I get asked by quite a few brides if I bring a second photographer with me when I photograph their wedding. I also usually get asked if two wedding photographers are really necessary. To be honest, I want a second shooter with me at every wedding I photograph. Sure, there are times when a second shooter isn’t feasible (and it’s almost always cost-related), but in an ideal world I have one with me every single time. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Here are Reasons I Always Recommend A Second Wedding Photographer…
Having a second photographer allows me to be in more than one place at the same time.
On a wedding day, us photographers get pulled in many different directions. The bride might be getting ready in one hotel room while the groom gets ready in another hotel room… on the other side of town! During the ceremony it’s wonderful to have two different views and perspectives of everything that happens. While I’m taking family photos, my second shooter can go photograph all of those details you spent so much time choosing while your guests are still at cocktail hour. While I’m photographing the bride throwing her bouquet, my second shooter can focus on all the ladies diving for it. Who wouldn’t want both of those photos?
A second shooter provides a different style, new interpretations and a fresh set of eyes throughout the day.
No two photographers are created equally. With a second photographer at your wedding, you really are getting the benefit of two different photographers. Twice the experience, twice the creativity, twice the number of photos… but everything coming from that second photographer is different than what you get from me. They might use a different lens than I’d use or stand in a different place than I would or maybe just be able to get a real smile from that one nephew who’s just too cool to smile for me. It’s a huge benefit.
Second shooters can focus on details while I worry about the big picture.
I rely on my second shooters to capture many of the detail shots throughout the day, but I also rely on them to keep an eye on things that shouldn’t be in a photo. Like what, you ask? Like someone wearing sunglasses in a family photo or a groomsman who’s suit pants look bad because he’s got a phone, a flask and car keys stuffed in his pockets. I love having someone with me who doesn’t have to worry about the big stuff and has time to notice how the bride plays with a little curl of her groom’s hair or how the groom delicately touches the small of his bride’s back. Ideally, I’d notice those things as well, but sometimes things get missed, which brings me to my next point…
A second shooter provides backup in case something gets missed.
I’m not just talking about the kiss (although that’s a pretty big moment to have a little backup for). I’m talking about all of the moments that are constantly happening at weddings. Family members who haven’t seen each other in years sharing a laugh. Little kids being little kids. Ridiculous friends doing ridiculous things. Hugs. Smiles. Tears. They happen all night long. They can’t all be photographed, but with two photographers around, the odds are pretty good that the big ones won’t be missed.
Second shooters are like an insurance policy.
Unfortunately, no matter how much we plan and how careful we are, sometimes bad things happen. A car accident, memory card failure or broken piece of gear at just the wrong moment are the stuff of nightmares for wedding photographers. With a second shooter, the risk is greatly minimized. Personally, I only work with second shooters who are full-time wedding photographers and who I would trust to shoot the entire wedding as if it were their own. That way, if something bad happens, you’ve still got a legit photographer who I know and trust with you who can make the magic happen!
I hope this helps you understand why I think having a second shooter is so important. If your wedding photographer works with a second shooter, ask if they know them and would trust them to shoot the wedding on their own. Odds are it will never be necessary, but you never know. If your wedding photographer doesn’t work with a second shooter, ask them why not. In my opinion, it’s just silly not to!
Need more proof? Here are a few examples:
These two images were captured within moments of each other, but the bride and groom were getting ready miles apart from each other.
Here are two different views of a father walking his daughter down the aisle.
Here are another two very different views of the same moment during a ceremony.
The playfulness of the bride and groom are really shown between the two different perspectives.
This candid shot on the left was captured while trasitioning formal poses by the 2nd photographer.
This is an example of how different the same moment during a wedding can look to two different people.
Some moments missed cannot be recreated.
I don’t usually stage moments. In some cases I may try to place a couple into a beautiful setting and then let moments happen, but they usually just happen on their own and I am there to record them. But sometimes I can't be there. In this wedding a reception 40 minutes away from the ceremony. My second photographer and I followed behind the limousines. Upon arriving I pulled alongside the limo and the 2nd photographer jumped out before anyone exited the cars. I then went to park and grab my equipment. During that 1-2 minute timeframe, the 2nd photographer captured the image below as the father of the bride helped his daughter out of the car. This was one of the most touching images of the day.
On my own this image would not exist. The 2nd photographer could have driven and I could have captured the moment, but alone I would still have been parking my car. I once asked the couple to stay in the limo until I had arrived; however, it took on the feeling of staged introduction more suited to the Academy Awards than documenting real moments. I much prefer one of us just being there!
As you can see, there are several real advantages to including a second photographer in your wedding photography package. A second photographer is more than an assistant toting bags and positioning flashes. And they are not there as merely backup for the primary photographer. They are professionals who bring a unique creative perspective to the wedding day. They provide a second view on moments, and sometimes fill gaps in coverage during the day. At Schelle’ Photography they are an integral part of the team, and provide increased value to my clients.