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Why I Use An Associate Wedding Photographer

December 13, 2022

Boulder, Colorado

Come on in to the front porch of my blog and let’s chat about why having an associate wedding photographer will only benefit your experience.

Is it possible to have just one photographer to capture the biggest moments of your day? Yes.
Is there a lot to be gained when a lead photographer brings an associate? Absolutely.

What even is an associate wedding photographer?

An associate photographer, or “second shooter” in the social sphere of photographers, is when your wedding photographer hires an additional photographer for the day. They are likely of similar skill and style and are contracted to be a support to the lead photographer. This is a simple definition to an impactful dynamic, and I’ll explain why.

Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado

While a lead photographer is who you hire, whose brand you love and who has answered all your questions, an associate can help your photographer be incredibly efficient.

divide and conquer

One way this happens is by splitting the bridal party between photographers. Often times when I was helping another photographer I would get the fellas which admittedly is an important task. I mean there’s always that one groomsman, am I right? You know the ones…I digress. Each photographer taking a portion of the bridal party means there may be more time for other priorities such as sunset couples portraits or candids of family.

Another example of this is when we’re documenting the details of getting ready. Often the suites aren’t close to each other and it takes up a significant amount of time to go between both while also ensuring everything you want photographed has been captured. It is a much better use of time to be able to have two photographers.

extra gear

It’s sunset on one of the best days of your life. Aside from a few minor delays the schedule has been on point, your ex didn’t show up unannounced to streak across the grass lawn of the venue, and you. are. stunning. But for whatever reason your photographer’s memory card is suddenly full and she needs to change it to a new one. With only a few minutes left before light is lost, an associate shooter may step in for a several more poses.

Even the most seasoned photographers have technical malfunctions once in a while and it is a huge help to have our own backup gear as well as an associate’s gear.

It also allows for additional lighting options during a reception as most associates bring their own flashes, lenses, and accessories.

More variety

Having an associate photographer is a great way to add lots of variety to your final gallery. You may know that different lenses provide different types of views to the same landscape. For a quick explanation it means two cameras can stand at the same point and take the same portrait, however a lower mm lens will give an expansive view while a higher mm lens will give a close up view. So having a variation in lenses offers greater variety when each photographer is using a different focal length.

Probably the most beneficial time to have an associate photographer is during the ceremony. While it’s entirely possible to do this part of the day alone, two photographers provides an opportunity for a variety of angles to capture each reaction. The way this works well is if I stand at the front of the crowd to photograph the bride and father walking a little way down the aisle, then I pivot to get the groom’s reaction. Meanwhile my associate is getting the opposite angle as well as the bride once she is at the alter. This way both of you are prioritized.

biggest takeaway: it is absolutely possible to have only one photographer but having two will give you so much more.


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