If you have been wondering whether you need a second photographer for you wedding then hopefully this blog post has you covered. Using some real life wedding scenarios I'll highlight the subtle but sometimes highly necessary differences between having a solo photographer and second photographer.
Please note: If your wedding guest count is over 90 as a rule I would never shoot a wedding this size without a second photographer but I understand budget may not allow this. I cover this in the section below, click here to read.
Coverage for both parties in the morning
Solo Photographer: As part of my photography package I begin your coverage from the morning. When I am solo shooting I tend to prioritise one party so that I can fully concentrate on capturing all your details, special moments and the general excitement of the wedding morning.
If both parties are getting ready in the same location I can usually cover both but timings would have to be scheduled in to ensure key moments wouldnt be missed. This may slightly limit the flexibility of your morning arrangements. If you are okay with this we can address during our pre-wedding Zoom consultation.
Two Photographers: If you are getting ready in separate locations and would both like coverage of your morning preparations this is were a second photographer would be recommended. You would each have a photographer for around 2.5 hours. I only shoot with photographers I have worked with previously, who photograph weddings full time and who I trust completely. I want you to feel equally as comfortable with them as you would with me.
Maybe one of you has some exciting plans for the morning that you would like captured. For example, Josh and his groomsmen decided they wanted to enjoy a round of clay pigeon shooting the morning of his wedding. Or perhaps you are starting the day off with some wild water swimming like Ollie did in the Lakes early December - I feel cold just looking at those photos! A second photographer can be there to make sure these special moments are captured to tell the full story of your day.
Two Points of view during your ceremony
Solo Photographer: As a solo shooter my main location during your ceremony is at the front stood to the side of your celebrant/registrar/vicar. This allows me to capture most of the action throughout your ceremony. Sometimes the officiant will request no movement during the ceremony, this is often the case for many church ceremonies. Some even requesting no photography at all so be sure to confirm this with them.
Two Photographers: One of the main reasons I recommend a second photographer is when couples request the "first look". As photographers, of course we want to capture this moment for you as it can be super emotional and is often a cherished memory amidst the whirlwind of the ceremony.
We can't promise how you'll react since emotions can be unpredictable. Sometimes, you might turn away quickly. Having a second photographer positioned at the back of the room increases the chances of capturing these spontaneous moments.
The photograph below shows an example from Nicola and James wedding at Howsham Hall. My second photographer Daniel managed to capture James emotional reaction from the back of the room whilst I was focused on Nicola walking down the aisle with her dad.
Two Photographers: A lot of ceremony spaces are decorated with the intention of highlighting the focal point (you guys!). You might have planned for a gorgeous floral archway at the top of the aisle for you to stand under as you say your vows and share your first kiss. As a solo shooter, once I am situated at the front, it can be quite intrusive to then squeeze past you both to reach the back of the room. Additionally, as mentioned above, some officiants do not allow this. Having a second photographer at the back of the room means you get more than one perspective during important moments like this.
This first photograph from Rachel and Charlies wedding at Eden Barn was taken by my second photographer, Daniel. The room is quite tight towards the front and not much room to be discreet when moving around. For those that are wondering, I carefully edited myself out of this image!
Lots of extra candids during your drinks reception
Solo Photographer: If you intend to have family portraits during your drinks reception, I usually suggest planning around 20 minutes for this, depending on how many groups photographs you choose to have taken. As a solo shooter during this time, I am with you and your family/friends, organising groups and capturing those timeless images.
Two Photographers: Whilst I am organising and capturing your group photographs your second photographer can be mixing with your wedding guests still capturing the life and soul of your drinks reception.
Two points of view during the day
At Howsham Hall there is a gorgeous staircase from the bridal suite to the ceremony area. In the photograph below we were able to capture the same moment but from two distinct view points. The first image is more traditional, while the second image tells the story of the final moments with her dad before walking into the ceremony.
Solo Photographer: During your speeches I am navigating my way around tables discreetly capturing reactions from both the speaker, top table and your guests. In some wedding breakfast rooms the distances between each table can be quite vast. Reactions happen within seconds so often times opportunities are missed because of this.
Two Photographers: With a second photographer we are able to split the room into sections and focus on different areas to make sure we have a good mix of reactions from your wedding party. It also allows one of us to be free if something unpredictable happens.
During Alice and Ians speeches at Riverlands Wedding Barn, a few of the children decided to play outside in the water fountain. My second photographer, Daniel followed them and got some of the funniest photos. This never would have been documented without a second photographer.
At Alix and Matt's wedding at Hidden River Barn, there is a mezzanine that surrounds the dance floor. This gave my second photographer, Abbie, and me the opportunity to capture the same moment from two different perspectives.
Alix and Matt were nervous about their first dance and didn't want something slow and romantic. They chose a more upbeat song, so their dance was fast-paced and a bit silly (which I love!). From the photograph taken from above, you would think they were engaged in a slow romantic sway under the hundreds of roses hanging from the ceiling. When really they were throwing some shapes to Gyptian - Hold you. It shows what a difference in perspective can do.
If your venue has a mezzanine or higher view point this can really make an impact in your photographs and give you more perspectives throughout your day. An additional photographer can take this viewpoint to ensure you have a good mix of angles.
A necessity for weddings over 90+ guests or large venues
After 12 years shooting weddings, admittedly in the beginning there have been times I have left a wedding kicking myself I didnt push for the couple to book on an extra photographer. There is nothing worse than feeling like moments where missed due to the fact you cant be in two places at one time. This is why I will never photograph a wedding over 90+ without a second photographer.
Usually a wedding of this size also requires a larger capacity venue, which means more distances to cover and often guests are spread out into sections. Throughout the years I have learnt where to utilise that second pair of eyes to ensure you get the most from your second photographer.
Adding a second photographer to your package is £300. They are there from morning preparations until 30 minutes after your first dance. I only work with photographers I have photographed with previously, who shoot weddings full time and who I trust completely.
Share this story