We’re excited to have Ashley Biess from Artistrie Co. back on the blog today sharing her expertise on second photographers. This is a question we receive quite frequently, so we’re thrilled to have her sharing with you.
If you are currently shopping around for your wedding photographer, you are probably noticing that many packages include a seemingly mysterious “Second Photographer”. Often times, newly engaged couples are new to the term and don’t necessarily know the role this photographer plays. Let’s dive in and talk about what being a Second Photographer means.
* During wedding party portraits, I prefer to have my second photographer close to capture alternative angles of each pose. In this example, my angle is of the couple smiling at me with the beautiful nature in the background. My second shooter adjusted her angle by about 45 degrees, and was able to frame the couple with the architectural element in the background. Both are beautiful in their very own way.
Assistant versus Second Photographer
First, let’s clear up some verbiage. Often times, people use the terms “Assistant” and “Second Photographer” interchangeably. As a professional photographer, when I hear those terms, I think of two different roles. First, an Assistant is usually someone who accompanies your photographer throughout the day, carries their gear, checks items off their shot lists, and grabs them anything they may need in a pinch. Occasionally, Assistants can also take pictures throughout the day, but it is usually minimal. If this is the case with your package, count on your main, hired photographer to be taking the majority (if not all) of your photos.
A Second Photographer is a full additional photographer who will be documenting all the action alongside of your main photographer. Often times, the two photographers may divide and conquer, especially when the main photographer can’t be in two places at once. For example, the main photographer might be with the bride and bridesmaids as they get ready, while the Second Photographer is taking pictures of the groomsmen. My favorite part about having the Second Photographer included is the ability to capture two completely different and creative angles of the exact same moment, down to the same very second. See a few of my favorite examples of this below.
*While I was taking a photo of the entire wedding party as they cheered for the newlyweds, my second photographer was getting a beautiful close-up angle of the bride and groom at the exact same moment.
Do I Need a Second Photographer?
For starters, I think it’s most important to look at the body of work of the photographer or studio you are hiring. If he/she works alone and the breadth of coverage is sufficient, you may be just fine with that individual. If your photographer regularly works with a Second Photographer, remember that the photos showcased in their complete wedding collections were taken by a team, not an individual. Some of those Second Photographer angles may be part of the reason you are attracted to that photography studio in the first place. If this is the case, you’ll definitely want 2 photographers present at your wedding day.
*While I waited outside the church to photograph Trisha and Greg’s ceremonious exit, my second photographer stayed near the doorway to take the exact opposite angle. I love how the moment was captured in two completely different perspectives.
Working solo or in a team is your photographer’s personal preference. Some of my wedding photographer friends prefer to work solo, and they do a great job on their own. Others love having a Second Photographer with them throughout the day. I personally feel that the extra coverage and angles provided by my Second Photographers gives my clients a much more complete sense for the story and emotions of the day. If photography is important to you and you love candid coverage, you can certainly benefit from having two photographers present.
That being said, whether you absolutely need the extra shooter or not can depend on a few things. What is the size of your wedding? Are you hosting a small wedding (50 people or less) or an elopement? Or will there be 200 or 300 guests at your reception? Will there be a time when your photographer can’t be in two places at once? Do you want photos of each of you getting ready?
Not all wedding photographers are the same, so during the hiring process, be sure to ask your photographer more about how they work on the wedding day and how that additional photographer is used. Your photographer will be happy to share more information on their studio’s personal approach to capturing your day.
All Images courtesy of Artistrie Co.