I have been photographing weddings for well over 5 years now, and let me tell you, I LOVE second shooters! I may be a little partial, because that is part of the story of how I started photographing weddings. I started assisting then second shooting for other wedding photographers before photographing my own weddings!
Since becoming a wedding photographer, I have used a second shooter at almost all of my weddings. The exception is for intimate & non-traditional weddings with about 40 guests or less. But, even for my intimate weddings I will often have a second shooter with me! I cannot count the number of times having a second shooter has saved the wedding day. Here are some of the ways hiring a second shooter will make a difference on your wedding day:
It is basically impossible to photograph both of you during a first look without a second shooter. Yes, a great photographer will still get amazing photos of your first look. However, we have to choose whose face to capture first. With a second shooter, we don’t have to make that choice. You have a photographer capture each of your expressions during this once in a lifetime moment!
Second Shooters and Wedding Ceremonies
The main benefit of having a second photographer during your ceremony is getting more photographs and different angles of the same moments! Same as the first look, having two photographers allows us to capture both of your faces during important moments like the vows. You will also get both tight close up shots and wider shots of important moments like the ring exchange and the first kiss. Something that is difficult to do with just one photographer.
You will also get more creative photos from your ceremony. While the main photographer is glued to the ceremony making sure to capture all the important moments, the second photographer will be able to explore a bit more and capture some truly unique images.
You Get More Photographs From Your Wedding
Two photographers means more photographs! Now, you are not going to get double your photographs, but you will definitely get a lot more! I would say at least 25% more. A lot of these will be more candid photos of you, your guests, and your family. As well as the alternate viewpoints and creative photographs I previously mentioned. You also have the opportunity to get some additional family photographs too! While your main photographer is photographing you with your parents, the second photographer can snag a quick photo of Nana and Grandpa together!
Second Photographers are a Savior If Things Run Behind
This. I probably should have put this as the first reason to have a second photographer. A good photographer will build in buffer time to your wedding day timeline just in case anything runs behind. (Because, something will!) But, even then, sometimes it is not enough. I have unfortunately encountered those wedding days and having a second photographer absolutely saved us.
Having a second photographer allows us to divide and conquer on your wedding day. This could mean your main photographer is photographing you putting on your dress while your second photographer is taking photos of the ceremony site. Or, your main photographer photographing you with your family while the second photographer photographs your spouse with their family. Or, just decreasing the amount of time needed to get the must have shots of you and your spouse! These are all real examples of how my second shooter and I have worked together to save a wedding day timeline!
Cocktail Hour Photos
Back to the fun, non-stress inducing benefits! You have an opportunity to have photos of your guests enjoying cocktail hour! Unless specifically planned for you to join cocktail hour, this is not a part of the day you will get to see. So, while your main photographer is finishing up family formals, your second photographer can run over and capture 15 minutes of cocktail hour!
Built In Assistant
Having a second shooter means you also have a built in assistant. They can do everything from help call out and organize the family formals, making this part of the day faster and way less stressful. To, running and grabbing the bouquet that you left in the getting ready room! Not only will they be able to help run around and make things easier for you, they will also do this for your main photographer. Which, in turn, will reduce their stress on the day, and allow your photographer to reduce your stress! Win, win win!
Hiring a second photographer is way more beneficial than just ‘getting more photos’. (Even though, that is one of the benefits!) They will be there to capture more moments and memories on your wedding day. To give you the opportunity to remember things from your wedding day that would not be possible with just one photographer. And, they will be there to be a ride or die for you, your spouse, and your photographer. So, if you can, I highly recommend hiring a second photographer for your wedding!