Do You Need a Second Wedding Photographer?
What really is the difference between having one or two wedding photographers?
When our Mike Staff Productions team sits down with couples or their families, one of the top questions we get asked is: ‘Do we really need a second wedding photographer?’
The answer… It depends. (Keep reading, we promise this is helpful!)
Bottom line: Every wedding, every couple and everyone’s ‘wants’ are different. So, let’s break down a typical wedding day to *show* you how two photographers can make an impact and where one is enough.
Where Two Wedding Photographers Makes a Difference
On any wedding day, photographers get pulled in many different directions, especially when it comes to pre-wedding activities, mainly because the bride and groom are getting ready at separate locations. One person might be getting ready in a hotel room while the other gets ready at their family home… on the other side of town! How do you completely capture both moments? One wedding photographer simply can’t be in two places at once.
Even if a single photographer did make it to both locations, not every moment will be captured simply because the photographer is traveling from one location to another. Sure, one photographer will get great shots, but it’s the scope of coverage you’re looking for, that is really the decision maker. Do you want photos of these moments?
- The groom reading your handwritten card
- The groomsmen toasting with a beer
- You putting on your mom’s corsage
- Beauty shots of your bridal gown
- Your bridesmaids sipping mimosas
- Group shots while getting ready
- Opening up the gift from your fiance´
If you want pictures of all of these moments, and you’ll be at different locations, then you’ll want a second photographer so one can be with you and the other with your fiance´ the entire time, simultaneously. Here are some pre-ceremony moments captured when two photographers are being utilized. You can get full coverage of the girls… while simultaneously getting shots of the guys.
The First Look
Picture this: Your groom is standing a short distance away with his back turned. You walk up in your wedding dress, carrying your bouquet, and tap your groom on the shoulder. He turns around and sees you for the first time on your wedding day… (awwww)! When it comes documenting this moment, one photographer can get the job done beautifully (as you’ll see below).
You’ll see and feel the love and excitement. The main difference when you add a second photographer: variety. Two photographers are simply able to capture the same moment from multiple vantage points.
The First Look: One Wedding Photographer
This ‘First Look’ is beautiful and truly shows off the talents and skills of our photography team. At first glance, it may seem like it required two photographers to pull off the height, depth and different focus elements of this shoot, but it didn’t.
The solo photographer positioned themselves to see the groom faces, while the bride is walking up from behind on the balcony. Right before the first look took place, the photographer stayed in place to see the brides expression. Then shifted his position to capture both of them from the side. Simple. Emotional. Magical. Not a single element was missed. It’s all about experience, planning and strategy in landing the perfect shot.
The First Look: Two Wedding Photographers
Again, the main difference with a two photographer shoot: variety. Two cameras allow the first look to be captured from multiple angles. The first photographer was positioned to capture the grooms face and the bride walking up. While the second photographer other focused on capturing the same moment from a different angle. Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily get more photos with two photographers, you simply get more variety. That’s where your photography style and personal wants come into play.
Your Wedding Ceremony
Non Church Ceremony
Getting married outdoors? At your reception venue? In a chapel? 99% of ceremony rules don’t exist outside of a church. Which means your photographer (whether you have one or two) will, more than likely, have the freedom to move around your ceremony space as he or she pleases, allowing them to capture photos from multiple angles WITHOUT limitation. That’s a huge bonus.
Getting married at a church? Most churches have rules, guidelines and restrictions for photographers (some of them strict) which can severely limit the variety of photos you get from your ceremony. This is where serious planning and research comes in.
Restrictions can vary from priest, pastor and church location so it’s important to ask about photography limitations whenever possible. Common church photography rules include:
- Photographers are restricted to shooting from the middle of main aisle.
- Not allowed to move to the sides to capture various angles.
- Photographers are not allowed to shoot closer then the last row of guests.
The challenge is making sure your photographer is able to capture all of the important elements you want while NOT disrupting the ceremony – which is precisely where two wedding photographers can make a difference. In most cases, churches do not allow photographers to roam around at their leisure during the ceremony, which can be a bummer when trying to get the best coverage possible.
Having two photographers can help get around some of those church limitations but it isn’t the only option. Let’s show you…
Church Wedding Ceremony: Two Wedding Photographers
The first area you’ll notice difference when it comes to one vs. two photographers is the bride processional. Why? Getting a variety of photos of the bride walking down the aisle is challenging due to the church photography restrictions we mentioned above. In this two photographer ceremony, one photographer was setup at the altar to capture the bride and her father from the front, while the second photographer was able to capture that gorgeous veil shot from the balcony above without missing the grooms expression at the altar while his bride walks down the aisle at the same time.
Church Wedding Ceremony: One Wedding Photographer
In this one photographer ceremony (below), you can see right away you’re going to get shots of the bride and her father walking down the aisle and the grooms expression. But those shots won’t happen simultaneously and because the photographer has to stay in the aisle due to church rules, limitations may prevent the photographer from getting the veil shot from the back. The main difference: all of the processional photos will be shot from the one position the photographer is restricted to, the center of the aisle. You won’t ‘miss out’ on any photos with one photographer, you just don’t get the variety of different angles two can provide.
Details of Your Day
How many months have you spent planning your wedding, so far? By the time the big day has finally arrived, it’ll feel like forever (trust us). That’s why so many couples want every detail of their day documented. I mean every detail. You worked hard to create that beautiful room — it should live on forever. From your dinner place settings to your centerpieces, to an overall view of the room before a single guest arrives — that is the challenge — snagging those photos before people fill the space. Here’s why…
If you choose to have one wedding photographer, you may have to sacrifice some coverage at the hall to capture the details of the room before guests arrive. Having that second photographer, allows one of them to go straight to the venue and capture the details of the space you created before the crowd arrives while the other stays with you, your husband and bridal party. But here’s the beautiful thing, if photographing your wedding favors, cocktail hour space or Chiavari chairs in all of their untouched glory is not a priority, then a one wedding photographer package is worth considering. Take a look at these examples of detail shots that need to be taken before guests arrive.
Why Mike Staff Productions?
A Photographer Who Gets You
Peace of Mind
The Mike Staff Productions Guarantee
At Mike Staff Productions, we trust that you’ll choose the perfect person to work with because you know what you want on your wedding day! There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all wedding photographer, DJ or videographer – we get that, that’s why we invite you to be a part of the planning process.
Let’s bring your wedding vision to life!