Do You Really Need a Second Shooter? Part 1 of 2

Do you really need a second shooter? In this 2-part post, I’ll be answering that question from my perspective.

 

Over 10 years ago (ahhhh!) I got started in the wedding industry as a second shooter—if you ask around, you’ll find that most professional wedding photographers do!

do you really need a second shooter

Not only is hiring a second shooter pretty commonplace, but it’s a growing trend in wedding photography.

I have my thoughts on the second shooter:

  1. If my client specifically requests one, I will always accommodate—my first and foremost goal is to be sure you feel comfortable, happy, and attended to while working with me, so of course I’ll be sure you get anything you need to that end.
  2. With a few exceptions (extremely large, 350+ guest weddings being one of them,) I don’t believe they’re completely necessary…

…and in certain cases can even detract from having the most amazing wedding photography experience possible.

Let me take just 2 minutes to explain.

Do You Really Need a Second Shooter?

First, if you aren’t familiar with the term “second shooter,” it’s pretty much what it sounds like: you hire a second photographer to work alongside your primary photographer.

Typically, you hire this person through your primary photographer—in other words, a “second shooter” is most often found as something you can add on to your primary photography package.

There are dozens of reason why couples like to add a second shooter onto their wedding photography packages, and dozens of reasons why some professional photographers even prefer to work with a second shooter on the day of.

I’m going to list off those reasons, and then…

…I’m going to talk about them. 😉

Second Shooter Myths vs. Realities

do you really need a second shooter

Myth: A second shooter means my photographer can be in “two places at once.”

Reality: By having a less-experienced second shooter with the groomsmen while the primary photographer is with the bride, you risk having photos of two totally different styles and skill levels. A little planning, however, can go a long way.

I hear this a lot—“While you’re taking photos of the bride getting ready, who is going to take photos of the groom getting ready?”

or

“While you’re photographing the bride coming down the aisle, who is going to photograph the groom’s facial expression when he sees her?”

Let me start by saying this—hundreds of experienced professional wedding photographers (including myself here—*ahem*) do not worry about being able to do this on their own. 95% of the time, your photographer is fast, inconspicuous, and is constantly moving.

The truth is: oftentimes, a second shooter can impede this.

Either

a.) we’re bumping into each other or

b.) the second shooter doesn’t have the same style—or worse, the same level of expertise—as the primary shooter, so you’ll get subpar photos of the groom getting ready and a completely different quality and style of images of the bride getting ready.

If you’re want a second shooter because you want your photographer to be in “two places at once,” know this:

a little planning (as in, extremely minor adjustments to the timeline of your day) can make a whole world of difference!

do you really need a second shooter

Myth: A second shooter means I’ll get even more photos, which will help tell an even more complete story of my day.

Reality: In wedding photography, quantity doesn’t equal quality. It’s far better to have 1,000 gorgeous images versus an overwhelming collection of 3000 images of mixed quality (who needs 3000 pictures of anything??) Worse: 2 photographers equals twice the intrusion. Your wedding day is about you—and nothing should distract from that.

More images does not equal a better overall story that unfolds from your final delivered images.

It’s important to think about quality versus quantity here.

Your photographer shouldn’t have to deliver 3000 images to be able to tell your story effectively. Instead, your photographer should have practiced, proven experience in lighting, composition, photojournalism, and more.

Additionally, 3000+ images is an overwhelming experience resulting in a photo story that gets totally lost.

The good news: I typically deliver between 1,000-1,500 images per wedding. I can tell you right now—I don’t miss anything!

It’s also important to think about how it feels having a photographer standing over you while you get ready…

…a photographer in the middle of the dance floor…

…a photographer crouched nearby while you and your new spouse cut the cake…

…a photographer skittering about a quiet wedding ceremony…

Now double that.

On my own, I’m deft as a fox—after all, I’ve had about 10 years of practice!

(Seriously, though, I’m a pro at two things: taking pictures, and not being seen!)

The truth is, while I spend most of my time waaaay behind the scenes, sometimes you’re just going to notice me.

Add a second shooter to the mix though? It’s a whole other ball game.

Do you really need a second shooter? Check the blog tomorrow for part 2.

 

In search of award-winning Pittsburgh wedding photography? Contact Palermo Photography now!