Do you need a second photographer at your wedding?

I get asked this question a lot by brides and grooms. Do we need a second photographer?

Simply put there is no right or wrong answer to this. After all every wedding is different and every couple have different needs.

But with that being said, every photographer has their own method in which they prefer to work. Some prefer being a single shooter while others only work in pairs. However I would consider the wedding photographers who only work in pairs to be a special case. After all they are fully aware of how the other person works and have done it enough times where they both know what areas the other person is covering. Essentially they work well as a team.

So for this blog I am strictly speaking about single shooters, who are asked to hire in a second photographer for the day. Many photographers will agree to it straight away. But I think it is important to inform the client of the advantages and disadvantages of spending more money and hiring an addition photographer.

Do two wedding photographer guarantee me more quality photos?

Well from my point of view that depends on where the two photographers are. If they are both covering the same moment, for the example the ceremony, portraits, or the bride getting ready. Then things can quickly turn into a case of too many cooks spoil the broth.

I'll give a very simple example of one photographer and one videographer.

Every time I take a photo I need to be fully aware of the videographers location along with any addition cameras they may have set up. I don't want the videographer in any of the photos and vise versa, the videographer doesn't want me to block their view. So we both need to be conscious of the fact that we may be entering into the other persons frame.

As a result my freedom to move anywhere has been limited compared to if I was working alone. I might see a great photo opportunity but it may result in blocking the videographers view during an important moment. So in that case I would abandon my idea and settle on a different angle/view. Working together and being courteous to one another allows us to do our jobs and get the images that we need. Which is the most important factor. But it does result in a somewhat compromised result, where neither of use are allowed the freedom to be as creative as we would like to be.

Now let's take this example one step further and add in a second photographer. Not only do I need to be aware of the videographers view, but I also now need to be aware of the second photographer.

Positioning each other on opposite ends is not a good idea as we will be constantly be in each others shot. But if we are too close to one another then we are essentially capturing very similar photos. Not to mention our freedom to move around have now been limited even further.

So for this scenario I would feel that the negatives out weigh the positives.


But will one photographer be able to capture different angles?

Well simply put, yes.

All the photos in this blog are taken by me during a ceremony. I was the only photographer but I was also working with a videographer, so I had to be conscious of my position along with his location. But I was still able to move around and capture various different angles.

The only times where I wouldn't be able to move around would be if restrictions were placed on me by the priest/celebrant, or if the room is so small that moving around causes too much disruption like inside a small church or during the preparations.

In either case having a second photographer would not solve those issues. If anything, it would make matters worse.


So in what scenario would a second photographer be beneficial?

Well this is just my personal opinion. But for me a second photographer can be beneficial when the couple are getting ready in two separate locations, covering a large travel distance (longer than 20-30 minute apart) and getting photos of both during the preparations is a must.

If it is not a must to capture both, then one photographer is enough. If I am able to drive between both locations in less than 20 minutes (or if both are in the same location) then again, only one photographer is needed.


Well what about taking photos of our guests while we are taking our portraits?

Technically yes, a second photographer can take photos of your guests while you and the other photographer are off taking portraits. But with that being said it is not strictly necessary as there will be plenty of opportunities through out the day to take photos of your guests if you had only one photographer.

As with everything in life there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing a particular option. But hopefully I have helped to dispel the current myth that two photographers equals double the quality.

If a client really wants it or if the situation requires a second photographer, I will of course gladly provide that service. But for most weddings I have done, less tends to be more :)

Follow the link over to One Fab Day where you can see more photos and a lovely story.

One Fab Day - The Best Day of our Lives: Jane & Martin