Should I Have a Second Photographer at my Wedding?
It’s a question I’m asked all the time. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. Every wedding and every couple are different, so my advice seems to fluctuate each time the question is put to me.
The purpose of this post is to explain both the advantages and disadvantages of having a second photographer so that you can make an informed decision.
Surely Two Wedding Photographers are Always Better than One?
If only things were this black and white! Of course, two talented professional photographers are better than just one photographer at the same level. But unless you’re paying a big premium to book a second photographer, you have to question why that second photographer wouldn’t be photographing a wedding of their own instead.
I’m all too aware that in the past I’ve lost out on client bookings simply because, for the same price, they can book two photographers, rather than just myself. This is fine, of course, but it can be a little short-sighted.
By far, the most important thing to consider is the end result. The quality and consistency of the images you’ll receive once they’re delivered is what should influence your choice of photographer. Make sure you always view a full gallery (or several) from the photographer you want to book. You might be surprised just how much of the day one exceptionally talented photographer can document.
If both sides are getting ready close to each other, I’m more than happy to document preparations for both. Having a second photographer working alongside me does, of course, make my life a little easier, and my feet hurt less by 11pm! But with just a little forward planning with the schedule, both sides can be captured easily.
Booking a Photography Duo vs. Second Photographer
There are plenty of couples who work full time as a wedding photography team. This is a good thing. Knowing how each other works and exactly what they’ll be doing is beneficial for sure. Keep in mind though, that you’re paying two peoples’ salary rather than one. It may be more cost-effective to book a photographer and a second shooter.
However, make sure the second photographer you’re paying for isn’t simply an assistant whose just starting out in wedding photography. It’s worth asking to see some examples of the second photographers work, and ask if there’s more than one photographer to choose from.
I regularly have assistants work alongside me who are just starting out in wedding photography or looking to learn new skills. My couples are never charged for this, however.
It’s also worth considering that the more photographers and videographers you have at a wedding, the more it can feel like a photoshoot rather than a wedding day if they’re not particularly discrete!
Many of the outstanding wedding photographers whose work I admire, tend to work alone. A carefully curated selection of images from one photographer tends to have a better flow to it, in my opinion. Merging two photographers shooting styles into one gallery can be tricky and sometimes leads to a slightly disjointed feel to the final product.
With my own clients, I prefer to deliver a smaller number of beautiful creative photographs, rather than a vast gallery of mediocre images. I typically deliver 400-600 images from a wedding. Surely no one wants to scroll through 1,500 frames that are broadly the same? For me, that would compromise the overall experience of looking back and remembering the day.
I know for sure that the total number of delivered images is another metric through which I’ve lost out on potential bookings, because more is always better, isn’t it? I’m not so sure.
I’m always happy to offer a second photographer to clients that definitely want or need one, for instance, larger weddings with 150+ guests. Or when both sides are getting ready too far apart for it to be practical photographing both myself.
Finally, if you’re still unsure, take a look at these two weddings here and here. Both photographed in France in 2019, one was with a single photographer (me) and the other with two photographers. See if you can tell a difference in coverage.