Nearly every photographer or wedding planner you talk to will have a different opinion on this, I’m sure. Course, that’s okay – because we all operate differently, and we all have different levels (and areas) of experience. If you are wondering, “do you need a second wedding photographer” for your wedding day, I am here to lend my 100% honest and candid opinions (and advice).
DO YOU NEED A SECOND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER? I WOULD SAY, MOST LIKELY NO.
There are a few variables to consider, but I truly believe that you do NOT need a second wedding photographer IF:
- You hire a talented lead photographer with lots of experience and who works in a style you love.
- You can trust your lead photographer 100%. (If you can’t, don’t hire them).
- If you have fewer than 200 guests AND you don’t mind if they don’t all get a photo. (Essentially, you are okay with just candid and group photos during the cocktail hour and reception for your guest).
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a creative! I hate math, but since I’ve become a destination wedding photographer, I’ve also had to become an entrepreneur and work in business as well. Who would’ve guessed that calculus would come in hand?! I’ve learned that these things are important. So, let’s talk about cost and value!
Now, let’s say that you have a budget of $6,000 for your wedding photography budget after tax (p.s. I’m based in Georgia, which only requires I charge sales tax on tangible goods to those local to GA). This would mean that you need to find a photographer for your destination wedding around $4,500 before travel fees. You can adjust your numbers here based on your wedding photography budget, if it’s different. Remember, depending on where your destination photographer is located, it’s the rate plus tax.
WITH THAT BUDGET OF $4,500 PRE-TAX, YOU HAVE TWO OPTIONS:
- Find ONE lead photographer who is bad ass at what they do and trust them 100% (as you should) who is worth $4,500 (or more). Do you need a second wedding photographer to build your trust? No. Hire the Photographer with greater value and experience.
- Find a lead photographer who isn’t as good as the more expensive one, but find comfort in a second photographer being there simply to add a higher number of photos (which may not match the consistency, quality, and delivery of that more expensive lead photographer). Do you need a second wedding photographer for higher quality? No. Value comes from the whole experience + service = a final product you can’t shut up about!
So, for me, it’s a no-brainer. Hire the more expensive lead photographer who you trust and has the style and experience you’ve always dreamed of!
Because – after all – these are the photographs that will last you the rest of your life. It’s the photographs you are going to show your future children and grandchildren (if you decide to do that). These photographs will be amongst your most cherished of memories.
If you’re still not sold on only having one photographer…
- Unless you’re running a super tight timeline and the photographers need to be in two places at once, your second photographer is photographing the same exact moments just from a different angle… and there is ALWAYS one angle that is better than another. So, why would you want that other angle that isn’t as great?
- You save money by only hiring the solo lead photographer.
DO YOU NEED A SECOND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF GUESTS?
If you have fewer than 200 guests, what it really boils down to is this: Do you want quality or quantity?
Time for some brutal honesty: If you are worried about the lead photographer missing moments, you’re not hiring the right lead photographer. He/she will know where to be & when, and how to capture that moment in a variety of lighting scenarios (from a high-noon portrait session to the midnight reception send-off). Trust is SO key when hiring a wedding photographer. If you don’t have that trust, it will reflect in your photos.
Look at the reviews of the photographer you are curious about hiring as your solo shooter. Are they all 5-stars across the board? If so, and if they have a style that you love — you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Just do your due diligence.
If you want it all, with quality, quantity, AND a professional service while having fun… hire the lead photographer you love, pay for a second photographer to join him/her, and be okay with the rate! Wedding photography is only a fraction of the cost of your venue and your catering, and it’s the ONE THING that you will look back on to remember all of those cherished moments. Its really OK to invest in this portion of your wedding experience.
If your budget is still being pushed, keep in mind that most wedding pros are able to offer a customized payment plan to help make your big day happen.
So, do you need a second wedding photographer? 90% of the time, I say no. 10% of the time, I recommend you do.
It primarily just depends on how large your wedding is or if you want all of the guests covered a bit more. Most people don’t.
The above is merely my professional suggestions, opinions, and advice based on +10 years of full-time experience as a professional wedding and couple’s photographer. Let me know if you have any other questions on the topic of “do you need a second wedding photographer.”
For a look through a handful of weddings I photographed 100% solo, check out these posts:
- Engagement Party Inspiration in Atlanta featuring some of my favorite vendors!
- A Dramatic Variety Playhouse Wedding in the Heart of Atlanta
- A Beautiful Agnes Scott College Wedding in Decatur, GA
- The Foundry at Puritan Mill Victorian and Gothic Inspired Wedding in Atlanta, GA