Most photographer’s know the start of their humble beginnings. They may have studied at college or university or began working in a photo-studio or for a photographer (I’ve pretty much done all of these!) Sooner or later, everyone does a bit of assisting for another photographer. It was a bit of a go to career for most of my peers at university, but sadly there aren’t enough photographers to go around. Luckily for me, I bumped into the incredibly talented, knowledgeable and helpful Victoria Dawe, who took me under her wing to assist her on a few weddings many years ago. I learnt so much from her, and I photographed her wedding a few years ago, and she photographed mine last year.
This was from one of the first weddings I photographed alongside Victoria Dawe.
A photography assistant for weddings is a bit of a dogsbody for equipment, setting up and carrying gear everywhere. But they can also be what’s commonly known as a ‘second shooter’, someone who photographs alongside the main photographer. The assisting photographer usually photographs the groom getting ready, capture photos of the guests arriving and details of the church/ceremony venue beforehand whilst the main photographer is photographing bridal preparations. The assistant also offers the option of getting a different angle of the wedding ceremony, usually the main photographer stands at the front of the church and the assistant can cover the wedding from the back of the venue.
This photo was taken by my assistant, I’m hiding behind one of the pillars on the right capturing the brides reaction to the grooms vows.
Then later, the assistant can help capture details and candid shots whilst the photographer is lining up family and friends for formal group shots, and photograph the guests reactions during the speeches. They can also help with technical lighting set-ups, allowing your photographer to shoot images they’re not otherwise able to by getting professional lighting to give you another style of wedding photograph
The lighting here was actually supplied by me and I got my assistant to shoot the photo. I had another camera just to the right and a flash to help expose both pictures simultaneously.
A second photographer is a very good option, if you’re looking to get different angles of your wedding and another perspective. It’s also definitely recommended if you have more than 100 guests at the wedding, as this will help both photographers spread the work load of trying to capture all your guests at your wedding. It also takes some pressure from the photographer, allowing them to fuel their creativity on the day and know that they have less to worry about than say, when they’re shooting alone.
Here’s an image I shot a few years back whilst I was assisting another photographer, some moments just can’t be captured if you’re not around to catch them, and obviously, two heads are better than one!
Of course, a photography assistant should be paid, so there is an additional cost to hiring a second shooter and if you’re on a tight budget, then it might be the thing you cut from your wedding photography package to save money. But if you can afford one, I thoroughly recommend it, not only for the points mentioned above, but you’ll be helping someone further their interest in photography and helping them build their portfolio and experience. After all, I wouldn’t be nearly as experienced in photography as I am today if I hadn’t had the opportunity to work alongside some amazing photographers.
If you’re interested in hiring an assistant for your wedding, please contact me for details.