Second Shooter, Yay or Nay? Guest Post!

Four Reasons to Consider a Second Shooter (and two reasons not to!) by Wendy Zook Photography

We're so excited to have Wendy Zook posting for us today. Wendy is an incredible wife, mom, photography and friend. She and her family reside in Rochester, NY.

One of the most commonly-asked questions I receive from potential wedding photography clients is whether my collections include a second shooter/additional photographer. More and more, brides and grooms are seeing the value in a second shooter and it’s on their must-have list for the wedding planning. Here are four reasons to consider having a second shooter a part of your special celebration.


1.       Tricky timelines and distant locations

The Getting Ready images from a wedding day can be some of the most honest, emotional shots – proud moms looking on, friends gathered in a circle of makeup and tulle, guys sharing a toast while tying their ties. If the Bride and Groom are getting ready in different locations (or even slightly different schedules), one photographer can be with the ladies and the other photographer can hang out with the guys. There’s no running back and forth, no rushing or urgency. Splitting the earlier part of the day up like that gets some of the bridal party shots before the bride and groom have seen each other and leaves a little wiggle room later on in the day.

2.      Additional angles and extra images

This is perhaps the most obvious reason to have a second photographer capturing your day. You will, hands-down, always receive additional images in your final gallery. Also, the moments captured by a second shooter are predominantly more candid and “real” ones that are happening off to the side or behind your primary photographer while they’re lining up family portraits or grabbing photos of the newly-married couple. The giggly flower girls and emotional parents are almost always seen when there’s two sets of eyes instead of just one.

3.       Getting both sides to a moment

At the moments like a First Look or a bride walking towards her groom, having a second shooter allows both the groom’s and the bride’s first glances at each other on this incredible day completely possible. Capturing both sides with a second shooter happens during a First Dance, a bouquet toss, speeches and a hundred other times during your day. Anytime a story or a moment is happening, there are two (plus) angles being covered.

4.       A ‘just in case’

I recently told a new client that my second shooter acts like a “Just in Case” for a Just-in-Case Day. If I break an ankle, my car breaks down, I catch pneumonia, I get lost, my kid needs emergency surgery or any other random hope-this-never-happens actually happens, my second shooters know just as much about the two of you and your big day as I do – I brief them on your plans, location, timeline, backstory, family notes and the most random details. Because, well… just in case.


There are so many vendors to keep track of and sometimes, since every wedding day is unique, a second shooter may not be necessary.

If you’re having a super-simple or very short day, a second shooter might not be necessary. As long as there are no separate locations, or traveling back and forth and as long as we’re creating a realistic timeline for your day, one photographer should be able to capture your day thoroughly.

Also, if money is tight (we need to pay these fantastic and talented photographers for full-day coverage, equipment, etc!) or you just don’t want another second “stranger” hanging around your day, it’s OK to say “no” to a second photographer, too

Just make your decision practically and considering your what-if thoughts and possibilities. Talk with your primary photographer in depth about any concerns they have about the layout and planning of your day and ask them to be real: Can they capture your day, as you want it captured, fully by themselves? Congratulations and Happy Planning!

Thanks again Wendy!
Candice Mock