Tips for Hiring a Second Photographer & Why You Need a Contract

Sep 15, 2023

 Why you need a contract:

 The main point I want to drive home today is the importance of having a contract in place with your second photographer. Most of us want to just believe the good in people, but there are so many reasons we need a contract even with someone we have worked with before. A contract is there to protect you both, it clearly lays out the expectations so there is no miss communications and it is clear what is expected. I am going to give you some things to think about that should be covered in your contract. For starters, the basic information they are agreeing to. The date and location of the wedding, how much you are paying them, and how you are paying them. You also need to be stating in some way that they are not an employee of your business and they are a contractor who is responsible for paying their own taxes. You want to talk about expectations for their photos including how and when they are delivered, the format they should be photographing in, but also what happens if they fail to perform. What happens if they provide an sd card of photos and 90% of them blurry and unusable. Your contract would cover what would happen in this situation. One super important section is how they can use the photos they take and when. There is nothing more frustrating than a second photographer who posts sneak peeks and tags the venue and vendors. That is just not acceptable. But you have to have that clear communication telling them how and when they can post those photos. Although we never want to run into situations where we have to deal with a second photographer who doesn’t follow through, fails to perform, or doesn’t do what they are supposed to, it happens and is why you should be having contracts in place. I am not a lawyer, but there are tons of great contracts out there you can purchase like the Law Tog and The Legal Page. 


How can we get good content from our second photographers?

So now we have the second photographer contracted to come to the wedding, how can we ensure they are providing good work, making our lives easier. One thing I always recommend is throughout the day as you go through different lighting scenarios, let them know what your settings are so they can mimic them making your life easier when it comes to editing them on the backend. It can be so hard to edit a consistent gallery when the second photographers photos look nothing like yours. Letting them know your settings will help you on the back end. You also need to be instructing them what you want in different situations. You are not going to be fully happy if you are expecting something but you didn’t tell them what you were expecting from them. Clear communication is the key to everyone being happy. So here are some examples of this. You second photographer is going to be spend the entire time solo with the groom and groomsman. Text them some example photos and say these are my standard go to groom photos that I get for every wedding, if you want to make sure you capture these. The grooms suite is a little dark, I would like you to capture the groom specific photos in the bar area instead. You are being specific, telling them what you want, and showing examples. During the ceremony, let them know where you want them to stand and what you want them to focus on capturing. For me, I like my seconds to have a long distance lens like a 70-200 and focus on guest reactions during the ceremony. I then tell them what I am going to be doing and where I am going to be standing. Beyond them, it is important for them to know what you are doing so they are not in your way or in your shot. For example, as soon as they are done walking down the aisle the first thing I do is head to the back and get my wide angle shot of the entire ceremony. I don’t want them to be in it, but they wouldn’t know that if I didn’t communicate that, so I need to tell them to come to the very back at the point because I am going to be getting that wide angle shot. When it comes to the portrait portion, I might say I am photographing everything mostly on my 85 lens, why don’t you use your 35 so we have variety and you can grab some more wide angle shots during portraits. Whatever this looks like for you, just remember you can work as a team if you don’t act like a team. 


Let's work together to lead by example:

The last thought that I have for you today is to lead by example. I am not saying that you should act differently around your second photographer or because you have a second photographer. We should always be doing our best while treating everyone with kindness and respect. I just want to give you a reminder that you are probably being watched fairly closely. There is a really good chance that your second photographer is a newer photographer who is learning and they are using this experience with you to learn. They are actively watching you and how you interact with people throughout the day and how you do things. I just want to remind you that we need to be leading by example and showing them what a good experience for your clients looks like or how we can respectfully deal with difficult clients or situations. Let’s work on being good leaders and examples for our wedding community and newer photographers. That is all for today’s episode. Make sure to go join our Facebook community because you are more than welcome to post looking for second photographers for your weddings there.


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