You may have noticed that my wedding packages come with two photographers. A second shooter is always included, because I don't feel that I can perform to the best of my ability without one. And I feel that the collection of images I present to my brides and grooms is more complete with the addition of a second shooter's images.
I consider my second shooter to be an extension of myself. And so I'm very particular about who I work with. Only the best for my brides.
So here's why I will always have a second shooter.
I can't be everywhere at once.
Not every wedding timeline has enough space for one photographer to take all of the getting ready pictures and the portraits. Especially if the bride and groom choose not to see each other before the wedding. Then it's really important for me to be with the bride and bridesmaids and have my second shooter get portraits of the groom and groomsmen. And even if we originally had enough time in the schedule, weddings tend to run late, so two hours quickly becomes 30 minutes.
I also can't always move around as much as I would like during the ceremony. Many churches are very particular about where photographers can stand and how much they can move. But sometimes we're in tight spaces. Like at Jordan and Paige's wedding. The ceremony had to be moved inside because of rain and that meant that a small room (about the size of the average dance floor) was now the ceremony location. Needless to say, I didn't have much space to move around in, so it was imperative that my second shooter capture parts of the ceremony, like the radiance and joy on Paige's face during the vows.
I only have two hands.
Certain times of the day, there is just too much for my two hands to juggle. Especially family formal time. So it's invaluable to me to have someone else there to help gather people and cross shots off the list. I would hate to miss a shot with the bride and her brother just because I don't have someone checking the list.
The unexpected happens.
I've had someone walk in front of me at important moments, like the cake cutting. Once I was backed up against a table with people on both sides of me. I ended up shooting the entire cake cutting leaning over a guest's shoulder. Thankfully she was very sweet and understanding about it and I didn't miss a shot, but I knew that even if I did, we would also have images from a different angle.
The first look is always a good time to have two shooters, but at Epy & Larry's wedding, I would have been lost if I hadn't had a second shooter. Instead of tapping Larry on the shoulder to have him turn around, Epy peeked around his arm and moved in front of him. So my view was of the back of Larry's head and that was all I could see. And did I mention that they were on a bridge? So I couldn't really move much. Now I could have been more specific about how I wanted the first look to go, but I try not to micro-manage my clients, because I want the wedding day to unfold naturally, especially the first look. I'm there to record what happens, not to create something that doesn't feel true to them.
Without a second shooter, this is all I would have gotten of their first look.
But since I had someone with me, we were able to get these images. And honestly, this is the better angle. I love the color the crape myrtle adds to the images.
We'll get more images in less time.
Weddings days fly by. Even if we plan an hour for bride and groom portraits, that can easily be reduced to twenty minutes. And all of a sudden there's a lot more pressure to get the perfect shot for that 20x30 canvas I know they're going to want for their home. But when I have a second shooter, they're capturing a second angle and I'll have a nice assortment of images to show my clients, even if we were rushed. This also goes for other little parts of the wedding throughout the day. The cake cutting, bouquet toss, and garter toss are usually very quick, so I might only get 2 or 3 shots. Add that with my second shooter's couple of shots and we have a much better selection for the bride and groom to choose for their album.
We took about 60 seconds for the umbrella shots, so it was important for us both to shoot. My second shooter got the shot on the left while I was getting the shot on the right.
And if all of these reasons weren't enough, I need a second shooter just for my peace of mind. If my equipment stops working, I need new batteries, or I need to step out of the reception to use the bathroom, I know someone will still be shooting. If we left the bride's bouquet upstairs right before the ceremony, my second shooter can go get it. If it rains, second shooter can hold an umbrella over my head. Knowing I have someone for those little things that pop up on a wedding day means that I'm not stressing out about the possibilities and I can be at my creative best for my couple.