Do You Need a Second Photographer? How Much Wedding Coverage Is Enough?

 @Jill Gearhart Photography |

Do you need a second photographer, or "second shooter", for your wedding day? Your budget will definitely be the leading factor in your decision making, but there are some things you should consider when determining your photography budget and if you should hand out some extra cash for another photographer! (fun fact: all photos in this post were done by second shooters!)

 @Jill Gearhart Photography |


If your groom and groomsmen are getting ready at a separate location than you and you want to have photos of it, you definitely need a second shooter. The time spent traveling back and forth from location to location translates into moments lost for one photographer to be available to capture. A second shooter usually starts out the day in the bridal suite, then gets to spend some quality time with the guys right before your ceremony starts.



Picture this (real world examples): Uh oh - you and your bridal party have to get somewhere, but your cars are at the reception and you were dropped off at the hotel. A nice photographer and second shooter will be more than happy to offer up their extra seats in the car! Or, you have a room full of groomsmen, lots of straight pins and boutonnieres, and no one knows how to attach them, where to attach them, or how it's supposed to look. Not one, but TWO wedding pro's to the rescue! How about this - you need to get family photos started but Aunt Patty has wandered off to the cocktail hour. Second shooter to the rescue! While your main photographer is starting Patty-less portraits of other family members, a second shooter can wrangle up any stray loved ones that are needed for photos. Sure, all of these situations can be avoided with good communication pre-wedding and some planning ahead, but there is ALWAYS something that pops up that we are more than capable of handling for you which means a LOT less stress for you!

 @Jill Gearhart Photography |


If you are doing a first look, a second shooter is a must in order to capture the reactions of both you and your soon to be hubby. A photographer team will know exactly where to stand as to not be in each other's pictures, and you can be sure that you will get the most genuine reactions captured in real time. It's also great to have a second shooter during the ceremony to get both of your reactions to vows, multiple angles of the kiss, and a variety or wide and close up shots of the same moments!

 @Jill Gearhart Photography |


Etsy has nothing on you. People pin YOUR stuff on Pinterest. If you are a DIY bride and have tons of details and custom pieces, a second shooter is a great idea! If each centerpiece is different and you want photos of them, a second shooter is a MUST! While your main photographer will be sure to capture all the details she can, its always great to make sure every little thing is covered by having a second shooter all over the place while pre-reception portraits are being finished up! It's also very helpful to have a second shooter sneak away right after the ceremony to get some wide-angle, untouched room shots of the reception before guests arrive.

 @Jill Gearhart Photography |


If having lots of photos and memories of your guests having fun is really important to you, then a second shooter should be too. While one photographer "works the dance floor", the other can be snapping candids of non-dancey guests that would never otherwise be in the photos! The availability of two photographer at once also helps with the times where lots of events are happening at once, like the bridal dance or bouquet/garter tosses! 



A another set of hands and another brain full of logistical skills can also help out a lot with group photos. Whether it's helping to manage the list of family members for post-ceremony portraits, or going around to each table at the reception and getting group photos while your main photographer is on the dance floor, a second shooter saves so much time and ensures that every guest makes it into a photo! 

Here are some amazing shots all done by second shooters! Its our hope that thinking through the day from multiple angles, multiple places, and multiple people's perspectives will help you choose what kind of coverage is right for you!