“What’s your opinion? Should I get a second photographer?” I get asked that all the time. For those on a tight budget, as a bare minimum, I tell my clients that if the wedding guest list begins to exceed 100-125 guests, the need for a second photographer becomes more certain. It is unreasonable to think that one photographer can shadow the bride and groom and capture all the important reception events and be able to simultaneously capture a moment when a guest spill his glass of wine in the rear corner of the venue and an eruption of laughter ensues. These are the types of candid/ photojournalistic shots you don’t want to miss. A second photographer increases the coverage, especially when the number of wedding guests exceeds 100-125 and/or when the bridal party exceeds about 10 people including the bride and the groom. In this case, my answer is always”yes” to a second photographer. And here’s why:
1. You get more photos. One photographer can only take so many photos; two photographers can take that many more. Once you’ve found a photographer whose work resonates with you, you can generally be assured that their second photographer will as well. After all, everything shot during your wedding is the first photographers responsibility and ultimately it’s their reputation on the line so you’ll be in good hands.
2. You get more candids and detail shots. The main photographer has to focus on the key points of the wedding while the second photographer can concentrate on candids and detail shots. For example while the main photographer is getting the formal shot of the couple, the second photographer is watching the family and guests to capture a moment of emotion or laughter that would have otherwise been missed. Alternately, the second photographer may have the same general viewpoint but instead captures a less formal angle of it.
3. A different angle. Having a skilled main photographer and a capable second photographer adds dimension to your final collection. The two angles will give you insightful perspectives because your coverage is doubled. In a way, it provides the main photographer with eyes in the back of their head. Wherever my lens is pointed, I instruct my second photographer to be pointing theirs in the opposite direction. Second photographers will often posses a slightly different skills set and artistic interpretation. They will capture similar but different styles, giving you more options and photos to use for your albums, prints, etc.
4. It’s an added insurance policy. While it’s never something any of us wishes to think about, it never hurts to have more photos on more memory cards taken on different cameras. Why? Because in the highly unlikely worst-case scenario (say one of my memory cards or cameras fail, or if I got hit by a bus), then images on other cameras and memory cards taken by another photographer serve as a type of insurance policy increasing the chances that the most important photos on your wedding day are preserved.
5. It easier to capture Getting Ready and First Look photos. Even though I’ve covered hundreds of weddings, from small to very large, with and without other photographers, I am still able to capture Getting Ready photos of both the men and the women so long as they are in proximity to one-another. But with 2nd photographers, it is possible to spend more time separately with the Groomsmen and the Bridesmaids. Having a second photographer also allows you to get ready in different locations, and be able to capture First Look reactions more accurately and instantly (with one photographer focusing on the bride, and the other photographer focusing on the groom).