Do You NEED a Second Photographer for Your Wedding?

It’s the second question I get after “what will this cost me?” – ”Do I really need a second photographer?”

The answer is yes. And no. Let me explain.

First, I want to explain the difference between an assistant and a “second photographer”:

Second photographers (AKA “Second Shooters”) are talented colleagues of mine, often with their own studio, that join me the day of the wedding and well, shoot the day. There may be times where they’re not shooting and helping me, but for the most part, they have a camera in hand and are making pictures for my studio. Having an additional photographer doesn’t mean you get TWICE as many photos (in fact I’d say it’s more like 10-20% more images) but man they can alleviate those tight timelines.

SECOND PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE NOT:

-Students

-People who DM me looking to build their portfolio

-“Second-rate” photographers. I only hire photographers I’d trust to photograph my own wedding!

Knowing I had a trusted second photographer to shoot the action below, I was able to run upstairs for this epic overhead shot at Villa Woodbine

ADDING ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPHER TO YOUR COLLECTION:

-Allows your lead photographer cover your prep while the second documents your partner’s getting-ready prep- especially if they’re in another location

-Gives us more time to photograph reception room details while the second covers cocktail hour

-Lets you plan more than 10 family formals groupings, since we don’t have to rush through formals, wedding party, romantics, AND photographing reception room details in one hour.

-Having your ceremony in a different location? That second shooter can dash out the door right after the ceremony to photograph details before the big entrance

-Wedding party photos don’t take long when one photographer is with one partner and the other handles the other group.

-And of course, alternate angles, more details, and yeah, those extra photos.

Having a second photographer for this wedding allowed me to focus on the couple’s reactions to the reception toasts while the other photographer focused on the speaker.

BUT DO YOU REALLY NEED ONE?

Nah.

I photograph weddings with just an assistant all. the. time. Having a small backyard celebration with less than 50 guests? An extra photographer would only crowd you. Not too concerned with having every single table number sign documented? Then neither am I. Considering a destination wedding? It may be more cost-effective to just have one photographer fly out.

So no, an additional photographer is not a MUST HAVE. BUT, there are some things you can do to help me photograph everything you want documented:

Consider getting ready in the same location. Sometimes venues have GORGEOUS bridal suites, but leave grooms out by shoving them in a conference room (rude) or there may not be a room deal for your partner’s side to get ready comfortably.

See if your venue can extend cocktail hour by 30 minutes. This allows your guests an extra plate of snacks, and lets me photograph formals, wedding party, your portraits AND have a few minutes to photograph an empty reception space.

Add a “first look” to your timeline so there’s less to shoot right after you say “I do”. (More on first looks here)

Keep your family formals list short. There have been times that even without a first look AND second photographer my couple has been able to join cocktail hour! It can be done!

Still not sure whether you need a second photographer? I’m happy to chat!

Looking for more helpful tips and advice for your South Florida Wedding? I’ve written some helpful articles!