Do You Need a Second Photographer for Your Wedding?

A question that comes up often when building packages for clients is whether or not they should add a second photographer to their package for their wedding. While some photographers include a second shooter as part of their packages I leave the decision on whether or not a second photographer is a good fit up to each individual couple.

The main reason most couples opt for a second photographer is to expand the coverage of the wedding day. This is especially helpful in large venues or locations where the bride and groom are getting ready further away than usual (rooms at separate ends of a hotel for example). What it really comes down to is the size and complexity of the wedding itself.

What is a Second Shooter?

A second photographer or “second shooter” is an assistant photographer there to help and shoot alongside the photographer you have hired for your wedding.

The Pros of Hiring a Second Shooter:

  • More Images in Your Gallery – When you add a second shooter to your package, you will receive an extra 10-20 edited images per hour. I deliver 50-70 edited images per hour of shooting when I am solo, so the upgraded hourly number is 60-80.
  • Multiple Angles -When there is a second photographer present I am able to get more angles of both your ceremony and portraits.
  • More Variety in Portraits – When I have someone to help me they are able to set the brides dress/veil, hold the bouquet when we aren’t using it, and make small adjustments while I focus on shooting.
  • More Time for Details & Getting Ready Photos – When there are two photographers, the lead photographer is dedicated to the bridal suite and all things bride while the second shooter takes care of the groom & groomsmen. When photographing alone I have to split time between both locations. This also applies to bridal party photos. The lead photographer can take care of the bridesmaid photos while the second shooter handles the groomsmen photos simultanously to save time.
  • Quicker Family Photos – When I have a second shooter I will hand them the list of family photos to have them line up the the members of the family so I can efficiently place and photograph them

Below are a few examples below of the same moment captured by both a lead photographer and a second shooter. The images on the left if from the myself and the on the right are ones taken by my talented second shooters.

If you are interested in hiring a second shooter for your wedding, but are concerned about the added cost, here are an option to consider. Hire your second shooter for only part of the wedding day. Every photographer has a different policy, but personally I allow a minimum of 3 hours to book a second shooter. It is not uncommon for clients to book a lead photographer for 8 hours and a second shooter for only 3-5 hours. This means they can be there for getting ready, ceremony, bridal party, portraits, & family portraits. The reception would be covered solo by the lead photographer. Usually one photographer can handle a dance floor alone.

Whether or not you decide to add a second photographer to your wedding package, know your day will be covered beautifully. Currently about 50% of couple’s choose to add on a second shooter, and I have photographed about 175 weddings to date. Setting a timeline that reflects the type of coverage you have is key. I am always happy to help create and edit timelines for each and every couple I work with.

Venues Featured:

Knotting Hill Place

Cliff House Texas

Cross Creek Ranch

Looking for other Wedding Day Tips? Unsure if a first look is a good fit for your special day? Read below!

Is a First Look Right for Your Wedding?

Haley Katherine Photography is a Dallas Wedding Photographer specializing in weddings, elopements, destination weddings, and engagement sessions for couples seeking authentic, timeless, and cheerful imagery. If you would like to see more of my work, please visit my portfolio.

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