We would love to be good businesspeople and increase profits by saying ‘yes, everyone needs a second photographer!’, but that isn’t why we do what we do. Our goal is to be honest with what we recommend to our clients, to save them money where possible, and to provide great service based on years of experience. The truth of the matter is that for most people and most weddings, an extra photographer just isn’t worth the extra expense.
Let’s start with common reasons why most people (think they) need one:
‘I want multiple angles’. A good wedding photographer can easily handle this on their own. By default, we get photos of the bride walking down the aisle as well as the groom’s reaction. Additionally, we get just about every angle possible during the ceremony, including from the sides, middle, behind, etc. We even focus in on one person while the other is reading their vows, and vice versa! We do all this while not being a distraction.
‘I want someone focused on me the whole day and someone on my fiancé’. There will be plenty of shots of just you and just your partner during the getting ready portions, don’t worry! However, it is a wedding. Do you really want your photos to be mainly just you and not you and your new spouse together? Hint: if you want a lot of photos of just you, then just add in time for a Bridal shoot in the morning, or something similar to this!
‘I’m getting ready in a hotel room and they are getting ready at our house’ We deal with this all the time. In fact, almost every wedding! Just account for a little driving time for me as I move from taking your getting ready photos to your partner’s photos, or vice versa. If you’re both at the same hotel, it is even easier and a non-issue.
“Consider how much cheaper it is to simply add an hour or two to your primary photographer’s time as opposed to hiring a whole other human being to come to your wedding (they will also have their own travel fees/hotel room and who will also need a plate at dinner), just to provide coverage that an experienced primary photographer can already provide!”
Now, there really are some situations where it is necessary (or quite helpful):
Your wedding has over 300 guests. In this case, yes it helps as one photographer might spend a good chunk of their time going table to table at the reception getting photos of most of the guests (please note that it is impossible to get a photo of everyone!).
Your wedding photography coverage requirements may run over 10 hours. It is one thing to be enjoying the day, sipping champagne and celebrating. It is quite another to carry around cameras, lenses, and lighting all day! Us photographers work HARD at weddings, so if you’ll need over 10 hours of coverage, we may require a second photographer be added (your primary might cover the morning and early afternoon, and the second covers the late afternoon/evening).
On a side note: over 10 hours is a lot of time in front of the camera. Are you sure you’re up for that? We just don’t want the whole day to feel like a photoshoot!
Bottom Line: As with most things in life, there is no concrete yes or no answer to the question of needing a second photographer or not. What we can say is this: Most people (probably) don’t need one, and finally, don’t just add a second photographer just because some article or wedding blog (yes, even this one) said to!