Why Two Photographers?

This is a question you may ask yourselves whilst deciding on your wedding photography options.
To help you make a more informed choice I have created this blog which includes lots of useful information and supporting images to show exactly why the addition of a second photographer can maximise your wedding day coverage.  It will also explain the benefits to having their additional skills and support on the day.

It is most likely that if you are unsure you will already have asked yourself the following question:
“Why do we need two photographers to capture our wedding day”?

So let me help by guiding you through what they actually do and why you should seriously consider including one. 

I have personal experience of the financial burden a wedding day brings. In this industry very rarely do I meet couples where budget is not an issue.   However, unlike many other services supplied on your wedding day, photography isn’t transient, it is an investment in the memories of your day that will remain forever. 

We know that memories fade but your wedding photographs are timeless.  Long after the flowers have wilted, the cake has been eaten and the dress packed away, your photographs will still remain, preserving those cherished memories that would otherwise diminish over time. This nostalgia is priceless!

One of the comments I often receive about my photography relates to how I have captured images in an informal and natural style. This is a massive compliment and it is also something that many couples who are not comfortable in front of the camera will be wanting to replicate for themselves.  Almost all couples are seeking a natural and candid style of photography, the perception generally is that these photographs are more pleasing as they are captured without knowing. What most couples are therefore surprised to discover is that the majority of these ‘candids’ are captured by the second photographer at the same time a photograph is being captured by myself.

I am very clear about my style and approach on a wedding day.  I am not solely a documentary photographer or someone who leaves the day to chance. I am very organised and I plan ahead. There are some amazing photographers who specialise in documentary coverage and they have mastered the art.  But true to the nature of this method they will not assist with any organising or partake in the creation of any staged photographs. They simply step back, capturing what happens organically.

If this is what you are looking for then it is very possible I am not the right wedding photographer for you.

However from my experience over the last eight years I have realised that to achieve the desired coverage there is a degree of curation needed at every wedding to guarantee that the ‘expected’ photographs are captured on the day. 

I call this approach Lifestyle photography, meaning some elements are ‘staged’ and sometimes direction is given to obtain the best outcome.

For example I will always seek the best light and locations to take the photographs, then suggest ways to stand that are more flattering and considered. 

I will be seeking to capture all the key moments of the day, eg, the bridal preparations, the ceremony, groups & couple shots, the room details, the first dance etc, but in order to do so it may require me to place people in the best light, move furniture, locate and even tidy up a background, but I know doing so will get me the best results for my clients. 

So how is this improved upon when two photographers work together?  Let me explain in more detail.

One photographer working alone can only capture a singular viewpoint, in one location at any given moment.

An example of this is during the group shots. One photographer working alone will need to capture the traditional ‘formal’ image for each group. Often this results in a wide shot of your guests in a line up, in order to fit everyone in frame.  As a single photographer this means that anything else happening at this time would be missed, as my sole focus is on capturing the list of family formals.

The same is true during the ceremony.  A single photographer will almost always be restricted to a single position, be that at the back or front of the ceremony location. If it is the latter it is never a good idea to move about causing any distraction during the most important element of the day.

The basic limitations of one photographer is simple, you will receive one perspective from one position with one pair of eyes.  

One photographer alone will still be able to capture the key points of your wedding day, eg bridal prep, ceremony, groups and couple portraits, it’s simply a matter of understanding the logistics and limitations.

By including a second photographer to your wedding day coverage your most obvious benefit is that you are instantly increasing the amount of wedding day images that will be captured and supplied. However it is also important to understand that these additional images are going to be very different to those from the ‘prime’ photographer. They will be from entirely different locations, perspectives, viewpoints and compositions. 

The same moments, captured by two photographers working together.

The addition of a second photographer also means that so much more of your wedding day can be captured. For example, during the morning preparations, the Bride and the Groom’s preparations can be captured as the second photographer will visit one location whilst the prime photographer attends the other. 

Even if a Groom isn’t planning any photography before arriving at the wedding venue then the second photographer will greet them and the Groom’s party ahead of the ceremony to capture some photographs. Other images captured by the second photographer at this time of the day will be the ceremony set up, venue shots and some guests arriving.

Having just one photographer means that these images will not be captured because the focus is on Bridal details and preparations.

All the images in the section below were captured before the ceremony by a second photographer.

Another example of the benefits to having two photographers is during the wedding ceremony. A second photographer will almost always position themselves in an entirely different location to the prime. This will usually be to the rear of a church or ceremony room, providing an alternative perspective. 

Unlike the prime photographer, the second photographer can move more freely during the ceremony without drawing attention to themselves. This can be very useful if there is a balcony or a different vantage point as they can move quietly between locations to get the ceremony shots, and all without being noticed.

This alternative perspective will continue throughout the day. For example, during the group shots the second photographer will be free to focus on individuals, zooming in to capture your guests natural reactions as they focus on the prime photographer. Putting the two sets of images together and suddenly the group shots, which are often by their very nature quite formal suddenly contain many natural, documentary images which are otherwise missing without the addition of a second photographer.

The same moments, captured by two photographers working together.

The natural candid moments, captured by the second photographer during the group photos.

Also when capturing the Bride and Groom’s photographs, the prime and the second photographer will instinctively know what the other will be shooting and work together to capture the same moments, but from an entirely different perspective and composition. By working in this way the couple receive far more natural and candid images as they will both be less aware of where the second photographer is.  Working this way ensures the quantity of natural images increases and far more can be captured in a short space of time.

For the duration of the day this two handed approach is in place. It works perfectly for each and every moment of your day. For the speeches it is great as both the speaker and listeners can be captured simultaneously.

It is also very important to understand that the more dramatic, evening/night photographs almost always require the assistance of a second photographer.  For these photographs they take on the role of lighting assistant and help with the technical set up for each image required. Without their help these images are far more challenging and time consuming and also require third party assistance. This can be a problem, especially during cold and inclement weather. Also there is a greater risk of damage to equipment if a third party is unsure what they are doing.

This image was captured in the daytime, during a heavy shower, with two photographers working together.

The ‘After Dark’ photography with two photographers only.

In summary, the simple facts are - with two photographers you will receive far more coverage of your wedding day, not only in terms of quantity, but in terms of variety. The majority of the additional images received will have been captured in a natural and more candid style.

I would highly recommend that every couple secure the services of a second photographer for their ‘one time’ wedding day.  I wholeheartedly believe it is a decision you will not regret once your day is over.

I can provide full, or part day coverage by a second photographer and be sure to let me know your interest as I can improve on the costs if interested.   For details of including a second photographer on your wedding day please get in touch to discuss. My email is marie@marieansonphotography.com

You won’t regret it if you do, but you will if you don’t!

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