Second photographer - Do I need one?
You don't need a second photographer, but having an additional photographer can be a very good idea.
Can't you take all the photos?
Often, yes, I can take all of the photographs you need at your wedding. But what happens if you have a Rhode Island wedding, maybe in Providence, and the bride is getting ready in Warwick, Rhode Island, but the groom is getting ready in Wrentham, Massachusetts? I certainly cannot be in two places at once. As much as I would love to clone myself and be in multiple places at the same time, the technology just isn't there yet!
What does a second photographer do at a wedding?
They take pictures, of course! As I had mentioned earlier, there are often times when there are multiple things happening simultaneously, and having a single photographer can make it difficult or even impossible to capture all of it. The second photographer acts as a second version of me. They have the same skills, similar equipment, and the ability to be somewhere that I can't be.
Getting Ready Photos
This is the most common time when having a second photographer for your wedding is really helpful. Some couples get ready at the same location, maybe their house or the home of a relative. Others will get ready in dedicated rooms at the wedding venue. However, there are usually lots of people involved, including the groomsmen, the bridesmaids, siblings, parents, and more. Don't forget the hair and makeup crew (and yours truly, the photographer). That's a lot of people to have in one place. It gets crowded very quickly, and so it is much more common to have the couple and the respective entourage getting ready at separate locations. Many also like to adhere to the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride until the ceremony or the first look.
If the addresses are close together, it is possible for a single wedding photographer to travel back and forth, but this is time-consuming and often means that some of those great candid moments are missed. Having a second wedding photographer means that one of us can be at each location.
Having a second wedding photographer also means that we can capture memories from more than one angle. Bride walking down the aisle? Covered front and back. Teary-eyed groom as he sees his beautiful bride for the first time? Check. First dance? Covered from both sides. First looks are absolutely a time when those multiple angles come in handy.
The formal wedding photographs typically happen during cocktail hour. And while the focus should be on the bride, groom, and their families and participants, there are lots of great things happening during the cocktail hour. Second photographers will often go and take some photos in there during this time to make sure that this action is being captured for you as well.
Obviously, a second wedding photographer will mean substantially more photos are taken. It doesn't necessarily mean more photos in the end, but it gives a greater variety of photos to choose from when editing and compiling the final list of shots. It does mean more work editing for me, but the end results are worth it.
Handling Special Requests
Every wedding has that one special person who seems to think that they have a magic eye for what needs to be photographed and when. I like to refer to these people as the choreographers, lol. They think nothing of pulling a photographer away from what they were already doing to photograph random groupings of people, flowers, or plates of half-eaten cake (I've had some odd requests). The good news is that with a second photographer around, there will always be somebody with an eye on the big picture while the other photographer is dealing with these miscellaneous requests.
Alternative Artistic Eye
The second photographers that I work with have similar styles to me, but they are their own person with their own unique talents. Many times they will see of photograph something different from what I would have done, and it works out better. That's the thing with any creative activity: we all have our own special gifts and when you combine them all, it's magic!