Second Photographers – Do You Need One?

One of the most common questions I get when talking with couples is, “What are the benefits of having a second photographer? Do I need one?”. The short answer is… no. You don’t need one. I truly do believe that I can capture your wedding day by myself – I’ve done it before countless times and I can do it again. BUT. There are some major benefits to having a second photographer as part of your package that are worth considering.

Black and white image of a wedding couple - bride and groom - spinning in a field.

Things to consider:

  1. Are you getting ready in the same location?

If you and your soon-to-be spouse are getting ready in the same hotel, venue, house, etc. it makes it much easier for a single photographer to capture getting ready photos for both of you. If you’re getting ready in different locations across the city from each other, it may be worth having the second photographer. Of course, this is all assuming it is important to get getting ready photos of both parties.

Things to keep in mind: It is fairly easy to stage getting ready photos of a groom. “Take your jacket off and put it back on”, “Straighten your tie”, and “Pretend to fix your cuff links while looking out this window” can go a long way.

2. Are you doing a first look before the ceremony?

This is a huge consideration when deciding if you are going to have a second photographer at your wedding. I have done a number of first looks without a second photographer. The biggest difference here is – if it is just one photographer, you will likely only get photos of one reaction, or photos straight on. If you are not doing a first look until you walk down the aisle, make sure you talk with your photographer about how comfortable they feel with capturing you walking down the aisle AND the reaction of your spouse. I shoot my weddings with two camera bodies and with two different lenses – so I can switch cameras quickly to get that up close reaction shot.

Things to keep in mind: If the first look is a part of the day you consider to be one of the most important parts of your day, it may be worth having the second photographer there to make sure you have all the reaction photos you want.

3. Is your guest list small and intimate, or are you throwing the party of the century?

It’s probably obvious, but the more people attending the wedding, the more valuable the second photographer becomes. At a small ceremony and reception, you’ll have a lot of repeat photos (and frankly, a lot of extra work culling and editing on your photographer’s part) if you have a second photographer there the entire day. But, if your guest list is 200+, it might be nice to have the second photographer to make sure you have more photos of all of your guests.

Things to keep in mind: Your photographer will do their best to get photos of your guests, but remember that if you want a lot of photos of you and the wedding party, a second photographer could handle more of the candid guest photos while the head photographer can really focus on you.

As always, you should talk with your photographer about what they feel is best for your wedding day. Some photographers feel confident in photographing the wedding solo, while others really love the value a second photographer brings. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle.

As always, reach out in the comments or email if you have any questions! I’m always happy to help!

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