Is one photographer enough to cover my wedding?
Will he/she alone be able to capture everything?
Should I invest in a second shooter or it is not necessary?
You probably have these questions in mind when you’re thinking about the photography part of your wedding, right? You’re already spending SO MUCH money on that day and photography is a big part of it, so you want to know if you should invest even more.
I totally feel you. You’re right to ask yourself that.
So today I’m gonna help you make that decision by telling you how having a second shooter can be totally great, but not necessary. And also in which cases I highly recommend it, sometimes even obligates it. Yup yup. That happens sometimes!
Before jumping in, you need to know that I always choose my second shooter myself to make sure their shooting style fits my style.
I also cull and edit their photos myself to keep constancy.
So you do not need to worry about that 😊
Now, let’s start with the purpose of the second shooter:
He’s there to support the first shooter, obviously.
His job is to shoot the important moments with the first shooter but with different angles, and also to help cover when a few things are happening at the same times. ‘Cause no one can duplicate themselves ya know (if you can, you’ve GOT to show me how lol!).
That’s actually one of the main reasons why having a second shooter is GREAT.
While the first shooter follows the newlyweds really closely all day,
the second shooter can be part of the smaller moments where the couple cannot be but would still love to have pictures of.
I personally love to have a second shooter from the first look (when there’s one) until the entrance in the dinner hall.
1. During the first look, it’s seriously such a big help.
First look usually goes REALLY fast, so I can focus on the emotions of the bride while my second shooter focus on the emotions of the groom.
Capturing both emotions is totally doable alone, but it gives a lot to think about.
It’s a lot easier to do it with two photographers, it gives time to think about the best angle shots instead of focusing on being certain to capture the emotions from both the bride and groom.
2. Then, during the ceremony, once more I can focus on the bride while she comes down the aisle and my second shooter can focus on the groom.
It also gives the chance to have more photos of the guests enjoying the ceremony.
Mostly for nonreligious ceremonies, they are usually really short (around 20mins) so with only one shooter, it does not give much time to capture the guests reactions.
But a second shooter can take care of that!
You’ll also have a lot more angles of your ceremony with a second shooter!
While I mostly stay in the front to be close to everything that’s happening, my second shooter moves around a lot. He can take pictures from the balcony if the ceremony is in a church, or from way back to capture the landscape around if your ceremony is outside.
3. During the cocktail hour, I always leave with the newlyweds for a few couple shots. We’re sometimes gone for a half hour and sometimes for the whole cocktail(If you’re wondering, I usually recommend to schedule 45mins or more for the couple photos, but sometimes it just cannot be that long and it’s okay.) . I leave my second shooter with the guests during that time so he can take lifestyle shots of them enjoying the cocktail, a shot of each groups so my clients can have photos of everyone that was there and also take all the details shots in the dinner hall before everyone enters!
Alone, even if we’re back before the cocktail ends, I might not have the time to photograph everyone. Mostly if you guys have a lot of guests.
And finally, here’s the reasons why I HIGHLY recommend to take a second shooter:
1. If you’re having a really big wedding, like 175+ guests.
Otherwise, there’s no way one photographer is gonna be able to capture everything that’s happening AND take a photo of every groups of guests. There again, if you do not mind having only a few pictures of your guests, you’re good to go with one shooter only.
2. If you have a lot of transportations between each locations.
Mostly if you are far for both your preparations.
If I have to travel more than 30mins between the preparation of the groom and the preparation of the bride, I’ll suggest to send my second shooter with the boys while I stay with the girls otherwise we lose a lot of photography time since transportation time is included in it.
Of course, these are all my personal preferences and opinion.
Other photographers could have different thoughts and you should talk about it with yours, because none of us work the same way. If you’ve got a good photographer he’s gonna suggest what would be best for you guys.
But, with all of this in mind, a big part of that decision still comes from YOUR personal preference. I’m not writing this to make the choice for you at all, but only to guide you through everything there is to know so you can decide what is best for YOUR wedding.
And I really hope this is gonna help !
And share this article to all the brides-to-be you know!
Violaine is an adventurous wedding and elopement photographer based in Montreal, Canada but she travels worldwide. She loves the intimate, authentic and raw moments that happen each second between two people in love. She believes in the craziness of every couples and that laugh is the best medicine. She’s not afraid of freezing in the cold or getting completely wet under rain, as long as her images reflects her clients personality.
“It’s all about YOUR story. Whoever you are, wherever you go.”