Second Photographer vs An Assistant

Planning Tips

Finding the perfect wedding photographer or photography team can be a little intimidating. Often you talk with someone or read about them on their website and think you know what to expect. Little did you know, there are terms that you believe are the same thing, but in reality, have completely different meanings!

For our Tuesday Tips this week, we’re going to do something a little different. Instead of giving you 4 or 5 tips about a certain subject, we want to provide a little clarification on one of the most commonly misunderstood terms when it comes to wedding photography: An Assistant vs a Second Photographer!

A second photographer is just that… a photographer! If you have a second photographer in your wedding package, this person should be taking photos during the entire wedding day with a few exception (for instance, during family formals they may be handling gathering the family members on your list). Having a second photographer will allow you to get photos from multiple perspectives or multiple places at the same time.

On the other end of the spectrum is an assistant. Normally, an assistant is there to help the photographer out for the day. They are NOT there to capture images on your day but to make the life of the photographer a tad bit easier for the day. (Not that this is a bad thing)! Just note, you will have only one person taking photographs at your wedding and the photographer can  be in only one place at a time.

This brings up another common question… which is best? Both are fantastic and often having two photographers oppose to a photographer with an assistant can be more expensive. Why you might ask… basically if you want two photographers… you’re hiring the second person aka paying for their services. Whereas if the photographer chooses to utilize an assistant, they’re typically paying for the assistant’s services… aka the photographer is paying for the assistant.

One question we recommend asking if you’re meeting with photographers for your wedding day is to ask for clarification on if it’s a second photographer or an assistant. As a follow up, if it is a second photographer, clarify how much time do they spend taking photos on the wedding day and will the main photographer allow the second photographer to go to a separate area during the day to capture different moments (For example, the main photographer is with the Bride and the second photographer is with the Groom during the getting ready portion of the day). We have come across personally where we “hired a second photographer” but when it came to being in different places (same hotel… different rooms), that was not allowed and we noticed the second photographer did not photograph nearly as much of the day as we had expected. This was our own fault as we did not clarify or ask questions.

Here at Off the Film Photography, we do things a little different… for our full day collections, we use BOTH! As a husband and wife team, we photograph all our weddings together, as photographers. Normally, Ryan heads o􀁼 to the guys while Nicole stays with the gals. Then we bring along an assistant who is in charge of our gear, moving lights, gathering family members, or in general he does what he needs to do to get things done as smoothly as possible.Our promise to our clients is to make sure the wedding day is a stress free as possible, and our assistant helps keep that promise!

The best thing you can do for your wedding day is to make sure you’re 100% informed and know exactly what to expect!

Happy Planning,

Nicole and Ryan

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