There are so many decisions to make when planning your wedding, and wedding photography is one of the biggest! One of the biggest questions I get from prospective couples is, “Do I need a second photographer at my wedding?” And the answer is actually, “Maybe!”
To start with, what is a ‘second shooter’ or second photographer? Basically, a second wedding photographer is someone who works alongside your primary wedding photographer to photograph different angles, separate locations and assist with logistics of wedding day photography.
Here are a few of my favourite reasons to have a second shooter at the wedding! Since wedding planning is all about lists (am I right?), I’ll list the reasons first, and then break each one down with a little more detail below.
There are lots of times that having photos from different angles comes in handy! During the ceremony and first look, one photographer can focus on the Groom’s reaction, and the other can photograph the Bride. During the ceremony, one can photograph an epic wider shot from the back of the church, one can photograph more intimate, emotional images from the front. During your Reception, one may be shooting party dancing while another can be capturing fun group shots and candids.
2. A second wedding photographer is helpful when the couple is getting ready in two separate locations.
Two photographers allow for one to be with the Bride before the wedding and for the other to simultaneously photograph the Groom’s preparations. If the Bride and Groom are getting ready in two separate locations, it’s definitely a good idea to have a second shooter.
3. A second shooter is a good idea if your venue is very large or spread out.
I run 10k races and am fairly speedy on foot, but I can’t physically be in two places at once or time travel (yet!). So if your venue is very large, it’s pretty much a necessity to have two photographers on site.
4. The second shooter can help get you to your Reception sooner.
If you have a large wedding party, or large family, a second shooter really saves the day! Two photographers help speed up family portraits, allowing you to get to your Reception sooner! During this part of the day, the second photographer is really helpful!
If you would like a lot of family portraits, a second shooter will be your best option. They can assist with rounding up family members for the next photo and keep track of which portraits have been shot and which ones remain. The second photographer also helps line-ups and pose large groups.
The second photographer provides another set of eyes to make sure everything in your family formals is perfect, helping me look for things like hair bands on the ladies’ wrists, removing sunglasses, making sure zippers are up and collars are down! That allows me to focus on composition, posing, and making sure all family members look their best!
5. Two wedding photographers provide more coverage during the dancing to capture all the candid fun.
One photographer can stand on a chair to get an overview from above while the other can zoom in on guests who have particularly smooth dance moves. One can be out on the dance floor, and another can whisk the couple away for sunset portraits or grab fun candids of all the college friends hanging out by the fire pit.
6. A second wedding photographer provides a backup.
I wear two cameras on my harness and shoot with both of them throughout the day, so I always have a backup camera on me. But the second shooter provides a backup for me! So if something epic happens while I’ve gone to grab a glass of water, or change batteries or camera cards, for example, you’ve still got coverage!
7. The second shooter can head on to the cocktail hour and Reception while I am shooting portraits.
Generally, the couple goes with me for a few ‘just married’ portraits after their family formals. If you have a lot of guests, the second shooter can head over to the party and start capturing some group shots and candids. This is particularly helpful if your Reception is at a separate location from the ceremony!
8. The second shooter can physically help me get shots that I’d have difficulty getting on my own.
I’m able to get some more creative shots when I have another set of hands around. They help hold lights at the right angles and help me hang the wedding dress in places I couldn’t reach on my own. They stabilize the chair or ladder I’m standing on to get certain shots. One of my favourite things they help me with is making the veil ‘fly’ in photos as though the wind captured it. They toss the veil in the air and literally run quickly to get out of frame before it falls! When it’s pouring down the rain, they help by holding umbrellas.
9. A second photographer brings their own unique vision.
Another of my favourite reasons to have a second wedding photographer is because each photographer brings their own unique way of seeing things and you’ll get more variety in your images because of this. We photographers are the creative type, and we pride ourselves on seeing things a little differently than other people. We also see things differently from each other! I have several very talented second photographers who I love to work with, and I’m always inspired by some of the great shots they get during the day, too!
I choose photographers whose style complements my own. One photographer’s work may be a little more romantic while the other photographer’s work is more dramatic. The end result is more opportunities for images that the couple will love!
10. Two photographers give you more images than one would.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Two photographers shooting your wedding will provide more images than one would!
Here’s another quick list for you!
There’s one reason I didn’t list here—budget. I completely understand budgeting, but prioritising your photography in your budget is something you won’t regret! According to The Knot’s survey, one of the top 5 regrets couples did have about their budget was not spending enough on their photography! In this survey, many wished they’d spent less on their invitations and dress so they’d have had more to spend on their photography. Remember, your photography and videography are among the very few things you’ll keep after the wedding to remember the day!
Finally, if you're still on the fence, I'm happy to hop on a call with you! You can share your vision and together we can come up with the best recommendation for your dream wedding!