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[the value of] A Second Photographer ⋆ Lindsay Docherty Photography
April 26, 2010

[the value of] A Second Photographer


You read in the wedding magazines and on blogs that you should ask your photographer if they offer a second shooter. But why? Aren’t you hiring a professional already? Do you really need two photographers?

The answer is ‘possibly’ and I’ll explain why as it relates to LDP.

Quite simply, two lenses are better than one. I’m very snap happy. I get really into weddings and my trigger gets quite the workout on wedding days. But there is only one of me and I can’t possibly be in two places at once.

Here are some prime examples…

1) The getting ready pictures. I’m usually with the girls. These are some of my favorite pictures of the day – the primping, the anticipation, the all girl gigglefests and all of those glorious details (the dress, the shoes, the jewelry, the invite, the flowers, the makeup, etc). Sometimes we’re at a hotel and the guys are just a few doors down so I can jump in for some quick shots of the guys but sometimes I can’t. It happens frequently that the girls and guys are getting ready at different locations altogether. A second photographer is key to capturing those guy moments – the primping, the excitement, the anticipation, the all guy gigglefests (don’t kid yourself, the guys giggle too, just a little differently) and all of those glorious details (the suits, the shoes, the rings, the necktie tying attempts, the last minute shaves, the boutonniere confusion, etc.).

There’s another really clutch moment when two very important things are happening at once – the bride’s entrance to the ceremony.

I tend to be with the bride and her father or escort right before she opens those doors and walks down the aisle. These moments can be priceless – the seconds-away excitement, the words of wisdom passed between father and daughter, adjusting the veil, perhaps a few joyful tears, and just that stance before those doors open. And then I get that awesome view from behind when everyone is standing and I can see the back of her dress and the whole scene.

So what’s the problem?

2) The other part of the equation – the groom! It’s generally unlikely that I’m able to capture his face when he sees this stunning woman he’s about to marry as she’s walking towards him. This is such an emotional scene even if they saw each other beforehand. This is his bride! He’s about to marry his love! This is huge!

3) And there’s also the bride’s face as she walks towards her man. The image of the bride arm and arm with her father as she walks up to this moment is awesome. A second shooter can situate him or herself among the guests to have a better view of the front of the bride and groom’s faces.

4) There are at least ten stories happening at any given time during the day. I am your shadow on your wedding day. For the most part you won’t know I’m there but I’m capturing the day that you saw so you can relive it again and again. But there’s a lot more wedding going on – there is also the day that your guests saw. Those “Oh my gosh, I had no idea that even happened! I’m so glad you captured it!” moments. The second shooter can see some of the rest of the party that you weren’t able to experience. (This is especially true for weddings with 75+ guests.) There is so much going on that you really do miss out on all of those interactions.

5) Photography is all about angles – this is an obvious one. You hired me because you don’t want a million straight-on “prom” pictures. There are times when I have to get those pictures. But the second shooter doesn’t. Formals are necessities but a second shooter can get the outtakes from the side that give more depth and are more genuine than the perfect smiles you’re giving me. (A second shooter is also awesome here because they can help expedite the formals and get your guest back to the party faster.) And I bet that spin in the choreographed dance you practiced looks great from the balcony and the dance floor. Until teleportation comes to fruition, I just can’t be in both places within seconds.

6) You paid big bucks for those details – the gold chargers, the 10-turned-50 hour DIY programs, custom cocktail napkins, that gem-encrusted garter that you had flown in from China, etc. I ask about these things beforehand but there are so many special touches that it’s almost impossible to remember them all. A second shooter can help ensure that there is coverage and shots of all of those little touches. Some of the most overlooked moments are of the ceremony and reception sites before they’ve been attacked by your guests. If I’m of with you two, my second shooter can sneak in and get pictures of the pristine setup.

7) Honestly, more pictures. My second and I are shooting more than different angles of the same thing. We’re shooting everything so you’ll naturally get more pictures with two photographers than one. One photographer will yield about 70 or so images per hour of coverage; 2 photographers will get you about 100 per hour.

There are times when I would actually recommend not having a second photographer as well. Small intimate weddings (<40 guests) probably don’t need two shooters because the action is more condensed and your guests are more involved with you.

You’ll get fantastic coverage regardless but a second photographer allows for more depth of coverage. Second shooters aren’t automatically included with booking LDP. Just like an album or boudoir session, it’s a personal choice. I strongly recommend one for weddings between 30 and 75 guests, insist on one for weddings over 75 guests.

Happy planning,

Double your pleasure
Double your fun
With Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint Gum!
~ Doublemint Gum jingle

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