Do I Need a Second Photographer for My Wedding?

Wedding Guide

How Many Photographers Should You have at Your Wedding?

One of the most commonly asked questions I get asked from engaged couples is if they should have a second wedding photographer for their wedding. I thought I’d share my perspective and guidance when considering selecting your wedding photographer and/or wedding photography package.

What is a Second Photographer?

A second photographer, often referred to as a “second shooter,” is an additional professional hired to assist the primary wedding photographer. This secondary photographer is usually part of a higher priced comprehensive wedding photography package or available as an add-on service.

What Does a Second Photographer do at Wedding?

The second photographer works alongside the lead photographer, providing supplementary coverage and different perspectives throughout the wedding day.

Who is the Second the Photographer?

The second photographer can be a regular associate of the primary photographer’s studio company, an apprentice, a spouse, or another professional photographer available to assist on the wedding day.

Sometimes, the primary and secondary photographers have worked together before, but it’s also possible they will be meeting for the first time on your wedding day. This all depends on the operating model of your primary wedding photographer.

Key Considerations for Adding a Second Photographer

Every wedding is unique, and each couple has different priorities for capturing their special day. Here are some key considerations for deciding whether to add a second photographer:

Additional Expense

Hiring a second photographer usually involves an additional cost. Most wedding photographers charge extra for this service because they need to subcontract another professional. It’s important to factor this expense into your budget and weigh it against the benefits of having more comprehensive coverage.

Complicated Logistics

A lot also depends on the structure of your wedding. If it involves multiple events, a large guest count, or various locations, a second photographer can be helpful. For example:

  • Multiple Venues: If the getting ready, ceremony, and reception locations are far apart, a second photographer ensures all moments are captured without missing anything due to travel time. This way, the lead photographer can focus on one location while the second photographer covers another.
  • Large Wedding Party: With a big bridal party and many guests, a second photographer can help manage and capture group shots more efficiently. This ensures everyone is included in the photos and reduces the time spent organizing large groups.

What is Important to You

Consider what aspects of wedding photography matter most to you:

  • Detailed Coverage: If you want comprehensive documentation from multiple angles and perspectives, having a second photographer can provide this. They can capture the intricate details of your decorations, the venue, and the candid moments that might be missed by a single photographer.
  • Wedding Guests Candid Moments: While the primary photographer’s focus is on capturing moments with you, your parents, and close family members, a second photographer ensures candid photos and reactions from guests during key events like the cake cutting or first dance are captured. Are candid photos of guests important to you and worth the extra cost?

Things to Look Out for When Adding a Second Photographer

Second Photographer’s Experience and Professionalism

Ensure you ask about the second photographer’s experience and professionalism. You selected your primary photographer carefully, so you’ll want to be sure the second photographer matches that same level of skill and professionalism. Ask for samples of their work and check if they have experience working at weddings of a similar scale and style to yours.

The Results May be a Mixed Bag

Adding a second photographer can sometimes lead to mixed results. The quality and style of the second photographer’s work might differ from the primary photographer’s, potentially leading to a mix of images that might not meet your expectations. Ensure that the second photographer’s style complements the primary photographer’s to maintain a cohesive look in your wedding album.

You May Not be Getting Your Money’s Worth

This can be a bit subjective and tricky to explain. Adding a second photographer can cost anywhere from $500 to $2000. However, you might not necessarily get $2000 worth of additional photos. Sometimes, the second photographer may end up assisting the primary photographer, making their job easier, without providing significant additional benefits to you. Think of it like this: when your food arrives at a restaurant, would you be willing to pay extra just because the sous chef helped the chef prepare your plate?

More Doesn’t Always Mean Better

When it comes to wedding photography, more photos don’t necessarily mean better value. Here’s why:

Just because you receive a large number of photos doesn’t mean you’re getting more for your money. An excessive amount of photos can actually be overwhelming and might detract from the images and moments that truly matter. It’s the quality and significance of each photo that count, not the sheer number.

You’ll likely select around 100 images for your wedding album and just a few to frame and display in your home. These are the images that truly matter. So, ask yourself: What exactly are you going to do with all the extra photos that you’ve received?

Tony’s Recommendation

While having an extra set of eyes can be helpful, a second photographer is often not necessary. For a full wedding day, I deliver around 1,000-1,200 photos.

These images capture all the key moments, starting from getting ready (assuming the bride and groom are in nearby locations) to the end of the reception. My main focus is always on the bride and groom and their closest family and friends during these key events.

I only recommend a second photographer if your wedding has complicated logistics or if comprehensive coverage is essential to you. Otherwise, it’s not worth the additional investment. Instead, I suggest considering a videographer for that extra investment.

I can cover a lot on my own, but there are situations where I can’t be in two places at once. If you’re still unsure, let’s discuss what will work best for you.

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Seattle Wedding Photographer

Hey There!

Being a wedding photographer in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is truly a privilege. We are surrounded with natural beauty. Every wedding I photograph is a chance to celebrate love in a unique way. I feel so fortunate to be a part of these special moments and to witness the happiness and connection shared by couples and their loved ones. It fills my cup and brings me joy. I want to share that joy with you.

If you are planning your own wedding in Seattle or the Pacific Northwest, I would be honored to be your photographer. Together, we can create a beautiful visual story that reflects your love and captures the essence of your wedding day. Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m here to make sure those precious memories last forever.

If these images inspire you, let’s connect and chat about the magic you wish to create on your wedding day. My contact and pricing information is provided at the links below:

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Tony Asgari

Seattle Wedding Photographer