**The above image was captured by me, working as a second photographer.
Identifying whether one photographer or two is right for your day is an important step in determining structure, expectation and amount of time devoted to photography on the wedding day. Below, I break down the advantages of a two-photographer collection.
Hey there! I’m back with another weekly installment of my ‘Wedding Day Education’ series and this time, I’m tackling the one photographer or two decision. Any of my previous clients will tell you that I hustle on a wedding day. I’m constantly moving, looking for opportunities and trying to be more than one pair of eyes. I haven’t yet figured out how to be two places at once or how to teleport, but if given the chance, I’d give both a try (haha)! So, let’s talk about one photographer vs. two and when this choice makes sense for your day. The easiest way to break this down is to move through the various stages of the day and identify what a second photographer is capable of producing and how it structures and makes the day easier and more free-flowing.
Let’s start with getting ready images. First things first: Do you both want getting ready images? If you’re a fan of telling the story of the day or if you’re looking to have a custom album designed by yours truly, I can tell you that matching details and stories without gaps in the day for each person just makes sense. If you decide that you both want detail and getting ready images, if you choose one photographer, one person is going to have to start earlier than the other and get ready earlier than the other. After I’m finished what the first client, I’ll make my way to the second and do detail images and getting ready. If you decide on a two photographer collection, each photographer can work simultaneously on detail and getting ready images for each client. This can allow for more relaxation prior to getting ready for the big day, allows for a more efficient and streamlined process and can help you avoid additional overtime costs.
Next up is pre-ceremony and ceremony. If I’m solo, I work to photograph both clients and their parents/siblings before the ceremony. This is something that is important to me, as I only have one photo with my parents from my wedding day that was taken after the ceremony. I believe that you should have as multiple candid and staged photos with your parents if that is your wish. These are special moments that can’t be recreated and deserve to be documented. Prior to the ceremony beginning, I also photograph interior and exterior of the church, candids of guests arriving, ceremony details, candids with clients and family, etc. Inevitably, I have to leave the client and get ready to photograph the processional, which can leave a client alone prior to being escorted down the aisle. With a two photographer collection one photographer stays with the client being escorted, capturing lining up of the wedding party, candids and last moments before walking down the aisle and the back of the aisle during processional.
Now, we’ve come to the ceremony. Depending on the length of your ceremony, it may only be possible to capture images from the center aisle with a solo photographer wedding collection. When I’m solo, the biggest thing for me is ensuring that I don’t miss any moments; If a ceremony is shorter in length, it impedes my ability to move without missing things. With a two photographer collection one photographer is assigned to center aisle and the other photographer ‘floats’ from side to side capturing different perspectives, closer images of the two of you, candids of family/wedding party balcony images (if applicable), etc. The key here is variety! With a two photographer collection, it allows for freedom of variety regardless of how long the ceremony is.
Next up in the day is the recessional and signing of the marriage license. If I’m working solo, I like to capture the recessional and then meet up with the newlyweds and capture any candids that I can, go photograph the signing of the marriage license and then that brings us to family formals. The challenge here is that some of the best candid moments between a couple and their wedding party happen immediately after they walk back down the aisle; And I’m still capturing the rest of the recessional at this point. Then, its off to sign the marriage license and after that, we go right into family formals. If working solo, it takes me a minute to get my lighting set for formals. With a two photographer collection, the second photographer follows the newlyweds out and captures all of the candid moments between them, the wedding party, family, etc. while I finish the recessional. The second photographer then follows the couple to capture the signing of their marriage license while I set up my lighting for family formals. When the couple is finished, lighting is already set and we head right into family formals. Super efficient!
Depending on if you choose to do a first look or not, the next part of the day is the time of the day where we photograph you, your new spouse and your wedding party. If I’m working solo, I do it all. With a two photographer collection, as soon as we arrive to our photo location, we split the wedding party and one photographer takes one client with their wedding party and the other photographer takes the other client with their wedding party. We do individual portraits with the client and each person standing up on their side, as well as group photos. Then we come back together and do full wedding party images before dismissing the wedding party and focusing on the couple. A two photographer collection in this instance offers variety in focal length, angles, posed vs. candid, etc. For example, If I’m giving direction to a client for an image, my second photographer may be off at an angle capturing you in the moment, or focusing in close on a bouquet or boutonniere or details of a dress/tux… The opportunities are endless. A two photographer collection is especially helpful if you have a large wedding party and/or have limited time to devote to this part of the day. Again, we have two photographers working at the same time instead of one photographer working on everything.
Let’s talk for a moment about the next part of the day; The reception. There are a few things to consider here:
1) Is your cocktail hour in the same room as your reception room? If so, do you want an empty reception room image?
2) Do you want photos of cocktail hour?
If I’m working solo and you wish to have the reception room photographed with no one in it (and the cocktail hour is in the same room as the reception), I will need to shorten my time devoted to wedding party/couple portraits to accomplish this. If you wish to have cocktail hour candids and photos of your guests, I cover this as well. This can be accomplished with one photographer, but the key here is to make sure that you plan enough time for wedding party and couples portraits before I move onto reception and cocktail hour coverage. A two photographer collection allows the second photographer to split from the wedding party/couples portraits early, capture reception room details and cocktail hour coverage and essentially lengthens the amount of time that you have for wedding party/couples portraits. Again, efficiency at its’ finest!
When we get to reception, it’s all about multiple angles, different perspectives and different people included in images. During your grand entrance and cake cutting, my second photographer will be shooting from a different angle than I, with a different focal length than I am- It allows for a completely different look than my images. During speeches, I like to flutter and float from one side of the room to the other and capture candids of your toasters speaking to you, you laughing and looking at them.. I love doing this from the sides of the table. It’s a more candid and intimate approach. A two photographer collection allows me to do more of this. During this time, my second photographer may be getting images that center you in the frame, as well as reactions of parents, family, etc. during speeches. The same is true with first dances- I’m photographing your dance, my second photographer is taking candids of family watching you dance, as well as you dancing. You would be surprised what sweet moments happen and can be captured when you’re dancing- Things you wouldn’t have seen if your photographers didn’t capture them.
So, there you have it! When I meet with each and every client, this is something that we discuss in detail. In most instances, a second photographer makes sense, but every wedding and every client is different. Just like every photographer is different- Other photographers may work differently, but I hope this candid glimpse of how I work, structure a day and lead my team is helpful to you in your wedding planning process!
That’s all for now, but next time I’ll talk all about your details and how to make your big day look stunning from a visual perspective.