Education, Weddings

February 14, 2024

Is a Second Photographer at Our Wedding Important?

Is a second photographer important? Well… it depends.

I know… helpful, right?!

Let me explain… if you are planning a small intimate wedding with about 50 guests or less and your ceremony and reception are in the same location, then a second photographer probably isn’t needed. But… if you are planning to have 150+ guests, your ceremony and reception are located 20 minutes or more apart from each other, and you really want portraits of both bride and groom getting ready, then a second photographer is TOTALLY worth the extra money!

I have worked as both the main photographer and second photographer, and each of these roles are completely different. As a main photographer, my goal is to capture all the “important” pictures. Images such as full wedding party, traditional portraits of the bride and groom, and family formals. Meanwhile, as a second photographer my responsibilities are different. I can focus on people’s expressions during the ceremony and reception, the bride’s hand as she holds onto the arm of her groom, and her flowers as she stands beside her bridesmaids. A second photographer is there to be a backup for the main photographer. They are there to capture different angles and perspectives that the main photographer would not be able to get if they were on their own.

Pros of Having a Second Photographer

Getting ready portraits!

Two photographers will guarantee you portraits of both the bride and bridesmaids AND the groom and groomsmen getting ready. Plus, all the details! Both photographers can capture all the details, and each group as they spend time together leading up to, and while getting ready. You put a lot of time and thought into planning a wedding and every detail and moment should be remembered.

Hugs between mom's and their kids on a wedding day.

More photos and variety

Having two photographers at your wedding provides you with more photos in your final gallery! Who doesn’t love more photos?! The second photographer often focuses on the details and alternative angles. This is extremely beneficial when you have limited time for bride and groom portraits on your wedding day. Two photographers = DOUBLE the portraits! Every minute counts when you are working with often just 15-20 minutes before the reception. Another advantage is a second photographer can focus on certain aspects of the reception that the main photographer cannot. Some of these include guests’ reactions during the grand entrance, the expressions of parents of the bride and groom as the couple shares their first dance, and the laughs and reactions from guests that usually occur during the speeches.

Second photographer and main photographer's images of the bride walking down the aisle with her father

Built-in Backup

You never want an emergency to happen, but in case something does happen to the main photographer or their gear, the second photographer can be there to step in immediately and continue photographing your wedding.

You have a large family or wedding party

If you have a large family or wedding party, two photographers can help tremendously! While the main photographer is capturing the current group of photos, the second can help organize everyone. They can find the people who make up the next group of photos so things can move along smoothly. This helps family and wedding party portraits to get done quicker. Which in turn leaves more time for couple portraits or for an early entrance to your reception. 

Large family portrait from a wedding with two photographers.

You have more than 150 guests invited

If you have 150 guests, or more, a second photographer is a great investment to ensure more guests are captured. Having two photographers allows for two sides of a room to be photographed, or both indoor and outdoor spaces to be covered. When dancing begins, they can split up to help capture all the memorable moments that happen while everyone is dancing.

Cons of Having a Second Photographer

There’s an additional cost

Many photographers have a second built right into their packages, while others offer it as an additional cost. If the second photographer is built into a package some photographers will allow you to remove this option and subtract a portion from the overall price.  While other photographers will not work unless two photographers are hired. I have worked both solo and with a second photographer, and am comfortable either way. When looking for the photographer that is right for you, be sure to ask about this option before booking.

Better for smaller weddings

If you are planning a wedding with a small guest count (approximately 75 guests or less), two photographers can sometimes be too much. If the timeline is well planned out, one photographer can capture all your must-haves while also capturing additional photos.

Photograph of small wedding ceremony with one photographer.

Editing may take a bit longer

With two photographers comes almost double the images! This means more to cull, more to edit, and more to upload. If you choose to hire two photographers, it may take a couple of days, up to a week longer, to get your images back.

There will be more cameras on you

Two photographers means double the cameras, and triple if you’ve hired a videographer. If you, or your future spouse, are uncomfortable in front of the camera, having two photographers can be a bit stressful. Make sure to be upfront with your photographer about what you are comfortable with so they can plan accordingly.