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Do You Need a Second Wedding Photographer?


The main question that clients ask after discussing pricing or how much wedding packages cost, is how long their photographer and videographer should stay at their wedding and how many hours of coverage they need. For more coverage, often couples will opt for a second wedding photographer. But is this necessary?

Do You Need a Second Wedding Photographer?

There is no straight answer to this question as it all depends on each individual client and their unique needs. However, there are several key factors to consider in order to determine the optimal coverage time.


Firstly, the ceremony start time is a fixed schedule. Therefore, the timeline of the day should be planned around this specific start time. Once the ceremony time is established, the next step is to consider when the sunset is scheduled on the wedding day. It is recommended to back out the wedding schedule from this time. This means that if the ceremony starts at 5:00 pm and sunset is at 6:30 pm, the couple will have an hour and a half of photo and video coverage during daylight.

It is important to note that it is recommended to have the ceremony and all the formal photos completed by sunset for the best lighting. After sunset, there is still some light that can be used, usually about 10 to 15 minutes, but it is best to not count on it too much.


Next, it is essential to consider the getting ready phase and whether or not the couple wants this time to be covered by their photographer and videographer. The average time needed for getting ready is two hours before the ceremony. However, this can vary depending on the location and whether the bride and groom are getting ready in the same place or not. It is also important to factor in travel time if the bride or groom is getting ready at a different location than the ceremony.

How much travel time will the photographer need?

If the couple is getting ready at two different locations, having one photographer becomes tricky but it’s still doable. The photographer cannot be in two places at once, so they may have to choose which location to start with first, causing potential delays in capturing the desired shots. Travel time between the two locations should also be taken into account when deciding whether or not to hire multiple photographers. Travel time can impact the overall coverage time for the photographer and limit the amount of time spent capturing photos at each location.

Consider their Workload

This also adds to the photographer’s workload, leading to potential exhaustion and decreased quality of work by the end of the day. They may have to hurry from one location to the other while carrying heavy equipment, which can impact the quality of photos due to poor lighting, lack of preparation, and missed moments.

Overall, having only one photographer for getting ready photos when the bride and groom are in different hotels can present challenges in terms of coordination, missed opportunities, and potential fatigue on the part of the photographer. It is recommended to hire a second wedding photographer or allocate more coverage time to alleviate these issues and ensure that all important moments are captured without compromise.

However, I said this is “doable”. We suggest having the photographer start four hours prior to the wedding ceremony start time. This allows the photographer to have at least at least one hour at the first location to capture the details, hair, make-up, and candid moments. Then the photographer can safely travel to the second location to take photos in this location for at least an hour. Once the second location photographs are complete, the photographer can safely travel to the ceremony location. This scenario that I described will require you to hire a wedding photographer for a total of nine hours.

* Disclaimer – Travel time may vary.  It is not recommended to require your photographer to travel more than 30 minutes between locations because there are too many unknown factors *


Moving on to the reception, most venues offer a four to five-hour contract. It is recommended to ask the client what time their party ends and what they really want to be covered during the reception. The entrance, first dance, parent dances, toasts, bouquet toss, and cake cutting are just a few of the important moments that should be covered by your wedding photography and videography teams.

It is worth noting that keeping the photography and videography team until the end of the night is not necessary unless there is something special happening at the end of the night, such as a Latin wedding “La Hora Loca” or a sparkler sendoff.

Should I Hire a Second Photographer for My Wedding?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to determining how many hours of photo and video coverage one needs for their wedding. A seven-hour contract, which usually covers the ceremony, formals, getting ready and most of the reception, is a common choice for many clients. A five-hour contract can be tricky, so it is important to have realistic expectations. It is not recommended to opt for all-day coverage, as this may result in fatigue and poor-quality work at the end of a long day.

Lastly, it is crucial to consult with both your wedding photographers and videographers as well as the wedding planner or catering manager to ensure that everyone is on the same page with the timing and scheduling of the day.

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Complete Weddings + Events in Fort Lauderdale and South Florida Areas

If you’re planning a wedding in Fort Lauderdale, FL, then you’ve landed at the right place! Now that you’ve said YES! to spending your life together, you have some exciting decisions ahead. At Complete Weddings + Events planning, wedding events are what we do best.  Complete Weddings + Events, Fort Lauderdale’s leading provider of event and wedding photographyvideographylighting & DJ services

Complete Weddings + Events, Fort Lauderdale’s leading provider of event and wedding photography, DJ services, videography, lighting  & coordination services

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