Do you need two wedding photographers?

Article by ARJ Photography®

I often get asked by people who are thinking of booking me as their wedding photographer “is it just you on the day?” and the answer is yes. I’ll tell you why I work alone but also talk about the reason you might need or want two photographers at your wedding… Bad for business? Maybe, but I want the best for you and if that means not having me because you need two photographers, it’s for the best!

DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS? – SHORT VERSION!

Ok let’s cut to the chase – the answer to the question ‘do you need two wedding photographers?’ is maybe but probably not.

Reasons you might want two wedding photographers:

— Two things will be happening at the same time in different places
— You want a lot of photos of your guests who aren’t really getting involved in the day

Reasons you might not want two wedding photographers:

— The more photographers (and videographers) at your wedding, the more it’ll feel like a photoshoot with no escape for you and all your guests
— You care more about the quality of your wedding photography than the quantity
— You want an artist at your wedding not just a generic service provider
— You want me to be your wedding photographer!

I’ll go into each of these reasons below, but to me that’s the list and those are the reasons!

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DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

VOTE FOR YES – TWO THINGS HAPPENING SIMULTANEOUSLY

This is the only real reason you need two or more photographers at your wedding – apart from one more which I’ll mention right at the end of this article.

If two things are happening simultaneously in two different places, of course one photographer can’t handle that. And you’ll need two photographers. But read on anyway because in the rest of this article you’ll learn how best to find a duo (or trio or more) for your wedding.

By this I mean two actual events. I don’t mean the bride and groom, bride and bride, groom and groom getting ready in the morning. At the vast majority with a bit of logical and lateral thought we can work out a way for me to capture both of you getting ready. So getting ready doesn’t count.

And you don’t need a photographer at the front and back of the ceremony either.

Oaklands Wedding Photographer - ARJ Photography®

DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

VOTE FOR YES – YOU WANT LOTS OF PHOTOS OF THE GUESTS WHO AREN’T REALLY GETTING INVOLVED IN THE DAY

In case you can’t tell I’m being mildly sarcastic here. You may have been led to believe by websites, magazines or even friends that the only way you’ll get any guest photos is if you have a second photographer at your wedding because the main photographer only takes photos of the couple.

Not true.

I make a massive effort to tell the whole story of the day, including as many photos of your guests as possible. Often my couples thank me for how many photos I am able to get of their guests.

At every wedding there’s a handful of guests who sit on the sidelines, don’t get involved and look a bit grumpy and disinterested. I don’t make an effort to photograph them, and neither would any second photographer either. So this isn’t really a reason to want two wedding photographers.

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DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

VOTE FOR NO – THE MORE PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOGRAPHERS AT YOUR WEDDING THE MORE IT’LL FEEL MORE LIKE A PHOTOSHOOT THAN A WEDDING FOR YOU AND YOUR GUESTS

This for me is the biggest reason to limit the number of camera wielding individuals at your wedding and really prioritise quality of photographer over number of photographers.

I get it. You’re worried if there’s only one photographer things might be missed. And yes, it’s true. But the same is true for any size of team – two or even three or more. No size of team means every single moment will be captured. All the photographers who were there will invariably congregate around the centre of the action, no matter how many there are.

The reason I work alone now at almost all my weddings is that I’ve worked at weddings with up to 10 photographers and videographers and it just completely changes the feeling of the day for everyone involved. For the photo/video team it becomes a struggle to capture without getting another photographer/videographer in the shot and for you and your guests it just feels like a commercial photoshoot. Not good in my opinion.

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DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

VOTE FOR NO – YOU CARE MORE ABOUT QUALITY THAN QUANTITY

Pick a photographer whose work you adore and makes you feel something. I’ve always said if my photos of someone else’s wedding who you’ve never met can stir up some emotions for you, I’m doing a great job with my photography.

Invariably you’ll find a photographer who works alone, but may offer a second photographer as an add-on. So the work you’ve fallen in love with is by that photographer, whoever they hire to be the second photographer at your wedding won’t take photos like the person you’ve booked. They just won’t. It’s impossible. So you’ll get more photos (maybe) but they won’t be by the photographer whose work you fell in love with and booked. They’ll just be ‘more photos’.

I deliver between 600 and 800 photos for a full day wedding. When I used to use second photographers that figure might increase by 10-15%, no more. And I found I was missing moments because I thought they ‘had it covered’ but after the fact I’d have preferred to have captured it myself. Not because their work was ‘bad’ but because it wasn’t the way I’d have captured it. And if you’re booking with me it’s because you want it captured in my style, by me. And nobody else can do that.

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DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

VOTE FOR NO – YOU WANT AN ARTIST RATHER THAN A GENERIC SERVICE

This is the same as the reason above really… I know people who absolutely love my wedding photography have chosen not to book with me because I don’t offer the option to bring a random extra photographer to their wedding in the hope of getting more photos of… something.

My work is my work. I consider it art. Only I can make photos that look and feel like my photos.

The same goes for every artist photographer (vs business photographer – someone who exists to provide the generic service of wedding photography usually with a more formulaic approach and maybe a more generic look and feel).

I give an impeccable service (check out these reviews), and I work tirelessly to capture as much of the story of your day as possible, in my style. I don’t use second photographers because I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t think the final set is as artistically strong with another photographer’s work mixed in.

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DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

VOTE FOR NO – YOU WANT ME TO BE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

I think it’s clear now that I work alone! So if, even after reading everything above, you still feel it’s important to have more than one wedding photographer, I’m out for the count. And that’s brilliant actually, because I’ve probably helped you a little bit more to know what you want or need. So I’ll happily wish you all the best!

People like me who prefer to work alone will tell you it’s better to have one photographer. People who prefer to sell you a second photographer, who work as a duo or who include a second photographer as standard will tell you it’s better to have two! So in the end you just need to think about the pros and cons and decide yourselves.

I stopped offering second photographers because I work better and harder when I’m by myself with no distractions, and the knowledge that if it’s going to be captured, it has to be me that captures it.

Winter Wedding at Peckforton Castle Cheshire - ARJ Photography®

DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

YOU’VE DECIDED YOU DO – SO HOW DO YOU FIND THE BEST DUO (OR TRIO OR MORE)

Ok so you want at least two photographers… that counts me out! So how do you proceed? Here’s my one and only tip:

Find an actual duo rather than a solo photographer who offers a second. Why? Because you’re guaranteeing who the second photographer will be at point of booking. Most solo photographers will leave it to a few weeks before to see who is available to be your second photographer, so there’s little to no guarantee of the quality of that second photographer when you book.

The other big plus of hiring a duo is that they work together week in, week out. They have a system of how they will capture a wedding, of who photographs what and when. In my opinion that’s a much slicker approach than a solo photographer + second photographer, and you’ll get a more cohesive set of photos at the end of it all.

DO YOU NEED TWO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

SUMMARY AND FINAL TIPS

I started off by saying the answer was maybe but probably not and hopefully now you can see why, and if you have decided it’s important to have multiple photographers I’ve helped you out there too.

Always – whether you’re booking a solo, duo or more photographers, always ask to see a full gallery so you can see how much they capture, how they capture it, and how consistent the quality of work is from the beginning of the day right to the end.

All good photographers will agree to let you see a full gallery. Try if you can to make sure it’s a similar venue/location, style of wedding and time of year as yours. There’s no point seeing a Tuscan sunset wedding if you’re having a winter city hotel wedding. The two require a totally different set of skills!

If you’re currently planning your wedding and you love what you see here on my website I’d love to send you my very simple pricing menu!

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Cheshire Wedding Photographer Adam Johnson - ARJ Photography®

Cheshire Wedding Photographers ARJ Photography® – Adam Johnson is a well established photographer who has been photographing weddings in Cheshire and around the world for over a decade. He has been named the UK Wedding Photographer of the Year twice by The Wedding Industry Awards, and Best of the Best twice by Junebug Weddings, as well as receiving over 100 other wedding photography awards for his work. Favouring a rich, colourful style of wedding photography with a strong focus on emotion and the iconic moments, Adam is highly in demand and only opens up his diary to 20 weddings per year.