One of the most common questions; In short, the answer is “maybe.” It’s definitely nice to have, but certainly not always necessary. Quite honestly, it depends on the specifics of your day, and what’s important to you.
What Exactly is a Second Photographer?
A second photographer or “second shooter” works along side the primary (“lead”) photographer throughout the day to document different perspectives and locations, and also assists with the overall logistics of the wedding day.
As a general rule, the lead photographer’s priority will always be the couple, while the second photographer will focus on “everything else.” This includes shots of the venue, candids of guests, and details around the ceremony and reception space. Although it’s totally possible for one photographer to handle much of this on their own, there are certain situations that are either not possible without a second photographer, or where the second photographer greatly improves what we’re able to capture.
Be in Two Places at Once
If you’re like many couples, you’ll be spending the early portion of your wedding day separated while each of you are getting ready. Having two photographers allows us to capture a great amount of both of you – and later allows you to see each other during that part of the day. This is especially significant if you’re getting ready in different locations (like one at the venue and one at a hotel).
Another common situation is later on in the day during cocktail hour. Since it’s not possible to be in two places at once, having a second photographer is a great way to get lots of candids and group photos of guests, while you and the lead photographer are off taking portraits.
Two Photographers Offer Different Perspectives
This is your wedding day – and it will fly by. Having two photographers means we’re able to capture so many of those once-in-a-lifetime moments from multiple angles, and allows you to relive the day from an additional perspective. For example, during the ceremony, one of us can focus on details and close-ups, while the other photographs those epic wide shots. During the reception, the lead photographer can capture your introduction, first dance, and the people giving toasts, while the other photographs your guests, their reactions, and all of the in-between candid moments.
Since the lead photographer is almost always with the couple, the second photographer is free to float around, photograph guests, and get lots of candids. You’ll never realize how much of your own wedding you didn’t experience until you see the photos!