Bride and groom share a kiss under the sunset.

December 17, 2021

Do I Need Two Wedding Photographers? | Second Shooter Pros & Cons

Even after you choose your wedding photographer, you still have a few more decisions to make about your photo package. The biggest one: Do you want two wedding photographers?

Not all wedding photographers utilize a second shooter, but it’s almost always a great addition to your wedding photography package. That being said, I also understand if you’d rather not invest in that add-on.

Lucky for you, I’ve shot weddings both ways! I love having a second shooter on my team, but I’m also more than comfortable shooting (most) weddings alone.

If you’re unsure whether you’ll need two wedding photographers, let me help you make an educated choice.

Bride laughs with her bridesmaids.


As with all wedding decisions, whether or not you have two wedding photographers is entirely up to you. That being said, I’ve shot hundreds of weddings. There are several situations where you’ll absolutely need a second shooter in order to capture all the important moments of your day.

You’ll definitely need a second shooter at your wedding if…

Having tons of photos is important to you.

I pride myself in delivering a complete gallery to all of my wedding clients, but there’s only so much shooting one person can do! If you want photos of each and every detail of your day, go ahead and swing for the second shooter. They’ll be able to fill out your gallery with even more angles and images than I’ll be able to shoot alone.

Bride and groom walk hand in hand on a rocky riverbank. Bride and groom walk hand-in-hand back down the aisle after their church wedding ceremony. Bride poses in vintage wedding dress with a bouquet of light pink roses.


You’ll have more than 120 guests at your wedding.

There’s nothing worse than being one one side of a massive reception hall and hearing the DJ announce that the couple is about cutting the cake on the other. As a solo photographer, my only options are to 1) make the couple wait until I can get to them, which creates an awkward moment of silence or 2) bulldoze my way through your guests’ tables and hope I get there in time. (Trust me, you don’t want either of those.) Having a second shooter will make it easier for me to capture all your special moments during the ceremony and reception without having to crowdsurf through your guests.

Black and white image of a bride and groom sharing their first dance while their wedding guests look on. Bride and groom exchange vows in a forest as friends and family look on. The aisle is lined with vintage rugs, and the altar is lit up with strings of lights.


You and your partner are getting ready in different locations.

If you’re not both getting ready at your venue, chances are you’ll be in separate Airbnb’s, hotel rooms, or homes. In that case, it’s best to have a second shooter who can hang out with one group while I hang out with the other. If you don’t swing for the second shooter, you’ll need to book a lot more time with me to account for travel between the two locations. Plus, I’ll have to be much pickier with how many and which shots I get with each group before moving on to the next.

A pair of white women's dress shoes pictured amidst red and pink flowers. A bride's mother fastens the buttons on the back of her wedding dress. A white ballgown hangs on the side of an old shed in the woods.


You have a large family or bridal party.

Behind the scenes of all those formal family photos is a wedding photographer wrangling guests into formation. It’s hard work, especially if they’ve already started drinking! If you have a large family who’ll want several different family photo configurations or a large bridal party, it’s best to have a second shooter there to help organize everyone. That way, we can get everyone out of the photos and onto the dance floor, and you and your partner will still have time for plenty of couple’s portraits.

A bride and groom share a kiss in the aisle as their guests applaud them. A black and white image of a bride posing with her bridesmaids. A family embraces for a wedding portrait.


You’ll be following any specific cultural traditions around modesty.

This isn’t super common anymore, but I do run across it every once in a while. If you’ll be following any particular customs around modesty (say, that a woman shouldn’t be with the men while they get ready for the wedding or vice versa), you’ll need a second shooter. If this is the case, please let me know ahead of time so I can hire a male second shooter to assist me on your day.

A bride and groom share a kiss as their wedding party celebrates on either side of them. The bride's mother fastens the buttons on the back of her gown.

A bride examines her pink and red bouquet.



Still not sure if you need a second shooter at your wedding? Here are some quick pros and cons to help you decide!

Pros of Having Two Wedding Photographers

  • You’ll get more photos. There’s only so much shooting I can do alone! With a second shooter, you’ll get way more images of your day.
  • We’ll be able to cover more angles. I like to coordinate with my second shooter so they cover an alternative angle of all the big moments. If I’m shooting close-ups, they’ll shoot wide angles. If I’m getting one angle of the first dance, they’ll get another. That way, you won’t miss a moment.
  • You’ll get a wide variety of images. I choose second shooters whose styles are slightly different from – but still complement – my own. You’ll get tons of unique photos that I wouldn’t have been able to capture alone.
  • We can be two places at once. Want shots of your family at dinner while you and your partner are away for couple’s portraits? Or maybe images of everyone filing into the ceremony while you’re waiting to walk down the aisle? With a second shooter, I can basically be two places at once!
  • You can have both a male and female photographer. If your guys would be more comfortable getting ready with a male photographer, let me know! I’ll happily choose a male second shooter to keep everyone confident and natural in front of the camera.

A bride poses straight-faced with her bouquet in front of green mountains. A bride and groom share a kiss in front of a hotel entrance.

A bride and groom kiss under the setting sun on a mountain ridge. Her veil blows behind her in the wind.

A shot from below of a bride and groom holding hands. The forest above them is illuminated in sunlight.


Cons of Having Two Wedding Photographers

  • There’s often an additional fee. Of course, my couples often find that the investment is worth it for the extra coverage and flexibility.
  • There will be more cameras on you. If you’re extremely camera-shy, keep in mind that you’ll have two cameras on you instead of one. If you’re hiring a videographer, a photographer, and a second shooter, you can anticipate 3-4 cameras (or more). Just something to think about!
  • Editing your photos may take a bit longer. We’re not talking months or anything, but it may take me a bit longer to work my magic on a larger gallery.

A bride and groom stand together and admire one another next to a short stone wall.

A bride and groom shove wedding cake into one another's faces.

A bride stands at a railing overlooking the vista outside of her wedding venue. A bride and groom embrace in front of a mountain lake. A wedding dress hangs in a sunny window. A bride and groom pose with mimosas while holding an iPad, which they're using to Facetime with family. A bride reads vows to her soon-to-be stepdaughter. A bride laughs as she approaches her groom from behind during their first look.



Just ask! I’m Rachael Crowe of OkCrowe Photography, and like I mentioned, I’ve shot hundreds of both weddings, both solo and with a second shooter, here in Chattanooga and beyond. I’m happy to share my recommendation and create a plan to get you all the most important images of your wedding day.

As you’re planning the details of your wedding, check out my blog for more wedding planning advice (like whether to have a first look, ideas for unique unity ceremonies, and how to look natural in your engagement photos).

And if you’re still on the hunt for a wedding photographer, I’d love to chat! Visit my contact form, and let’s start planning your dream wedding!

Pin this blog for later! 


Comments Off on Do I Need Two Wedding Photographers? | Second Shooter Pros & Cons