While looking for a photographer, you might see the option to add a second photographer to a wedding package (myself included). I thought it would be helpful to breakdown some of the roles that a second photographer plays, as well as the pros and cons of hiring one, which will hopefully allow you to consider whether or not hiring a second photographer is right for you:
This is going to look different for every primary photographer, but for the second photographers I hire, their responsibilities can include going to the groom’s getting ready location (while I stay with the bride), show up early to the ceremony to capture guests as they arrive, cover different angles than me during the ceremony/portraits/reception, and throughout the day help keep everything running smoothly.
Knowing that, here are some things you can expect when you hire a second photographer:
Pro: More photos
Okay this one is kind of obvious, but an extra person + an extra camera is going to end up with more photos. And not only that, there is more variety to the photos. For example, while I’m at the front of the aisle as the bride is coming down the aisle, I have my second photographer placed at the back taking photos of the bride from the back (while getting another angle of the groom’s face). Or, while I’m getting photos of your best man during his speech, my second is getting reactions from your guests. They are also grabbing different angles during portraits, making our time together more efficient.
The photos the second photographer takes will all be edited and delivered by the primary photographer, so you don’t need to worry about the photos looking different.
Pro: I can be two places at once
Okay not really, but you get the point ;)
If getting ready photos are important to you and your partner, having a second photographer here is a huge benefit. As mentioned, while I’m photographing the bride getting ready, my second photographer is over getting photos of the groom getting ready. This is especially helpful if your getting ready locations are far apart, or if the timeline is too tight to travel in between each location.
Another example is during cocktail hour. If getting lots of candid photos of your guests is important, then I can send my second photographer to capture those while we’re finishing up with portraits of the two of you.
Not only does a second photographer act as another layer of backup equipment in the event anything happens to my equipment + backup equipment, they themselves are a backup to me! I only choose second photographers who are capable of shooting weddings themselves, so if anything were to happen to me before the wedding, they would have the necessary information/details and the capability to step in and shoot for me.
Pro: They help cover more ground
If you have a lot of guests at your reception, or if it’s in a large space, it might be beneficial to have a second photographer help cover ground. While I wish I could figure out a way to be everywhere at once, sadly, I haven’t figured that equation out yet ;)
Pro: Helps contribute to an overall positive experience to your day
From helping wrangle family members for portraits, holding umbrellas, keeping us on track with our timeline, to asking people in the background to kindly step out of the frame, having a second photographer helps the day run smoothly and allows you to enjoy your wedding that much more.
Obviously hiring a second photographer is going to be an additional cost because not only are you paying for their time and expertise, it also increases the number of photos the primary has to go through, edit and deliver (in order to help with that, I’ve recently adjusted my offerings to allow you to tailor the number of hours you’d like a second photographer for). Something else to remember is that they also will require a meal if their coverage extends past dinner.
FYI: Sometimes photographers use student photographers or those just starting out, and while this may be a more affordable option, you might miss out on some of those benefits listed above. Not to say there’s anything wrong with going that route - just something to consider!
While I’ve shot the majority of weddings myself, I am always thrilled to have another person at my side. I’m never going to push you to hire a second photographer - all I’ll do is encourage you to sit down with your partner and decide if it’s something you want to invest in.
Hope you found this information helpful! If you have any questions on what it’s like to hire a second photographer, please don’t be shy! Reach out to email@example.com and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
In your corner helping you plan your wedding thoughtfully + intentionally,