December 11, 2020 Steve Gerrard

Do I Need a Second Photographer for My Wedding?

A father sees his daughter in her wedding dress

Probably the question I get asked more than any other is “Do you think we should have a second photographer for the wedding?”

The answer is….. maybe!

I shoot around half of my weddings solo and the other half with a second photographer. And it’s always fine.

I shot this wedding at Au Chalet en Bois Rond in Quebec without a second photographer.

There are advantages to both and sometimes it depends on the size of the wedding, other times it depends on how many locations are involved and the distances between those locations.

Wedding ceremony in Positano Italy

Having a second photographer there is not, as one couple thought, as a backup if my cameras break (don’t worry, I have multiple cameras and they are serviced regularly)! It’s about more coverage, more photos and a more complete story of your wedding day.

I’ve shot enough weddings now to be able to anticipate exactly where the best place is for to be at any one time, but I still haven’t managed to work out how to be in two places at once.

I know how to capture the bride coming down the aisle but also photograph the groom’s reaction as he sees her walk towards him. I can shoot the Best Man giving his speech but not miss the reactions of the guests as he tells that joke that completely embarrasses the groom! I can even photograph the girls getting ready in one location and then drive to the groom’s hotel to capture grown men struggling to put a bow tie on.

Estérel Resort wedding photos

That doesn’t mean that a second photographer won’t be beneficial though. Having two photographers, especially at weddings with over a hundred guests, will undoubtedly lead to a more complete coverage without me running around the church like a maniac or running red lights to get back to the bride before she puts on her dress.

Having my second shooter go with the boys in the morning while I cover everything happening with the girls means I know I’m not missing anything interesting with the photography. But I’ve shot plenty of weddings where we simply plan timings so that I can travel between the two locations without missing anything super important.

Having two different viewpoints during the ceremony is definitely a great well of telling a more complete story. 

Same for the first dance.

Bride & groom celebrate with guests on the dancefloor

While I’m shooting the family group shots, it’s comforting to know that a second photographer is catching those unscripted moments that happen when the rest of the guests get to hang out together.

My second photographer can also be useful to help me if I want to use additional lighting for portraits or if I just need help carrying gear when timing is everything. Technically this would then make them an assistant rather than second shooter, but these are rare moments during a wedding day so most of the day, they are there to photograph the wedding alongside me.

Their main purpose is to capture the wedding from different angles. Imagine watching a movie scene that was shot on just one camera, then imagine how the story changes when you add a second perspective. That’s what you’re getting by having two photographers.

Do I Need a Second Photographer for My Wedding?

If I do have a second photographer along with me, they are always an established wedding photographer with a style of shooting that I feel compliments my own. I’m not bringing a photography student who wants to try their hand at wedding photography. 

A couple of months before the wedding I’ll ask some of my favourite photographers if they have that date free. From those that are available I’ll choose the photographer I feel will be the best fit for the wedding.

I cull and edit all the images myself for consistency. They become part of the full set of final images that will tell the wedding story in the best way possible.

outdoor wedding gatineau

Of course, by having two photographers you are guaranteed more photographs. Maybe not double the amount, but at least 20% more.

I’ve never had a couple tell me they regret not having a second photographer. If I’m working solo I will make sure I communicate with the couple to make sure we get the best coverage possible from one photographer. It’s all about working together and knowing how you want your day documented.

This wedding at Château St-Antoine was one that I shot with a second photographer.

A second photographer can be booked any time before the final payment is due. But do let me know if you have more questions about this.

Bride & groom with skateboarders

Do We Need a Second Photographer for Wedding?

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