Tuesday Truth: 2nd shooting v. assisting

I love weddings. It’s not just that I love photographing them, I mean of course I do, but I love weddings more so for the beauty that surrounds this idea of two people in love, coming together to begin a new life journey.

While I have been blessed with getting to photograph past and future CCP brides (hello ladies, I love you all!), I love getting to second shoot for and assist photographers at their clients’ weddings. You may be thinking”wait, why? wouldn’t you rather just be shooting your own clients”. In some ways, the answer to that is “no”, and here’s why:


Jen Fariello is one of the top wedding photographers in the state of Virginia and I have been lucky enough to assist her at several weddings since I interned with her 2 years ago. Jen is a film photographer so when I go to a wedding with her, it’s rare that I actually take any pictures. Instead, I rock a fanny pick that is filled with rolls of film and will reload her extra Contax insert and store the film she’s used in her 30 pound camera bag (I kid you not, that thing is heavy). You might also catch me running to grab water for Jen, the bride, and the videographer, adjusting a veil or bouquet, or holding Uncle Dan’s champagne glass during family portraits. This may not seem like the most glamorous job in the world, and to be honest, it really isn’t, but, I. Love. It. First of all, I’m getting to watch a photographer who is incredibly skilled at what she does work her magic. Not only does Jen take amazing photographs, but she also knows the ins and outs of handling a wedding day and interacting with clients, and to top it off she’s also opening my eyes to the true beauty of film photography. It’s an amazing experience

For me, second shooting is essentially assisting with the added task of taking pictures. As a second shooter, I strive for two things: I want to take photos that the primary photog will be proud to include in his or her final group of images for clients, and I also strive to simply be of help. It’s important, as a second shooter, to remember that this is not your wedding. You are there to help the primary photographer and are a part of his or her business. I never, ever, ever give out my business card when assisting or second shooting. It’s unprofessional, and the way I see it, when you’re second shooting, you are essentially an employee of whomever you’re shooting with. The bonus of second shooting vs. assisting is that you actually get to take pictures which of course, every photographer lives for.


I think at the end of the day, the reason I love both assisting photographers and second shooting for them, is that it gives me an opportunity to see how other people navigate a wedding day. While I have my own approach to photographing a client’s wedding, I’m always inspired to see how others are doing things. As my girl, Amy Poehler, once said, “As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life”.


Author: Carrie