Are Two photographers are better than One?
Things might not be that simple, let’s look at the advantages and the key disadvantages, starting with some definitions
- A second photographer is exactly that, someone that is just as skilled as the first photographer. They will normally take the lead from the first photographer as they will have the experience, relationship and vision for the photographs, but they are more than capable of any shot asked of them if the first photographer can communicate well enough. They will also shoot from their own perspective and be as visible as the first photographer. They normally don’t edit their own photos, that’s usually left to the first photographer
- The Photographers Assistant is someone who is probably learning the job, they might be new to weddings but an established photographer or have gone straight into weddings. Technically there will be no shooting done by an assistant, they will simply follow the photographers lead, very rarely though will they not take at least a few shots, but these won’t be any of the important ones, they’re more likely to be in a documentary style
- A lighting assistant is a lot more obvious, they assist the photographer with their off camera flashes/led or any other form of non-natural light. This job when done correctly is a pretty hard one, after all lighting is one of the key parts of making a photo great.
- Sometimes you’ll find a ‘second’ that is well versed in all of the above. It is extremely rare that they can fulfil all the requirements, but they do exist!
I tell my clients, you don’t need a second photographer unless;
- You want both groomsmen prep and bridal prep shooting
- You’re getting married at a huge church (and I mean monumental)
- The timing on your day is very strict and doesn’t allow much time for photos
- You have a very large amount of guests, over 200
- You want lots of couple shots and have arrange a large portion of time for these (the second photographer can then stay with the guests)
- If I feel that I wouldn’t be able to achieve the shots you’re looking for without a lighting assistant, given the location and requirements
I’m always a bit dubious when I see married couples shooting together, don’t get me wrong I’ve seen it done incredibly but I’ve always wondered what the chances are that they’re both amazing photographers. Who’s work are you seeing in their portfolio, is it just one of theirs, is the other one there to make up the numbers or to just carry the bag?
Some photographers always have an assistant, it’s a personal preference. Sure there have been a few occasions where I really couldn’t be arsed to carry my bag round any more, but it’s still not a cost I will unnecessarily pass on to my clients.