When you first begin to plan your wedding, you most likely will hear or read about having a second photographer along on your wedding day. You may be wondering what exactly is a second photographer and are they really necessary? Around 20% of my couples choose a second photographer. The following info will arm you with enough information to work out if it is something you want to include.
What is a second photographer?
A second photographer or shooter is another photographer that comes along and shoots a wedding alongside the main photographer. They will often take more candid style, while the main shooter gives direction. Being a one woman show, I contract a second photographer for your day. The second photographer I choose is either my husband, Luke, or a local professional wedding photographer. At the end of the wedding day they give me their files to edit alongside my own. These images are then presented to you in one cohesive wedding gallery.
I suggest to my couples that a second photographer will be beneficial if they have either a large guest list of over 120 people or if they have a large bridal party with over 4 of each bridesmaids/groomsmen. This is purely because the more people, the more chaos and opportunity for the day to run late. Besides this obvious need for a second photographer there are benefits, even if you are planning a small wedding, listed below.
A large guest list or bridal party
Like I mentioned above, a second photographer is a great idea if it is a big wedding or you have a big bridal party. It is much easier to organise group photos with two photographers. Also, it can save time during the portraits where one photographer can take portraits of the bridal party whilst the other can give more time to the bride and groom. Divide and conquer!
Longer coverage for the getting ready portraits
If the Bride and Groom are getting ready a substantial distance from each other it saves travel time if there is another photographer to send to the Grooms house. We can each devote the morning to the group we are with before heading to the ceremony. This also means that we each spend more time on the getting ready portraits for longer coverage. This is most beneficial if you have special activities planned for the morning such as the Groom heading to the barber or a game of golf!
Anna-Kate and Tom chose to have a second photographer. Luke spent the morning with Tom and his groomsmen and I spent the morning with Anna-Kate and her bridesmaids. You can see their wedding here.
The backup plan for greater coverage
Sometimes if you have a tight time schedule, it doesn’t leave much room for error. Having two photographers can work great in those situations. It is like a little back-up plan that you didn’t realise you had.
Often I can be running late into the reception after taking all the family photos and bridal photos and I won’t get a chance to get photos of the details in the venue before everyone arrives. In this case the second photographer can be sent to the reception earlier to ensure the untouched reception details are covered.
Having a second photographer also allows me to be a little more creative. Having someone with me to photograph the safe shots enables me to move more freely and seek out images that I wouldn’t usually be able to capture. In the images above, Luke photographed Stacey and Dan at Chapel Hill Winery through the vines while I photographed them from in the row (top image).
Hopefully this little list will help you decide if a second photographer is something you want for your wedding day.