I’ll go ahead and admit it. This past wedding was my third wedding all by myself. Meaning, the bride contacted me to shoot her wedding. My very first wedding was small (praise the Lord) and it was just me as the shooter. My second wedding, I ‘hired’ my sister to shoot with me. She has a good eye and understands the basics of shooting. I knew I could get the ‘money’ shots, but having her there was a big help with the candid detail stuff.

For this wedding, however, I knew it was time to step up and play with the big boys. I had to hire someone who knew their camera inside and out and had the desire to shoot weddings. The photographer I had lined up to work this wedding had a camera problem come up and wasn’t able to shoot with me. About a week prior to the wedding, I was able to get another second shooter lined up, Kristy Kaliope of Kristy Kaliope Photography.

Kristy and I had met briefly once at a photographer get together and we are friends in a couple groups on Facebook, but we had never worked together before. I had checked out her work on facebook and her website and it was obvious she knew her camera. Although she hadn’t shot many weddings before, I knew she would do a fine job. Everyone has to start somewhere right?

I let my second shooters use the images they take at weddings for their portfolios. However, if they post the wedding on facebook or in a blog post, they have to site me as the photographer they worked with. I think that’s fair and it hasn’t done me wrong yet. That’s how most of the second shooting jobs I’ve done have worked as well. I know other photographers have a different philosophy, but until this one serves me wrong, it’s how I will keep operating.

I thought I’d share with you the images Kristy and I captured throughout the day. As the main shooter for the wedding, everyone is looking at me when it comes picture time. I like how a second shooter can sort of blend into the background and get those really great candid shots or perhaps a different angle on the same pose. I feel like Kristy did a great job of it and thought I’d post some our work.

The images on the left and top are mine and the ones on the right and bottom are Kristy’s.

The bride and groom did an exchange of gifts prior to the ceremony. I wanted to catch both of their expressions at the same time. Kristy was able to zoom in and get more personal detail of the exchange.

I can’t think of a more valuable place for having a second shooter than when the bride walks down the aisle. The top image is mine just as the doors opened and prior to everyone standing. The image below is Kristy’s, a special moment between father and daughter right before the doors opened. I can’t be in two places at once and hiring a second shooter will allow you to essentially be in two places at once.

Here, I was on the main floor and Kristy was up in the balcony. We were both able to capture that first kiss as husband and wife, mine closer on the main level and Kristy zooming in from the balcony. Might I also add that having the 70-200 lens really comes in handy for second shooting.

I love these two shots. One of the ladies who was cleaning up, after everyone had gone on to the reception, walked out of the church with a tray of cookies. Brandon grabbed one as we were moving to another location on the property to shoot.  I was walking with Anna-Layne and Brandon, while Kristy had already moved farther out. I think in my image you can see he’s eating a cookie and in her image it gives you the big picture.

Again, another moment that was priceless; the bouquet and garter toss. Kristy focused on the bride and groom, while I focused on the crowd. There really wouldn’t be another way to get these shots without two photographers or sacrificing some part of the moment.

I hoped I’ve shown you the value to having a second shooter, whether you are a bride, a photographer, or merely someone who has an interest in photography. I had two shooters at my wedding and I found myself liking the second shooters images more than the main photographer. I like those candid, raw moments that aren’t scripted and aren’t so posed. Yes, weddings call for posed shots, but my favorite pictures are the  ones that happen naturally. You see true emotion and that can’t be scripted as easily.