How Do I Know if I Should Hire a Second Shooter? // by Seattle Wedding Photographer Lindsey Paradiso

January 2, 2019

When I interview clients, one question that almost always comes up is “Do we need a second shooter?” After being asked this question about 100 times over the years, I decided it’d be smart to lay out all of the reasons behind having a second shooter.

 wedding ceremony at the barn at timbercreek in Farmville, VA

Things to be aware of when hiring a second shooter –

1. It may take a little longer to get your final gallery…
When I work with a second shooter, I always wind up with anywhere from 1500 – 3000 additional photos they’ve taken. That’s 1500 – 3000 more photos for me to review and edit for your final gallery. This could mean that your gallery takes a bit longer to get back to you than it would take if I were shooting alone and only culling and editing my images. I guess this is kind of still a pro though because you end up with 250 additional images on average.

2. More photographers mean more cameras.
Depending on whether or not you’re hiring a videographer team, you could have an upwards of four professional photographers and videographers working around your wedding. If you’re having a really small intimate wedding, this could begin to feel slightly invasive! Something to think about!

Are you getting ready at separate locations?

If not, you may not need a second shooter. When you get ready in the same location, I am able to create a timeline where I can photograph everything I want to get of you both getting ready. If you’re in separate locations though, I could lose valuable time traveling between you two. A second photographer can really come in handy in this situation so that we don’t waste any coverage time!

Are you planning a first look?

If you’re planning a first look, it depends on your wants. I am fully capable of coordinating and capturing the first look on my own, but it definitely is a lot easier with two photographers there and you would wind up with more images of both of your reactions.

If you’re not planning a first look, I would definitely suggest hiring a second photographer so that you both are able to have equal coverage prior to the ceremony. Not having a first look does also really affect the schedule, so having another photographer there would surely help capture the day a lot more completely.

Is your wedding day full of events?

Weddings tend to have a similar timeline of events (getting ready, first look, portraits, family formals, reception, etc.) – sometimes though, things will overlap, especially if you’re not doing a first look. For example, if you don’t plan a first look then family portraits will need to take place after the ceremony ends. This usually means we are taking these photos as cocktail hour starts. If you have a second photographer there they are able to grab photos of the cocktail hour set-up and candids of everyone enjoying themselves.

 bridesmaids and bride in wedding party

Are you planning to have a large wedding party?

With large wedding parties, it takes quite a bit more time to capture all of the group and individual shots. By hiring a second photographer, you’re able to cut this time in half. This would mean that you can put that time to good use elsewhere, like your couples portraits or reception coverage!

 first dance at pippin hill in charlottesville virginia wedding

Do you want a lot of photos of the details and decor?

Weddings always vary when it comes to details and decor. If you’ve dedicated a lot of your budget to your details then I would imagine you’d like to make sure it gets documented. The best time to take these photos is right after the setup is complete for both the ceremony and reception areas, before the guests enter, so as to get a clean shot without guests or vendors in the space. This perfect time usually overlaps with other important photos like your couple portraits or family photos, so having a second there to take care of this simultaneously is wise.

 first kiss at district winery in washington dc

Are you really looking forward to seeing all of your guests captured?

There are so many important moments between you that I need to capture, but I also want to get plenty of guest shots. When I have a second photographer, they’re able to focus specifically on capturing candid photos and reactions that I might miss while I’m photographing the cake cutting or the first dance. Having a second photographer is also ideal when you plan a large wedding with a lot of guests, especially if these guests are all people you’d like photos of.

 just married in hawaii

I hope this blog post has answered your questions when it comes to whether or not a second shooter is right for your wedding. Yes, adding a second photographer to your wedding package does cost a little extra, but the quality and quantity of your wedding photos are always worth it!

I’m available to photograph weddings worldwide, so reach out if you’re looking for an experienced wedding photographer. I’m happy to answer all of your questions!

Working on your timeline? Make sure to check out some of my timeline tips here!


Absolutely fantastic tips. Thank you!