Do we need a 2nd photographer at our wedding?

If you have started your search for a wedding photographer, you might have come across the term “2nd shooter” or “2nd photographer.” What this means is the primary photographer that you hire will bring along an additional professional photographer, who is shooting under their name for the day. Some wedding photography studios work as a husband and wife team, in which case they always work together.

So, is a 2nd wedding photographer something you must have? Not necessarily, but that decision is up to you.

Most of the weddings I photograph are small, intimate ceremonies. If the number of guests rises to over 50, I would suggest considering a second photographer.

Here are some pros to having two photographers document your wedding day:

  • Being in two places at once. If you and your groom would both like getting ready photos (and especially if you are not getting ready at the same location), the main photographer can stay with the bride while the 2nd is with the groom and his guys.

2nd wedding photographer 2 places at once

  • Different perspective of the same moment. The moment has come for you to walk down the aisle. There is a lot happening: guests’ emotions, your groom’s face as you walk toward him, and of course you coming down the aisle. This is the part of the day where a 2nd shooter is really beneficial. The main photographer can focus on you coming down the aisle, and the 2nd can focus the lens on your groom’s reaction. A different example is shown below in this first look, where I was following the bride down a garden pathway as Paulina stood in a different spot to photograph the groom with his back turned toward his bride.

2nd wedding photographer different perspective same moment

  • Complimentary lens choices. The lens on the end of a camera can drastically change the look of a photo. While it’s easy to switch out lenses to obtain these different looks, it’s great to have two photographers have varying lenses on their camera at the same time. For example, during the ceremony perhaps one photographer is getting a wide shot (the entire scene) while the other is using a zoom lens (focused tight on the groom’s expression).

wide tight shot

If your budget allows and you’re doing anything larger than an elopement or 25 person wedding, I’d say having a second photographer will add some nice variety to your final collection of images. On the other hand, I’ve done plenty of weddings on my own with no problem at all. Some couples don’t want more people present than need be, because they are trying to keep things small and uncomplicated.

Here’s a wedding I shot solo, and here is one where I worked alongside an additional photographer.

Hope this helps! Please contact me at if you have questions about additional photographers, or anything else related to your wedding planning process.


Katie photographs elopements and intimate weddings. She is located in Los Angeles and is available for travel worldwide.