How I become a better wedding photographer by being a second shoot?

Many years ago, I started my wedding photography journey as a second photographer. Of course, when you don’t have much experience to lead, that is how it must be done. Now, with nearly 40 weddings every year, occasionally, I still second shoot for other people. This helps me get better in a different way that I cannot do when I am the lead wedding photographer.


I have more opportunities to be creative.

Creative is what I always tell myself and my team to go for. However, when I am in the lead position, it’s challenging to be creative and try risky shots. Thus, being a second shoot frees myself up for the creative shots. I can see things I don’t normally see when I am the main wedding photographer.

*I usually work in a team of 2 photographers for this reason. When I am the lead, my second shoot can be creative and vice versa. Therefore, if your wedding photographer has the option to add a second shoot, I highly recommend you do that.*


Wedding photographer needs to learn communication skills.

Wedding photography is not only about taking photos. Moreover, it is about communicating with people too. As a second shoot, I have some disadvantages to communicate with the couple on the day of. How come? Because I can’t connect with them prior to their wedding day. So, I don’t know how they are like or what they prefer. Therefore, effective communication is the key to quickly solves those questions and makes the couple feel comfortable around me.

second shoot let me practice communication skills
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Making them feel comfortable around me is important to pull off this genuine reaction.


Second shoot teaches me what my team want and need.

As the main wedding photographer, I have to train my team and make sure they meet my expectations as well as I meet theirs. What is the best way to give them feedback? What do they need from me? I wouldn’t know if I am not in their shoes. Thus, being a second shoot is a great opportunity to be in my team’s shoes. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about team management from this alone.


I discover and “steal” some cool ideas for my clients. “Guilty”, I know!

You never know when you are going to see new awesome ideas. They come from every wedding. Being a second shoot let me be part of more weddings. Hey, you might ask why I don’t just book more. Well, sometimes, I don’t feel I can take more without sacrifice the quality. It’s a lot of work to complete a wedding, from the beginning to the final delivery. When I shoot with other people, I don’t have to think or spend much time on both ends, just the day of.

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