Ode to the Second Shooter

This past week, as I prepared for a consultation with a potential bride and groom, I came to discover that my next booked wedding for 2015 will be my 20th! I was blown away. I knew I wanted to be prepared when asked "How many weddings have you photographed?", but I wasn't expecting the number to be quite so high.

"Just twenty? I do that in a summer!"

Sure, to a proper wedding photographer, 20 might not seem like such a milestone to be proud of. However, seeing as how I only take on a small number of weddings each year to make room for all of the awesome portrait clients I work with, I am incredibly proud of my 20 weddings and can't wait to add to that number as we work our way into the new year.

Also this week, I went through my wedding brochure and updated it to reflect all of the fun changes I am making to my brand in the way of wedding photography. Most of it will be done behind the scenes, with a lot of surprises to my couples. I'm all about the experience of my brides and grooms!

There's one addition to my wedding packages that I'm very excited about and felt warranted it's own special post: All 2015 weddings will include a second photographer.

Previously, whether or not a second photographer was included in your wedding package depended on a number of variables - scale and type of wedding day, number of hours included in the coverage, and whether or not a couple was willing to add the expense to their overall package. I'll admit - when a bride and groom didn't see fit to add a second shooter, I was bummed. In my opinion, having a second shooter is essential in getting the most out of your photography coverage.

Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer

No matter how awesome your photographer is, they simply cannot be in two places at once. When my day begins and I find my bride and her girlfriends, capturing all the makeup spread over the counter and curling irons on full heat, my second shooter is introducing himself to the groom and all of his pals. Instead of adding on an extra hour of coverage so I can split my time between the two, I'm able to cover both parties simultaneously. While I am shooting the after-ceremony portraits of the bride and groom, my second shooter can be in the reception before guests arrive grabbing images of the details you worked so hard on putting together for the reception. Or, he can be helping me knock out formal portraits so we can get the wedding party to the reception as soon as possible. Having a second photographer really utilizes the time you've paid for.

Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer

Besides sharing their half of the shooting checklist, there's something priceless about a second shooter that isn't always discussed, but should be.

What would we do if I couldn't make it to your wedding?

It's a worse case scenario, my being incapacitated. This is clearly outlined in my contract and how this would be dealt with, but there is always the "what ifs" when it comes to wedding photography. What if I get horribly ill? What if my car breaks down or I am in a horrible accident on the way to the venue? Much like the President and the Vice President, my second shooter and I always ride separately to a venue. When you have a second shooter built into your coverage, you know that at any time, a photographer will be on site. They're prepared, mentally and physically equipped to shoot the day, and can pick up in my absence and take charge if needed.

I'm incredibly lucky that I have an awesome second shooter - someone that through our working together, has become one of my very best friends. Most of you probably know him by name, a one Mr. Chance Hammock. I'm fairly certain many of the guests just assume that we're a married couple, but we're actually both just photography nerds that love what we do. I love that during a wedding, I not only have company in a room full of mostly strangers, but I have someone to bounce ideas off of during the night. Sometimes shots that I've gotten have been inspired by his perspective, like the one below. And by inspired, I mean I pretty much stole the idea...

Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer

So for the reasons mentioned above, a second shooter will be joining me for all of my weddings from here on out. Giving my clients the best coverage and wedding experience is my goal year after year, and I know that in order to do that, a second photographer is key.

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