Hiring a Second Photographer
The debate about hiring a second photographer offers great points on both ends of the spectrum. Some photographers believe a second photographer is non-negotiable, while others perform solo exclusively.
We are a husband and wife team, so every wedding we photograph always has 2 photographers. We are most comfortable shooting weddings this way, and I’ve put together a few quick reasons for our philosophy.
Being in Two Places at Once
This is the biggest reason you’ll find blogs, magazines, and photographers who support having a second shooter mention. No, time travel hasn’t yet been achieved. No one can be in two places at once, and depending on your wedding day set-up, it can be impossible for a solo photographer to capture certain parts of the day you want covered.
Examples of this are:
- Getting ready. If you’re getting ready in different hotel rooms at the same time, that can be tricky, albeit not impossible. But if you’re getting ready in different hotels, or one at their family home across town, that’s a different story.
- Cocktail hour. If you want cocktail hour coverage, while you’re simultaneously having family formals taken, you can’t have both with only one photographer. This time is also when many lead photographers send their second photographer to capture the reception space before it’s inundated with guests. Holding back an angry mob because a photographer ran late with family formals, and now needs to photograph the reception details, is not pretty.
This may or may not be obvious to the average person. Every photographer has their own eye, and way they view the world. It is this way for every artist, no matter the medium. But to take that a step further, most lead and second photographers purposely choose to photograph with different lenses during portions of the day. This is because we want to offer both a big picture and detailed viewpoint. It creates variety for your albums and galleries. A well-oiled team also knows to stay on opposing sides of each other, adjusting when one of them moves, to further solidify capturing different perspectives of what’s happening.
Flexibility and Rest
After going non-stop for several hours, someone might need a bathroom break or to sit simply sit a moment with a cup of water. We aren’t machines, and as much as we love what we do, we need a break from time to time. Having a second photographer there to take over covering while we catch our breath and get off our feet for a moment makes a difference. We produce better pictures when we have a had a moment to reenergize!
No, I’m not going to try to sell you insurance. Lol I mean having a second photographer is an insurance policy for your wedding photography. Should I break my ankle walking in a field during formals, Tim is able to take over without a hitch. No matter, if there’s a memory card failure or one of us, breaks a piece of gear, the other can seamlessly step up to the plate.
We’ve literally had the memory card failure happen during a wedding ceremony. Let’s be real, no one is going to stop a ceremony for the photographer to troubleshoot their equipment. That being said if you’re a solo photographer and carry multiple camera bodies, extra gear, etc, you can hopefully pick back up within minutes.
With all this said, there are many pros and cons beyond these. One overall piece of advice I give to those considering a second photographer is asking questions. Find out if the second photographer is someone the lead photographer has worked with before. Are they a consistent team? Is the second photographer also a full-time wedding photographer? Are their styles of photographing similar? You want to try to ensure that the lead photographer isn’t just hiring a random college student, or someone they haven’t truly vetted.
You also want to make sure that you’re actually purchasing a second photographer. The definition of a second photographer varies from studio to studio. A second photographer is someone who can photograph, hopefully near or on the same level as the lead, throughout the day. They are not a glorified bag carrier, or light holder.
I hope you found this post enjoyable! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out!
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