For the past 7 years of shooting weddings I've been the lead photographer with Andre as the 2nd shooter. I have been the main at each event and it holds a great responsibility from setting up the bridal party, to being ready anytime the bride or groom calls for a shot. However this year I've shot 2 weddings where I was the 2nd shooter and I will say the experience was very liberating.
My Photographer friend Michael Olisemeka over at Semeka Pro asked if I could assist him with an upcoming wedding, I agreed after I considered how well him and I together. What I discovered from this experience was how to follow and learn new things about photography even after many years.
The RingBride receives wedding ring
The interesting thing about being the 2nd shooter is the fact that your free to roam and be a bit more expressive with your work. The job of the main photographer is to capture moments as they happen, direct the bridal party, and be aware of what is about to happen.
Reception SceneBride and Groom enter the reception room for a sneak peak.
Though these are things the 2nd shooter should take note of he/she isn't restricted because he/she is often times required to capture what the 1st shooter might not see or might not be able to. This frees him/her up to look around and create shots and that is one of the things I enjoyed at this event.
Now I will say that although i had more freedom I had to also make sure I covered what the 1st shooter didn't get but once that was done my flexibility was available. This image below was taken while Michael was busy setting the ladies to take his shot. "The Ladies"Bride & her bride's maids sit on the lip of the fountain for an image.
This last shot is was one of the sharpest, cleanest, captures during the reception it was shot on the Canon 85mm 1.2 II at F2.0 and ISO 2500 using only available light normally I would be insistent on using flash for anything at the reception but I pushed the 85mm to give me the results I wanted.
Overall what I would say about being the 2nd shooter at a wedding is 1st off it made me listen to exactly what Michael wanted and gave me the opportunity to see a different approach to capturing a wedding. It also allowed me to capture more of the moments I would have missed as well as to approach the photo session as a candid shooter vs. the traditional staged shots.