The answer to this one is actually up to you! There are many benefits to having a second photographer but it can also be a 100% over kill if the circumstance is not right. Let's start with the basics.
What does a second photographer do?
A second photographer is someone who is basically assisting the main photographer with photographing your big day. The Second Photographer is there when the main photographer is not. This actually comes in handy in a big way when the guest list is over a hundred people or there are multiple locations. For example… The bride is getting ready at a hotel and the groom is getting ready at his best friends house on the other side of town.
What are the benefits to having a second photographer?
The obvious benefits are of course, more photos!!! But there’s much more to then just more photos that what makes having a second photographer so beneficial. One of my favorite reasons for a second photographer is a second pair of eyes/another perspective! In the example below you can see Meg and Justin saying I do from two different camera lenses. One wide and another tight. Again during speeches. I was able to capture Meg and Justins reaction to their loved ones speeches while my second photographer was able to capture the silly and fun atmosphere from the speeches.
Honest take… I can't be at two places at once. There are some moments I won’t see or sometimes can’t photograph because I’m photographing something important. Having a second photographer fixes that problem. This allows more focus on what I’m photographing as well as being able to capture more moments that are happening around us. While I can focus of the big anticipating moments my second photographer can focus on the little details.
For example up above... I myself, was with the bride while she and her best friends got ready and my second photographer was with the groom and groomsmen.
The photographers I choose to work with are just as experienced and creative as myself. We also communicate through out the day bouncing different ideas off each other. Having this creative team on your side really pays off during getting ready, first look/family portraits and golden hour portraits. The end goal is working together to capture and create incredible moments weather its by just holding a lens for me or taking charge and making sure we don’t miss moments.
How do I determine if I need a second photographer?
Now that we know that a second photographer can really be a huge help and is more than just receiving more photos. How do I know if I need a second photographer?
The easiest way I like to tell if you need a second photographer is the guest list and venue size.
If the guest list is under a hundred people its really not necessary for a second photographer to be there. This goes the same for the venue size. If the guest list is fairly small and there is a second photographer a lot of the times is we end up with the same photos. As far as venue size, if its on a small premises a lot of times we will be right on top of each other and sometimes we are in each others shots. This takes more time away from trying to get more moments than trying to stay out of the way of the main photographer.
There only time I truly recommend a second photographer is when you are excepting a huge party, a big guest list and a big venue. Having a second photographer in these situation allows you to unlock the most out of both of your photographers. They will be able to be on opposite sides of the venue not missing any of the action or making sure the HAM of the party gets their photo taken a hundred times.
Warp Up/ TL;DR
A second photographer helps the main photographer capturing your big day. The second photographer both assist and can be a creative team during portraits and other moments during your big day. They are also a very valuable recourse if you have a big guest lists as well as big venues with a lot of ground to cover.
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