Updated: Jul 11
I'll take a step back really quick and let you know - I understand how stressful it can be to plan a wedding, and to have crazy amounts of vendors around and having this chaos that feels so real (even if your guests can't tell) and you may be thinking "Why in the world would I add another body to this strange condition of weddings?"
It's time for some real talk about second shooters.
Your wedding photographer is a bad-ass. They're powering through this amazing day carrying like 40 pounds of mechanical gear that they know front to back. They probably won't eat more than two granola bars, and their plated dinner is usually cold by the time they can eat it. Yet they are making absolutely breathtaking images that show just how perfect your time there was. They're appeasing your family who used to see weddings shot on film. They're making a whole variance of personalities in your bridal party laugh and actually enjoy themselves during the portrait part of your day. And they're doing it all while remembering "This is their one wedding day, I can't mess this up".
Here's why asking your photographer to bring a second shooter is literally the coolest thing ever:
Example of an image I took while assisting another photographer - imagine your second shooter grabbing these cocktail candids while you're out doing bridal party photos.
Reasons to add a second shooter to your service:
1. Your photographer can be in two places at once saving you time ... and money.
If I'm shooting alone, I can't photograph you coming down the aisle from the front and the back. If you're getting ready in two locations 20 minutes apart, you'll have to add on at least 2-3 hours of coverage to get both of your "getting ready" images taken. These are just a few examples of things that can be solved by adding a second photographer. I know that they'll have the opposite angle than me, and I'll be able to fulfill my creative need to have all the variations of an image that I want to create. The cost of a second photographer is less than two additional hours of coverage on your wedding - since we can also be in two places at once, it's ultimately saving you time and money.
Example of an image I took when assisting another photographer. The lead photographer was photographing the speech givers while as the assistant, I was photographing family faces and guest reactions. How meaningful would it be to have this image of your mom crying during your sibling's speech?
2. They can photograph everything happening behind us and in another room.
While we mentioned in the last paragraph that we can be separated, this comes in handy more often than just the getting ready section of your day. Second photographers are amazing to have during family photos (where they can photograph people hugging, meeting, loving each other behind the camera) and during things like cocktail hour (when you might slip out for some portraits, but you still want your cocktail hour photographed). Second photographers are invaluable when it comes to images of your guests enjoying themselves at your party, when you might not yet be in attendance.
During Megan and Ben's wedding, I was in another room photographing the parents and family hanging out. My assistant caught this incredible frame of bride Megan looking over at her senior portrait while being bustled by her new mother and sister in-law. Us being able to split up and conquer more space leads to the capture of more intimate moments.
3. They substantially add to the number of images you receive.
While there's no doubt that you'll likely receive a TON of candid and real images, having a second photographer substantially adds to that as well. They're basically a clone of your initial photographer that get to run around photographing people being themselves - and this usually adds some incredibly meaningful images to your final image count. Invaluable images. Exactly what you're here for.
This incredibly tender moment of Angela with her dad just before she walked down the aisle was taken while I assisted another photographer. While they were up at the altar photographing hugs and the wedding party walking up the aisle, I was able to hang back with these two and photograph these last moments together like this.
BONUS: They serve as an automatic backup photographer.
We live in an era of unpredictability more than ever before, and having a second shooter hired is the most secure backup plan you could have in place.
While my contracts secure sending a photographer in my place if I'm deathly ill, having a second photographer already scheduled to be there takes the work out of having that replacement. They can take over in the event of a car breaking down, deadly illness, gear theft the day before, any sort of anxiety-inducing scenario you could come up with in your head. And while I already have backup plans in place for all of these example scenarios, having an assistant lined up just makes it that much easier. Or even something as simple as say, a train making me late or the lift bridge stranding me, the second photographer will be there to make sure not a thing is missed.
Did you have two photographers at your wedding? Share your experience below!