Benefits of Having Two Photographers at Your Wedding

When it comes to deciding upon which Wedding Photographer NYC to book for your wedding, there are many factors that come into play; pricing, style, album choices, any recommendations, are just a few. However, one factor mostly overlooked is does the photographer offer a 2nd photographer?

Not every photographer offers a second photographer (sometimes called a 2nd shooter) in their package, or some may charge for this extra. But, what’s the fuss of having one? This article will help you realise what the benefits are.

But, before we begin, don’t get confused between a 2nd photographer and an assistant. The former takes photographs, and the latter assists the main photographer by carrying the equipment or helping holding extra lighting. Although, the former can also be the latter.

Firstly, have you ever taken a look at a wedding album and saw photographs of the happy couple at the altar, and on the next page a long shot looking down the aisle? No matter how great the main photographer is, their main fault is that they are just one person, and as a result, they can only be in one place at a time. So, by having a second photographer, this wouldn’t be a problem. The two photographers work as a team and ensure that neither of them are caught in camera as that would break the illusion.

Secondly, having a good second photographer, means you will get more shots for your money. This is because the main photographer will be shooting at one angle, and the 2nd shooter can take shots from a different angle, which creates a different view of the main shot. Also, the second photographer acts as an insurance policy for the main photographer. One of the nightmares that most wedding photographers face is the prospect of missing the important shot. This can be caused by either the Bride or Groom moving slightly to spoil the angle of the shot, or by any other factor. So, by having a 2nd photographer shooting at a different angle can take away that pressure.

The 2nd photographer can also be busy taking candid shots of guests, whilst the principal photographer can concentrate on shooting the main couple during the romantic portraits section of the day.

Another benefit of having a 2nd shooter is that in the unlikely event of the main photographer’s camera equipment failing, then they are in a position to continue shooting with the 2nd photographer’s equipment. Although, they should have back up equipment (and so should all good wedding photographers), it is more of a case of ensuring that the worse that could happen doesn’t happen.

So, when choosing your wedding photographer, find out if they do have a 2nd photographer available. Some photographers will charge extra for this. So, if you want extra value, consider one who includes a 2nd photographer with their packages.

Reading the title of this article you are probably wondering what attitude has to do with photography or your wedding; to my thinking an awful lot!

The Wedding Press, Wedding Blogs and Photographers web sites are full of advice on choosing your photographer. The Press and Wedding Blog writers will emphasize such as carefully looking at previous weddings they have shot, looking at the quality of Albums they sell, carefully considering the price, looking at ways of reducing the price, asking for a free engagement shoot, or asking for a disc only shoot and making your own Album etc etc. While Photographers web site will wax lyrically about their qualifications with a professional body, their insurance level, what their packages include, how many hours they will spend with you, how low their price is or justifying how high their price is!

Although all of the above are valid ways of searching for your Wedding Photographer it is wise to look at these tangibles before explaining why Attitude is vitally important in your choice.

  • Previous Wedding Images – For sure any Photographer is only going to show you his best work in print, firstly because it would be madness to show you average or bad work and secondly the cost of producing multiple sample albums is prohibitive.
  • Looking at Album Quality – Sample Album quality is directly relational to price up to a point. A photographer who values his work and puts time and effort into correctly processing your images will only use high quality Albums from established Album Printers. Why would someone who values their own work offer you a cheap coffee table book from a mass market producer.
  • Look at ways to reduce cost – If you need to reduce cost at your wedding you need to reduce it across the board. There is a price point for Photographers below which it does not make economic sense to work – although you will always find some who will if you do not value the photographic memories. Few Photographers can find weddings to shoot 5 days a week 48 weeks of the year, then there is the time needed on top of a Wedding for meetings with the Bride & Groom, processing the images (a minimum of 2 x the wedding booking), transport to and from the wedding, insurance and lets not forget equipment (which unlike your home camera will wear out & get damaged).
  • Free Engagement Shoot – Well done you get something for free, if a photographer is prepared to do it for free then he has worked it into his price already or he has made the decision that you have booked and paid the deposit so if you don’t get on with him and cancel after the engagement shoot he has your deposit.
  • Disc Only – There is a market for shoot to Disc but for the photographer it relies on high volume number of weddings a year on this single package. It is often favored by new start up photographers as a way of quickly building up a number of weddings. Lets be honest 40 weddings a year at $500 is not a bad supplement to a full time income but would never cover the costs of a full time business. If anybody did a study of those Brides opting for Disc Only Photography I am sure it would show that less than 20% ever have any of the pictures printed, they just end up on social media. Most photographers would be happy to give you your Album images perfectly prepared for Social Media anyway.

The 2 big things that Photographers will tell you about are:

  • Insurance – This should be a given and something every bride should ask about. Personal Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance are a must. Unfortunately, just like car drivers, there are those who will not have it either to save money or out of ignorance. Just like the uninsured driver, you will get little recompense from an uninsured photographer if something goes drastically wrong or their actions injure one of your guests.
  • Professional Membership – to my knowledge there are about 10 ‘Professional Photographic Organizations’ in the USA and 6 in the UK and no doubt similar numbers in other Countries. In the USA and the UK none of them are Mandatory. For most Membership is as easy as paying $2-300 per year. Any qualifications awarded by one particular organization are rarely recognized by another and are, in general rescinded when you stop paying your membership. In reality you can gain a qualification with one organization at age 20 and as long as you continue to pay your membership you will have hat qualification at 50 without anybody assessing your ability in between!

So while all of the above are integral parts of looking for your photographer what has attitude got to do with it all and why do I think it should be an important part of your decision making.

Everything you pay for your Wedding Day is consumed on that day, the venue, the celebrant, flowers, cars, suits, dress, food, band, disco or fireworks; the next morning they are used. You go away on honeymoon and the memories start to fade.

Your lasting memories will be contained in the images taken on your day; those images are the trigger for good feelings and memories not bad. How you got on with your photographer will be the biggest influence of those feelings. Every time you open your Album you cannot help but trigger memories of the photographer.

Yes when you see the Dress Pictures you will think of the dressmaker, the venue will trigger memories of the staff and food and pictures of the flowers thoughts of the florist.

You need to get on with your photographer from the moment you meet them for the first time – their attitude needs to match yours in the same way you would never choose or recommend a Wedding Planner you clashed with!

After your wedding planner, if you have one, the next person who has a plan and overview of the whole day is your photographer; in the absence of a wedding planner they should be your De-facto Planner, organizer and timekeeper but can they step up to the mark?

Three things to consider when looking for your Photographer are Passion, the Iceberg and can they ‘step up to the mark’.

  • Passion – In reality does not matter how many awards your photographer has or how cheap they are! You have to be able to work with your photographer and they with you. After all you want the Photographs from your wedding to be your lasting memories of the day not your struggle with the photographer. Plan early, by all means look at the awards or price but most of all find someone who shares your passion for Your Wedding. Someone who is happy to take your calls at anytime to discuss your plans, someone who will accept changes to the running order without concern, someone who can adapt their flow to cope with over runs, late arrivals etc.
  • Iceberg – Knowledge and Skills are very important when choosing your wedding photographer and they are apparent above the surface in their marketing or in questions you can ask. Don’t forget to ask about a photographer’s depth of experience – do they only do weddings? What else have they done? What life experiences do they have in their armory that may come in handy? What is not always visible and is easy to hide behind a polished sales pitch just like an iceberg is the attitude. Get to know your photographers – are they putting on a pretense or is what you see what you get. Consider not asking for free engagement shoots but offering to pay your short list of 2 or 3 for a shoot. It might seem expensive but you will work with the photographer as a paying customer who has not made their decision yet and get a true feeling for the photographer. You may be able to do a deal based on the fact you have not made a decision at that stage.

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