Do I Need A Second Wedding Photographer At My Wedding?

January 17, 2020

The answer is no. You do not need a second photographer at your wedding. As a bride, you are informed by magazines, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, online news articles that you need two photographs at your wedding, but why do they such make such claims? Have you thought it through logically and wondered why you’re being told that you need more than one photographer at your wedding? 

I am going to be honest, and frank about this topic as I’ve been in business since 2007 as a working professional photographer with hundreds of weddings under my belt. My goal in this article is to share my knowledge with you so you can understand what this is all about and decide if you need a second photographer at your wedding rather than be told you have to have a second photographer.

Before you scroll past this part, can I ask you something what does photography do to you? How does a photograph make you feel?

Knowing right out of the gate what photographs mean to you and its value will make a big choice knowing who will capture your wedding day.

Quite often, the bride and groom who only have the web and magazine to refer to as to what they should and should not do are unfair. Only is it once your wedding day is over, so you know exactly what is what. A wedding planner can help for sure when it comes to a wedding photographer, but I urge you to think openly and understand the average cost of a wedding photographer and why they charge what they do.

Having two or more wedding photographs is unnecessary at all, you need to hire the style of a photographer who you love, and you need to make sure that person is capturing your day.

I am an open book on this topic, contact with me with any questions you have. I’m here for you.

Do I Need a Second Shooter at My Wedding

Style & Look

Photographers are often distinguished by their style — the type of photos they take, how they edit, the interaction you have with them, etc. Even if you flood your wedding day with photographers, the photos you will love the most will come from the person whose work you fell in love with before you hired them. It’s the style and quality of images, as well as the professionalism that should determine which photographer will be at your wedding. A second shooter may not have the style you want for your wedding photos.

When I was in professional photography school, each student in class photographed an egg that they photographed separately. Each image that each photographer shot, was unique in its angle and style. This applies to your wedding too. Every photographer’s images will vary. Choose the photographer whose style fits with your tastes. By hiring a single wedding photographer, you’ll be able to select them precisely for the images you want of your wedding day.

A second shooter may not be a professional

Unfortunately, when photographers hire a second shooter, you often know nothing about that person. You have no idea if they’re a professional or if they’re an “employed” wife or husband for the weekend (more in the husband/wife team below). When hiring a single shooter wedding photographer, you can do your research and understand their work, communication, and philosophies (candid or posed). Don’t be fooled by an additional photographer. I’ve only seen a few in the world who are a fabulous team in which both shooters are professionals. Although an extra photographer may capture “more” images, there’s no guarantee that these images will be of the quality for which you hired your main photographer.

Husband and wife team

When you head to the dentist or a car mechanic you expect an expert to work on your teeth or vehicle, do you not? Or would you be happy with the dentist or mechanic’s partner working on your teeth or car who knows nothing about teeth or cars but hey they know how to pick up the instruments so they can do it, surely they can? They look the part! 

Seriously, would you be happy about this? Are you not hiring a professional to work on your teeth or car? It’s the same with a husband and wife team (or wife and husband team). Being, one operates full time as a photographer, and the other one steps in a professional but yet is not an expert. The partner is part-time and yet often doesn’t even know how to photograph properly and is learning the ropes. Isn’t your wedding day worth more than this? Did you not hire a style or look for your wedding day? Would you want that person who captures the look you want to be your photographer? Now, there are a couple husband and wife teams in Calgary, Banff, Canmore, and in Lake Louise who are professionals, but their rates reflect this ie, $14,000 upwards for their time and digitals only. No other products. The price reflects professionalism, but for the rest who went to a camera store or Costco and bought a camera and who is not a pro photographer is a joke, and you need to know this. It is not right for you to have to deal with this. If this price seem high to you it’s worth understanding the average cost of a wedding photographer.

Upon the whole, wife and husband teams include one working professional and the other a nonprofessional who “helps,” and I believe this is wrong on one of the most important days of your life. Please be aware of this. Look, I know everyone has to start from somewhere, gosh I did back in 2005 and turned pro in 2007, but you’re not hiring someone who’s just starting as a photographer, are you, or are you?

Associate photographers

This is when a primary photographer takes on photographers under their brand and often charges less than the principal photographer. I see this more and more, but make sure that the photographer whose style you love is the person who’s going to be turning up on your day. Remember the egg analogy from above? 

Bow Fall In Banff National Park

Is the second photographer a professional?

How do you know the second photographer is a full-time professional? You won’t as the primary photographer will tell you my second photographer is a professional, and you take it as that. You trust them. 

Celebrity weddings

This one falls into a unique category. The primary photographer is the person in charge of photographing the main areas of a wedding day. They’re hiring other professional wedding photographers to capture different aspects of the wedding day. Or, the wedding is so big that it needs several professional photographers and a wedding planner. In this case, the primary photographer is the boss, but the other photographers are working professionals. The rates reflect this, and all is good. I, for sure, do not mind hiring a second photographer, but they’ll be a working professional, and they do not need my assistance.

There are celebrity weddings that are small, and the working professional photographer is working alone as they know what they’re doing. This isn’t unusual, as they’re a working professional and they know what they’re doing.

It’s easier to communicate with a single wedding photographer

I find that when working alone with my couples, I’m able to bond and communicate with them. No back and forth is required between photographer one and photographer two. Instead, as a single wedding photographer, I can focus on you and your day. I’m 100% focused instead of spending time directing the alternative photographer who is often still trying to gain experience.

Different angles and point of views

What does this mean? It means when you have multiple photographers photographing at a different angle. Indeed, I cannot be in two places at once, but as a working professional, I know where to be for the one-shot that will mean everything to you when you hang it up on your wall as Wall Art. Do you want hundreds of meaningless photographs, or do you want high-quality photographs that mean the world to you? Do not get caught up in different angles but more about the quality of the work.

Getting Ready photographs

How can one photographer be in two places at once? Easy, I just stagger the grooms getting ready photographs to the brides getting ready photos. If both bride and groom are in the one hotel, I’d start in the bride’s room, photographs the details, head to the men for 45 mins and then head back to the ladies for when the dress is going on. If it’s two different locations, I will head to the men first, and then head to the ladies. Sure, the men will be ready 30 mins earlier than required but is this a real issue given a bride and groom will be receiving consistent photographs for them both.

Bride Getting Ready in Canmore

A professional wedding photographer can shoot alone

You might still be thinking, “But how can I trust my photographer to do it alone?” Talk to them! Your photographer is a professional for a reason. The chances are that they’ve photographed hundreds of weddings and have learned how to, for example, be in the right place at the right time to take photos of the bride walking down the aisle and still get images from the reactions of the family. Look through their galleries and ask if they’re a single shooter. Are the images there that you would want for your wedding? If so, this photographer can be trusted to shoot your wedding alone too.

Remember that with a professional photographer comes image consistency, knowledge for success on your wedding day (check out my free resource area on my blog), and of course, providing the highest quality photos. A professional knows what images are important for your day and knows where to be at the right time. Angles, creativity, knowledge, and experience play a huge roll in the success of your wedding photographer, whether they’re alone or have two assistants.

Hire a photographer for the experience

What does this mean? Forget how many second, third, or more photographers are present. The key is having one main photographer who knows what they’re doing, resulting in the work and style that you love. Your photographer has a character and is there with you on one of the biggest days of your life. Make sure it’s the right person, and someone you really like, whether it’s at a tropical destination wedding mountain venue or at a mountainside elopement.


Do I need a second photographer shooter at my wedding?

As a rule, the answer is no. What you need is to first fall in love with the style of a photographer who is going to photograph your wedding day. Then make sure that the photographer is the one covering your day. More photographs do not make for better photographs. Covered extensively in this article, you will explore many reasons why more is not necessarily better.

Why do brides and grooms even want a second photographer?

Bride and grooms are lead to believe they need second photographs because they told they do. If someone tells you to jump off a cliff, would you? Likely not! A great starting point is for you to ask yourself why do you need a second photographer. The main thing is to get along well with your photographer, they have a character you must like, and further, you must LOVE that photographs work. That is the person who is covering your day.

Why are there so many husbands and wife teams?

Quite often the primary photographs partner has a full-time job midweek and “helps” the principal photographer on weddings, thus calling themselves professional photographers. Because there’s no governing body overlooking this, any person can call themselves a professional photographer. There are some exceptions, husband and wife teams who are incredibly talented and world-class photographers, but generally speaking, many are not. You have to find out who exactly is photographing your wedding day.

Is a second photographer necessary?

No. You should find a photographer who has experience photographing wedding day so that that person knows what to do, where to be, and what’s going on. You should love the style of the photographer’s work who is photographing your wedding day.

Doesn’t a second photographer offer different angles?

Yes, they can. There is no disputing this fact, but the main photographer should know exactly where to be. The main reason for me about having a second photographer is for a huge wedding, and the time is very tight, and a photographer is capturing ie family shots, and the other is capturing reception venue shots. Generally, there’s a workaround this with scheduling with a good wedding planner.