If you’ve started planning your wedding and are talking to wedding photographers you’ve probably come across the phrase second shooter, second photographer, or two wedding photographers. And you’ve probably started wondering if you need two wedding photographers.
There are definitely pros and cons to both. And there are a couple of main things to think about if you are unsure of whether you need one or not. First, I would read this blog post and then have a conversation with your photographer if you need one or not. Every wedding has different needs and your photographer knows a lot about the vision of your day and can help give you a lot more insight as to whether or not you need one. But, before you dive into that conversation with them here’s is some food for thought about if you need two wedding photographers.
How big is your wedding?
If you’re having a big wedding and I mean like a BIG wedding like 250+ and you want to make sure you have pictures of ALL your guests you at least need two wedding photographers. Wedding photographers with a lot of experience have no problem photographing weddings with a high number of guests but it really depends on what you’re looking for.
At the very least most photographers do need an assistant to help keep them organized and on track. If you 100% want to make sure ALL of the guests at your 300 person wedding are captured and your photographer won’t be stressed out trying to get them all I would just opt to have two photographers that way everyone’s mind can be at ease.
What moments do you value being photographed?
Depending on your timeline you may not want but need two photographers. For example, if the bride and groom are getting ready at the same time and the locations that are nowhere close to each other. We can work all sorts of magic but we cannot be in two places at once even though we would love to be. This is definitely a case where two photographers are needed.
Some other important moments to your day might be more coverage of your ceremony or speeches. It depends on a couple of different things though like where these events fall on your timeline, what the venue lay-out is like, and again the number of guests. A smaller wedding means more mobility for the photographer – fewer people to move around, less moving parts you get the gist. So, therefore it’s easier for one photographer to get multiple different angles. Whereas at larger weddings one photographer may not be able to capture as much because they can’t cover as much ground.
One of the biggest benefits of having two wedding photographers is having them being able to capture different angles of the wedding. Most notably is the ceremony. Typically, with two photographers one can capture as the bridesmaids and groomsmen walk up the aisle and the other photographer will be more upfront capturing them as they enter and walk down the aisle. Obviously, your ceremony is one of the most important parts of the day having it captured multiple different ways is definitely appealing to lots of couples.
The ceremony is definitely one of the most important and primary examples of this but, speech, first dances, and family formals can also fit into this category.
Honestly, the bottom line is the cost. You can want or feel like you need two wedding photographers all you want but unless you can fit in your budget then there’s just no way. Adding on a second photographer usually isn’t too expensive but every photographer is going to have a different add on price.
This also depends on the area your getting married. For northern California, I would say a typical add on price would be for $400 – $500. Depending on the photographer and the experience of the photographer we want someone that going to only bring value to your wedding. This also means that they’ll most likely be there for your whole entire wedding.
If you really don’t think you can afford what there offering I would just be honest and see if they’re willing to work with you on lowering the cost for lesser hours. However, also keep in mind this person does have to drive to and from your venue and provide just as much value and attention to your wedding so just make sure you’re being mindful to value everyone’s time.
There are lots of different things to think about when not only planning your wedding but in deciding the right amount of coverage with or without a second photographer included. It’s best to start with an open conversation with your photographer about what kind of coverage you’re looking for. And just see where it leads! I hope this helps. As always feel free to let me know if you have any questions!
Need more help with deciding how much photography coverage you need click here to get a better idea of what might be best for you!
Hi I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding photographer with years of experience capturing love stories against the backdrop of our charming city. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning in San Francisco like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story, to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. And guess what? I'm sharing all of that expertise right here with you.