“What’s your opinion? Should I get a second shooter?” I get asked that all the time. For those on a tight budget, as a bare minimum, I tell my clients that if the wedding guest list begins to exceed 100-125 guests, the need for a second shooter becomes more certain. It is unreasonable to think that one photographer can shadow the bride and groom and capture all the important reception events and be able to simultaneously capture a moment when a guest spill his glass of wine in the rear corner of the venue and an eruption of laughter ensues. These are the types of candid/ photojournalistic shots you don’t want to miss. A second shooter increases the coverage, especially when the number of wedding guests exceeds 100-125. Beyond that, my answer is always, “Undoubtedly, yes.” And here’s why:
1. You get more photos. One photographer can only take so many photos; two photographers can take that many more. Once you’ve found a photographer whose work resonates with you, you can generally be assured that their second shooter will as well. After all, everything shot during your wedding is the first photographers responsibility and ultimately it’s their reputation on the line so you’ll be in good hands.
2. You get more candids and detail shots. The main photographer has to focus on the key points of the wedding while the second photographer can concentrate on candids and detail shots. For example while the main photographer is getting the formal shot of the couple, the second photographer is watching the family and guests to capture a moment of emotion or laughter that would have otherwise been missed. Alternately, the second shooter may have the same general viewpoint but instead captures a less formal angle of it.
Check out both examples below. The first two are from the same moment but different viewpoints. The bride in full color walking down the aisle and the groom in black and white brushing away a tear. The second set of photos are the same moment but similar viewpoint, however two very different feels have been captured.
3. A different angle. Having a skilled main photographer and a capable second shooter adds dimension to your final collection. The two angles will give you insightful perspectives because your coverage is doubled. In a way, it provides the main photographer with eyes in the back of their head. Wherever my lens is pointed, I instruct my second shooter to be pointing theirs in the opposite direction.
Collectively great moments are caught and photos that will bring memories and perhaps a tear to your eye will be gazed upon for decades to come.