I'm Ali - a photographer who built her business from the ground up and wants to help others do the same.







Setting Up Your Second for Success

November 22, 2022

In the past, I have focused on making sure YOU are a good second…but what about when you are in the position to hire a second shooter? It’s way different being on the other side of the working relationship as the primary. So this week’s #tpftuesday is all about setting up your second shooter (and by extension, yourself) for success!

Photo taken by Hannah Joy Photography as my second

Setting Expectations

Photo taken by Hanna Morgan Photography as my second

Prior to the wedding day, it is important that your second shooter knows what you expect from them. This is often something photographers who have not hired a second shooter overlook. You can never assume that someone shoots in the same way as you or relates to the client the same way as you.

This may seem like overkill, but I even ask potential second shooters what their average aperture is when they shoot on their own. I shoot pretty wide open, so I need someone whose images are going to match my style when I deliver the final gallery. Trust me! I have had it happen where all the images that I got were f/4.0 and up!

Additionally, you want to make sure that your second shooters relate to clients in a similar manner that you do. If you are a very attentive photographer, you want someone who is going to treat your client with the same level of attentiveness!


Prior to hiring someone, it is important to know what equipment they have. It’s not a deal break if they shoot a different system than you, but it is good to know if they have prime or zoom lenses.

I have a specific workflow that I use on a wedding day, which includes specific lenses that I use during certain parts of the day. For example, during ceremonies, I always have my second shooter on a 70-200 so they can capture smaller details, while I capture the larger picture.

In order to outline my expectations of the second shooter prior to the actual wedding day, I send them a Second Shooter Guide that is a hidden page on my website. You can take a look at that hidden page here.

It not only outlines my expectations and their responsibilities, but it also gives them sample images of what I expect to see when I upload their cards!

Day Of

Photo taken by my husband while second shooting for me 🙂 We have fun

On the day of the wedding, be sure to give your second shooter a memory card. Their camera should be set up to dual record to BOTH cards if they’re also shooting on one of their own.

Also, it is best practice to sync camera times with one another. When you’re uploading your images to Lightroom, they are sorted chronologically. If your camera is 30 minutes ahead of your second’s camera, then you will have images out of order (picture processional mixed in with family formals). It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but when syncing editing settings, it really does become time consuming, swapping back and forth between different lighting scenarios and times of day.

First, CONGRATULATIONS that you have booked your own wedding as a primary and are at the point in your business where you’re hiring second shooters!

Second, I hope this is helpful as you navigate the onboarding process to smoothly transition someone to be an extension of yourself and your brand.

Cheering you on always, friend.

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