What are the Pros & Cons of Having a Second Shooter? // Lindsey Paradiso Photography

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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 put all of the pros & cons of having a second shooter in one place. The pros definitely outweigh the cons, but I think it’s very important to be transparent about what having a second shooter at your wedding will mean. I hope this list helps you make the best decision for you and your wedding day!

wedding ceremony at the barn at timbercreek in Farmville, VA

Let’s start off with the Cons!… though there are really only two that I can think of.

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 means more cameras.
This other point isn’t really a con as much as something you should be aware of when you’re booking your wedding coverage packages. 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!

Now onto the pros!

1. We can capture both partners getting ready at the same time. 
The majority of wedding days have each partner getting ready at separate locations. When a couple who is getting ready far apart doesn’t hire a second shooter, I usually spend most of my time with only one partner while they get ready with friends and family (per my client’s request). Photos from this part of the other partner’s day are limited without some help from another photographer. With two photographers I am able to “be in two places at once” and fully capture all of the moments leading up to the first look or ceremony! No awkward staging of tying your tie or buttoning your vest. We can capture those moments in real time along with the all of the excitement and nerves as you both get ready.

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2. More moments from your first look & ceremony are able to be captured.
Ceremonies are always full of so many wonderful moments and they tend to all be happening at once. When you have two photographers covering your ceremony, we are able to grab more of those delicious emotion filled candids that everyone loves so much. Not only that, but when it comes to first looks we are able to capture both of your reactions at once and really take advantage of the time given for portraits afterward by capturing multiple angles and perspectives.

3. The cocktail hour gets the coverage it deserves.
The cocktail hour always seems to get the short end of the coverage stick even though it’s full of juicy candids ripe for the taking. You put so much love and energy into every part of this day, so why miss out on preserving this part of the party? When you have a second photographer they can head over to your cocktail hour following the ceremony. While I focus on portraits with the newlyweds, they are able to capture some of the great moments of your friends and family hanging out and celebrating the vows that you two just took!

bridesmaids and bride in wedding party

4. Two photographers, one wedding party = no problem.
With larger wedding parties, it can be a little time consuming capturing all combinations of portraits. When you have two photographers it’s a breeze! Having a second shooter can cut the time it takes to document the wedding party in HALF which gets you back to your party quicker! SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS!

first dance at pippin hill in charlottesville virginia wedding

5. The reception details get their chance to really shine!
Couples put so much time, thought and effort into creating the perfect reception space, but more often that not the reception spaces aren’t finished being set up until mid-ceremony. This makes it difficult to guarantee that these details will get captured. When you have two photographers, I am able to send the second to grab photos of those untouched details if I’m not available to do it myself. On the wedding day, you also might not get a chance to see your reception completely set up and ready to go before your guests have filled the space, so it’s always nice to have these detailed shots to look back on.

first kiss at district winery in washington dc

6. Capture more candids of your guests at the reception… especially during large weddings.
There are so many important moments between the newlyweds that I need to capture, but I also want to get plenty of guest shots. When I have backup, the second shooter can capture candid photos and reactions that I might miss when 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. If you have 150+ guests, we can capture more photos of your guests, so more of your friends and family are documented during your big day.

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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!