I enjoy shooting weddings alone, and for the last three years the majority of my weddings I have shot by myself. However, increasingly I’m asked my by my clients if they need two photographers at their wedding, and I almost always advise having a second… I think it’s important to invest in as much photography as you can afford, be that in the number of hours you have covered at your wedding or by having a second photographer. After all, I’ve never spoken to anyone who regrets the photos that they had taken, only on the ones they didn’t.
There’s a number of reasons why I advise having two photographers at your wedding, so with the help of some my friends from accross the wedding photography community, I’m going to give you my top ten reasons, and illustrate some of them with some beautiful photographs!
We can be in two places at once
Literally. If your wedding is across multiple venues, one of you can stay at the ceremony location while the other gets a wiggle on to be at the reception venue when your guests arrive. I’ve also sent my seconds on buses with the guests while I’ve gone ahead with my couple, or they’ve gone on to the reception while I sneak in a few sneaky portraits.
“The bride and her bridesmaids were arriving at the venue via boat after all the guests had arrived. I’d arranged with my second shooter Sean Weekly to be at the venue to capture the guests as well as the bridal party’s arrival so that I could capture their journey over on the boat. On arrival he was able to capture this lovely moment from the father of the brides perspective while I could capture the brides view. If I had been on my own I would have had to have picked one over the other.”
Both sides of the story
This wedding thing is about both of you, but often logistically it’s difficult for me to spend time with both parties the morning of the wedding. If both parties are getting ready in the same place I can spread my time between both but it’s often not the case and it’s not feasible. Having a second allows both parties full coverage in the morning before the ceremony and helps tell the story of the day much more thoroughly.
“The bride and groom were getting ready separately in two venues an hour away from each other. They had told me how they had spent months trying to find the perfect outfit for the groom and were keen to get shots of all the boys getting ready. Martin Hobby is amazing at layering scenes and had second shot for me a few times, so I knew he would be able to get the kind of shot I needed. Without a second shooter, I would have missed all the fun of groom prep.”
There are times when I’m not in the thick of it because I’m shooting group shots or I’ve taken my couple away for portraits. My second can carry on shooting guests during these times meaning that lots of lovely moments don’t get missed.
Hannah Hall Photography / French Connection Photography
It’s an excellent insurance policy
I’ll tap my head and say touch wood because thankfully it’s never happened to me, but sometimes stuff goes wrong. Traffic happens, Satnavs fail, or kit fails. Having a second means that you’ve got someone to cover you in the event of the worst case happening or extra kit should something go wrong.
“I love when my couples opt to have a second shooter for their wedding day! It honestly adds so much more to their day for the fraction of the cost of having along just me. These two images show the bride doing her bouquet toss and her little sister catching it. They were taken at pretty much exactly the same time so it would have been impossible for me to capture this myself. In my image I caught the brides reaction to her sister catching the bouquet and the overall scene. Whereas my second was able to capture a far closer shot of the brides sister catching her bouquet and all the reactions around her. Without a second this wouldn’t have been possible for a number of reasons: the shots happened at exactly the same time, I was using a wide angle lens whereas my second was using a close up lens, and me and my second shooter positioned ourselves at different angles too.”
Two sets of eyes on a situation
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been pinned in to the front of the ceremony by furniture or the celebrant has asked me not to move from my position at the front; having a second means that there’s someone covering from another perspective in the ceremony, perfect for first looks and avoiding awkward obstructions.
Hannah Hall Photography / Parrot + Pineapple Photography
Two sets of creatives
I will take my second out to do a second round of portraits later in the day. This is because I think it’s fun to have someone to bounce ideas off but also have a second creative shooting from different angles.
“While I was taking the veil shot from under the veil, my second shooter (George) got this lovely shot from the side. We work quite well together and I’m sometimes more in love with his images than I am with my own. Having two sets of eyes helps to capture every moment in the best light possible. I’m also quite a nervous person and I put a lot of pressure on myself to do exceptionally well with my weddings. George has a very calming effect on me and helps me to get some perspective, breathe and have a laugh.”
More images of the people you love
With every best intention it’s near on impossible to get a candid photo of every guest, but I try to get as many as I can. With a second set of eyes shooting we can work hard to ensure we get images of your favourite people, particularly during times like the speeches where moving around the room discreetly can be tricky.
“The helicopter was a surprise for the the bride, so I travelled with the couple while my second, Paul, travelled on the bus with the guests and was able to capture the helicopter mid flight. I guess if I hadn’t have had a second I’d have had to make a snap decision as to whether to go with the guests or the couple and we wouldn’t have got any shots of it in the air.”
Things you never knew happened
Two sets of eyes to see more moments. I love it when my couples tell me about all the photos they love of things they didn’t know had happened, and that’s what we spend our time looking for.
“I was getting the formals shots while Amber was catching shots of people enjoying their drinks and mingling after the ceremony. She caught some lovely moments from guests which was really important for Jen & Adam.”
Less time pressures
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t time pressures on a wedding day, with lots to capture in a reasonably short space of time. Having two photographers means that we can capture more of the things you love, be it candids or nipping in to grab table decor photographs before your guests are seated for dinner.
“These two shots were taken on The London Eye. Megan and Sarah had a lot of international guests so they arranged for them to go on the Eye in between their wedding ceremony and reception. As the primary photographer I stayed with the couple while Pete, my second photographer went into the other capsule with guests. The other capsule was in front of ours which means Pete was able to spot this shot of Megan and Sarah gazing out into the sunset, while my perspective was of Megan and Sarah inside the capsule against the blue sky which was in front of them. If I didn’t have a second photographer the sunset shot simply wouldn’t have happened because the next capsule from my perspective was beautifully lit by the sunset but full of people who weren’t part of the wedding.”
Another excellent mover on the dancefloor
I’m sure you’ll have heard about my prowess on the dancefloor… It’s important to me that my seconds posess the same excellent dancing skills and we will dance hard when the music kicks off, see it as a brucey bonus for your wedding entertainment.
Parrot and Pineapple Photography
Do we need two photographers at our wedding?
Obviously if you are planning a very small wedding, then two photographers may be overkill, however even weddings will a smaller guest list over multiple locations can benefit from coverage by two people. While having a second photographer wont double the number of images you’re delivered, it will significantly increase the number you receive relative to the investment of paying for a second.
I always work with photographers who are established in their own right, and I have a small circle of photographers I woke with regularly whose shooting style and attitude aligns well with mine. At the end of the day, I take their memory cards home and select and edit the photographs they’ve taken, so with the exception of the photos you’re definitely aware of, such as portraits and groups (and any prep photos when I definitely wasn’t present!), you absolutely shouldn’t be able to tell who took which images but what you’re left with is a richer, more comprehensive set of photographs and even more lovely memories for you to remember your wedding day by.
Want to see a wedding I shot recently with a second photographer? Check out Amy + Ryan’s wedding at Furtho Manor Farm.