Samantha Searles

Do I need a second photographer?

You’re budgeting for your wedding, land your dream photographer, but due to the price, decide not to spend the extra few hundred to add a second photographer.

I get it! The monetary aspect of adding another photographer can persuade you to let your main photographer handle the day. He/she is a professional and can absolutely handle your small wedding alone!

Although this is all true, let me share with you a few reasons why I believe having a second shooter is a necessity on wedding days.


Let’s start with the ceremony. Personally, I love getting a shot of the bride walking down the aisle from the front. I typically start a wedding standing at the front of the ceremony space, down the aisle. I am able to capture the bride walking toward me, then rotate my body to capture the expression on the groom’s face.

My second shooter is at the back of the church, capturing the back of the bride’s dress as she is walking down the aisle and the groom’s face over her shoulder.

These are two separate angles that are impossible for one shooter to capture, but that I feel really embody the moment. Maybe you don’t LOVE the back of your dress like other brides, or the back of your hair that only took 2 hours to complete. ┬áIf you say nah, Samantha, I don’t need that back shot, well keep reading.


Many times wedding days get a little behind on schedule. And that’s OK! If you hire a good photographer, he/she has already planned for this. When my time is limited, I lean more on my second shooter. Sometimes we are able to both shoot the bride getting ready, then the groom getting ready, then a few detail shots. Other times I photograph the bride, while my second shooter photographs the groom, and in passing, we make a game plan for what is next.


Sometimes things happen on wedding days. Maybe a rainstorm comes out of nowhere, or an accident holds up traffic causing the ceremony to start an hour late. Things happen! I have a great example of this.

At a recent wedding, we had a lot of rain. During dinner, I noticed the rain has ceased and we had just a bit of sunlight left. I asked the bride if she was up for it, and we essentially ran out to a nice spot to grab a few shots before the rain returned. I only had one lens on me at the time, my 85mm. (I love this lens, but that is for a different blog.) As I was getting close-up shots of the bride and groom under this beautiful tree, my second shooter stepped back and shot the whole scene.

We were on this beautiful golf course, and I am so thankful for her and for this shot because it really captured the environment we were in. It was QUICK. We shot a few shots and ran back inside. But these shots are my favorite of the night, and the different perspectives we got were both so beautiful! Let me show you.

 This was my shot. This was my shot.  And this was her shot. See what I mean? What a difference! And this was her shot. See what I mean? What a difference!

Typically when I am shooting I carry multiple lenses with me so I am able to capture different angles like this. But with the rain and the quick decision, I was unable to.


When capturing a wedding, there are certain shots that must be taken! And having a second shooter guarantees me (and you!) that these shots will be taken, PLUS SOME!

When I have a second shooter on hand, it allows me to be more creative. In a special moment, I know the basic photos are being captured, which allows me to wander. I can find a different angle to shoot from (much like bullet point #1) or send my second shooter to be the creative one.

This photo is a great example. While I was getting the necessary first dance photos, my second shooter saw an opportunity to get the shot from up above and took this photo! You can clearly see I am focused in on the ground shots!

Photographers are creative! Some of the coolest wedding photo ideas have come from conversations with other photographers. I have always loved collaboration and think the best wedding photos happen when two photographers are able to work together.

At the end of the day, only you can decide if you want to splurge for a second photographer. As I mentioned before, most photographers are fully capable of shooting a wedding on their own. But if you are after creative shots, different perspectives, and both the groom and bride’s viewpoints of the day, I highly recommend adding a second shooter for your wedding.

June 14, 2017

Samantha Searles