YES, But only sometimes …
I have been a Professional Wedding Photographer in Sydney for the past few years and a question that I get all the time from couples is “Do you think one Photographer is enough to photograph our Wedding?” My answer is always yes! One Photographer is plenty to capture your Wedding Day. I Photograph 90% of Weddings all on my own and my couples have always been extremely happy with the variety of images I was able to capture. So you definitely do not need a Second Photographer! That said, having one Photographer will always have it’s limitations so I am going to jump into all the Pros & Cons for you in this blog post.
Reasons to have one Wedding Photographer
You don’t need a Second Photographer
Everything in a Wedding Day from Bridal Preparation, Ceremony, Family Portraits, Couples Portraits, Reception & Dancefloor can be captured adequately by one Photographer. Most Wedding Photographers, including myself, will predominately work alone and there is no coincidence in that. I have never missed a key moment because I am photographing by myself and all of my couples have always been happy with the results. Yes a second Photographer is definitely nice to have but its not a necessity to capture your Wedding Day.
It’s Cheaper & Easier
This is a big deciding factor for a lot of couples and trust me I get it. When I was planning my wedding I didn’t want to think about planning or paying for anymore things than were absolutely necessary. Weddings are already expensive enough and having a Second Photographer will add $500-$1500 onto your Photography Package. If you don’t need one to capture any specific part of your day then it can feel like a waste of money and effort.
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Most of my couples are just normal human beings who aren’t used to having one camera in their face all day let alone two. Having two photographers just doubles the amount of time that someone will be taking your photo and you may not be able to get any privacy. Add on a Videographer (or two) and you could have a whole production crew following you around all day!! If you don’t want that then I would definitely recommend only having one photographer because having more will most likely overwhelm you and that will come through in the photos. It’s all about feeling calm and relaxed on your Wedding Day!
You don’t like strangers
Normally you will meet your Wedding Photographer before your Wedding either at a Consultation or your Engagement Session. This is a great opportunity to build rapport and trust in them and their work. A second Photographer however is a bit of an unknown. They are normally a partner of the Main Photographer who you wouldn’t have met or they are just another photographer in the industry who has been called in to help for the day. Either way t may feel weird having a stranger following you around taking your photo.
Reasons to Book a Second Photographer
Photographers can’t be in two places at once
Unfortunately we haven’t learnt to clone ourselves yet so if two separate events are happening at the same time that you want photographed you will have to get two photographers. This happens more than you may think on a wedding day, just at the ceremony alone. Take for example Bride and Groom Preparation where both sides are getting ready at the same time in completely different locations. You can work around this by staggering them and having the one photographer go to the Groom first and then the Bride however sometimes this is very difficult to coordinate especially on a wedding day. People can run late, get stuck in traffic or any number of things could happen so sometimes its better to be safe and go with two photographers.
Having a Second Angle
There are some moments during a Wedding day where it’s just nice to have a second angle. Like when the Bride is walking down the aisle you can get a photo of her from the front but then also another angle of her train from behind whilst also getting a shot of the Groom’s reaction. Another time could be the first kiss where you could have one photographer capture it from the aisle but then the second photographer could be off to one side or even behind the couple if you are having an outdoor ceremony.
Photos of you and the guests
One great utilisation of a second photographer is to have them focus on your guests for the whole day while the main photographer can just stay with the couple. Perhaps you want a photo of the parents reaction during the vows or the first kiss and that would also be near impossible with one photographer. Having two photographers means you will get plenty of photos of guests reactions during the ceremony and mingling around during the afternoon but won’t have to miss any photos of the Bride or Groom.
You have a large wedding
If you have a large wedding then it may be impossible to get photos of everything and everyone during the day with just one photographer. If you really like candid photos of your guests and your guest numbers are over 150 then it is going to be very difficult for one photographer to run around and get a photo of everyone whilst also being with the Bride & Groom. I don’t care how fast they are. Plus a second photographer can also stay behind and take photos at the cocktail hour while the Bride and Groom are off having their Wedding Portraits.
To entertain the Wedding Party
If you are going off for photos after the ceremony with the whole wedding party, it can be good to have a second photographer there to capture photos of the Bridesmaids/Groomsmen while you get your couples portraits done. Not only does this speed up the process and give you more photos but it also keeps them distracted and out of your hair so they’re not peeping on all your kissing photos!
Things happen. Camera equipment breaks, Memory cards die, Accidents happen. Your photographer is a professional and will do everything in their power to get the best images for you but sometimes things happen that are out of their control. If a camera dies or doesn’t work during your first kiss then that moment is forever gone. This is no ones fault however if you had a second photographer there capturing a second angle then you would always have a backup of everything.
How do you book a Second Photographer?
Good Question. A second Wedding Photographer is always booked by your main Wedding Photographer so luckily for you, you don’t have to go back through that process of trying to look for another wedding photographer. When you book a Wedding Photographer they will ask you whether you would like a second (or maybe they already include one in their package) and then it will be on them to find that other photographer. Maybe it’s a business partner that they work with all the time, it cold be their spouse who always helps them out on Wedding Days or it might be another photographer in the area who is free on that day. A lot of photographers work as second photographers for other people on weekends that they aren’t booked themselves which is great way for them to make a little bit more money and also keep their skills sharp.
Of course you can ask your main photographer who they are using as their second photographer and try to find a little bit out about them and their experience. If you are paying for a second photographer you have every right to know who they are using and be confident they are up to your standards. Just be aware that they may not finalise who they are using for their second photographer until closer to your Wedding date. As I said before most second photographers have their own photography business as well and they won’t know if they are free that weekend until closer to the date.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your main photographer is going to be the one controlling the show on the Wedding day so it will be their creative style that is coming through in the photos. You don’t really need to worry about the second photographers style because they will conform to whatever the main photographer has asked of them. The main photographer will also edit all of the photos in their personal style so if you are tossing up between two wedding photographers, you can’t just hire both and get a little bit of each. Sad to say that it doesn’t work that way and you would have some very unimpressed photographers.
Where does this leave us?
Well hopefully you now know whether a second photographer is right for your wedding day or not. One last piece of advice if you have a tight budget and are concerned about money. Remember that you can always reduce the length of time that you have your photographer for in order to afford to have a second. It could be the same price to have one photographer for 10 hours as it is to have two photographers for 7 hours. You may have to miss photos of the dancefloor but at least you will get every angle covered at your ceremony.