Do you work alone or with another photographer?
A second shooter is not always required.
For weddings with more than 200 people a second photographer will be needed, if you want to be sure to have all those little moments, and all the people in pictures. For wedding with fewer than 200 people, I mostly work alone. From the preparation of the bride to the festive part, I use to cover everything (see my complete wedding report example to be sure of that). Everything is a question of organization.
Why I am skeptical about the 2nd shooter offer
A standing and marketing thing
I see a lot of photography studios offering a 2 photographer prestation. Most of the time, the second photographer is a newbie in formation, or the wife/husband of the photographer. (My wife is a scientist and definitely not a photographer :p). Indeed, hiring a beginner is cheap. Sometime the second shooter is even not paid, because he is in the formation!
For small weddings, I think it is more a standing question than a real advantage, given that the lead photographer can shoot everything by himself.
So why so many companies offer a 2nd shooter? Because it’s marketing. It makes you believe that you will have twice more pictures, twice more “stollen moments”. But is not true. If the 2nd shooter is not good, only very few pictures will be kept at the end. And you will probably have a lot similar pictures.
Having a bad 2nd shooter could even be considered as taking a risk.
Try to imagine it’s your wedding day. During the reception you want some pictures with your friends/grandparents/guests. You ask the 2nd shooter to do that while the lead photographer is taking other pictures. But the 2nd shooter is not good (given it’s the wife of the photographer that usually does the retouch). The pictures are not beautiful… Worst they are not focus or blur due to bad settings!
What about the images quality?
Photography equipment doesn’t do the job, but it helps. Take the same picture with a good camera (sensor)+ a good lens, or a bad camera (cheap sensor)+cheap lens…. Do you think a beginner can afford to have a very good camera.
Let’s be clear, it think a second shooter could be a very good thing
Well, as you can read I think a 2nd bad shooter could be a disaster! But, on the other hand, I think if the 2nd photographer is as good as the lead photographer, then it’s very good. But it will probably have a cost. So the real question is : do you really need a second shooter for your wedding?
When to consider hiring a second photographer.
A good photographer is expensive.
But hiring a confirmed and a good second photographer is expensive. Indeed, try to consider yourself like a good photographer : would you want to cover a wedding for “peanuts” (when you can cover “your own” wedding), and not have all the fun of the couple session? So if you want a second photographer, it will cost you more. Otherwise it means it’s not good quality. And given that I want to offer my client only good quality service to the best price, I only offer the second photographer as an additional option.
We want quality for our clients, we offer only good photographers services.
You have a big wedding and you want a picture of everyone.
I think for weddings with more than 200 peoples (that usually the case when it’s not a wedding performed by Judge), it’s become difficult for one photographer to take pictures of everyone. Starting from 400 guests, it’s not possible.
So If you plan to have a big wedding with more than 200/300 guests, and you want a picture of each guest, then you should consider hiring a second photographer.
You have a special scheduled wedding.
Most of time, one photographer can cover all the wedding day by him-self. He can take the bride getting ready, and the groom getting ready. You just have to schedule smartly the day.
But, in some special weddings, with some special traditions, bride and groom preparation could be a very important moment, with a lot of people. And it could that last very long, or being in the same time.
So basically, for this kind of situation, a second shooter could be needed.
A second photographer is an option that should be considered only on very big weddings and particular situations.