A lot of couples simply don’t know whether they’ll want or need a second photographer at their wedding. The truth is, I shoot many of my weddings solo, and in most cases, that’s absolutely perfect. But there are a few cases where a couple might want to consider bringing a second photographer along to help capture the day. Here are a few reasons to consider:
You’re getting ready in two different places, and you want photos of both of you getting ready. I usually put together a “getting ready” gallery, and with two photographers, we’ll both sync our camera times, so you get to see what the other person was doing at the exact moment when you were getting ready. If you’re getting ready close to each other, it’s easier for one photographer to hop over from the women to the men to get a few photos of putting on ties, boutonnieres, etc.
You won’t see each other before the ceremony, and you have limited time for bridal party photos. In this case, one photographer can photograph the bride, and the second photographer can photograph the Groom in two different places, but if you’re all in the same place anyway, you might be just fine with just one photographer, since you’ll have to take turns to avoid seeing each other anyway.
You want photos of the details at the reception, but it’s too far for one person to get to before guests get to the cocktail hour or reception. When I photograph weddings by myself, it’s often all in one place, and I can take 20 minutes to jump over and take a few photos of those details. There have been cases where the room has been set up early enough that I could start at the reception location to get detail photos before heading over to get photos of everyone getting ready, which allowed me to do everything as one photographer.
Two photographers will sometimes be better for big church weddings where you don’t want one person to have to move around as much. I always do my best to move as little as possible, and when I do move, I do it slowly and quietly, but if you’re having a church wedding, check to find out what their restrictions are for photographers and movement.
With two photographers, one person can be “behind the scenes” before you walk down the aisle, so you get two different perspectives. You’ll also have different perspectives throughout the day, of course.
If you’re taking family photos after the ceremony, the second photographer can go on to the cocktail hour to get candid photos of guests while you finish photos with family. I usually ask couples whether they want to only focus on candid shots of guests, or if they also want smiling photos. I will say that guests really do love the photos where they’re smiling at the camera, and we always get a mix either way—we just balance it a bit based on the couple’s request.
If you’re expecting more than 150 guests, it may be helpful to have a second person there to help capture everyone. I always do my best to get as many guests as I can, but if you’re planning a large guest list, it’s helpful to have a second person there to cover more ground.