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For Brides & Grooms, Photography

September 16, 2013

The Benefits to Having a Second Shooter

It feels like I’ve done a post on this before, but I can’t seem to find it!  And I guess it never really hurts to talk about things more than once, right?  I learned several years ago that it takes people seeing/hearing things 7 times before it actually sinks in.  So, it seems that over communicating really isn’t a bad thing!

This weekend, we began our fall wedding season.  Our last wedding was at the end of June and while I second shot a bit during July, we had the entire month of August off from our own weddings.  Which not only meant that I was super excited about Paige and Clay’s wedding on Saturday, but the butterflies had a chance to come back!  Thankfully, I have a husband that helps keep me calm and reassures me that things will be just fine!  And as usual… he was right.

So other than him keeping me calm, I wanted to share some pointers about the benefits of having a second photographer at weddings.  When I started out, I was second shooting and then began shooting my own weddings… on my own!  I remember someone asking me how in the world I did weddings alone, but other than weddings where I was the second shooter, I hadn’t shot with anyone before.  So I basically didn’t know any different!  But now that I’m coming to the end of my 4th year of shooting weddings, I’ve seen (from many different sides) how amazing it is to have someone there with me.  And to answer my friend’s question, several years down the road, I have no idea how I was shooting weddings on my own!!

For the photographer…

  • You can actually be in two places at once!  Ok, not exactly.  But having another photographer getting different angles during the wedding day is really close to actually duplicating yourself!
  • There are more images to deliver to your client.  With a second camera going all day, I believe the average is about 30% more images than if I shot the wedding myself.  And with 2 sets of eyes, we’re going to see more than if there was just one of us!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to go through photos and been so thankful that Ben (or one of the others that’s shot with me before!) saw something and captured it because I’d had no clue it was even happening!
  • You have an extra set of hands.  Photographers come with a lot of gear.  It’s just the way it is.  So having an extra set of hands is SO helpful!  Plus, not long after the dancing at the reception starts, we go down to one camera and an off camera flash (OCF).  So while I’m shooting, Ben is at a 90 degree angle from me to light up the people and dance floor.
  • Having another shooter with you gives you a counterpart for the day.  Yes, you’re at a wedding and you’re around people all day long so you aren’t alone, but a second shooter gives you someone that’s on your side, who’s got your back, and will totally understand and be able to sympathize (and laugh with/at you) when things happen (i.e. your Pocket Wizards aren’t working and you realize it’s because you had one of them plugged in wrong).

For the bride…

  • You have 2 people covering your wedding day.  This goes hand in hand with a couple of the reasons above.  As the bride, you’ve worked so hard to get to this day and as much as you try to slow it down, it’s going to FLY by.  So having two photographers there to capture all of it gives you that many more memories captured in photos.
  • A second photographer is like getting insurance for your wedding photos.  I’ve heard another photographer say this before and it’s so true!  If something happens to one photographer’s equipment, the other photographer is there to back me up.  This does NOT happen very often at all, but there have been a couple of times when my flash hasn’t fired or my camera decided to freeze up, etc. and a moment would have been lost had there not been two of us there.  (Don’t get me wrong, we take care of our equipment and know how to use it, but like everything else, this world isn’t perfect so things DO go wrong from time to time!)
  • Twice the fun! Ok, I know that’s cheesy, but when I have someone else there shooting with me, I’m a little more confident and it gives me someone to banter with… which ends up turning into more smiles from the bride and groom.  Whether we’re actually hilarious or not is left up to the bride and groom to decide :-)

Below is a prime example from Saturday of us being in two places at once.  As we were wrapping up sunset portraits, one of the groomsmen came up and whispered that they were about to decorate the car.  Our available light was fading fast, so Ben went with the guys and I got a few more photos of Paige and Clay.  It was perfect!


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