If you’ve looked into different wedding photographers, you’ve probably realized that there are differing opinions among photographers on Second Photographers (or Second Shooters). A Second Photographer is just that, an additional photographer working alongside your main photographer. Some photographers do not work with second photographers at all; others may offer you the option to add a second photographer to your wedding collection at a fee. Others (like me!) include a second photographer in every wedding collection. Depending on the photographer you ask, you will get a different answer to the question “Do I need a second photographer?” but here is my answer:
I am a firm believer in having two photographers cover a wedding for a couple reasons….
The first reason is practical. What if (knock on wood) something were to happen to your main photographer the day of the wedding? What if they took photos during your ceremony, tripped and sprained their ankle, leaving them unable to photograph the remainder of your wedding? What would they do? Call all the photographers they know and hope someone is available. Even if they can find someone available, how long will it take them to get ready, pack up all their gear, and get to your venue location? An hour, two, maybe more? This is precious time on your wedding day. You could lose all of your family, formal portraits, or wedding party portraits. With a second photographer, if anything were to happen to me on your wedding day, there is already another qualified photographer ready to take over. No lapse in coverage!
With a second photographer, you get more photos. During all posed portraits, I like to strategically place myself and my second photographer in a way that will let us capture the same moment from a different angle. The final result gives us more portraits of the same moment. This becomes extremely important for first looks or ceremony portraits. During a first look, I like to position myself in a way that will let me capture the bride’s reaction and my second photographer in a position that will allow them to focus on the groom’s reaction. This way, when their final gallery is delivered, the couple will have portraits of both of them as they embrace each other for their first look. For ceremonies, I have a similar set up where I place myself near the aisle, so I can capture the bride as she walks down, and then as she passes me, I turn around and capture a portrait of the back of the dress. My second photographer will be positioned further down the aisle focused on the groom and his reaction when he sees his bride. Take a look at some of the photos from Grace’s first look with her dad below.
Having a second photographer with me allows me to organize and capture photos much faster than I would be able to on my own. For family formal portraits, I will often stand back with my camera ready to capture the ‘posed’ portrait while my second photographer stands off to the side, calls off the family member’s names, and organizing the group. This saves so much time because we can separate tasks. Doing all of this on my own would take twice as long!
Candids are, by far, my favorite type of portrait. Having a second photographer means twice as many candids. Throughout the wedding day, there are plenty of things I need to do that are not photographing. For example, I might be reminding a bride of the timeline, straightening the groom’s tie, helping to secure a veil in the bride’s hair, etc. While I’m doing all of this, my second photographer is free to capture candid moments as they unfold.
With a second photographer, I can capture different angles of the same moment. The best way to explain this is to show you. Take a look at the photos below. These were both taken during Anna & Devyn’s first kiss. I was positioned in the middle of the aisle while my second shooter was positioned behind the bridesmaids. The same moment, but because there were two photographers, the bride and groom now have two very different photos of their first kiss!!
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