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Second Wedding Photographer— Do You Need One?

Banff wedding photographer, Troy Burnett on location in Cuba.

One wedding photographer vs. Two: The Pros & Cons.

Whether or not you should have a second wedding photographer cover your wedding is a hot topic for brides and grooms today.  Wedding photographers who work alone swear that a second photographer is not necessary and just as passionately, photographers who work in pairs think those photographers are crazy!

In this article, I will outline the pros and cons of both opinions so you can choose for yourself.

 

Why have two wedding photographers?

Pros

1. Coverage.

There is no arguing the fact that two photographers are going to give you more coverage of your wedding day than one.  There are many practical reasons why you would want, even need, two sets of eyes on the job.   During the course of a wedding, there are always multiple things happening at the same time and they are certainly worth not missing.

Examples:

  • It is necessary to have 2 people to capture both the bride & groom getting ready if they are in different locations and getting ready at the same time.
  • During your ceremony, it is impossible to capture the bride walking down the aisle and the groom’s reaction to seeing her for the first time.
  • Two photographers make it possible to capture close up & intimate pictures of you saying your vows and your parent’s reactions.
  • If you are going to have a large wedding with 150+ guests, two photographers would be wise to make sure none of your guests will be left out of the pictures.

 

The father of the bride hands her off to her new husband in Cuba beach ceremony, Cayo Santa Maria.

 These two perspectives of this emotional moment would be impossible to get without a second shooter.

A different angle: The father of the bride hands her off to her new husband in Cuba beach ceremony, Cayo Santa Maria.

2. Variety

Greater coverage equals more variety of images. 

Two photographers can:

  • Capture the intimate details as well as the big picture as it unfolds in real time.
  • Free the second shooter to get creative & capture more unusual candids while the main shooter takes care of the must have shots.
  • Strategically place themselves at different angles to capture the widest variety of pictures possible.

Beach wedding ceremony, Warwick Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba

This beach ceremony in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba, happened so fast, without a second photographer, this picture of the entire wedding party would not have been possible.

3. Efficiency

With two photographers,

  • Family portraits can be taken in less time and with more options than a single photographer can do.  This leaves more time for the more interesting and dramatic portraits of just you and your partner.
  • A second photographer means that the details shots won’t take your photographer away from you, potentially missing spontaneous moments worthy of capture.

4. Storytelling

Your wedding day story can be told in real time from both the bride & grooms perspective with more detail.

5. Less Wear & Tear

For a photographer, shooting a wedding is a challenge both mentally and physically.  Having a partner to share the load makes for a less stressful and less tiring day. Having your photographers feeling fresh and energetic can only be a good thing for you!

Groom getting ready, Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba

Cons

1. Cost.

Having a dual wedding photography team means more money out of your pocket.

2. One too many.

At a very small wedding,  one could argue that 2 photographers may feel intrusive and take away from the intimacy of the bride & groom.

3. Too many chefs?

Photographers who aren’t experienced working with each other have the potential to get in each other’s way.  Or worse, they may have creative conflicts over who does what.  The last thing you need on your wedding day is to have your photographers at odds with each other. That’s never fun.

Is one wedding photographer enough?

Pros

1. Need vs. want

Do you really need two photographers? I think the simple answer to that question is “No.”  While having two may be desirable, the fact of the matter is that there are many great photographer in the world who create beautiful wedding pictures and are killing it all by themselves.

Need is a strong word. 

An experienced, professional photographer can adeptly capture the story of your wedding. With experience comes understanding of a wedding’s ebb & flow, and a good photographer will have a feeling for where he/she should be and what is going to happen next.

If you plan ahead to have the bride & groom get ready at different times and within a reasonable proximity of each other, one photographer can capture both partner’s perspectives.

2. Expense.

Hiring one talented photographer will be less expensive than hiring two. If you are on a tight budget, this alone can be the determining factor.

3. Quality vs. Quantity

Having one great photographer is worth more than 2 mediocre ones.

You may get more pictures, but are they good pictures?

Hiring 2 talented photographers is expensive and to compensate, some photography studios will hire students or amateurs as second shooters.

Investing in 1 quality photographer would make more sense if this is the case. 

          Wedding at Quarry Lake, Canmore, Banffwedding photographers, Burnett Photography.

Cons

1. Less Coverage

It is an undisputed fact: One photographer can’t be in two places at once, so by sheer logistics a one man/woman show just won’t have the same opportunities as a team.

2. Less Variety

While it is possible for one photographer with 2 cameras to capture a wide variety of shots, they can’t compete with 2 photographers with 4 cameras when it come to the amount and variety two can offer.

3. Less Efficiency

All things being equal, one photographer can’t move through the family portraits as quickly as two.  Nor can he/she shoot the details shots and still be available for you.

4. Superman vs. Batman & Robin

Wedding photographers are on their feet and working at 100% pretty much all day with very few breaks.  You’d have to be Superman not to get tired! 

In conclusion,

Is it necessary to have 2 photographers cover your wedding day?  Probably not. 

Many photographers work alone or with an assistant and do an amazing job.

Are there worthwhile advantages to having two photographers?  Clearly!

It’s up to you whether these advantages are worth the extra money or not.

In my humble opinion,

It takes two photographers to do a wedding justice.

I’ve photographed weddings for many years on my own and I’m proud of the work that I delivered and my clients were thrilled with the results.  In 2013, I brought my husband on to create a wedding photography team and I have to say that I will NEVER go back to working a wedding alone!

The advantages are too many and your wedding day only happens once.

There have been countless times when a ceremony was too brief, a first dance to short, or something unexpected happened that without a second shooter, I would have missed or not been able to capture the moment in its entirety. 

Two photographers can mean the difference between a good job and a phenomenal one!

Agree? Disagree?  Add your thoughts on the subject in the comments box below.

 

If you want to have KICK ASS, award-winning photographs that you will love forever, that your kids will fight over when you are old & grey and that will test your relationships since your friends will be green with envy, then contact me via email, [email protected],  use the short form on this page or call 403-678-4127.

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