I get asked by quite a few couples if a second photographer is really necessary when photographing their wedding. To be honest, I want a second shooter with me at every wedding I photograph. Sure, there are times when a second shooter isn’t feasible (and it’s almost always cost-related), but in order to offer the experience I do, I have one with me every single time. Why have two photographers? I’m glad you asked.
On a wedding day, us photographers get pulled in many different directions. One person might be getting ready in one hotel room while the other gets ready in another hotel room… on the other side of town! During the ceremony it’s wonderful to have two different views and perspectives of everything that happens. While I’m taking family photos, my second shooter can go photograph all of those details you spent so much time choosing while your guests are still at cocktail hour. While I’m photographing the bride throwing her bouquet, my second shooter can focus on all the ladies diving for it. Who wouldn’t want both of those photos?
No two photographers are created equally. With a second photographer at your wedding, you really are getting the benefit of two different photographers. Twice the experience, twice the creativity, twice the number of photos… but everything coming from that second photographer is different than what you get from me. They might use a different lens than I’d use or stand in a different place than I would or maybe just be able to get a real smile from that one nephew who’s just too cool to smile for me. It’s a huge benefit.
I’m not just talking about the kiss (although that’s a pretty big moment to have a little backup for). I’m talking about all of the moments that are constantly happening at weddings. Family members who haven’t seen each other in years sharing a laugh. Little kids being little kids. Ridiculous friends doing ridiculous things. Hugs. Smiles. Tears. They happen all night long. They can’t all be photographed, but with two photographers around, the odds are pretty good that the big ones won’t be missed.
I rely on my second shooters to capture many of the detail shots throughout the day, but I also rely on them to keep an eye on things that shouldn’t be in a photo. Like what, you ask? Like someone wearing sunglasses in a family photo or a groomsman who’s suit pants look bad because he’s got a phone, a flask and car keys stuffed in his pockets. I love having someone with me who doesn’t have to worry about the big stuff and has time to notice how the bride plays with a little curl of her groom’s hair or how the groom delicately touches the small of his bride’s back. Ideally, I’d notice those things as well, but sometimes things get missed, which brings me to my next point…
Unfortunately, no matter how much we plan and how careful we are, sometimes bad things happen. A car accident, memory card failure or broken piece of gear at just the wrong moment are the stuff of nightmares for wedding photographers. With a second shooter, the risk is greatly minimized. Double the man-power and double the equipment!
I hope this helps you understand why I think having a second shooter is so important. If your wedding photographer works with a second shooter, ask if they know them and would trust them to shoot the wedding on their own. Odds are it will never be necessary, but you never know.
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Courtney Lynn Photography are husband + wife wedding photographers based out of Dallas/Fort Worth and an educator for small business owners who are hustling to create their dream photography business!
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