We have a second photographer at every big wedding we shoot. It’s a practical decision that we made several years ago after going solo for far too long. A second shooter provides a greater variety of photos. And they make it easier for us as photographers to take them all.
Beyond being practical, why do we find that we absolutely need a second shooter? It’s not just that we need one – you do, too. Without that second photographer, you may not receive photos that you wish you had once your wedding day is over.
How important is a second photographer at a wedding?
In our opinion, it is necessary to have that second shooter. While other photographers say they do fine on their own, the reality is they cannot be in two places at once. One photographer is possible if the wedding is small, but with large weddings it’s simply not going to turn out as well.
In the end, you want to get a complete album that reflects every part of your wedding day. Realistically, this is only possible with two photographers.
What does a second photographer do?
Quite simply, a second wedding photographer can be present wherever the primary photographer is not. They are also there to support the main photographer throughout the day. The main photographer literally cannot be in two places at once. There will be times when the couple is not together, as well as several moments when different angles and reactions are captured.
However, it involves more than just the couple. Remember, your wedding is a celebration! Your wedding party, family members, and guests are a big part of the day. We see every moment, and that means capturing reactions, faces, poses, portraits, details, and all of the little things that make your day special.
You Need a Second Photographer for These Moments
Since you two will likely be getting ready in different rooms, you need one photographer in each area. One will focus on the bride and bridal party, while the other takes photos of the groom and groomsmen
(Note and FYI: We are LGBTQ+ friendly and love to take photos of the spouse and spouse getting ready! We use “bride and groom” in this article because they comprise the majority of weddings we shoot.)
We grab all the physical details and photograph them while the bride and groom are getting ready. The second photographer is a great resource for this. While the main photographer is busy photographing the bride and bridal party, the second photographer can shoot the details. These include the dress, shoes, rings, invitations, bouquets, and anything else that is special to you on that day.
Detail photos are among the favorite ones in the whole album, so it’s important to get them all. You wouldn’t be able to get great photos of these wedding details without the second photographer.
When the bride is walking down the aisle, we have to capture the entire moment. The “entire moment” includes photos of the bride, the groom’s reaction, AND the guest reactions. While it’s possible to take these photos with a single photographer, it’s much more effective to do it with two.
This situation, where you need multiple angles, will pop up throughout the whole wedding day. You will be so grateful to have that second set of eyes (and lenses) there to capture it all.
Our team has shot a ton of weddings together over the years. We know each other’s style and process inside and out. We have a professional relationship, and friendship, that wouldn’t be there if we didn’t know each other. This includes moods, reactions, plans, and all the subtle interactions that our professional relationships have built over the years.
While our team photographs weddings using the same style, we are still different people. The photos we take will not be exactly the same. We’re human, after all. The photos will slightly vary depending on who took them. This means that in the end you will have a unique variety of photos with different angles, styles, shots, and arrangements. We edit them all at the same time, of course, and the lighting and style are seamless throughout the entire album. But in the end, you will have a better variety of photos with two wedding photographers.
Individual portraits are tricky with large wedding parties if you have a single wedding photographer. Most couples want individual photos of each member of the wedding party, as well as special loved ones (parents, siblings, pets, etc.). With two shooters, we take care of these photos together, which means that we’re done in at least half the time. This alleviates the tedium that comes with waiting for your turn or waiting for the session to be completed so we can all move on to the next location. It’s simply easier for everyone!
Lighting and Gear
With two photographers, we are there for each other throughout the day. We can take tiny breaks if needed to go to the bathroom, eat a snack, or drink some water. We keep an eye on each other’s gear when needed. We can help the other photographer with lighting if they need it. When going solo, these types of logistics are tricky.
Helping the Main Photographer
We can’t speak for other photographers, but when we shoot weddings, our main photographer does more than take photos. He loves to rearrange tiny details to get the best shot, move people around in a group, push back a lock of hair that’s out of place, take note of a wrinkled tie, and more details that are impossible to list her
It’s important for him to have that second shooter so that he knows that the other photos are handled while he focuses on his current task.
A Photography Team
We can’t imagine what it would be like to photograph a wedding with someone we just met. It’s so important for your two photographers to know each other and have a history photographing weddings together. Our team has worked together for years. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, quirks, personalities, and likely reactions with each situation. Our communication is incredible throughout the day, which makes everything flow so much more smoothly. Our history, and the history of any photography team you hire, is a huge asset to your wedding day.
Were you surprised to find out that the photographers you contacted will be bringing a second shooter with them? Hopefully this helped you clarify why it’s so important! Finding the right wedding photographer can be tricky, but make sure that the one you go with has a trustworthy second shooter.