I just want to touch base on something mentioned earlier...
Yes, it is true that more than 50% of guests on a wedding bring a camera with them... But the truth is that these are not trained or experienced photographers... And that makes a huge difference.. I've seen thousands of guest's photos from weddings I've worked on; and for the most part they are not even close to album quality... In fact, if the wedding is on a venue with poor light, many of the photos are blurry and extremely out of focus...
Having that in mind... I must say that having two Pro Photographers on site working with each other is the best way to go...
We usually only use two photographers if they dont have video- or they request one. We are a husband/wife team as well and my husband usually does video. When they dont have those services, he comes along as an assistant/ 2nd photographer for free. If it is a really BIG wedding and/or we know there is going to be a serious need- we bring someone even when they dont pay extra.
Yes, yes, yes. What a waste not to. There is SO much going on, it's amazing to be able to be two places at once. Even on small weddings, we had one this summer with only 30 guests, I couldn't believe some of the photos my 2nd shooter got that I would have missed completely as I was off somewhere else shooting someone else. My vote is: Essential! :)
There are a few times during the day when I find a second shooter important. There are plenty of other posts covering the basics, more coverage, shoot the details, etc. Here are a few of my SPECIFICS:
- When one photographer is shooting the bride getting ready and the groom is getting ready at another location.
- When the bride is walking down the isle, my second shooter is focused on the groom and his reaction to seeing her.
- During the tosses at the reception. One shoots tosser, one shoots group going for it.
Good points John. Very useful ideas... However, when covering the throwing of the bouquet (the word tosser in UK English has a totally different - and derogatory meaning applied to it nowadays in the UK at least!) its easy to capture both action and reaction in one shot if you position yourself differently. See http://www.reellifephotos.co.uk/?p=1076 - the last image on the page.
Not very often. As a single photographer can usually cover most aspects of the wedding - and with over 1000 images to chose from on average all our brides have more than enough they would love to have in their albums. However, many aspiring photographers like to come out with us, so from time to time we do have two at once, and there are always a few shots that the second photographer has taken that make it into the album. It may be necessary too, if the groom is getting ready some distance away and it is important for the bride to have that stage of the proceedings covered too. If we get a direct request for two photographers then of course the couple can chose that as an option. If that is the case then there is likely to be more opportunities to get guests as couples' shots too. The only downside then is the extra image processing time, and far more images in total than the couple can really handle when choosing for their album and obviously both sets of camera bodies need to be accurately synchronised - as am sure you all have had the experience of when this has not been checked first!
As a husband and wife photography team, we find so many instances where a different perspective of a shoot comes in handy. For our own wedding we had two photographers, and for sure, no regrets.
Of course budget comes into it, but a photographer who comes with a second shooter, or a husband and wife team are generally not much more expensive.
As a limousine service, I am always acting in the role of observer. With all the wait-time I have, I use it to observe what's going on and I see so many MISSED SHOTS when there is only one photographer. Even two will miss a lot of candid shot as they both try to focus of the bride and groom. I did one wedding where there was 4 photographers. This was a husband, wife, son and daughter team. They didn't miss a thing!
Four would be bit of a media challenge/domination for the guests I feel. Since we cover 10,12 or even 14 hours of shots at a wedding, the post processing is already phenomenal, so its a fine balance Vern between objectivity and reality! Maybe time you got yourself a camera then too...?
I have to admit, you guys do have a challenging job, but remember, you are capturing a time in history, not just a photo shoot. There are too many people out there now that call themselves "Photographers". Anyone that can afford a decent camera, will try to get into this business. There are more photographers than any other wedding professional. No, I'm not interested.