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The no-fluff guide to deciding whether to have a second photographer at your wedding. Spoiler: yes.

just married couple recessing down the aisle with bubbles

Should you have a second photographer at wedding? It can represent an extra cost to you but is it worth it? Well, if you’re already budgeting a decent chunk for photography, it can be a worthwhile investment that won’t stretch your budget too much more. Here’s why: 

Capture more moments 

Your wedding day will go by in a whirl. This is just as true for a 12-hour extravaganza as it is for City Hall. When I look through the images shot by my second shooter, I’m often amazed at just how many things happened at the wedding that I wasn’t even aware of. Little interactions, grandparents shedding a tear, kids hamming it up for the camera. It would be a shame to miss those never-to-be-repeated moments.

Capture parts of the day that would have been missed

Having a second shooter means that more of the day’s events are actually covered. Your photographer can be in two places at once! One with each partner for the getting ready portion. One photographing the posed family portraits and the other shooting cocktail hour. It would be a real shame not to get any cocktail hour coverage since this is the main time to get beautiful candid portraits of your guests in great light.

Back up

In the extremely unlikely event of your photographer getting into an accident or having some issue with their gear, their back up gear, and backups of the backups, the second photographer will save the day. I always use highly skilled second photographers that can confidently and calmly take control if the worst happens. Most of my regular shooters operate their own businesses as wedding photographers. Many have been shooting longer than me. Their work, equipment, style, and skill is comparable to mine. They are my peers, not trainees.

A different perspective

A secondary perspective will so beautifully complement the lead shooter’s work. Here the lead is positioned next to the groom and photographs the bride walking up the aisle, and also the groom’s face. The second photographer captured the bride’s nerves and interactions with her parents before her processional, then follows her from behind to capture the back of the dress as she walks.

showing the different perspectives of having second photographer at wedding

These two photographs were taken at the same time. It wouldn’t be possible for one photographer to capture both.

A happier photographer

I think I speak for most photographers when I say we like to show up to a wedding with someone that’s on our team. We feel more confident and professional knowing that someone has our back and can assist us, grab the shots we need and give us peace of mind. We strive to be cheerful, smiling and free of stress at all times during your wedding day. Our team member will help us with this goal. As artists this is very important and really makes a difference.

A helper

Following on from this point, a second photographer can help me in so many ways which again contributes to the feeling of wellness. There are times when I’d ask them to grab me a glass or water, hold an off-camera light or take over while I use the restroom. They might help out during the formals as they would know exactly what to look for arranging groups and setting up rows of chairs, as we’ve done it countless times before!

A little more dollah, a lot more pictures

Ultimately you are already spending a good chunk of change on your wedding photography. It may not exactly be an ‘investment’ in the truest sense of the word, but it is a palpable thing that will continue to bring you joy for the rest of your lives. It pays dividends, as the joy increases with time. For just a comparatively small amount more, you could get almost twice the pictures from another skilled, experienced photographer.

having a second photographer lets you have more pictures

As I was 100% focused on the wedding party, I didn’t notice the drummer who’d just arrived behind me. But my second photographer did!

More creativity – another photographer’s own unique vision

We are creative types and love to share our unique way of picturing things. We use the camera as the tool to realize the creative vision we see in our mind’s eye. I love to encourage my second shooters to run with that. It’s much more fun this way, and so inspiring for me to see what they come up with. Also as the lead shooter, I am more concerned with nailing the must-get shots. They can be a little freer and more creative.

Any cons to having a second photographer at your wedding?

The only downsides to having a second shooter are:

– it may be slightly disruptive or change the dynamics if the wedding is a tiny group, or if the space is super cramped.

– it can represent an extra cost, depending on whether it’s already bundled with a package or not. 

– if anyone in the wedding *really* hates being photographed it could add some stress for them.

That’s really just about all I can think of for cons, and the third one is really scraping the barrel!

The Knot also has a great article about having a second photographer at your wedding.

I hope you can see that one of the most valuable add-ons you should consider for your wedding photography is a having second photographer. Having a second photographer at wedding is the best – you will not regret it! For more about my wedding photography services, check out this page!

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September 16, 2019

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Lover of ice cream, killer of houseplants, Zoe is a San Francisco-dwelling love documentarian. Contact | Insta

about the author

MOMENT CATCHER, LIGHT CHASER, DETAIL LOVER 

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