Groom and ushers getting ready at Hedsor House taken by Becky Harley Photography

Why have a second photographer?

6 reasons to consider adding a second photographer to your wedding
photography booking

Do I need a second photographer on my wedding day?

Well – that depends! There are lots of reasons why you might like to book a second photographer as part of your photography collection, to accompany me on your wedding day. Today’s post gives you a run down of the key things that a second photographer does on the day, and why you might want to think about booking a second photographer on the day.

  1. Groom preparations

This is one of the main reasons that my clients tell me that they wanted a second photographer along on their wedding day. After all, it’s the groom’s day too! Having a second photographer capture images on your wedding day means that you’ll have someone to cover the groom’s antics in the morning. Granted, the groom prep isn’t (usually) as involved as the bridal preparations. Not many blokes will get up at 7am to start getting their hair in rollers. Having said that, I’ve shot several groom prep sessions where I’ve been along to capture the groom and his guys having a traditional hot shave (complete with flames burning away ear hair!) or just a trip to the local barbers for a bit of guy-pampering before one of the biggest days of their lives.

Your second photographer can come along to wherever you’d like them to be. Often that’s the pub for a bit of Dutch courage and some lunch, or just setting up the venue in the morning and dashing around with their final tick list of to-do’s. Whatever the groom is up to, your second photographer will document it for you.

Another good thing about having a second photographer, is that once the groom is ready, if time allows, they can do a few quick portraits in the morning before the ceremony begins. There’s not always time to do this (in the same way as I don’t always get to do bridal portraits before the ceremony) but if there is, it saves a bit of time later, when all you want to be doing is drinking bubbly with your guests.

Groom preparations taken by Becky Harley Photography

Groom getting ready taken by Becky Harley Photography

 taken by Becky Harley Photography

Groom and ushers getting ready at Hedsor House taken by Becky Harley Photography

Groom preparations taken by Becky Harley Photography

Groomsmen at Offley Place taken by Becky Harley Photography

Groomsmen at Offley Place taken by Becky Harley Photography

Groom preparations taken by Becky Harley Photography

Groom preparations taken by Becky Harley Photography

  1. Guests arrival

In the hour or so just before the ceremony takes place, I am usually busy with the bride to be as she makes the final preparations for the day, with last minute make up and hair touches, or getting into that gorgeous dress. I typically stay with the bride right up until she gets into the dress, and I leave when the registrars arrive to conduct the pre-wedding interview, or I need to get going in order to arrive at the ceremony with enough time to park and get in position to capture the arrival of the bridal party.

Consequently I don’t have time to disappear off and capture all the moments that are happening at the ceremony location. This is where a second photographer comes in very handy, as they’ll be there to capture all these little moments, from the groom’s arrival and nervous pacing, to the ushers ushering, and lots of hugging as everyone arrives to celebrate your special day. The second photographer will also often be able to capture shots of the ceremony room set up and ready for your nuptials to take place, and any little details that you’ve put in place for that.

guests take a selfie at Oxford wedding taken by Becky Harley Photography

guests mingling taken by Becky Harley Photography

  1. The ceremony

During the ceremony, I don’t tend to move around all that much. For me, it’s vitally important that I’m not a distraction to the registrar, celebrant or priest, your guests, or most importantly to you, as you exchange your vows and get married. More often than not, I tend to pick one spot and stay there, save for a bit of shuffling if you have people doing readings at your ceremony so I can get that angle.

A second photographer will most often be positioned at the back of the ceremony, which gives you an excellent second perspective on things as you say your ‘I do’s’. While I’m capturing the details and facial expressions at the front, the second photographer will be there to take wide shots of you in situ. This is particularly nice if there is a church with lovely stained glass windows or impressive architecture. The second photographer has the option to capture you at the front by the altar with the grand surroundings of the church around you.

Another good point here is that, if it’s possible, the second photographer will try and capture the look on the groom’s face as the bride walks down the aisle. It’s not always possible, as it depends on where everyone ends up standing on the day, (as all your guests stand for the bride’s entrance too, so it can be tricky) – but it’s a shot that’s not possible at all with just one photographer.

Groom first look at Bride at Offley Place taken by Becky Harley Photography

Wedding Ceremony at Ely Cathedral, taken by Becky Harley Photography

Groom's first look at bride taken by Becky Harley Photography

Outdoor wedding ceremony at Brook Farm in Cuffley, taken by Becky Harley Photography

  1. Group shots and mingling!

So you’ve said your promises, exchanged rings, and signed all the paperwork – and you’re married!!! Once you’ve made your way out of the ceremony to a shower of confetti, I usually suggest that we get your group shots underway as soon as possible, to make sure they’re all done in plenty of time and you have lots of time left to spend with your guests.

At a wedding, I have a hierarchy of important shots that I get. Right at the top of that list is the group shots that you’ve asked for, and your couples portraits.

Next, I prioritise the reception room. There’s usually quite a tight window of when the room is ready from, before your guests make their way inside and start putting their coats and bags on the tables, so I get those reception details captured next, so that you can remember how beautiful the space looked and how your vision came together to look absolutely amazing.

The last thing on my list that I do if I have time, is to capture candid shots of your guests having fun and enjoying your reception. It’s a part of the day when so much is happening, but having a second photographer there, means that they will focus mainly on capturing those candid shots in the drinks reception. If you’ve planned garden games or entertainment, its’ an even better idea to have a second photographer there to really make the most of what you’ve planned so you can relive it after the day, and see those moments that happened when you were elsewhere chatting to other people or having your group photographs.

If these candid shots of your guests and the little moments like this are important to you, I’d recommend a second photographer to help capture them. If you have over 100 guests, I’d certainly recommend considering it. While I can never guarantee that I/we can capture photos of every one of your guests (some people are experts at evading the camera!), you’ll get a lot more shots of them if you have a second photographer along for the day.

Alpacas at Offley Place taken by Becky Harley Photography

Guests mingling during drinks reception taken by Becky Harley Photography

Guest reaction at Offley Place Wedding, taken by Becky Harley Photography

  1. The speeches

During the speeches I tend to hang out right by the top table, usually kneeling on the floor (my knees don’t thank me for it!) and focusing on the speakers and reactions of the top table, whilst doing the occasional swivel to capture a few guest reactions too. The second photographer’s job is to focus mainly on reactions of your guests throughout the room, but also to get a few wider shots of the top table from a different perspective.

Guest reactions during speeches at Offley Place taken by Becky Harley Photography

Guest laughing at speeches taken by Becky Harley Photography

  1. Evening portraits

If I’m with you into the evening, I always love to create some cool evening portraits somewhere in the venue. I always find that I can be a lot more creative and get different results if I have a second photographer, as it gives me someone to bounce ideas off of, test light with, but I can also use them as a roaming light-stand and get your portraits taken much quicker with minimal faffing about of running around adjusting my lights!

Evening photo of bride and groom at Offley Place taken by Becky Harley Photography

Evening photograph of bride and groom at Fanhams Hall taken by Becky Harley Photography

Do I need a second photographer?

It’s not absolutely necessary to have second photographer to capture your day, but if it’s something you’re considering, these are great reasons why it’s worth making the additional investment. You’ll get more images for a comparatively low cost, and capture even more memories for years and generations to come.

How does it work?

My Complete Collection includes a second photographer, but it’s easy to add one to other collections, or even later down the line, if you decide you’d like to add one a little nearer the wedding date itself. I only book other professional wedding photographers to come with me as a second shooter, so I don’t book in my seconds until three months before the wedding day. This is because my second photographers are taking their own bookings for their own businesses, so a little nearer the date I’ll be able to confirm if people are available. I only book photographers with a similar style to mine, so when the final photographs are delivered, you shouldn’t be able to tell who took which photo (apart from knowing where we were stood at the time obviously!).

If you’re interested in booking a wedding photography collection that includes a second photographer, or if you’d like more information on my collections and how I work, please do drop me a line, as I’d love to hear from you!

I hope you found this helpful! You can see more of my hints and tips articles here.

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