The Benefits of Having Two Photographers at Your Wedding

"There is power in numbers."  Yes, it's true. Our wedding collection always includes both Adm and myself as photographers, or rather, there are always two photographers for every wedding that we photograph.  When couples are looking to save money on their wedding photography, they often tell me, "Well, we don't really need two photographers.  Can we just hire you and save a few hundred dollars?"  My answer is always, "No."  Even for the super small civil ceremony weddings that only last a couple of hours.  I follow up my answer with, "Trust me, your pictures will be so much better if both Adm and I are there."  With this in mind, I'd like to break down the photographic benefits of having two photographers (especially us two!) at your wedding:

1.  It's really hard to be in two places at the same time.

Nine times out of ten, the bride and groom get ready in separate spaces.  Sometimes, they're just down the hall from one another in the same hotel, and other times, they're at completely different locations, maybe even thirty minutes driving distance apart.  No matter how far apart they are, it's literally impossible for one photographer to make nice images of both the bride and groom getting ready.  To make sure that you have a complete set of photos of both sides, there has to be two photographers.  Furthermore, since we strive to be discreet documentarians, it's much easier for us to blend in and be ignored when we hang out with the same group of people for awhile.  This time allows us to really work a scene, making sure each shot has been perfected and finessed.  We're also able to key into how certain people relate to one another and thereby better anticipate special moments.  Imagine if, as a bride, you were in the middle of doing your hair, make-up, savoring your last moments as a single lady, and concentrating on remembering your vows, and in the midst of all this, you had a crazy photographer running back and forth between your room and your fiance's trying to rapidly fire off a few frames before scurrying back to your fiance's room.

So often people think that photography is just a matter of being there, holding the camera up to your face, and clicking the shutter.  To us, however, it's so much more.  It's about being there and observing - absorbing the tension in the room when a groom tries to hide his nervousness about being married with a few laughs and a round of shots or noticing the mother of the bride's overwhelming happiness that is only slightly undermined with a tinge of nostalgia because her little girl is all grown up.  These are the subtleties of emotion that we strive to capture, and in order to do this, we, as photographers need time to look, and you, as the subjects need time to relax and forget that we are there.

Here are a few of my favorite images that Adm has made while hanging out with the groom:

And here are a few of my favorites images from spending time with the ladies:

2.  We see things differently.

Adm and I independently discovered our passion for photography, and subsequently, we have each developed our own unique way of seeing things.  When we both photograph a wedding, we bring our own vision to the event so that our clients receive a set of images that reflect a mix of both of our styles, ones that I think complement each other quite well.  We are also able to be in different positions and photograph things at varying angles which adds more variety into the mix.  This seems pretty self-explanatory so I'll jump right into a few photo examples:

3.  The portrait sessions are so much better with two.

I've said this before, but I'm going to say it again: "Nobody wants to hang around waiting to have their picture taken when there's a fun cocktail hour and wedding reception waiting just around the corner."  This means that when it comes to the family, bridal party and couples portrait sessions, we have to be on our toes and move quickly and efficiently.  During the large group portraits, Adm is key when it comes to "corralling" family members and getting them lined up and organized.  If the group of people I need to photograph is ready and attentive, then the picture just takes a couple of minutes and the guests can be on their way.  Furthermore, having a second set of eyes to watch for things like sunglasses, purses, drinks in hand, pepper in your teeth (OK, maybe not that one, but you get my drift) is always helpful, and makes everyone in the photo appreciate a non-messy version of themselves so much more.

When it comes to the couples' portrait session, Adm and I usually split up.  We always do a walkthrough of the location beforehand so that we can map out our portrait shots and not waste any time when we have the bride and groom.  Adm is the lighting master of our duo, and so during the couples' portrait session, I'll first take the couple on my own, making portraits using natural light, while Adm is hurriedly setting up lights for the next situation, one that we had planned during our walkthrough.  This way, when I'm done with my part, the couple can step right into Adm's set up and we're pretty much ready to go.  We don't want to waste precious time setting up and testing lights while the couple is just standing around waiting and dreaming of the specialty cocktails that they're missing.  When we first started photographing weddings, we didn't light any of the portraits.  However, since we started planning and lighting our shots, I think the creativity and artistic quality of our images have improved immensely.  Our portrait session with the bride and groom is one area where we can really reveal our style and vision, and so it's been a huge leap for us to really take control of that opportunity and run with it.  This ability for us to realize our vision for a particular photo within a very short period of time can only happen when you have two photographers who know how to work together and communicate with one another.

Here are a few of our couples' portraits from real wedding days where we planned out our shots ahead of time and Adm created the light so the couple could just step in for a few photos:

There are many more benefits to having two photographers at your wedding, especially when it comes to supporting one another (whether it's taking shifts during meals or having one person download cards while the other keeps an eye on the reception), but I wanted to focus primarily on why photographically it's better to have two different photographers.  Plus, this post is already way longer than I initially intended so it's time for me to stop.