Note: When planning a wedding, reach out to your professional photographer as soon as possible. Based on the specific details of your big day, they can help shape timelines and provide important information regarding coverage.

Do we need a second photographer?

This may seem obvious, but you can’t add a second photographer after your wedding already happened. Even the most skilled photographer cannot physically be in two locations at once. With that said, I would strongly encourage a second photographer at any size wedding, but especially at large weddings with 150+ guests. If your budget allows, a second photographer is the most effective way to enhance the memory of your special day!

What does a second photographer do for us?

Generally speaking, the second photographer acts as an extension of the photographer. They provide the ability to capture two locations at once, such as the getting ready process for each person. This will allow the photos to be told from both partner’s perspectives. The second shooter can also cover cocktail hour and reception details while the photographer takes couple portraits – increasing total picture output and offering two unique perspectives on the day!

Having two camera operators at once also provides different angles of the same moment, such as saying vows and parent reactions. Family formal sessions are also sped up, reducing the time it takes from ceremony to reception. In certain cases, the second shooter can cover pictures while the main photographer doubles as a videographer. Years of shooting experience allows me to work fluidly without a second shooter, but they enhance the flow of the day and provide nothing but benefits.

You’re still reading? Good for you – knowledge is power! In events of gear failure, a second photographer also provides a second set of backups. My second shooter uses all the same gear so everything remains interchangeable. Ultimately, wedding photography is an investment in memories. These pictures will continue to bring you and the ones you love continued joy throughout life. Paying for a second photographer is a small expense when you factor in how irreplaceable their role can be!

Any parting words of wisdom?

My viewpoint may be somewhat biased, but I also base my opinion on years of firsthand experience as a second shooter. Now that I run my own company as lead photographer, my talented wife shoots beside me as my second photographer.

This brings me to my next point – always ask about the second photographer even if you are not currently interested. This way, you’ll have peace of mind in case you decide on it closer to the date. Some companies hire the first person to respond on Craigslist in order for quick turnaround, so always ask who the second camera operator is. My second shooter knows me on an intimate level, able to sense my direction and flow with the day.

I personally would not hire a wedding photographer without a second shooter and they must have a history of working together. Cosmopolitan Events has a great article on second shooters and they say “Many couples admit that not spending more money on photography is one of their biggest wedding day regrets – and we tend to agree. In most cases, you’ll want a second shooter.”

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