I have a guilty pleasure; the movie 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl. And one of my favourite quotes from the movie is from the marriage-hating journalist played by James Marsden:
“You know when the music starts and the bride makes her big entrance and everybody turns to look at her? That’s when I look at the groom. ‘Cause his face says it all. Y’know, the pure love there. He always looks really, really happy.”
One of the questions I often get asked by brides is whether I think they need a second shooter. Whilst I often work as a sole photographer, I offer a second shooter as an additional option for my couples on their wedding day because having a second photographer has a great number of benefits.
A single photographer can cover a lot at a wedding. So much happens on a wedding day, but we are pros at reading the situation and reacting when we think something unexpected might occur. Whether that’s the flower girl trying on the bride’s shoes when she thinks nobody is watching her or the groomsmen getting Grandma up on the dancefloor for a dance.
But even though we try our best to be photographic superheroes, there are some moments where things happen simultaneously and we simply cannot capture both. For example:
Unless you are in different rooms in the same hotel, or at locations really close to each other, it’s difficult to get both the bride and the groom getting ready, unless one party agrees to get ready an extra hour early. Having a second shooter means that both the bride and the groom receive equal attention, and they can get ready in their own time. It also means that you’ll both be able to get ready at your own pace and not have to think about when you’ll have the photographer with you. If I’m working as a single photographer and trying to capture both bride and groom prep, I may need to ask the groom to get ready earlier so that I then have enough time to get back to the bride before she gets her dress on.
That moment when the bride enters and the groom sees her for the first time, that’s one of the most magical moments on a wedding day. A single photographer is often faced with the dilemma of whether to shoot the entrance of the bride (and get that beautiful full-length shot of you walking down the aisle) or instead to turn and get the groom’s reaction. Of course, we try our hardest to get both shots, but especially in smaller spaces, it’s not always possible. Having a second photographer means that both angles are covered. Other moments during the ceremony where things may be happening simultaneously, such as when you say your vows, and the reactions of your family can also be captured in more detail with two photographers.
And if your church or registry office happens to have strict rules on photography, sometimes we can even be sneaky and have our second photographer sitting with your guests on the aisle and pretending to be simply a guest with a nice camera!
As a single photographer my main priority will always be you and what is happening around you, and whilst I will try to get as many pictures of your guests as possible, timings don’t always allow it. As a double-act, it’s much easier for one of us to mingle in with the crowd and get great candid shots of your guests.
The other benefit of a second shooter here is that we can split up and capture your reception details before your guests arrive, getting images of your table setting, the cake and all of the other details you’ve spent time choosing.
Having a second shooter present during the portraits allows us to get even more gorgeous images for your final gallery. If I am working with a second shooter, I will usually take wider shots while my second shooter will use a longer lens to capture some tighter angles, giving us many more images to choose from without having to keep you away from your guests for too long.
Would you like more advice on how to make the most of your wedding photography?
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