What’s the difference between a second shooter and an assistant in photography?

When booking wedding clients, I often get asked about a second shooter. I thought I should explain what the difference between a second shooter and an assistant in photography really is.

I’m sure each wedding photographer has their own preferences and roles of an assistant, but I’ll go over mine.


For me, a wedding photography assistant is someone who accompanies you on the wedding day. They’ll help to help lighten the load of your gear. They’ll help you stay on time, help with lighting, and also to organize family photos. (For some more help with family photos, click here!)

Not having to worry about my bags or leaving something important behind is enough for me to have someone with me.

I always have two cameras with me as a backup so I always give my spare camera to my assistant. If they capture any good shots then I use them however, I never rely on them to get specific moments or things. I am very clear with my clients on this.

Second Shooter

A second shooter is another photographer that you hire to capture additional moments and images on the wedding day. That photographer typically uses their own gear but may use the main photographer’s CF or SD cards so that they can have all the images at the end of the day. The second shooter is paid hourly on the day of the wedding. Their only job of the day is to photograph. Often times, the main photographer will have an add on option for a second shooter that the clients can choose to add to the total wedding day package. The main photographer will always be the one in charge of keeping things on schedule and ensuring all important moments are captured.

The main photographer will also be the one to edit the photos so that all the photos are edited in the same way and have a cohesive feel to them when looking at the entire wedding album.

I hope this little breakdown was helpful for you 🙂

Keep Snappin’


Subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Instagram to be the first to know about new blog posts!