Whether or not you need a 2nd photographer for your wedding can be a complicated decision. Lots of wedding blogs and advice take a very particular stance on this topic either way. Some photographers automatically include a second shooter in their packages, while others almost never work with a second shooter.
I like to treat each wedding day as unique and find out if a 2nd shooter is necessary.
Here are a few things that I consider when deciding whether or not to recommend a second photographer.
The larger your wedding and wedding party, the more people there are to document and more things will be going on.
If you have a large wedding party, a large family that will have lots of formal family portraits, or more than 150 guests, a 2nd shooter is a good idea to get a 2nd set of eyes on all the big aspects of you day.
If you’re having a small/no wedding party and have less than 100 people, I feel confident to document your day solo.
Are you and your spouse-to-be getting ready at the same time and at separate locations? I simply can’t be in two places at once, of course!
If you’re not getting ready at the venue together or within close enough proximity to travel quickly, having two photographers able to document both the bride and your partner getting ready is essential.
If the logistics of getting ready or other events of your day prevent me from being at all the most important moments for you, a 2nd photographer can fill in the gaps for me.
However, sometimes a bride and groom are getting ready at different locations but they do not value getting ready photos or are okay with a few solo portraits of the groom adjusting his tie/acting like he’s getting ready before a first look, but not actually have getting ready documented from start to finish for both sides. It just depends on logistics and what you value being photographed most.
The supplemental images a 2nd photographer provides are usually most valued in getting ready and the ceremony.
Having a big wedding party and if value getting ready images with the wedding party on both sides, a 2nd photographer is helpful to capture getting ready for both bride and groom. If you also want two perspectives of your ceremony captured or you’re having a large ceremony, a 2nd photographer can capture one aspect while I capture another.
If you value quality photos but do not have the above situations in your day, having one photographer is going to be plenty. Many of my wedding couples have “non-traditional” weddings – a small backyard wedding, a cocktail hour with a food truck instead of a sit down dinner, a ceremony with only family and reception for friends afterward. If this sounds like your wedding day, I’ve got you covered and one photographer is more than enough.
I believe the wedding industry has made every bride feel they “need” and “must have” a 2nd photographer. But what do you really need and value?
The wedding industry also tells brides to buy $5000 Vera Wang dresses and get married at venues that cost $30k! If you want a 2nd shooter simply because someone said you must have one, that’s not a great reason.
I always consult with my clients to see if having a 2nd photographer is truly valuable for their day. If so, let’s get one! If not, let’s keep it simple.
In the end, I almost always feel confident documenting an entire wedding solo. Most of my weddings are on the smaller and non-traditional side, and are perfect for just me to document. That’s just my preference as a photographer though. If your wedding falls into a situation where a 2nd is valuable and needed, I am happy to add a known and trusted professional to work alongside me for your big day.
I hope this helped you in thinking about whether you need a 2nd photographer for your wedding!
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CHARLOTESVILLE, VIRGINIA PHOTOGRAPHER