Wedding Planning Tips and Inspiration

Do You Need A Second Shooter At Your Wedding?

You’ve heard it before: Your wedding day is going to go by REALLY fast. Before you know it, the cake will be eaten, the flowers will start to wilt, and the bottom of your dress will be dirty from twirling on the dance floor. The only thing that will remain as beautiful as the day you say “I do” are your wedding photos! Having photographed many weddings for couples in Northern Virginia and D.C. over the past several years, I have a lot of thoughts when it comes to hiring a second shooter to photograph your wedding day. Keep reading to find out why you may or may not want a second photographer present to document your special day.

What is a second shooter?

A second shooter is an additional photographer and set of eyes present on your wedding day to take photos of all the beautiful details you have brought together.

You might want to hire a second shooter if…

If you are planning a larger wedding (80+ guests) and/or have an elaborate time line (8+ hours, bride and groom getting ready in separate locations, a lot of details that need to be photographed), you may want to hire a second shooter.

Imagine this: you are busy with your photographer during bride and groom portraits. In another area of the venue, your guests are starting to mingle at cocktail hour. Purses and phones are set down at the dinner tables. The tables that are decorated beautifully and took months of planning and thought…The tables that haven’t been photographed yet…

Oh no.

Once guests sit down at tables, it is nearly impossible to photograph the details of the table scape. In this situation, a second shooter is very much needed!

A second shooter = more angles and more photos!

You may want different angles photographed during the important parts of your wedding day, like during the ceremony. While one photographer is catching the groom’s reaction to his bride walking down the aisle, the other can have their camera on the bride. Hiring a second shooter ensures there are two photographers capturing the day as it unfolds so that nothing is missed.

A second shooter can also act as an assistant to the main photographer. I have my second shooter photograph the groom and groomsmen while I am photographing the bride and bridesmaids. They can toss the bride’s veil for me during bride and groom portraits, hold the bouquet, adjust the bride’s train, and grab water if needed. A second shooter is super helpful in a lot of ways!

All of my wedding couples have the option to add a second shooter to their wedding package.

Not every wedding needs a second shooter!

If you are planning an intimate wedding with under 50 guests and your wedding day isn’t 8+ hours with an elaborate timeline, you probably don’t need a second shooter. One photographer should be able to handle all of the details of your day. Intimate weddings tend to be a little slower paced and allow more time for photos.

You can totally hire a second shooter for just a few hours!

Yep! Couples typically don’t need a second shooter for the entire day, which makes hiring a second shooter an affordable add-on option. I recommned a second shooter be present anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on the timeline. I like to have the second shooter present for all of the important moments: During getting ready, the first look, bridal party photos, and the ceremony. You typically won’t need a second shooter for the reception.

I hope this blog post was helpful!

About The Author:

Carly is a wedding photographer located in Northern Virginia. She is most known for her bubbly personality and love of Starbuck’s iced coffee.

I'm a fine art wedding photographer
serving couples in Virginia, Washington D.C. and beyond.


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