Many photographers include two photographers in their wedding package, but sometimes it’s an add-on. I often have couples debating about whether or not they need two photographers. I usually tell them that I can handle photographing the whole wedding day on my own, but depending on what your priorities are in photos, sometimes it’s necessary to have two photographers to cover everything.
(Note: the photos in this post were all taken by my trusty right-hand girl, Réanne Berard. None of these moments would have been captured if I had photographed this wedding on my own. If you want to see the blog post from this wedding, click here.)
Here are some benefits:
- If you want getting ready photos, one photographer can obviously only be in one place at a time, so if the bride and groom are not getting ready at the same place (which basically never happens), then typically there will only be getting ready photos of the bride and her bridesmaids. Some guys don’t want getting ready pictures, which is fine. But just keep in mind that if you put together an album of your wedding photos, it will seem imbalanced to have just getting ready photos of the bride and not the groom. (I plan on putting together a separate blog post about whether or not you should have getting ready photos at all… so stay tuned for that.)
- If I photograph a ceremony by myself, my main focus is capturing the big moments. I’m always watching the bride and groom as well as constantly observing the wedding party and family for emotions – whether it’s laughter or crying. But I will miss out on a lot of reactions from the other guests. I may be taking pictures of the bride and groom saying their vows but miss out on the father of the bride wiping away his tears.
- The same thing goes for reactions during speeches at the reception. If I’m photographing a wedding by myself, my main focus is the person giving the speech and the head table. And if I can get a good angle of other guests, I will try to get photos of them too. But if there is a second photographer, they can wander throughout getting candid photos of a lot more people.
- Another benefit is if you are short on time for wedding party photos. One person can take photos of the girls while the other takes photos of the guys. Or one photographer can do group shots (all the guys together and then all the girls together) while the other photographer takes individual portraits of each person in the wedding party.
- If the bride has a long train or a high maintenance dress that takes lots of fluffing, a second shooter will save the day and save so much time.
- Or if there isn’t time in the day to get decor photos of the reception venue before it’s full of guests, the second photographer can go take those detail photos ahead of time while the main photographer is doing family or wedding party photos.
- During family photos it’s nice to have another person to help organize people, keep track of the list of family shots, and keep their eye open for off-centred ties, twisted necklaces, suit jacket flaps sticking out, people wearing sunglasses, men who have wallets or phones showing in their pockets, or anything else that doesn’t look right. Or often I get my second shooter to take candid photos of family members who are waiting.
- It’s always nice to have different angles. For example, as the bride is walking down, the main photographer will likely be at the front of the aisle getting while the second photographer could either get a wide shot from the back showing the train of the dress and the whole setting of the ceremony. Or they could focus on the groom’s reaction.
- Every photographer sees things differently. I could be taking photos of the exact same thing as another photographer at the exact same time, but our photos look completely different. I could have been taking a close-up picture or the couple’s faces close together while the other person was taking a picture standing 30 feet away showing the clouds, trees, and the lake in the background.
- One final reason (although there are probably 100 more) is that you can never have enough backup of anything when it comes to photographing a wedding. Hopefully if you’re hiring someone experienced, they have a backup camera and lenses, they’ve made sure all their batteries are charged and their memory cards are good to go. But having a backup person in case something happens to your main photographer is a great safety net.
If you hire a professional photographer who has lots of experience photographing weddings, you don’t NEED two photographers. You will get incredible photos and probably not feel like you missed anything… but this blog post hopefully shows you how beneficial two photographers can be.