Oh, You Thought You Didn’t Need a Second Photographer?
Look, just having one photographer capturing your wedding day is totally acceptable. Buttt there’s an elevated way to memorialize every tidbit of your wedding — second photographers. I think we can all agree that photographers are at the top of most couples’ budget spreadsheets. After all, once the celebration is over, it’s the gallery of images they captured for you and your S.O. that you’re going to be gushing over for years to come. (Tbh, I’ve literally heard of people printing out their favorite images and making a collage of them over their beds. Pretty cool, right?) Really, why is there a need for a second photographer, though? Not to brag, but we knew you’d be curious, so we got with Samantha Robshaw, Photographer and Owner of Samantha Robshaw Photography, to spill on all things second photographers.
What is a Second Photographer?
Robshaw tells us, “A second photographer is an associate that accompanies your photographer on your wedding day.” Most times they are an outside photographer to lend support, expertise, and their lense, but the beauty is that your lead photographer will likely have a good handle on the pesky details that comes with working with another vendor — they will be their second in line after all and report to your lead photographer.
Duties + Responsibilities
On the day-of there are literally so many things happening and it can prove difficult for a photographer to capture ever single moment of the big day. And since cloning isn’t a thing (at least not yet), second photographers are the answer. For instance, your S.O. is getting ready in one room while you’re getting ready in another. Your photographer’s going to be in quite a pickle, trying to either bounce from room to room or just spend most of their time in one of your rooms’, leaving less coverage of the other getting ready. See what we’re talking about now? It’s not easy. And you may want everything commemorated.
Robshaw explains how she utilizes a second photographer, a practice we’re sure many photographers share: “I utilize my second photographer to help organize the family and formal portraits, make sure I don’t leave lenses behind, give creative input and cover the reception while I pause long enough to have a meal. I also send my second in to get shots of the reception room before any guests arrive, this can be tricky timing as the venue is generally still setting this up during the ceremony and sometimes almost up until it is time for entrances. During this time I am with my couple and finishing photos and cannot get to it myself. If I am still doing couple shots during cocktail hour I also send them in to get some cocktail hour photos of guests enjoying themselves, special food served, etc.”
Should You Hire Two Photographers?
The benefits are plentiful, that’s for sure, making it almost an easy decision (if you can budget for it). As we said before, your photographer cannot be in two places at once. That’s why Robshaw shares a benefit of having a second photographer is that “they will be where your primary photographer cannot, provide back-up shots and different angles of the scenarios you are both working, as well as provide support to your main photographer during what can be 12-14 hour days with little downtime.”
If you’re a couple, Robshaw says, “That wants photos of both parties getting ready [or your] wedding [will be] larger than 80 or so guests,” then you’re the ideal clients for second photographers. If you have “large bridal parties, large families, lots of detail to be documented all [of this] call[s] for a team of two.”
Pro Tip: “It is imperative not to hire new photographers or ones who have not shot many weddings as experience is extremely important,” Robshaw tells us.
Unfortunately, this is an unavoidable topic since it’s really what you’re probably thinking about. Since, of course, you can’t be sure if it’s in your budget until you know what it’s going to cost you. So here goes, while it may vary depending on your photographer (and likely location), Robshaw tells us for example, “With my business I charge the couple what I pay my second photographer plus another 10% to cover the cost of my time editing the second photographer’s photos. In regards to budget, I do think it is always a huge asset to have a team of two to cover your day and well worth the upcharge.”
MEET THE EXPERT