Should second shooters share images online?

Should Second shooters share images online? What are your thoughts?


Here’s something that has been on my mind for a while now that I’d like to have a conversation about… while sharing some much needed tough love!


Just a few days ago, I read yet another post about the client sharing the second shooter’s images all over their social media and updating their profile picture as well.


Contrary to popular belief, I believe that second shooters should not use any images online that they take while working for another photographer. Here’s why:


  • If they share images that did not make it in the main gallery and the clients see them, they might feel like you (the main photographer) did not deliver ALL the images from their wedding… images they “paid” for. Hello trouble!
  • The second shooter gets PAID to perform a job. This should not be a portfolio building opportunity, especially if they already have their own paying clients.
  • Every photographer has a unique editing style, so the chances are that the second shooter’s edits won’t be an accurate representation of your work.
  • It can hurt your brand, as your work can be viewed as inconsistent by the people who see both versions online.


I’ll stop here for now, but the list goes on…


Here’s why I feel so strongly about this!


Story #1:

When I second shot for the first time in the beginning of my business, the photographer allowed me to use the images on my blog and social media. I was so excited!


A couple of weeks after the wedding, I received an email from the bride asking if I could send her one of the images in my blog post, as it had not been included in the final gallery. I felt terrible, and quite honestly, I did not know how to respond. I felt like I was doing the main shooter a big disservice by being in contact with her client. So I immediately let the photographer know and took that as a learning opportunity! Imagine the headache this could have caused the other photographer!!


Story #2:

One time, a second shooter tagged the vendors in an Instagram story without thinking much of it. Everyone likes to share little behind-the-scene stories on their Instagram when they are out shooting a wedding. Right?! What happened was that a few days later, some vendors emailed the second shooter asking them for photos from the event.


What’s wrong with this scenario?!


The second shooter gets exposure from a job they did not get booked for as lead photographer. I completely agree that there’s enough work to go around, however, I feel like this situation can unfortunately hurt the lead photographer, who actually was commissioned (and was the client’s first choice) to perform a service.


When you second shoot, it’s always best to focus your energy on serving the main photographer and creating a relationship with them. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve referred weddings to second shooters I’ve loved working with.


As a disclaimer, I know that everyone starts somewhere, and if there’s a way to partner with a more experienced photographer so that both parties can benefit, then go for it. However, there are so many other amazing opportunities to build up a portfolio (that I’m going to talk about in next week’s blog post). I truly believe that experienced second shooters should be equally skilled photographers that are there to perform a job under the lead photographer’s brand, while serving them to the best of their ability.


Do you share the same opinion, or do you kindly disagree? I really do want to have a good conversation around this topic (should second shooters share images online?) and I want to invite you to share your thoughts inside of our Facebook group. See you there!


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