Many people approach hiring their wedding photographer under the assumption that there is a strong “need” for two photographers without any consideration as to “why”. While I won’t deny that a properly executing second shooter can be invaluable and the result on a wedding day can be jaw dropping, HOWEVER, I also believe that allowing one person to get close – even closer than two people ever could – to the authentic and intimate emotionalism that surrounds you on your wedding day can be equally stunning.
It is our strong recommendation to mentally start with solo photographer coverage and then assess the need of your wedding day for a second shooter. The recommendation to have two photographers should be done from a position of education and careful tailoring of coverage to your event. That said, I love occasions in which we have opportunity to shoot as a duo, and I thought it would be helpful to outline a few scenarios we would recommend considering a second shooter for some or all of your wedding day.
Often times the getting ready timeline will allow for a solo photographer overlap coverage. If the getting ready spaces for both of you are physically close together, it can work out very easily, with a little coordination, to have one photographer capture both getting ready experiences. However, there are also occasions in which the wedding day preparations must be done at the same time. Sometimes this is an issue of timetable, sometimes logistics, and sometimes physical distance. Whatever the case having the right team in place for your preparations is important.
If you have structured your wedding in a way that places heavy emphasis on an extraordinary quantity of details, it’s important to designate the appropriate amount of time to document those things. This is usually accomplished both during get ready times and throughout the cocktail hour before your guests are invited into your reception space. If those times are trimmed short or are anticipated to be more involved, it may be a good idea to allocate another photographer to make sure that those details are well documented.
To First Look or Not To First Look
Making the decision to have or not have a first look is very personal and I truly believe that it should be made independently of your photographic needs. If you’re on the fence about it please check out this article that I wrote on the subject. That said, if you opt out of a first look, there are some photographic ripple effects that can occur. One such ripple is compressing even more into the span of time between your ceremony and reception or your cocktail hour. If you want to attempt Family Formal Images, Bride and Groom Portraits, Detail Shots of the Reception Room, AND Cocktail Hour Candids into an hour or an hour and a half between ceremony and reception, we would strongly encourage a second photographer. While two of those things are achievable with one photographer, getting all four in such a short span of time is potentially unattainable.
Freeze Tag at Church
Many Churches have some very well crafted rules, we don’t just abide by these rules, we agree with them. Weddings are meaningful, special, and quite frankly they are more important than the pictures we take of them. If a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound? Yes. If a wedding happens without photos is it still a stunningly beautiful and life altering moment in the life of two people? Yes. That said, it is always our goal to get amazing photos without being distracting, as such we usually fall right in line with church rules. Some churches have more strict rules that completely prohibit movement all together. We have often found that this is due to a photographer or videographer somewhere along the line failing to respect weddings, which is pretty tragic in and of itself but has understandable ripple effects. Though rare, if your ceremony venue is such a place, we recommend “zone defense.” Minimize movement by strategically placing another photographer in a complimentary place.
Often, the answer to the question of a second photographer comes down to how you’d like to allocate your time; how spread out or condensed you’d like various events to be. It is always our intention to have this discussion from a position of education and empowerment to you so that you get the best possible photography from your wedding day. We believe that this is a very custom discussion with very custom solutions. Let’s talk through your timeline and see what the best fit might be for you and your wedding.