Do I need a second shooter for my wedding?

One of the most common questions couples ask their wedding photographer while planning their wedding: “Do we need a second shooter?”

The short answer is… it depends. Hahaha sorry…. but let me explain (and I will try to keep this short and sweet!)

How will I know if I need a second shooter?

I always get on a phone call with potential clients right after they inquire to discuss their wedding day in more detail, including the size, location, what is most important to them, what they envision, etc. This way, I can make sure they get the right amount of coverage / services from me, including a second shooter or not! Obvi this does not have to be decided right away during this initial call but it usually helps couples get a feel for the right photography coverage for them! I am such a believer that every wedding is SO different, so really none of my coverage is “one size fits all.” I never want my couples to overbook with me and have to spend more money than they need to!

When a second shooter is not necessary

So, a second shooter is honestly sometimes not necessary. Following are a couple examples of when a second shooter is NOT necessary in my opinion. A smaller, more intimate wedding where capturing everyone and everything is very manageable with just one person and/ or weddings that tend to be a little shorter. Another example is if a couple really does not care much about having these types of photos documented on their wedding day: the groom getting ready, lots of decoration details, photos of guests, different people’s reactions, no or very small wedding party, etc.

I feel totally comfortable shooting an entire wedding by myself. Plus, I have backup gear so I never have to worry about relying on anyone else!

When to hire on a second shooter for your wedding

However, there are definitely [several] benefits of having a second shooter for your wedding!!

(PS – You can check out more from this wedding here: and stay tuned for even more on if you should do a first look – Blog coming soon!)

Different Focal Lengths, More Variety in your Wedding Gallery

One of the things I always talk to potential second shooters (interviewing them if you will) about is their gear. I LOVE hiring photographers that have different focal length lenses from me! For example, I primarily shoot with one wide angle lens (35 mm) and one more telephoto lens (85 mm) which is perfect! A second shooter can use a more zoomed in lens for a more close- up shot while I get a wider shot, or vice versa.

wedding photographer second shooter
My amazing second shooter, Scott from Plum Creek Photography, got this photograph at the same time that I was getting the following shot…
wedding photographer second shooter
Amazing right?! Both of these photographs were taken at the same exact time in the same place, but are completely different!!

Different Perspectives

Different perspectives goes right along with that same idea! A second shooter can capture different perspectives from me. As much as I would love to be able to be in two places at once, I simply can only be in one place at one time. I love having a second shooter to capture completely different perspectives from me on a wedding day. If your guests at your wedding is one of the most important aspects of your wedding day to you, with a second shooter, you can get way more photos of them! Think about it in just this one example – While I am taking family portraits, the second shooter can be taking photos of guests at cocktail hour! Another example – if you have a beautiful back of your dress (I love!) then it is so fun to get a lot of photos from all angles!

Let’s be real, during the ceremony, you also want to get photos of you walking down the aisle AND your grooms’ reaction! This is also true for a first look. With a second shooter, we can effectively get photos of the both of you and both of your reactions.

wedding photographer second shooter

Save time!!

This brings me to my next point. When you have a second shooter for your wedding, you can actually save soooo much time. You do not have to spend as much time on taking photos since there are two photographers. You can basically double the work load! For example, my second shooter can get groomsmen photos at the same time that I am getting bridesmaids photos, instead of me doing one then the other. I also LOVE getting individual portraits of the bride and individual portraits of the groom. These can be done at the exact same time as well, so you don’t have to spend too much time apart!

wedding photographer second shooter

It is just so much more efficient AND not to mention – a much better value! You get to save time taking photos (AKA more time for celebrating and dancing!) and you get way more photos from your day for a great value.

More Variety

In general, having a second shooter is going to give you so much more variety in your final wedding gallery. I can deliver almost twice as many photos when I have a second shooter with me! (Think about it – if they take 1000 photos all day and I also take 1000 photos, and I am delivering both of ours, that could potentially be 2000 photos!) I am a firm believer in delivering all the great photos from your wedding day. This is the most important day of your life and I don’t want to hold back ANY memories or special moments from you! (So basically, there will be a lot, especially if you have a second shooter!)

Your questions about having a second shooter at your wedding ANSWERED!

Here are some FAQs about having a second shooter…

How do you choose a second shooter? Do I get to pick?

When you hire me as your wedding photographer, you are trusting me to capture your special day! You are trusting me to figure out all the details to deliver great photographs to you. (I do have a lot of details to figure out, such as my gear, equipment, memory cards, lighting, backups, etc.) This includes any second shooters or assistants I will be bringing along! I choose a second shooter whom I completely trust technically to take professional photographs that will match my quality. I also choose someone who will represent my brand well, someone who will be professional, but also fun (like me;)). They are contracted under ME and working for ME on your wedding day. That is why I have to make sure I choose someone amazing! 🙂

How do I get their photos? Do I communicate with the second shooter also?

You don’t have to worry about a thaaang boo! Like I said, they are working under ME, so all communications will be through me. Just think of them as a “second me” haha or just an extension of me and my business! All of their photos will be sent through me also!

And to encompass some other questions I commonly get asked, here is just how it works… 🙂
About a month before your wedding date, I will begin reaching out to fellow wedding photographers that I really like and trust to see who is available. Then, I will choose someone who I think most aligns with your vibes and who I think you will also love!

They will show up on your wedding day ready to rock it! Usually they work somewhere else, like taking the groom / groomsmen photos while I take the bride / bridesmaids photos. Or they will work right alongside me but capturing different perspectives!

I GIVE my second shooter(s) MY SD CARDS TO WRITE ON. At the end of the wedding day, they just give my cards back to me and I edit and upload them all is if they were my own! All of their photos AND mine will be completely cohesive; you probably won’t even be able to tell them apart. 😉 They will be included in your final wedding gallery all together! Easy peasy!

Also! Some couples choose to have a second shooter for just part of their day, which is a GREAT option!

denver wedding
san diego wedding photographer

I hope this blog post was helpful and gives you more clarity! Like I said, I always chat to my couples about this, BUT if YOU have any questions, please feel free to reach out! 🙂 and congratulations if you are in the middle of planning your wedding ;))) It is going to be perfect!
Love, Karissa

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