As a Toronto wedding photographer, my average bride requests a full service day that takes place all around the city.  From getting ready locations in Markham to receptions in Mississauga, when you live and work in Toronto (or any big city) you do your fair share of commuting.  So what happens when your client requires 2 photographers?  Who do you turn to?  How do you you find a second shooter?  A lot of newer photographers feel the pressure to offer 2 photographers in their packages and a lot of those photographers will default to the idea of having their spouse or significant other grab a camera and fill the role.  But should your spouse be your second shooter?  Please – if you read no other entries on my blog – read this one and let it leave a lasting impression on you.

If your spouse/partner/significant other is not a photographer, they have no business posing as a photographer.

Hold up, folks!  Don’t get upset just yet… let me explain.

Yes, it’s true that we all have to start somewhere.  If your spouse is interested in photography and wants to learn the skills with the intention of becoming your equal, then that’s awesome.  Help encourage them to grow by shooting along side you in situations where a second shooter really isn’t required or requested by the couple; that way if they don’t get all the “must have” images, that’s okay – because they weren’t required to in the first place.  Encourage them to take courses and workshops and to work with other photographers, too.  Eventually – as you did – they will build a robust skill set and be versatile under any situation.  THIS is when you should be prompting them as an official, trained, professional second shooter.  Until they reach this level, you should be hiring trained professional photographers as your second shooter.

scarborough bluffs engagement photos 68 - Is it a Good Idea to Have your Spouse as a Second Shooter

If your partner; on the other hand, just picks up a camera and “takes candids” during the wedding day with little to no training, should you really be advertising your packages as containing two photographers?  Your answer to that question depends highly on your ethics and respect for your industry.

People who are not professional photographers should never, under any circumstance, be advertised as or be a part of a team labeled as professional photographers.  Having people posing as something they aren’t can not only get you in a lot of hot water if they can’t produce product that meets the clients expectations but also cheapens the industry as a whole.  As professionals our job is to uphold the integrity of our professional and to promote positive growth of our talents; not to give a camera to our sweethearts just so we can advertise our package as “containing 2 photographers”.