Two Wedding Photographers or One – Do I really need Two Wedding Photographers?
For most of my wedding photography career I’ve always shot weddings with Carol at my side. From day one it just seemed common sense to me to have two wedding photographers at one’s wedding. I love working with Carol, my partner, as she’s just so incredibly talented. She sees things totally differently from the way I see them. She’s the type of person that can take any camera, whether it’s a high end Canon or her iPhone and create stunning images. She doesn’t think about the process – a problem far too many professionals have – she merely “sees” the image and captures it. That’s a rare trait. I know from my own way of shooting that I work a lot from instinct, not simply from my 20+ years of experience. It’s something more innate. It’s a built in ability to see how a camera sees – and that isn’t how humans see at all. This is the primary reason why most people’s pictures just look so “ordinary”. It’s because they are not seeing in the same way the camera sees things. Understanding that is key to making great photography.
So, since I started out my path as a full time wedding photographer, I’ve always sold our package as two wedding photographers. However, more and more I’m beginning to shoot weddings solo. The reason being is that couples can’t always see the value of a second wedding photographer and booking me solo is obviously a much cheaper option. You still get an awesome photographer to capture your day.
Is one wedding photographer enough? It’s a funny thing to argue or discuss. Many old timer wedding photographers. especially documentary wedding photographers are adamant that you should only ever work solo. I remember last year having a heated online debate with one of the UK’s leading wedding photographers about this matter (remember that Jeff?). He had a right go at me about it stating that using a second wedding photographer was a “crutch” and that I clearly wasn’t good enough to shoot solo! How nice of him. Funny how at the end of last year he wrote a blog post on his own website promoting his own partner as his second photographer and raving about the the advantage of having two wedding photographers. That did make me chuckle, to say the least.
The image below was shot moments apart from the image at the top of this page.
So – why would you chose two wedding photographers over one? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
Main Disadvantage of Two = Cost
Most second photographers don’t want to work for free. Those that do are probably amateurs starting out and I’d never trust someone’s wedding to an amateur. I’d only ever use a second wedding photographer I truly trusted to shoot work as good (or nearly as good) as my own. So, expect to pay extra if you want to book two wedding photographers. That’s simple economics, I’m afraid.
Main Advantage of Two = The ability to be in two places at once
The image at the top of this post is one of Carol’s. A beautiful shot of Emma from our last wedding. She’s standing with her dad, just about to walk into the ceremony. I love that nervous look on her face. As a solo wedding photographer how would I ever have seen that shot? I’m not there, I can’t be there, I’m in the ceremony room, with the groom. I can’t be outside as I would miss her walking up the aisle if I was. Also, while inside the ceremony room, I’m shooting other important things – the Groom! While Emma is outside looking nervous, her lovely groom Steve is looking just as nervous inside the ceremony room. You never quite know when a groom is going to stop laughing and joking with his best man and suddenly realise what’s about to happen. When that moment strikes, it’s beautiful to watch and one of my favourite things to capture. As I am totally confident that my second wedding photographer is outside capturing anything the bride is doing, I can simply stay inside and watch the groom. I have a whole range of expressions of nerves from this wedding. If I wasn’t there – watching this – I’d have missed it all. I cannot be in two places at once – no single wedding photographer can however good they might be. Does that matter? No, I don’t think it does. If the couple never saw these particular images, they’d never know they happened – so wouldn’t miss them from their wedding album. But once you see them, would your really want to miss them? How much are those shots of Emma worth to the couple? Only the couple can tell you that. But they can only be captured on the wedding day – not afterwards. So before dismissing the idea of a second wedding photographer, do consider carefully what you might miss. You may save a few pounds now, but in years to come, having those extra special moments could feel so worthwhile.
I only ever come to the same conclusion. If you can only afford one wedding photographer, book a good one. I shoot amazing weddings shooting solo. However, if you have the budget to afford a second photographer, then it should be a no brainer. This is only one small aspect of why having two wedding photographers is a huge benefit on your wedding day. There are plenty of other reasons too. Why not get in touch we’d love to hear from you.
Four Images – Moments Apart
The first images is just before the ring bearer and bridesmaids enter the room. The two colour images were shot one second apart. There’s simply no way one photographer would have been able to capture these two images. The last image is just before the last bridesmaid, Emma’s sister, enters the room.
Should I book two wedding photographers for the same price as one wedding photographer, as I would get better results? No, please don’t do that. Always book the best wedding photographer you can afford. Your wedding day is one day in your life, it cannot be repeated. Start off with a great wedding photographer. Then and only then, if you can afford it, add a second. Two cheap rubbish wedding photographers will still produce rubbish pictures. One great wedding photographer even shooting solo can produce much better work and is worth the investment
Some examples of weddings shot by Paul shooting Solo
Some examples of Carol shooting alongside me – see if you can spot the images that were taken by Carol
Funnily, one of the top wedding photographers in the world at the moment is the two wedding photographers team Two Mann Studios in Canada. Stunning work and great inspiration.
Hampshire Wedding Photographer Paul Tansley and his partner Carol are available to shoot weddings all over Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and surrounding counties. The main images in this post were all shot in the Hampshire Suite at Old Thorns Manor Hotel in Hampshire.