There seems to be some confusion in the ranks of photographers, as far as the difference between ‘2nd Photographer’ and ‘Photographer Assistant’ is concerned. Some ask for the services of the first, actually needing the services of the last and vice versa.
So, let’s list the differences as generally perceived by togs who have these two categories of ‘helpers’ clearly sorted in their minds:
2nd Photographer (a.k.a ‘2nd Shooter’)
Is employed mainly to take supplementary images of an event;
Might be asked to edit his/her own images;
May branch off, working independently from main photographer to capture images, such as photographing: –
- the groom / best men dressing up whilst the main photographer covers the bride / bridesmaids dressing up;
- the bride walking down the aisle from the back whilst the main photographer covers her from the front;
- the groom seeing the bride for the first time as she comes down the aisle whilst the main photographer focuses on the bride;
- the same scene as the main photographer but preferably with different lenses and/or focal lengths;
Is employed by the main photographer so is only accountable to him/her;
Is employed mainly to
- assist a photographer with the carrying and setup of gear;
- assist a photographer with creating ideal lighting conditions (by holding / setting up diffusors, reflectors and external lighting);
Is not involved with image editing;
Always shadows the photographer(s) assisted;
Might assist more than one photographer as and when the need arises;
Of course these differences are not set in stone. Some photographers might hire a student / amateur photographer as assistant and then allows him/her to occasionally take a shot with or without assistance from the (2nd or main) photographer. Some photographers would hire one or more assistants per (2nd and main) photographer. Some main photographers would not share assistants and others would.
Both 2nd shooters and assistants are critical to the success of some event shoots, depending on the task load. Whatever the arrangement with either: a clear, written ‘contract’ is highly recommended so that everyone knows what’s expected and what’s allowed (and vice versa) on the day(s) of the shoot. Let’s use them and appreciate them for what they are and give them the respect they deserve! We need them both!
Other blogs by the same author:
My website: www.ctsphotography.co.za
My favourite photography website: www.lightstalking.com
Tobie Schalkwyk is a full-time Java web developer who hopes to move into full time wedding, portrait and event photography when he retires at the end of 2017. All comments on this blog are most welcome. What are your concerns re. your wedding photographs / photographer? Share your thoughts below! Any questions about your coming shoot? Let them come!