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My answer to this question might surprise you.
No, I don’t think having a second photographer is absolutely necessary. I also don’t think having a first photographer is absolutely necessary or having a wedding in the way that we do them now is absolutely necessary. These are luxuries, is the truth.
Whoever started the myth that whether or not you should get a second photographer depends on the number of your guests. They weren’t a photographer. It makes no sense.
70% of the time on this, my answer is going to be no. You don’t need a second photographer.
How I would answer this question depends on what your wedding timeline looks like.
If you have a wedding timeline that is a bit more spread out, you have some wiggle room. You are able to budget in more hours of coverage with your photographer. Then one person, I think, is perfectly capable of covering everything that needs to be done.
However, if you have a timeline that’s pretty tightly packed and there’s not much space, you’re probably going to want that second photographer. It allows for two things to be happening at the exact same time and both being covered. So if your bride is getting ready, one photographer is with you capturing those bridal portraits and all of those special moments for that second photographer is with your groom at the same time while he is getting ready, doing groom portraits versus that one person having to go back and forth, which obviously takes up more time.
The other reason you would want a second photographer is if you really want those second angles, most specifically for the ceremony. With my company, we would normally have someone placed in the front of the aisle for a ceremony capturing the bride issues coming down, and then someone at the back of the aisle capturing the groom’s reaction as the bride comes down.
So if you have a shorter timeline or you like the versatility of having two angles, then yes, you will want the second photographer. If those things aren’t important to you, then the second photographer won’t be either.
Megan is a mental health therapist turned photographer and has been in the wedding industry since 2017! Megan has been published in multiple magazines, is featured on The Knot Best of Weddings and has had work displayed in an Art Show in the San Francisco Bay Area. Megan is a lifelong learner and is constantly investing time in growing her craft.
Okay, now that we have that braggy stuff out of the way, Im Megan, your big time dreamer, serial entrepreneur, wears her heart on her sleeve, emotive photographer. I blame my love of candid, emotional images on my background in social work. Feelings are just kind of my thing! Its my job to capture stunning images on your wedding day, but I’ll also be your hype woman, your time keeper and your security guard when its all a bit much!
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Hear me out unless your top priority is getting a photo of all of your guests. The number of your guests should not determine whether or not you need or want a second photographer. That’s what a photo booth is for. You want a picture of all your guests? Get a photo booth. Whether or not you need a second photographer is determined by other pieces of the puzzle.
If you love the idea of a first look seeing each other before the ceremony, most of my couples want to be able to see that moment from both perspectives. You want to be able to see the bride’s reaction and the groom’s reaction. You should get to photographers if your ceremony location has a lot of rules about where photographers are allowed to stand or when during the ceremony, they’re allowed to move. You should get two photographers.
Those are just a few examples that have nothing to do with your guest count, but everything to do with how you actually want to be able to remember your wedding day.
When I decided that I wanted to become a wedding photographer, I knew that my couples had to have an experience that would leave them feeling valued, loved, and served from our first meeting to well beyond their wedding day. I passionately believe that your wedding photos should look and feel like your memories of the day. I’m committed to providing my couples an experience that I wish I could go back and have.
– Featured in WeddingDay Magazine, Modern Weddings, How They Asked by The Knot, Tacari Weddings, and Brides & Weddings
– Best of Zola 2023
– Best Wedding Photographer in Ann Arbor 2022
– Top 10 Wedding Photographers in Ann Arbor by WeddingRule, Peerspace & Giggster
– Professional Photographers of America, Fearless Photographers, and Rising Tide Society Member
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Realistically, every wedding I have shot, with the exception of maybe one or two, I could have shot by myself. I think a second photographer is one of those things you’re told that you need, but you don’t actually need it.
Now, there are situations where you do need a second photographer. If you’re wanting to get certain photos. If you’re getting ready at two separate locations and you want photos of each partner getting ready at each location, yeah, a second photographer can be helpful. Or if you have an absolutely massive wedding, I’m talking 240 plus. Then again, a second photographer can be helpful just because it can be hard for one person to get across the space. I’ve had weddings where couples have purchased a second photographer and it’s honestly been a bit more of a pain in the ass for me. When it’s a super small venue, we kept running into each other. We all got the same photos on repeat.
Hi, I’m Charles, but my friends call me CJ or Chuck and I am not your typical wedding photographer. I am a true storyteller. I love the beauty of simple moments and the joy of the every day. I am a husband, musician, fly-fisherman, aspiring chef, and weight lifter. I am a Montana wedding Photographer. I’ve won some awards, (Bozemans choice, best of weddings, couples choice, wpja diamond award to name a few). I have the best job in the world and would be honored to be part of your wedding day.
CHECK OUT MORE FROM CHARLES MOLL
I have photographed over 100 weddings completely solo in addition to several others with second photographers. There’s two things I’ve seen with second photographers.
When I was really new and some other new people that I’ve met along the way. Sometimes they’ll have a second photographer just because they need one. They need one to just deliver the basics. But for those of us who have been doing it for a long time, I will tell anybody that I can absolutely shoot a wedding by myself.
The reason that you might want two photographers is not just because of all the reasons you’ve probably heard. You get more pictures, you get more angles, you get things happening at the same time. You can be a little fast and loose with the schedule, blah, blah. It’s because it frees the original photographer up to be creative, if it’s a strong second.
What’s happening is if you just have one photographer, they’re always going to take the same shot. It’s always going to kind of look the same, the back to the aisle for the kids. It’s going to be just everything predictable that you’d expect because even if you’re not aware of it, you have a lot of expectations about what you’re going to see in your final wedding photography set.
A second photographer with an experienced team of two people who are both awesome. You’re going to get weird stuff. You’re going to get the weird kind of overhead shot of the ceremony. You’re going to get more details stuff because things are never quite set up in the right amount of time. You’re going to have more pictures of guests interacting with each other like a cocktail hour or when the main photographer is busy.
So definitely worth it if you love photos.
Libby has photographed over 200 weddings in 26 states since she shot her first wedding in 2009. Her work has been published many places, most notably the New York Times, and she is a photography and wedding industry educator, focusing on clear, authentic communication between vendors and clients. She is a self-taught photographer who went to college for Sociology, music, and political theory, and also spent over a decade working in hospitality as a bartender and restaurant manager–all things that come in handy with weddings. She is based in Houston, Denver, and Tulsa, and lives with her partner, Caleb, and her teenaged daughter, Alessi. The worst thing about being a wedding photographer is having to watch people get excited about “The Cupid Shuffle.”
CHECK OUT MORE FROM LIBBY DOLLAR
Do you feel like the industry charges more “because it’s a wedding” and they know it’s an emotional purchase?
Do companies think that they can charge more for weddings since the bride and groom may be willing to spend more on their dream wedding?
Hey wedding pros – is this higher price tag justified? Why? Do you charge more for your service if it is a wedding?
This is a taboo topic, whispered but not discussed… until now.
Welcome to The Uncorked Project!