Do I Need a Second Shooter at My Wedding?

January 17, 2020

Do I Need a Second Shooter at My Wedding?

This question about second shooters is often asked by couples that care a lot about their wedding photography. You’re inviting your closest friends and family to a gorgeous destination where you’ll marry your dream partner. You know just how important those photographs are and you’re not going to leave anything off the table.

But then a question made you stop in your tracks: “Do I need a second photographer for my wedding?”

To be honest, there’s a large debate when it comes to hiring multiple wedding photographers. Ultimately, there are pros and cons of hiring a second photographer for your wedding. In my opinion, though, you need one photograph who knows exactly what they’re doing. Here’s why:

You know the main photographer’s work and like their style

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. Rather than all photographs turning out alike, each image 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. When hiring a single shooter wedding photographer, you can do your research and get an understanding for 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.

Elopement wedding in the mountains

Hiring a solo photographer is more cost-effective.

A second shooter often comes with a cost, especially for a long wedding day. A single shooter will often be closer to your budget range, especially for a foreign destination wedding in which you have many other travel costs.

It’s easier to communicate with a single wedding photographer.

I find that when working alone with my couples, I’m able to much more easily bond and communicate with them. No back and forth is required between photographer 1 and photographer 2. 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.

One main photographer brings less distractions.

Regardless of your wedding party size (100 or 20 people), the photographer can be a noticeable distraction. When you add two to the mix, this increases the potential interruptions for the day. I shoot all of my weddings alone and have learned to blend in, while still capturing every moment. This is especially beneficial for a destination wedding so as to maintain the intimacy. I rarely see two photographers at destination weddings or elopements.

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. 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), 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.

Calgary wedding unposed photography

Hire a photographer for the experience.

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 is there with you on one of the biggest days of your life. Make sure it’s the right person, whether it’s at a tropical destination wedding or at a mountainside elopement.


Do you still have questions about whether or not a second shooter is right for you? Let’s chat about your wedding here. I’d love to learn what is important to you for your wedding day.