As a follow up to my blog Conversations with a (REAL) Bride, I've had a few questions about second photographers. I know a lot of couples don't really see the need or benefits of having another photographer. Which is why I wanted to write this post about the top five reasons why I think they benifit the wedding day.
Coverage: What it really boils down to is that no photographer can be in two places at once. Prime example is getting ready pictures, having a second photographer insures that both the groom and bride getting ready are covered. I recently had a wedding where the girls were having their hair and makeup done at the bride and groom’s house, then went to the ceremony site to put on their dresses while the guys were getting ready at the house. I met up with my second photographer at the house and we both photographed the girls, then I left and photographed the ceremony/reception details and also the girls getting their dresses on while my second stayed at the house and photographed the guys. Having the extra coverage also gives me spend more time photographing details such as ring shots, while my second can get those special candid moments that are going on at the same time (because let’s face it, there is always something going on!)
Artistic style: Questions do arise about the images looking cohesive with a second photographer, and I can assure that it will be. I handle all my post processing so every image is seamless and you won't be able to tell if I took the image or my second. Also with having a second photographer it gives me a little bit more freedom to do the more artistic shots that I like to do. Plus, some of my seconds have ideas that I would have never thought of that turn out absolutely amazing.
I do not take new photographers on weddings with me as a second photographer; I have on occasion brought assistants with me to smaller weddings that do help me out with lighting and my gear. But what is the difference between a second shooter and an assistant? An assistant is there to assist me; from carrying my gear, switching lenses on my camera, holding diffusers or light stands, pretty much whatever I need to get the job done. Most of the time assistants are not shooting and are either an intern of mine, or someone who is helping. Assistants are not paid, second photographers are. Second photographers have a job to do, and are some of the people I trust the most. I trust them to represent my brand and business and I trust them to get the job done.
Want proof that you can’t tell the difference? Here are two images, one taken by me, and one taken by a second photographer. Which is which?
Viewpoints: The best example of needed two viewpoints is the ceremony. Again, I can’t be in two places at once, so having a second photographer insures full coverage getting both the bride and groom’s reaction to the bride walking down the aisle and both of their faces throughout the ceremony. Personally, I work with fixed prime lenses but my seconds use a zoom lens during the ceremony to get the shots that I just can’t with my camera. With a second photographer, one of us can photograph that lovely tight image of the groom putting the ring on his bride’s finger, while the other can be positioned to capture a wide shot focusing on a wider view of the whole ceremony and wedding party. You’ve hired your photographer because you trust in their artistic vision and wedding experience, but having a second photographer brings another perspective and another creative eye to best tell the story of your wedding day.
Helping hand: Love that veil shot over the bride and grooms head? That couldn’t have been done without my second photographer. I love taking my couples away for about ten minutes or so, away from everyone else to get those beautiful intimate moments and to let them breathe and enjoy a moment alone. Having that second photographer gives me an extra set of hands when the bride or groom need something, as well as when I need something. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my second photographer run out to the store or even the bride’s house to get something forgotten (and yes, it’s even been the rings!) Weddings can be unpredictable at times, and I love having someone that can get whatever we may need without risking losing coverage of the day and delaying the timeline.
and an overall happy main photographer: Having a second photographer keeps me calm and focused during big weddings. I have no issue photographing a wedding on my own, but having a second photographer eases my mind. When I shoot alone I only have one shot to get everything. A seasoned wedding photographer can anticipate what will happen next during the day, but will have a difficult time capturing everything. Some things happen in a blink of an eye, one moment to tie a shoe or even go to the bathroom can be a moment missed. I love having someone there for me, giving me extra inspiration through the day and reminds me to eat (something more than cupcakes) and drink lots of water!
It is true what they say, two heads are better than one. However, not all weddings are the same; I always suggest a wedding with over 150 guests or at least six hours of photography coverage should have a second photographer. Anything less can be done with one photographer without a problem. I personally take a lot of time finding the perfect second photographers to work with me, and I always share with my couples who my second is going to be beforehand. I hope that was helpful for anyone wondering about second photographers, feel free to post any questions or thoughts about second photographers in the comment section below!
*thanks to my awesome friend and second photographer Crystal of Crystal V Photography for the image