A lot of my couples ask for my opinion when it comes to adding a second photographer to their wedding package. My immediate response used to be "only if you want coverage of the both of you getting ready separately." The groom would usually say "no" and that would be that. But the more weddings I photograph, and the more my brand finds itself storytelling rather than solely documenting, the more I see the need for it.
It's not to say that I'm not comfortable photographing a wedding solo; that's not it at all- including a second photographer has little to do with the amount of guests or a time limit, but rather finding importance in the in-between, less-sought after moments that help to tell the whole story of your wedding day, not just bits and pieces.
Last week I got to second shoot for a good friend of mine at Lindsay Stephany Photography. Lindsay was my boss when I used to work as a student at the Office of International Education at SUNY Brockport but we both started exploring our passion for photography around the same time. Getting to grow in the industry along side Lindsay has been a constant source of encouragement and support. Every year we try to photograph at least one wedding together. You'll see in the images below that I was able to focus on setting the scene while Lindsay photographed the details of the dress, rings, and the girls getting ready.
Having an additional photographer allows for more time to experiment. You'll see in the images above that I shot through a layer of the bride's dress to get an increased blur to the left of the bride's face while she was getting her makeup done. I was able to provide the main photographer with something unique, that will later on give the full gallery some variety.
Photographers tend to be bride-focused during the preparations and sometimes, throughout the day. (This goes for same-sex couples, too! One of ya'll is always going to get a little more love, depending on your timeline.) Having a second shooter allows the groom to get more camera-time, and not only during the preparations but during the portraits, as well. A second shooter will get different angles and perspectives, often focusing on the groom. After all, marriage is the union of two people, not just one.
If you're having a short and sweet ceremony but you want different angles, I suggest a second shooter. This couple's ceremony was only about 5 minutes long so it was hard for the main shooter to get interesting angles without worrying about missing important moments. I was able to shoot from the sides of the arch to get the bridal party and guests' reactions as well as pan back to get a wider shot to include the gorgeous view.
During the bridal party portraits, the second shooter is able to capture individual or small group expressions which are often times lost among larger, pulled-back group shots. Seeing your best friend's laughter and happiness on your wedding day is almost as heart-warming as seeing the two of you for the first time as husband and wife.
Having a second shooter will also give you a variety of focal lengths; meaning you'll receive images that appear to be taken from both far-away and up-close along with different angles and compositions of the same pose or action.
Photographing the couple while they're focused on the main shooter can also create images that seem more "in-the-moment" rather than posed which also adds to the variety of the gallery.
Using a lens with a different focal length than the main shooter can create a completely unique image. In the images below, I was shooting with a 135mm lens and was actually standing quite far away from the couple; creating images with a blurry background and crisp foreground. The main shooter was photographing the couple with a wide lens, and standing quite close for more intimate, expressive shots.
My second shooter usually leaves after the introductions and first dance at the reception. The beginning of the reception can be a bit hectic and unpredictable with bridal party members' choreographed entrances and increased alcohol levels, so having two photographers on the dance floor is helpful so as to not miss anything.