Should You Have a Second Photographer at Your Wedding?

A lot of couples simply don’t know whether they’ll want or need a second photographer at their wedding. Most wedding photographers can capture everything as a solo shooter. But there are a few cases where a couple might want to consider choosing a photography package that includes a second photographer. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. You’re getting ready in two different places, and you want photos of both of you getting ready. Photographers usually put together a “getting ready” gallery, and with two photographers, they can both sync their camera times, so you get to see what the other person was doing at the exact moment when you were getting ready. If you’re getting ready close to each other, it’s easier for one photographer to hop over from one group to the other to get a few photos of putting on the dress, shoes, veil, ties, boutonnieres, etc.
  2. You won’t see each other before the ceremony, and you have limited time for bridal party photos. In this case, one photographer can photograph one client, and one can photograph the other client in two different places, but if you’re all in the same place anyway, you might be just fine with just one photographer, since you’ll have to take turns to avoid seeing each other anyway.
  3. You want photos of the details at the reception, but it’s too far for one person to get to before guests get to the cocktail hour or reception. If the ceremony and reception are in the same location, the photographer can usually take 20 minutes to photograph the reception space before the ceremony begins. When possible, I try to have the room set up early enough that this works.
  4. Two photographers will sometimes be better for big church weddings where you don’t want one person to have to move around as much. If you’re having a church wedding, check to find out what their restrictions are for photographers and movement.
  5. With two photographers, one person can be “behind the scenes” before you walk down the aisle, so you get two different perspectives. You’ll also have different perspectives throughout the day, of course.
  6. If you’re taking family photos after the ceremony, the second photographer can go on to the cocktail hour to get candid photos of guests while you finish photos with family. This is especially useful if you're not doing a first-look photo session. With the photographer tied up doing couple, wedding party, and family shots during the entire cocktail hour, he or she will not have an opportunity to capture any photos of guests during that time.
  7. If you’re expecting more than 150 guests, it may be helpful to have a second person there to help capture everyone. Photographers always do their best to get as many guests as they can, but if you’re planning a large guest list, it’s helpful to have a second person there to cover more ground.

My personal recommendation is to have a second shooter. You will get more photos, and there's less of a chance that something will be missed.