Do I need two photographers at my wedding?

Juliet ElizabethPIN
In the last few years we’ve noticed an interesting trend. More and more brides-to-be are asking the question, “Do your packages include two photographers?”

But are two photographers necessary? Can one photographer catch those important candid moments and also include all the details of the day in photos? Any photographer who has shot more than a few weddings knows the rhythm of a wedding day and will work with the bride and groom early on to develop a schedule that leaves time for capturing great photos.

Still, it can be said that two sets of professionally trained eyes are better than one. The real question is “Do I need two photographers?”

Ask yourself these questions…

  • Am I expecting a large number of guests? Over 150 guests may be reason enough to have more than one photographer. With a large crowd there is always something interesting happening. Let one wedding photographer focus on you and the bridal party while the other captures moments with your guests.
  • Will there be logistical challenges during the day? If you and your fiancé are getting ready at separate locations or if your ceremony is at one venue and your reception is at another several miles away, two photographers can be an incredible asset. One wedding photographer can stay with you while the other gets your fiancé getting ready. One photographer can take formal family pictures at the ceremony site while the other takes candid shots of guests enjoying the cocktail hour.
  • Is the schedule going to be relaxed or full of activity? An action-packed day means your photographer will be moving fast… literally running! There is so much going on that two wedding photographers will more likely be able to cover everything.
  • Are there restrictions at my ceremony site that will prevent the photographer from moving around? A second shooter can be great during the ceremony, especially when you’re in a church that restricts the photographer’s movement. With two cameras you get two perspectives. One focuses on you while the other is focused on your fiancé. One captures a wide shot of the scene while the other is up front snapping shots of your dad tearing up.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, having a second shooter might be right for you.

What about experience level? When you are interviewing photographers, ask them about the experience level of their second shooters. Are they an equivalently skilled wedding photographer or more like an assistant photographer who may not be comfortable in every situation. Don’t expect all second shooters to be seasoned pros. If they aren’t it’s perfectly okay. Just know so you’ll have an expectation of their involvement on your wedding day.

How many hours? You don’t necessarily need a second shooter the entire day. Save yourself the expense and figure out the optimal amount of time to have two photographers. Depending on the circumstances, we recommend between 4 and 5 hours. Think about it. How many photos of your guests dancing do you really need? One photographer is more than capable of covering the majority of the reception.

How do I decide? By planning ahead, we can coordinate with you and your wedding planner to ensure each event happens in sequence to ensure we capture those emotional moments. With the fundamental understanding of photojournalism, our photographers can tell the story as it unfolds. The more communication and planning, the happier you’ll be when the big day arrives.

After considering these factors you’ll be prepared to have a meaningful discussion with wedding photographers about including a second shooter. Feel free to contact us about your wedding plans. We would love to help you make the right decision for your photography needs!

  • September 12, 2015 - 4:02 am

    Jay Farrell - The advantages you listed are legitimate. I however feel that the two photographer concept is often a buzzword. The photographer’s style and the client’s connection to their work should be paramount. Thanks for pointing out that it’s not black and white. Reasoned discussion on the one or two photographer discussion is always interesting, even though my preference is to shoot solo.ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2013 - 8:51 pm

    Riverland Studios - A good read if you’re considering more than one wedding photographer.ReplyCancel