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Explained: Second Photographers

Jan 22

Do I need a second photographer?

What is a second photographer?

A second photographer is exactly what it sounds like; having not just one, but two photographers at your wedding! Now, let’s decide how many photographers YOU need!

Here’s a summary of what each photographer does on your wedding day and beyond…

  1. The lead photographer communicates with the bride & groom, takes their engagement and bridal portraits, photographs a majority of the photos on the wedding day, and edits your photos afterward.
  2. The second photographer helps the main photographer be “in two places at once” and gives a second perspective throughout the day, taking photos in different locations and from different angles.
  3. A “photographer’s assistant” is different than a second photographer. An assistant usually helps the lead photographer carry equipment, scout locations, and gather groups of people for portraits.


Who hires the second photographer?

While the bride & groom hire the lead photographer, and they don’t have to worry about hiring another photographer too! The second photographer is hired by the lead photographer to be there for the wedding day only.

I always hire professional wedding photographers who own their own businesses and regularly shoot weddings as a lead photographer. That way, in situations where I need my second photographer to take control for a minute, I can rely on them to not only take great photos, but also to lead and direct people well!

Because the second photographers I hire are professional wedding photographers, who I hire for each wedding depends on who’s available and not photographing their own wedding or portrait session on that day.

Parts of the day that benefit most from having two photographers:

Getting Ready – While you’re relaxing and preparing for the day, your lead photographer will mostly be focussed on the bride. That’s where most of the action will be happening, and brides love having beautiful and fun photos taken during this time of the day! But, brides also love to look through their gallery and see what their groom was doing the morning too! Having two photographers will allow for photos to be taken of the bride & groom at the same time in different roomsThis especially comes in handy for couples getting ready at completely different locations.

Ceremony – Your ceremony is the time that benefits the MOST. Because ceremony setups are split down the middle, it makes sense for one photographer to be on the right side of the aisle and one to be on the left side. This way, you’ll have photos of BOTH of your reactions to each part of the ceremony. When I’m the only photographer, I have to spend more time walking from side to side, which means less time taking photos.

Reception – Much like during your ceremony, having extra photos during important moments of your reception (like first dances, parents dances, and toasts) is awesome!

Portraits – Second photographers will take lots of extra photos during portraits! While you’re focussed on each other or smiling at your photographer, the second photographer will be shooting from other angles.

During family portraits, when we don’t need a lot of creative angles, a second photographer can fill the role of an assistant and help gather the people needed for each group combination. This makes the process flow smoothly and quickly.

Should you hire a second photographer

Quiz: Do I need a second photographer?

Do you want plenty of photos of your groom getting ready?

Yes – Do it!

Not really – Maybe not


Will you have more than 75 guests, and do you want photos of them hanging out, reacting to toasts, and enjoying themselves?

Yep – Do it!

Nah, that’s not important to me – Maybe not


Do you want a ton of photos of your ceremony, vows, and first kiss?

Of course! – Do it!

Not particularly – Maybe not


Do you want extra photos of your first dance and reception activities?

Duh! – Do it!

Not particularly – Maybe not


Overall, I recommend a second photographer to most couples unless they’re having a destination wedding or a very small elopement-style wedding!


Wedding Photography Experience >



3 Questions Brides Have When Hiring a Photographer

Sample Wedding Day Timelines

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austin, Texas + ready to travel anywhere