Should I Hire Two Photographers for my Wedding Day?

I heard that if a couple can survive wedding planning and a house remodel they can survive anything! Planning even a small and casual wedding can be overwhelming, couples are faced with lots of decisions, how many guest, which venue, which photographer, flowers, catering, cake or cupcakes, or maybe donuts?

A lot of times they reach out to their married friends or a wedding planner for advice which is great, but let’s not forget that every wedding is different.
A lot of times when couples inquire about the wedding packages they already know how many photographers they will need, sometimes it’s based on their budget or on higher/smaller guest count, but there is much more logistics to the wedding photography than that.
My first few years of photographing weddings I was usually the only photographer. Some weddings were harder than others, but eventually it taught me how to photograph efficiently and quickly but sometimes it is impossible to be in two places at the same time.
I’m not gonna list pros and cons of having two photographers because the only cons is a little higher cost. What I’m gonna do is list you reasons why you might want to hire two photographers and scenarios when having one is just enough.

Should I hire two photographers for my wedding?

Getting ready
Brides’ getting ready photos take much longer than the grooms’.  Even if we are photographing just the last stages of putting on make up and getting hair done, there are still all the pretty little things that brides like to have photographed (like dress, shoes, jewelry, etc), candid moments while getting ready, toasting, or photos in bathrobes…… What about the groom? He is not having any less fun time than girls. Fixing every piece of their hair in front of the mirror for 20 min, Ironing shirts… by the way this might be the only proof of them ever doing it! Trying to figure out with his closest 5 friends how to tie a bowtie using youtube and failing tremendously. If you are not into all the silly stuff you would definitely enjoy the JCrew style photos while putting on the suit and cufflinks.
With two photographers:
– Bride and Groom can get ready at two different locations, I have had the bride and grooms get ready in two different cities which definitely required a second photographer.
– Groomsmen can get ready at the same time as Bridesmaids instead of guys waiting their turn to get ready so they can be photographed
– Time reserved for getting ready photos is closer to hour and a half instead of two and half so the one photographer get cover both locations.
Extra set of eyes during the ceremony
While all eyes are set on you, having two photographers allows capturing the emotions of your guests that you would never see, all those smiles, tears and holding hands. Primary photographer can do both, but their main focus will always be on the couple.
Uncle with a camera – With a rise of amateur photographers almost every wedding has one person who is acting like they are going to build their wedding portfolio on your big day by photographing everything and everyone. Sometimes they are so focused on their photos that they will walk in/jump in into professional photographers frame and ruin the photo that a couple is paying a lot of money for. With two photographers chances of that happening to both photographers are super slim.
Decorations and Cocktail Hour – Couples put a lot of work into making their wedding look as beautiful as possible, and they would like to have photos of all the things they spend their money on. Since most of the time reception decor is finalized during cocktail hour while primary photographer is busy photographing family, wedding party, bride and groom sunset photos he/she doesn’t have much time to photograph the decor before all your guests are invited inside. If you have two photographers, one of them can photograph the decor plus your guests enjoying the cocktail hour. Let me add that candid moments from cocktail hour are some of my favorites. People catching up with their favorite people some of which they have not seen in a long time.
 
Second Perspective
I’m sure that the main reason why you hired your wedding photographer was their photography style. Most likely their second photographers will have a style similar to theirs, but bringing a second photographer to your wedding offers a different perspective on capturing events, second photographers don’t carry all the pleasure of delivering photos from “the list” so they tend to have a little more creative freedom.
Back up
I always work with two cameras, mainly because it allows me to capture the same moment in two different ways in a short period of time (without need to change the lens), but there is also a back up factor to it. Most of my second photographers also cary two cameras at the same time, which means additional backups of those precious moments.

When ONE Photographer is just enough?

           To those of you that are planning wedding under 50 people at one location, and a very small wedding party. No problem!  And to those that have a slightly bigger party check out the tips on how to arrange the timeline to allow one photographer cover as much as possible.
– Getting ready –
Schedule groom to get ready first, he can always take off his jacket and relax in a room when the photos are completed. Brides on the other hand prefer not to sit in their wedding dresses too long before the ceremony because they don’t want to create the wrinkles, plus hair and make up will be much fresher if she gets ready last.
– Ceremony –
Make sure that your ceremony is longer then 10 min. It will allow photographer get a bigger variety of photos of your guests and you during the ceremony, 20 to 30 min is ideal.
Make sure that there is a clear path on the outside of the seats where the photographer can walk and not to be a distraction to your guests while trying to cover events from both perspectives (bride and groom), also be prepared that photographer might stay in the middle isle for a lot of photos to not miss anything.
 – Uncle with a camera –
Have an unplugged wedding ceremony.
Make a sign by the entrance to the ceremony area or have your officiant make an announcement not to use electronic devices during ceremony. It might not eliminate it completely, but it will for sure minimize the risk of someone jumping in front of professional photographer’s camera.
– Decorations and Cocktail Hour –
Have a “First Look” as it will allow the photographer to do majority of the Bride & Groom and wedding party portraits before the ceremony. That way there will be enough time to do family photos and with enough time remaining to capture decor at the reception hall and few candid photos from the cocktail hour.
If you prefer to NOT to see each other before the ceremony you should talk to the wedding venue coordinator about completing the reception hall decor before the ceremony starts so it can be photographed then.
The key to getting photos you are hoping for is communicating your expectations and be able to roll with whatever your wedding day throws at you.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are getting married to your best friend…

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