Megan Simpson Photography

Why it Pays to Have a Second Wedding Photographer (and Their Roles)

November 30, 2022

Ever heard the saying that two heads are better than one? Well, sometimes, having two photographers for your wedding day is a better option too!

After all, why wouldn’t you want more photos of your big day? But there’s more to it than this…

The Benefits Of A Second Photographer For Your Wedding

A second photographer may seem a bit like a luxury, but they can actually help to cover more and ensure you get every special moment of the day captured.

  • Be In Two Places At Once

You can literally have a photographer in two different locations on the day. This is incredibly useful for covering the couple getting ready in their separate locations. If your venue is large, your two photographers can divide and conquer—capturing images and moments from different parts of the venue.

  • Get The Action And The Reaction

The first look or shot of the bride entering the venue and beginning her walk down the aisle is a classic one that no couple wants to miss out on. However, the reverse shot of that—the groom seeing her seconds away from joining him at the altar—is another classic shot that can be so impactful to capture. With two photographers, you can get the action and the reaction from this moment, and so many other moments.

  • Get In Close And Out Wide

Often the best wedding photographs are not staged pictures of the couple and the bridal party. They’re the impromptu moments happening throughout the day. The problem is, it’s incredibly difficult for the photographer to know exactly what the best position will be to capture that moment. When you have two photographers, one can be set to get in close and the other to stand wider to get more of the surroundings.

What Is A Second Photographer’s Role During A Wedding?

When hiring a second photographer as opposed to getting a team that comes as one unit for a wedding, it’s important to define the roles. It’s a collaboration of efforts but the second photographer will operate slightly differently from the primary photographer:

  • Capture Shots In Wide

The primary photographer will often be the one in close, especially during the ceremony, capturing every second in detail. The secondary photographer can then focus on getting wider shots of those same moments that can include the guests and their reactions. This combination of close and wide allows you to get more perspective on the moment.

It’s important to establish who is responsible for what type of shot up front. This will impact lens choice and where the photographer sets up for the ceremony. The roles should also remain in place for all the big moments, from the couple’s entrance to the reception, the first dance and speeches and the farewell.

  • Backup For The Big Moments

Of course, there are some big moments that every couple will want captured at their wedding. The first kiss, the entrance at the reception, the tossing of the bride’s bouquet… All are special unmissable moments that deserve remembering.

Having two photographers that are primed and ready to capture those moments means that you have a much better chance of getting a great shot. It also means that if there are any mishaps with one camera such as the battery dying, the SD card filling up, or settings being incorrect, the other camera and photographer are still shooting.

  • Move To Secondary Locations

We’ve already mentioned being in two places at once as a benefit of having a second photographer. During a wedding, it’s usually the job of the second photographer to move on to the next location while the primary photographer is finishing up with a portion of the day. 

For example, the primary photographer can continue to capture the couple and the guests at the end of the ceremony while the second photographer heads to the reception venue. They can then capture the table settings, the lights, the bar, the cake and other elements of the venue before the guests arrive.

  • Focus On Guest Interactions

When you have two photographers, you can split the responsibilities. The primary photographer can focus on the couple, the families and the bridal party, while the other photographer can focus on the guests and what they’re getting up to at the reception.

What To Remember When Hiring A Second Photographer

If you have the budget for it, hiring a second photographer may seem like a no-brainer when planning your wedding. However, there are some things you should consider first:

  • Talk To Your Main Photographer Before Making A Decision

Some photographers are vehemently opposed to working with a second photographer. They’ll have their reasons and if you want to hire them, you need to find out what those reasons are.

In other cases, the photographer you want to hire may have people they work with regularly and would prefer to hire someone they know and trust. It’s incredibly important for the photographers to be in sync with each other and you’ll get the best results if they have already worked together.

  • Quantity Is Not Better Than Quality

Getting a second photographer to work on your wedding is not about getting more photographs. It’s about giving the team a better chance of capturing the moment from the perfect angle and distance. 

You’re still looking to get high-quality images and for a photographer who understands how to capture the emotions of the day. Having more photographs to choose from is only better if those images are well-captured.

Capture The Big Day Properly

Getting a second photographer for your big day gives you more options. Plus, it ensures that all special moments—big and small—get professionally captured. 

However, it’s important to ensure you talk to your primary photographer about who to hire, as well as what the second photographer’s role will be on the day. You don’t want them getting in each other’s way and missing the moment, but you don’t want to regret not having the right people in place to get the photographs!







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