Do I Need a Second Shooter?
If you’re a bride or groom just beginning their research into wedding day photography, you’ve probably heard the term “second shooter” once or twice! Having photographed weddings with and without a second shooter, I can definitely say that there are huge benefits to having one on your big day! As a matter of fact, the question I receive most from potential couples is, “do I really need an additional photographer on my wedding day?” Let’s start by answering that very question!
There are two scenarios in which I would consider a second photographer to be a non-negotiable addition to your wedding day. These situations are:
A Larger Guest Count
Planning a larger wedding (150+ guests)? A second shooter can be a huge benefit! For one, it is easier to navigate through a crowd when the photography team can divide and conquer. Also, the additional photographer will be able to provide more candids of your guests or posed grip-and-grin photos during cocktail hour and the reception while the lead focuses on portraits.
Are you and your groom getting ready at two different places? Or, are your ceremony and reception venues separate? In these types of scenarios, I highly recommend a second photographer.
Travel to and from locations can be a huge constraint on your wedding day timeline. Having two photographers simultaneously working at two spots is a great way to save time. One photographer can capture the bride getting ready while the other photographs the groom and groomsmen. Later in the day, they can split up again to capture the ceremony and reception details which tend to take a backseat to portraits.
Of course, a second photographer can still add huge value even when not absolutely necessary. Here are some benefits to having an additional professional photographer around to help capture your big day!
A second photographer can provide an additional perspective on your wedding day. Different photographers see moments unfolding in different ways, which provides variety to your final gallery. When I shoot with a second photographer, I usually have them working from an alternate angle with a different lens, which can really help tell your story with added detail!
Almost every wedding has some sort of timeline hiccup for one reason or the other. It’s totally normal! Having a second shooter can really help everything to move along more smoothly in these types of situations. They can cover any part of the wedding day that has had to take a back seat for any reason. For example, I recently shot a wedding where the florals arrived later than expected, making it difficult to photograph the reception setup at the allotted pre-ceremony time. However, I was able to send my second shooter to photograph the reception details during cocktail hour instead! And as for me, I was still on track with family formals and portraits – no big deal!
Most photographers have at least one large bag, stands, and lighting. A second photographer can help the lead photographer carry and transport all of this gear. As a bride or groom, you might wonder how this benefits you! With an additional pair of hands, the lead photographer can more quickly get from one place to another and set up faster for any photos that may need additional lighting. This makes everything run more smoothly on the day of a wedding, and means that the lead photographer can focus on shooting!
All of this being said, is a second photographer always absolutely necessary? Long story short, no. And if you have already made the decision to not have a second shooter, please don’t let this post discourage you! Personally, I photographed weddings by myself LOOOOONG before I started hiring second shooters! I’m 100% capable of telling the full story of a wedding day on my own (and yes, brides – I CAN capture you walking down the aisle AND his face as he sees you for the first time!). That being said, you may want to consider it as an option if your budget allows. In my professional opinion, the many benefits totally justify the added cost!
Emily Chappell is a Dallas Wedding Photographer and Dallas Texas Engagement Photographer based in the DFW metroplex and serving Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney. As one of Dallas’s premiere wedding photographers, she has a passion for photographing lucky-in-love couples! Whether you’re planning and coordinating a wedding in Dallas or elsewhere in the DFW metroplex, we would love to hear about your special day! Let’s get in touch!