On the fence about whether or not you should hire a second shooter for your wedding? I get it! Wedding photography is a HUGE investment on your wedding day, and it’s hard to know exactly what you’ll need when it comes to coverage! Let alone whether or not you’ll need TWO photographers on your wedding day! If this is a question you’re asking yourself, you’re in the right place! We are going over EVERYTHING you need to know about second shooters and what questions you will want to ask to determine whether or not you need one for your wedding day.
A “second shooter” or a second photographer is an additional photographer that would be working your wedding day as a part of the JNA Visuals team. When you hire a second photographer to work with me on your wedding day, the second photographer and I will work as a team to document your wedding day. Following the wedding, all of the photos that my second photographer takes throughout your wedding will be sent home with me. From there I will back up the photos together onto my external hard drives. From there I will edit them as one cohesive gallery to be delivered to you!
My primary second shooter and associate photographer for the JNA Visuals team is my associate Chrissy! Chrissy is a spunky, energetic, bubbly, and HELLA-talented indy photographer. Chrissy is trained to shoot just like me, so having her as a second photographer on your wedding day means double the fun and basically an extra bff to obsess over your day with!!! Other than just having an amazing additional hype woman the day of your wedding, there are quite a few more reasons you might want to consider having a second shooter on your wedding day!
If Chrissy isn’t available, I have a handful of other talented photographers throughout Chicago and Indianapolis that I reach out to help me on your wedding day. Each of my second shooters knows what I am looking for when documenting your wedding day, and essentially ends up being an awesome extension of me for your wedding day!
While there are many weddings that I do suggest documenting by myself, there are a number of scenarios in which having a second shooter is a MUST. Having a second shooter on your wedding day elevates both your experience during and your experience when receiving your final photos in SO many ways. Second shooters bring double the hype and assistance and are such a great addition to your wedding day. Here are some scenarios where I feel a second shooter is a must-have on a wedding day.
This is one of the most common reasons you will want to hire a second shooter for your wedding. If you and your partner are getting married in locations that are more than a 5-minute drive away from one another, you’re going to want to make sure you hire a second photographer. Having a second photographer will keep your wedding day moving smoothly, and allow both partners to get ready at the same time on your wedding day. With a second photographer, you and your partner will also be able to document ALL the intimate moments that make up your wedding morning! This is the only time throughout your wedding day that you won’t be together, so you’ll want to have these sweet moments documented so you can share all your stories and memories of the day when you get your photos back!
If you’re all about family and are really looking for candids of your family becoming one, this is the time to hire a second shooter. During times throughout the wedding day when I am focussed on the two of you, my second photographer is documenting everyone else. Whether it’s the look your mom makes when you walk down the aisle, the conversations happening at cocktail hour, or the reception space as everyone comes in for dinner, these are the moments that I am physically not able to always capture when documenting a wedding on my own.
If you and your partner are not wanting a first look I highly recommend hiring a second shooter in your wedding package. Without a first look on your wedding day, all of the formal photos will have to happen between your ceremony and your reception. This will include, wedding party photos, family photos, couples portraits, and anything else you hope to document the day of. With a second shooter, you can photograph both wedding parties at once, the organization of family photos will go much smoother, AND, you and your partner will be able to get ready at the same time.
In terms of daylight, winter weddings in the midwest are definitely lacking in this area. With sunset times as early as 4:20 pm, it can become challenging to document everything you hoped to with just one photographer. Having a second photographer for your winter wedding in the midwest helps to create flexibility in timelines as well as allows you to make the most out of your daylight hours.
If none of the reasons listed above apply to you, there are still some reasons why you personally might opt to have a second shooter. When you hire a second shooter on your wedding day, your wedding day experience will shift a bit in a number of ways. All of them are great! Here are some of my top reasons for past clients opting for second shooters.
Overall, with a second shooter on your wedding day, you will have much more timeline flexibility on your wedding day. Two photographers mean things can happen simultaneously for the two of you. So if you want to sleep in a bit and take your time getting ready in the morning, or if you’re really dreading organizing family photos, having a second shooter will streamline these wedding day moments allowing you to spend more time with the people you love the most!
With having a second shooter on your wedding day, I am able to lean into documenting candid photos much more. Candids are photos of you and your guests where you don’t know a photo was taken. These photos are some of my favorites on a wedding day. They are my favorites because they document the fun you’re having on your wedding day without pulling you out of the moment to document it. Having a second photographer allows you to be more present on your wedding day whiles still documenting beautiful moments between you and your loved ones.
After your wedding day is over, you’ll realize that everyone at your wedding had a completely different experience of your day. This is arguably one of the coolest parts of a wedding day. For the majority of your wedding day, I will be by your side, but with a second photographer, I am also able to document the moments you might not have been there for. Moments like when your grandparents meet for the first time, when the bartender serves your signature drink, or your niece dancing on the couch as you put your dress on.
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you want a second shooter, reach out! I will be able to walk you through your wedding day and together we will be able to determine whether a second photographer is right for your wants for your wedding day. If you want to see some galleries where I am working with a second shooter, you can check out these blog posts: Erin + TJ, Nicole + Earl.
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