So you’ve just finalized your venue and date and now have the daunting task of picking out a DJ, caterer, event planner, oh, and yes, of course a photographer. Hey!!
Generally, the main question to be answered is how many photographers do I need? 1 or 2 or.....7. Haha, I’m kidding about seven, though it’s not unusual for us to take 3 or 4 for a large South Asian wedding.
Most typical couples must decide between one and two photographers, and I almost always (86% of the time) push them towards two. There’s a few key reasons for this.
On your big day, what usually happens is the groom and bride are getting ready simultaneously at two different locations. So, if you want pictures of the dress hanging in the window, the bride getting ready, AND all the groomsmen shenanigans (cigars, shots, slip n slides— yes it’s happened) then you need two photographers.
Another reason to have two photographers is for optimal ceremony coverage. When vows are being exchanged, you want coverage of both the bride and groom. When he sees you walking down the aisle for the first time, we need to see his face. When mom gives her speech, we want the guests' reactions captured. So many things are happening simultaneously during the wedding ceremony that need to be documented.
Also, during cocktail hour, usually the primary shooter is taking family portraits, but a second photographer is able to catch all the excitement happening during cocktail hour.
Furthermore, a second shooter allows you to get different perspectives of important wedding events. For example if you want a shot of you walking down the aisle, but an elevated shot from the balcony as well, a second shooter is needed. Also, if you are the type of bride that wants multiple angles of the first kiss, or dual coverage of both your faces for reactions during your vows, the second shooter is worth it.
In summary, many couples elect to have a second shooter, but it all depends on your needs and budget. If bride and groom reactions, different perspectives and dual coverage of the getting ready portion of the day is important to you, I say definitely get it. If that’s not as big a deal, we can work on ways to organize your wedding timeline to maximize the ability of a single photographer to capture most of the day. As I tell my clients, there will be some things missed, but a single photographer will be able to capture a large portion of the day’s festivities.
I went back to my 2016-17 brides and collected data on a large majority of them as it has been said, “experience is the best teacher.” Here’s a breakdown of my weddings last year by the number of photographers.
Out of those couples that chose not to have a second shooter, here were their reasons why:
Finally, I asked, in retrospect, do you think a second shooter would have been helpful:
In conclusion, most wedding couples have told me that not spending more on their photography was one of their biggest regrets. Countless times, we’ve had to “stage cake cuttings” or “fake a toast” just to cram everything into a couple’s allotted time. It may seem a large investment, but remember, the photos/video are the only things left 10 years later, and your wedding album will be handed down for generations.