Behind the Scenes

Assisting/Second Shooting Explained

Over the weekend, a friend asked me a very interesting question about what it means when I say that I ‘assisted’ a photographer. I realized afterwards that not everyone knows the ins and outs of the photography industry and I want to explain how assisting and second shooting works.

On a wedding day, most photographers will hire a second shooter and at times even a third shooter to help them out with photography coverage. These individuals are also experienced photographers and they are brought on to photograph the wedding in a complimentary way to the main photographer. Basically that means that they don’t stand behind or next to the main photographer and get all the same shots as them, but they are off to the side getting a side angle shot, or photographing moments that happen when the main photographer is busy.

When a photographer says they assisted someone or second shot for someone, all the images they produce are their own, however the client was not their own. The main photographer then takes all the images from all the photographers that worked that day and edits them into one final product that is later given to the client.

Toronto wedding photographer

In addition to shooting, as a second shooter you get to do fun things like carry the dress. Here’s my best Pippa Middleton impression.

Second shooting has been an amazing way to get experience and to expand my portfolio while I’m still building my own client base. I have mainly assisted two wonderful photographers that I now call friends – Melissa Miller of Moments by Melissa Miller and Janice Yi of Janice Yi Photography. They are both great photographers to learn from and I have been lucky that I can share the images I produce by assisting them on my own blog and website. There are debates in the industry about whether this should be allowed, but I firmly believe that it should be allowed because otherwise it would be very hard to start out with no portfolio to show, even if you have the experience of shooting many weddings.

There are many different types of second shooting opportunities. The best way to find them is to reach out to local photographers that you admire and to ask them if you can help them with any of their work. If you are interested in learning more about second shooting, coincidentally, there is a two day workshop happening on Creative Live about the Art of Second Shooting led by none other than Jasmine Star and her husband JD.

If you have any questions about second shooting or assisting, feel free to leave a comment below!

And here’s a small preview of what’s coming up soon!:

Toronto wedding photography


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