What is a Second Photographer and Why You Need One for Your Wedding

Three different images of moments of a bride and groom out in a field on their wedding day. Perfect images for a photo album

There are thousands of decisions to make when you are planning a wedding, and choosing a wedding photographer is one of the biggest.

We get it! Researching local photographers, scrolling through their galleries, and finally deciding on and paying is a huge task. But then, you are asked if you want a second photographer. The team at Bellagala understands that you may want to skip the add-on because you just don’t understand the value. Today we are going to explain what this role is and why you need one for your wedding day.



It is actually pretty simple. A second photographer that works along with your primary photographer to capture multiple angles, emotions, and separate locations during your wedding day. Think of it like this. You will want to be able to have photos of your soon-to-be spouse’s reaction to you walking down the aisle, right? But at the same time, you want pictures of you walking down the aisle. If you only have one photographer, that may be difficult to accomplish. A second photographer allows these moments to be captured at the same time but from different viewpoints. 



Having a second photographer at your wedding provides many benefits, and even though it is an extra expense, many couples regret that they did not have this. Here are some of the best benefits and why it is worth the extra dough.



The primary function of the second photographer will be to shadow the groom and snap photos of what the wedding day is like from their point of view. This is great because, at the end of the night, you end up with a wedding album that will tell the story from both perspectives. Maybe even some moments that you didn’t even see! 



No matter how talented your primary photographer is, there is no way they can be in more than one place at a time. Hiring a second photographer means that while the lead is capturing the bridal portraits and family photos, they can be capturing the cocktail hour and reception. You may not think that this is too important now, but it is a part of the wedding experience that you miss out on because you’re taking photos. They’ll capture your friends enjoying the cocktail hour, music, ambiance that you worked so hard to put together. Trust us; you will be happy in the end when you get to enjoy a piece of the wedding that you missed.



At Bellagala, we work with a team of amazing photographers that offer different styles. When you create your all-inclusive wedding package, you select the photographer that fits your budget and style. Your photographer will then choose the second that will best complement their skills to provide the best possible coverage of all your special moments. Leads often work with the same people at many weddings which allows for great partnerships and a seamless flow throughout the day. The lead may be strong at portraits and posing, and their second can be particularly skilled at detail shots and candids. These images should complement the lead photographer for a seamless wedding gallery while allowing for some stronger images than the lead could achieve on their own.



If your wedding budget is the only reason that you want to skip having a second photographer at your wedding, we have a little known secret to help. Most couples don’t know that you can request your photographer to be at your wedding for fewer hours than they suggest. On average, your wedding itself will last 5 - 6 hours, and the photographers generally plan to be there for all of it. 

But, you can have a second photographer there for only 5 hours to assist with capturing moments in the morning. They can get all of the photographs that you want, then leave the ceremony or reception, depending on your timeframe you’ve booked them for. This frees you up to hit the dance floor and get your party on. Most photographers understand that budgets are significant and will work with you to get all the desired images within the shorter timeframe. Cutting the number of hours for your primary photographer will free up some funds in the budget to hire the second one. 



When searching for the perfect photography team to capture your wedding day, make sure that you are hiring a second “photographer,” not an assistant! Your wedding day is one of the most important times in your life, and you will want to document it professionally.

When you are interviewing potential photographers, it is crucial that you inquire about the level of skills that the second has. While the second is there to support and supplement the lead photographer's coverage (which may include assisting with lighting or helping with equipment as needed), be sure that the second is also experienced enough to shoot too! Ask if they are using someone they've worked with before, what their experience is, or ask to see examples of their work! Many photographers have "go-tos" as they've developed a relationship and understanding of their strengths and weaknesses from previous weddings.