Do I really need to hire a second photographer?
Every single couple asks this when they are debating their package options during the booking process, and every single time, I stumble over my words trying to get out all of the reasons why it is such a good idea. There are so many ways that a second photographer can add endless value to your wedding album, but I’ve narrowed it down into my “Top Five Reasons Why You Need a Second Photographer” below.
Your photographer cannot be in two places at once
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anyone with a general understanding of human limitations, but despite having other worldly abilities with capturing the right moments — photographers are still unable to put themselves in two places at once. This means that when you plan out your day and realize that the location that the your fiancé is getting ready in is a twenty minute drive away from where you will be all morning, or when you decide not to have a first look and are away from all of your guests while your couple’s portraits are being taken, you have to make a decision about what coverage gets taken off of the list. With a second photographer, you don’t have to make this decision. Not only does this mean that absolutely nothing gets missed, it gives you the opportunity to relive your wedding day from another perspective and see parts of your day that you would have otherwise never had a chance to see.
They provide options
This comes into play most when it comes to having multiple options for photographs of the same moment. Equipment always greatly impacts the way an image appears. For photographers like myself who shoot with both digital and film cameras while only using prime lenses (they do not have the ability to zoom in and out, but have a lot of other visual benefits that I won’t get into too much detail about), during a moment like your first kiss I have to make a quick decision about what type of lens I want to shoot it with. Oftentimes it is even a stretch just to have enough time to shoot it once digitally, and once on film, let alone giving you the option of a wider shot by swapping lenses. A second shooter will almost always have either a different lens or a different vantage point, providing you with multiple options of the exact same moment.
More coverage, more moments
During a wedding, the lead photographer will be focusing on properly capturing the “must have” shots. This means different things to different people, but an example from my own wedding experiences would be during speeches. When your dad is starting to talk about your childhood and how proud of he is of you, I’m focusing on capturing your reaction, and his expression as he chokes back happy tears. A second photographer may be focusing on something that I’m not, like the reaction of your mother sitting back at her table with your brother holding her hand. Multiple photographers means that more of these little moments aren’t missed.
Less stress and better results
Weddings are stressful on not only you but your photographer. We may not show it, but long days of constantly analyzing light, making fast decisions, and keeping a positive attitude really takes a toll on a person no matter how experienced they are in the industry. A good second shooter will always help to alleviate that stress throughout some of the harder parts of the day. There has not been a single wedding with a second where I wasn’t almost on my knees thanking the universe when it was the time for family portraits and they were behind me getting people organized for the next photo, telling me the name of your uncle for the third time, and going through your shot list to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
Good photographers hire good photographers
I love stealing this term from another wedding photographer who I was a second shooter for when I first made my shift into the industry: “Warm bodies.” A good photographer never hires a warm body — somebody who is going to stand in the back, not knowing what to do, and not taking advantage of their time. For myself, my second shooters are all experienced photographers who own their own businesses and have shot almost as many weddings as I have. Your photographer will never put themselves into a position where they don’t know whether or not they will receive quality photographs from their second shooter, because their hired hands are an extension of their brand. Clients can wholeheartedly trust that their photographer has their best interest in mind and are never just trying to boost profits by hiring their friend to hang out with for the day who isn’t actually adding any value to your experience.