Wedding Second Photographers

Do I Need A Second Photographer For My Wedding?



Beginning your search for wedding photography has probably brought up the question, “Do I need a second photographer at my wedding?” I’m going to begin this post with the disclaimer that these are my personal opinions on the subject of second photographers. Every photographer has different needs and will have a different opinion on this. 


Reasons You May Want a Second Photographer: 


1) Groom Getting Ready. A second shooter provides dedicated coverage of the groom and groomsmen getting ready while the main photographer covers the bride and bridesmaids getting ready. If you’re getting ready at totally different locations you will probably want a second photographer. If you are getting ready at the same location you can possibly do it with one photographer, however, the time with the Bride will be interrupted for 30-45 minutes or so. 


2) Multiple Angles. Second photographers also provide different angles than the main photographer of the same moment. This allows for more candid images. For example, let’s say I am setting up a group shot of the girls and at the same time the groom’s father arrives. I can’t photograph that moment of the groom greeting his father while also setting up a group shot. 


3) Reception Detail Shots. You’ll want beautiful reception room details. In some cases where everything is at the same location I can get these details done earlier in the day (usually the 30-45 minutes prior to the ceremony). However, there are instances where the ceremony and reception are at different locations and I’m still photographing the family or the wedding party while guests are entering the reception room for cocktail hour. In these situations, you will want a second shooter to go immediately to the reception after the ceremony to grab all those gorgeous deal shots before guests enter and enjoy the space. 


4) Cocktail Hour. A second photographer can be photographing your guests at cocktail hour while we are still photographing the family and/or the wedding party photos. This will give you more candid and posed photos of your guests. 


5) Emergency Situations. If I were to be sick a few days prior to your wedding the likelihood of finding a replacement photographer for you is pretty good. I know a lot of great photographers in the industry. Now let’s say, heaven forbid, I was on the way to your wedding and got into a major accident. A second photographer would be an absolutely wonderful thing to have. If I’m hospitalized I obviously wouldn’t be able to make it to your wedding and may even be too incapacitated to get a hold of anyone else. With a second photographer, you’d at least have photography coverage for the day. This situation has never happened to me, but rare things such as this can still happen. 



Why you may not want one:


Really the only reason not to have one is the budget. The budget, however, is a pretty huge factor and having a second photographer can be costly. I price my second photographers separately for this reason. Although it would be great to raise prices and include a second photographer with every package, in many situations a second shooter is a want rather than a need. I photograph 90% of weddings solo, so it's definitely not an impossible task. 




The most common thing I hear from couples is that you need two photographers to capture the groom's reaction while the bride comes down the aisle. This is false. In most cases, your main photographer (me) will be near the front of the aisle as the bride begins walking down. This allows me to capture the bride coming down the aisle with her escort and, with a simple turn to the side, I can capture the groom’s reaction. The second photographer during this time is generally getting a shot of the bride from the back of the church. This includes the back of the bride's dress and the groom’s reaction from the back of the aisle.