Do I Need a Second Photographer?

I get asked a lot about second shooters, and what their role is during a wedding day! It can be tempting to forgo the extra pair of hands if the budget is tight, but depending on the size of your wedding, they might be essential for making sure your wedding day photography is thorough. Every wedding is different – here’s some FAQ’s about second shooters to help you decide if yours needs one.

Q. What is a second shooter?

A. A second shooter is another photographer who owns their own business, but comes along to your wedding day and shoots under my business. I have 5-6 photographers that I work with on a regular basis, and usually one of them is available! They come with the same amount of professional gear, experience, and the same commitment to making this the best day of your life and capturing every moment of it!

Q. Who will my second shooter be?

A. Typically, I book a second shooter 6-8 weeks before your wedding, because by that point, photographers are much less likely to book that date with a wedding of their own. So, when you are booking me, it’s TBD, but like I said – usually one of my regulars is available!

Q. How do I know if I need a second shooter?

A. To be honest, I’ve only shot a handful of weddings that didn’t need one. Those were really small weddings – minimal bridal party, small families, less than 100 guests, and almost everything happening in one location. Anything bigger than that usually requires a second photographer in order to make sure your wedding is covered thoroughly.

Q. What does a second shooter do?

A. A second shooter wears multiple hats on a wedding day, just like I do. Sometimes they’re shooting, sometimes they’re assisting with lighting, sometimes they’re just chatting up your mom and helping her relax. Here’s some of the key jobs my seconds cover:
– shoot one of the partners and their party getting ready (I am usually with the bride + bridesmaids, or whichever partner prefers to have me). 
– shoot side angles of the ceremony and wide shots from the back, allowing me to remain mostly in the center aisle. This allows us as a team to be less distracting, versus one person moving around much more conspicuously in order to get the same variety of shots.
– help organize everyone for the extended family photos and then head off to shoot cocktail hour + reception details while we are finish with the smaller combinations. (we try to get a photo of each guest at the wedding!)
– shoot guest reactions during toasts while I focus on the toast-er and you two.
– focus on candid shots throughout the day, since they are not responsible for capturing the essential portraits like I am.

Couples who book a second shooter receive, on average, about 25% more images than if I was shooting alone. If having lots of candids and making sure your guests are adequately captured is important to you, definitely ask for one to be included in your package!

Oh, and PS: All the images in this blog were shot by some of my incredible second shooters! 🙂 Shoutout to Jessica, Eva, and Abbie!