Are you searching for a photographer and seen in their packages and pricing the term second photographer? Do you have questions about what that is exactly and whether or not you need one for your wedding or event? Well, hopefully this post can provide some insight!

What is a second photographer?

A second photographer is someone who helps the main or lead photographer on a wedding day or event. They help capture different perspectives, and moments that just the lead photographer would not be able to capture. Unlike the lead photographer, they typically are not in charge of communications and directing, as a result they can be more creative and capture the more unique shots.


Many photographers are more than capable of handling a wedding on their own. However, there are many benefits to having a second photographer for the day.

  • Both sides of the wedding party can be captured during getting ready.
  • This is particularly important when the getting ready portion is at the same time and at different locations.
  • Offer a more well-rounded day with more details and perspectives.
  • A great example would be during the ceremony when the bride walks down the aisle. There can be a photographer at the front of the aisle capturing her walking down and the other photographer at the back capturing the same moment but with another view.
  • Another example would be say the reception starts when the couple portraits are still going on. The second photographer can go photograph the decorated space while it is empty and capture the guests' arrival.
  • Typically I would recommend having a second photographer when the guest count is more than 100-150. Having a second shooter with a higher guest count can help capture more candid images of guests and interactions.
  • For photographers, having a second can help with your own content, capturing all the behind-the-scenes and assisting you with whatever you need.

Is there a difference between a SECOND PHOTOGRAPHER and an assistant?

Yes! Typically an assistant does not take any photos and primarily assist the main photographer with their needs and to help make things run more smoothly and efficiently. Some of their roles and tasks include things like:

  • Remains with the lead photographer the entire day
  • Assist with carrying and setting up equipment, such as lighting.
  • Helping call out the groups during the group portraits
  • Does not necessarily need any previous photography experience or skills

On the other hand, second photographers may also help assist the lead as well but are their primary role is to take additional photos and provide more coverage during a wedding or event.

What is an associate photographer?

An associate photographer is different to a second photographer because they can take on lead photographer roles and work under the company or brand as an independent contractor. They have the same or similar level of experience as the owner or main photographer but can be utilized to cover multiple weddings on the same day or to cover for the main photographer in case of emergencies.


At the end of the day, it is up to your decision. It would be best to discuss it with your photographer and see what they recommend based on the details and timeline of your wedding or event.

I would recommend a second photographer:

  • If your getting ready portion of the day is happening at the same time and at different locations that are far away from each other.
  • If you have more than 150 guests in attendance.
  • If you want more photos with different perspectives, more details and candid shots
  • If there is a lot of overlap in terms of timeline, such as the group portraits overlaps with the reception.

I hope this was helpful! Wishing you all the best on your special day!


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