get creative. Another tip, I always ask which lens the lead is using. For example, if they are on a 50mm I am either on my 24-70 or 70-200…

I personally love second shooting, and I value them so much that I include them in every package. I hope these tips were helpful.

Til next time



  1. corey says:

    Raina, this is a fabulous blog post! I love that you and Joanna wrote it from different perspectives covering the same topics! Sharing because you rock and I can’t wait to second shoot for you and vice versa! Looking forward to creating beautiful imagery for our couples this year. xo

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