I get these questions a lot: What would you say a second shooter would add to the day in your opinion? How important is a second photographer at a wedding? I frequently work with a second shooter, and it’s more and more common to see two photographers at weddings. However, I understand that there’s an additional cost to it that you may not have in your budget. Or, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with two people focusing on your guests (literally!) all day. So I thought I’d write a post about to explain this a bit more. Here’s why I recommend adding on a second shooter, and at what times a second shooter isn’t really necessary.
How important is a second photographer at a wedding?
Firstly, here are a few examples from where I used a second photographer at a wedding: a Edinburgh city centre Mansfield Traquair wedding, a Glasgow wedding at Cottiers, and this YouTube-slideshow from a Drumtochty Castle wedding.
The main reason: I can’t be two places at once
If you have a second shooter at your wedding, you can get preparation photos from both of you. Some grooms get ready super quick and wouldn’t want preparations covered anyways (guys!). The second photographer can instead meet them at a local pub, or at the venue before the ceremony to capture guests arriving. If bridal preparation is far away from the ceremony venue, I can’t cover these moments.
I usually arrive at the ceremony venue 15-20 minutes before the bride and only have time to get ready to photograph her arriving and walking down the aisle. However, if hair & make-up runs late (which happens), I may be delayed as well. And I can’t be two places at once! I would have to make trade-offs and for example cover either 1) the bride getting dressed and seeing her dad. Or 2) drive to the ceremony location to cover the guests arriving.
I can’t be two places at once! I would have to make trade-offs and for example cover either 1) the bride getting dressed and seeing her dad. Or 2) drive to the ceremony location to cover the guests arriving.
A second shooter is definitely recommended if we have to move around a bit on your day, which is the case for a city centre wedding, or if you’re planning to be on multiple locations.
You’ll get photos of your guests while we’re away for your portraits
Having a second shooter at a wedding can give you a lot more guest photos while we’re away from your photoshoot. This is especially important if there’s not much time between the ceremony and your speecher or dinner. More candids, and more moments guaranteed! There’s just going to be more photos in general of your friends and family.
You’ll get more variety and angles from your day
I hire second shooters that know how I like things, and how I work. They will always get a different angle from me when we’re photographing your ceremony or speeches, and that’s so valuable to add to your final gallery. In addition, they can think of creative postitons and angles I maybe won’t see on the day. This will definitely give your gallery greater variety!
We’ll get more time for photos throughout the day
You may have a strict timeline or schedule, or your schedule may be delayed for one reason or another. If there’s not enough time at one point during the day, you may miss out on mingling photos or table details. I always try my best to get some of everything, but if there’s no time, there’s no time.
They can help with rounding up and organising group photos
A familiar scenario on a wedding day is being like a sheep-dog trying to round up guests for group shots! A second shooter can collaborate easily with your maid-of-honour or an aunt to find the right people, why I organise and photograph the groups. An awesome time-saver!
Why I like having a second photographer with me at weddings
A second photographer or second shooter can also work as an assistant on the day. That means they’ll help with getting lights ready for your first dance, and testing out ideas before we take you away from your guests for some creative shots in the evening. In addition, the can help with rounding up groups and making sure things run smoothly if we run short for time for one reason or another.
And to be honest, when I work with my regular second shooter we have a lot of fun together!
There are other, numerous reasons why I like having a second shooter with me. Some of them merge with the reasons you would want one there. This list from SLR Lounge is brilliant to understand more of the purpose and value a second photographer can bring to your wedding photos. To summarise, I can give you more photos and moments from you day. In it self, that is super valuable! The added assistance, support and back-up if it becomes necessary is a bonus.
I sometimes bring my second shooter along to your portrait shoot if time allows. That can result in more variety, and a quicker shoot – so more time to party!
When is it NOT necessary to have a second photographer at a wedding?
It can quickly become intimidating when you have more photographers than necessary. If your wedding is in one place all day, and you don’t have more than 50-60 guests I generally don’t need you to consider a second photographer. All I ask then is that you have enough time between your ceremony and dinner to get the portraits, mingling shots, details and groups covered without a rush.
I do weddings on my own regularly, it’s just up to you to decide whether you’re OK with those parts where I can’t be two places at once, not being covered.
I do weddings on my own regularly, it’s just up to you to decide whether you’re OK with those parts where I can’t be two places at once, not being covered. It’s important that you then allow enough time between your ceremony and speeches/dinner if you want all those beautiful details captured. I recommend at least two hours between ceremony and dinner for a traditional Scottish wedding timeline.