Second shooters and why you really don’t need one.

bride and groom laughing in campus Martius

What is a second shooter and why are you being told or thinking you need one?

A second shooter is another photographer. Someone the wedding industry has come up with to make you think you need one for “extra coverage” and “more pictures” on your wedding day.

Now, I know I will hunted down with pitch forks and torches in the photo community for saying this…..

But people have been taking wedding pictures for decades without a second shooter and they have been just fine.

Why do you need one?


I know you have read blog posts from The Knot and Wedding Wire. Seen so many posts on Pinterest saying “make sure your wedding photographer has a second shooter!”.

No. Its completely unnecessary.

Here is my two cents on the matter:

In most cases second shooters are not directly employed by your photographers. They put up a post in local groups looking for someone who is available. Meaning that second shooter in not as invested in your wedding day. I cannot tell you the amount of posts I see WEEKLY from wedding photographers panicking and looking for a second shooter because the one they had originally secured canceled last minute. Back when I used to work with them- I have even had second shooters NOT SHOW UP. To me? It’s just not worth it.

I have done over 400 weddings and about 90% of those were done solo. I just know how to structure a time line so I can get everything covered by myself.

“But what about the different angles?” I always have 2 cameras on my body at all times with different lenses and am constantly moving. I have 10 years experience so I know where to be and when to be there to get the best shot. When it comes to wedding photos I firmly believe in quality over quantity. Now that doesn’t mean you’re not going to get a ton of wedding pictures- it just means what you will get will be the best.

“What about if we are getting ready at 2 different locations?” Then I will work it out to be at both of those places.

“What if your camera breaks or a card goes bad?” I shoot two cameras at all times. So if one “breaks”? I still have another one. I also bring 3 back up bodies with me to each wedding. So I will have a minimum of 5 cameras at all times. My cameras hold 2 cards at once. Meaning that when I take a picture its being saved to 2 cards. So, again, if one card goes bad? I will have back up with the same images on it. I also change my cards out several times a day. Now this doesn’t mean something will never happen. It just means there are less chances of something bad happening.

Old picture.. but you can see my harness with the two cameras I wear at EVERY shoot!

“I just want more pictures” You will get plenty with one photographer- trust me. Because honestly? when we have a second shooter we use maybe 75-100 images of theirs. Really. I don’t think I have been used that many from a second shooter. Because whatever they are shooting I am going to go and doing it myself as well to ensure its done the way I want it done and that it was done correctly.

The ONLY time I think they are necessary are for cultural weddings, such as an Indian wedding. Where there are many days of coverage, traditions, and several hundred guests.

Now, of course, at the end of the day its your decision if you want one or not. This is just my thoughts on second shooters. Im sure you will find MANY photographers who disagree with me. And that is ok. If you want one? I can give you some referrals for photographers who work with them.

Plus, its cheaper to hire me for an extra hour or two than it is to add on a second shooter 😉

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