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Is 2 Photographers Better Than 1?

Do I Need A 2nd Photographer

By Jeffrey House Photography

 

Do I need a 2nd Photographer?  

Drum roll please.....

The answer is.....

Maybe.

Well, that was pretty disappointing, huh?  I wish the answer was a little more snazzy, but it's the most honest response.  When it comes to hiring your wedding photographer, you will likely read several articles on whether or not you should have a 2nd photographer.  You might even be given advice from friends and family members too.

In this article, we are going to explore the advantages and disadvantages of having a 2nd shooter at your wedding.  I think you're going to find some new and interesting information to consider.  

advantages and disadvantages of 2nd photographers

Advantages

  • Multiple perspectives and additional creative contribution
  • A more complete story of your wedding celebration
  • Insurance for unexpected issues
  • Now you can be in two places at once
  • They can assist with gear and lighting
  • Assist in posing groups
  • More detailed coverage of the reception and guests

Disadvantages

  • Image disparity
  • Photographers don't have a symbiotic relationship
  • Intrusive
  • Experience

You probably find most of the advantages and disadvantages pretty self explanatory, but we are going to dive a little deeper because you're going to see things you didn't expect.

Multiple perspectives

Providing multiple perspectives of your wedding celebration is one of the great advantages to having two photographers.  For example, let's use the first-look for example.  Having two photographers to capture the overall experience is wonderful.  It's a great way to capture the emotion of you and your partner, and it tells a more complete story.

Your ceremony is another great way to tell the story of your wedding through multiple perspectives.  As the bride recites her vows, we get to the see the joy on the groom's face as he soaks in her loving words.

unexpected issues

What happens if your primary photographer becomes ill during your wedding or falls and hurts themself?  While these are very rare possibilities, they are possibilities.  Having a second photographer will give you that peace of mind in case a situation like this arises.  

However, the situation that does commonly arise is the guest who sticks their arm or jumps in front of your photographer to capture a photo.  Many photographers have missed capturing your fist kiss because of situations like this, but having a second photographer will ensure the moment is captured.  

two places at once

With two photographers, we don't have to worry about capturing two important moments taking place at the same time. Weddings are very unpredictable in many ways and sometimes you never know when a critical moment is about to unfold. However, with two photographers, we now have the flexibility to be in two places at once.

great assistants

There are many times during a wedding when your photographer will need to add or remove gear or utilize lighting to photograph a particular scene.  Rather than bring everything to a screeching halt to go get additional equipment or set up lighting, they can have their second photographer handle these matters.  This keeps everything flowing very nicely. 

As the primary photographer is photographing families and bridal parties, the second photographer can take care of the arranging and posing of everyone.  This will prevent your main photographer from having to walk to the group to arrange them and then walk back to capture the image.  It will save time and keep things moving.  

A more complete story

Your wedding reception is another part of your wedding celebration where it's very valuable having a second photographer.  While your main photographer is capturing images of you and your partner dancing, mingling with guests, etc., the second photographer can be capturing the side stories that take place.  This is especially nice because you get photos of moments you never knew existed and these can be extremely meaningful.   

what about the disadvantages?

I believe in many circumstances, you will find having a 2nd photographer to be very valuable.  However, there are also times when it's a complete waste of money.  

Let me explain so it makes more sense.

image disparity

Image disparity is one of the biggest issues with second photographers.

Most wedding photographers don't work with the same second photographer all the time, they use a variety.  And they usually don't know which photographer will be assisting until a week or two before your wedding.  

While a second photographer provides another perspective of your wedding celebration, it's not always a good one!  A second photographer doesn't need to have the same "style" as your main photographer and frankly, they never will.  But, they need to have style of photography that compliments the main photographer otherwise there is going to be a noticeable disparity between their photographs.  This will cause your wedding images to look awkward and disconnected.  

Symbiotic relationship

We briefly touched on the fact that most photographers are using a variety of second photographers.  This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to understand precisely how one another works.  This can result in the photographers being in each other's "shots" and you don't want a bunch of wedding photos with a photographer in the background.  

When two photographers work together, it's essential they are symbiotic with one another.  You understand what photographs you need to capture, you know where you need to be and when you need to be there, etc.  Everything runs smoothly and efficiently, and moments are ruined with a big camera in the background.  

Intrusive

Every photographer should strive to be as unobtrusive as possible.  We are there to capture and document your wedding celebration without being a disruption.  This is also why it's so critical to be symbiotic with each other, especially during your wedding ceremony.  

You don't need two photographers running around like maniacs trying to get the perfect angle.  As one photographer moves their position, the other should remain as still as possible.  Once the other photographer gets into position, then quietly move to your next location.  

experience

A "second photographer" is not always a second photographer.  Often times, they are nothing more than an assistant holding a camera.  That's not meant to be critical, but if you're paying for a second photographer, you want a photographer.  

Is having a second photographer really that valuable if the main photographer can only use a handful of their images?  

do i need a 2nd photographer?

This really depends on the photographer you hire, but if you hire the right photographer, then I highly-recommend having a 2nd photographer because it will provide your wedding celebration with a lot of value.  

All of my wedding collections include a second photographer, but I feel very lucky when it comes to my specific situation.  

Let me explain.

Me and my partner, Christy, photograph every wedding we're hired for.  We don't use associate photographers and we don't surprise you by sending another photographer on your wedding day.  We are both professional photographers and we have a history of working together.  This history has allowed us to develop a very symbiotic relationship and our photography styles are very complimentary.  

We feel very fortunate to have such a great working relationship and we are proud that it provides our couples with such value. 

 

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