I usually shoot most weddings as the sole photographer, with an assistant who doesn’t take pictures. All of my wedding packages include me as the main photographer, with the option to add on a second shooter. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a second shooter, I am the main photographer, and I hire another photographer to shoot with me for the day. I choose someone with a similar style so their images look consistent with my own. After the wedding day, I take the second photographer’s pictures and edit them as my own. Most of the time, you’ll end up with around 100 extra pictures taken by the second shooter. If you’re wondering whether or not you should spend the money to add a second photographer, this post is for you! Here are 3 reasons why you should consider adding a second photographer.
One main advantage to having a second photographer is that they can get different angles of your wedding day events. Since I can only be one place at one time, it’s nice to have another photographer capturing the same event from a different angle. For example, I always shoot the bride walking down the aisle from the front. This allows me to capture both the bride and the groom’s faces. If I have a second photographer, they will usually shoot the bride walking down the aisle from the back to capture her train and wedding dress from the back. This option gives you pictures from the back instead of just pictures from the front.
Having a second photographer to shoot from different angles is most helpful during a ceremony when time is limited. My focus during the ceremony is on the vows, the speaker, the exchanging of rings, and of course, the kiss! If you’re getting married in a beautiful location, you’re going to want a nice wide shot of the ceremony location while the ceremony is going on. I don’t usually want to risk missing anything important to walk far enough away from the ceremony to capture a nice wide angle. This is when having a second shooter is helpful!
Both of the shots above would be very difficult to get without a second shooter. For the shot in the church, I could tell the wedding message would be a long one so I knew I had enough time to make it up to the balcony and back before the vows. Usually though, I wouldn’t have time to get a shot like this while still capturing all of the important moments. For the backyard wedding, I knew I wanted a picture that included the house, the pond, and the entire ceremony. I had my second shooter walk all the way to the other side of the pond during the ceremony to get this picture. I definitely wouldn’t have had the time to get a shot like this if I was shooting alone.
In certain instances, having a second photographer saves time on the wedding day. Usually, the second photographer will shoot the groom and groomsmen getting ready while I’m shooting the bride and bridesmaids getting ready. Instead of having to allow separate times for the bride and groom getting ready, you can have the bride and groom getting ready at the same time. The second photographer also saves time during the bridal party portraits because I will usually have them shoot individuals of the groom with each groomsmen and the bride with each bridesmaid, while I focus on the group shots. Overall, adding a second photographer can save around an hour of coverage on your wedding day.
Obviously though, if your focus is saving money, a second shooter is still more expensive than an hour of coverage. This time saving advantage, however, is helpful if you’re locked into certain venue restrictions that might limit time for portraits or getting ready. For example, if you’re only able to be at your venue a couple hours before the ceremony, but you still want pictures of both bride and groom getting ready at the venue, a second photographer would allow you to do this.
I didn’t have a second shooter for the wedding, but if I did, they would be shooting the individual groomsmen with the groom while I shot the bridesmaids pictures. And when I would shoot the group shots of the groom and groomsmen, the second shooter would shoot the bride with each individual bridesmaid to save time.
Having a second photographer gives you more images of candid moments. My focus on the wedding day is capturing the posed portraits and the events of the day. I usually will be able to capture some candid shots throughout the day, but having a second photographer will definitely give you more candid pictures. For example, during the speeches and toasts, my focus is always on the speaker or the bride and groom. I don’t want to turn my camera away in case I miss the moment of the bride tearing up or the groom bursting into laughter. If you add a second shooter, their focus will be on the guest reactions. You’ll get more pictures of family and friends reactions instead of just pictures of the speaker.
A second photographer can also capture candid moments while I’m shooting posed portraits. Since my attention will be on posing and directing during this time, the second photographer will be able to capture whatever is happening besides just the posed pictures.
A second shooter can capture candid moments like the shot of the groom with the ring bearer while I handle posing and directing the more formal shots.
Overall, adding a second photographer allows you to have pictures from more creative angles, saves time, and gives you more candid pictures. If these things are important to you, definitely consider adding a second photographer to your wedding package! If they’re not super important to you, it might not be worth it. For most weddings, I’m shooting alone, so you’ll still get a ton of great shots, even without a second photographer! If you’re one of my brides, you can choose to add a second photographer up to 3 months before your wedding day.