DO YOU NEED TWO PHOTOGRAPHERS ON YOUR WEDDING DAY?

Do you need two photographers on your wedding day?

 

This article is to help you make an educated decision as to whether you need two photographers on your wedding day.

I am mostly a solo shooter photographing alone on a wedding day. I know I can adequately capture a wedding, documenting the important moments plus more as one photographer, and I have done so for over 5 years as a full-time professional wedding photographer.

A typical wedding day photography timeline for one photographer

 

Below is a rough guide to creating your wedding day photography timeline for one photographer, however, there is a more detailed version of the Wedding Day Photography Timeline here.

Preparation

I typically start photographing groom preparations before heading over to the bride’s camp for the bride preparation photos. Typically I allow 1 hour for groom preparations and 1.5-2 hours for bride preparations, roughly starting 3-4 hours before the ceremony start time including an allowance for travel between venues.  This timeframe allows plenty of time to photograph:

groom details
groom and groomsmen dressing ie. cufflinks, ties, shoes, jackets etc
portraits – groom, groom with groomsmen, groom with each groomsmen and any pageboys, groom with family members
bride details
last of the hair & makeup preparations
the bride dressing ie. wedding gown, jewellery, shoes etc
portraits – bride, bride with bridesmaids, bride with each bridesmaid and any flower girls, bride with family members
capturing any candid moments
giving of gifts at both groom and bride preparation

Pre Ceremony

Following the preparations, I like to arrive at the ceremony around 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to start. This time allows for:

any photos with family members if they weren’t present during the preparation time
if the buttonhole flowers weren’t available during preparation time, then time for putting on the buttonholes
the groom greeting guests
ceremony details and location photos

Ceremony

Ceremonies can last anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour. Small intimate ceremonies are at the shorter time of 20 minutes to Catholic church ceremonies between 45 minutes to 1 hour. Most ceremonies fall around the 30 minute mark.

Congratulations & Formal Family Portraits

Following the ceremony, wedding guests will congratulate the newlyweds. This time can vary depending on the number of guests but for a 60-80 guest wedding, usually around 15 minutes is sufficient. Then the family portraits can take around 15 minutes for just immediate family members and up to 30 minutes for extended family. I like to create a list with my couples before the wedding day to have a detailed list of the groups for the family portraits.  In all for the congratulations and family portraits allow between 30-45 minutes.

Bridal Party Location Shoot

Then it’s time for the bridal party location shoot. I typically attract couples that love this part of the day and therefore allow 1.5-2 hours. An opportunity to create a mix of natural candid photos with their best friends in the bridal party and beautiful portraits of them as a newly married couple. After the photos with the bridal party, I like to take the newlyweds away to have some alone time, naturally I will be photographing them during this time. It’s a chance to take in the day, where they can relax together away from the guests and craziness of the wedding day, and have some time for romantic portraits. I typically like to find one location that might have multiple types of scenery, for example New Farm Park combines urban looks and gardens in one location for inner Brisbane city weddings. However country fields are some of my favourite places to photograph – amongst nature, surrounded by trees and greenery, provides a beautiful backdrop for photos.

Reception

Following the photoshoot it’s time to head on to the reception. Reception coverage can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 4-5 hours depending on what the couple feel is important to be covered by the professional photographer. My six hour coverage package would allow around 30 minutes – 1 hour coverage at the reception which could include reception room details, bridal party entrance and a cake cutting { either a fake cutting of the cake or bring the actual cake cutting forward }. My nine hour coverage package would allow around 2-3 hours coverage at the reception which could include reception room details, bridal party entrance, speeches, cake cutting, bridal waltz and candids of the guests. My twelve hour coverage package includes a second photographer so I will cover that below under the benefits of a second photographer on a wedding day.

 

Benefits of a second or two photographers on a wedding day

 

But let’s address the role of a second photographer and what benefits they can add to the wedding day.

Generally it means there is a second point of view and another perspective to be captured. But lets break it down by the different parts of the wedding day.

Preparation

While the main photographer is photographing the bride and bridesmaids during the bride preparation part of the wedding day, the second photographer can be capturing the groom and the groomsmen while they are preparing for the big day.

Pre Ceremony

The second photographer can be at the ceremony capturing photos of the groom with his family members, greeting guests and ceremony details. The main photographer would remain with the bride until she leaves the location where she is getting ready, then race ahead to get to the ceremony venue ready for her arrival.

Ceremony

The obvious advantage is one photographer can be assigned to focusing on the bride as she walks down the aisle while the other is positioned to focus on the groom’s reaction as the bride is walking down the aisle.  The most requested photo I get asked for from brides is to get the groom’s reaction as she walks down the aisle, but I also feel the bride walking down the aisle is also an important photo to capture.

The two photographer option means that a photographer can be assigned to each side of the ceremony, one focusing on the bride and the other focusing on the groom, to avoid having to swap sides.

Also one photographer could cover the front of the ceremony and the other from the rear of the ceremony.

Both would at various times move to the centre aisle or other positions for various angles, but return to their designated side.

It’s my policy to always swap sides by going behind the guests to not interrupt their view of the ceremony, however, this can take anywhere from around 15 seconds to a minute depending on how many guests and how deep the guests are back from the alter.

For shorter ceremonies or traditional church ceremonies, having two photographers provides for a smoother transition and less disruption to the service whilst the photographers move about.

Congratulations 

The two photographers can provide two different perspectives, one focusing on the guests congratulating the bride, while the other photographer focusing on the guests congratulating the groom.

Formal Family Portraits

While one photographer is posing the group of people and taking the photos, the second photographer can be rounding up the next group for a more efficient running of the family portraits.

Bridal Party Location Shoot / Cocktail Hour / Reception Details

While one photographer is photographing the newlyweds and bridal party, the second photographer remains behind with the wedding guests during cocktail hour. The second photographer will be there to capture candids of the guests and any group photos. The second photographer will also duck into the reception room once the venue has finished setting up the room and lit the candles which is usually 15 minutes before the guests enter the room, making it the perfect time to capture the reception room in all its glory and all the pretty details.

Reception

While many photographers have their second photographer finish at this point, my second photographer packages have the second photographer remain at the wedding for as long as I am at the wedding.  The two photographers provide two different perspectives.

Hopefully this article provides you with sufficient information to make an informed decision whether you choose a one or two photographer package for your wedding day.  Our photography package that provides up to 12 hours of coverage includes two photographers, however, with our 6 hour & 9 hour photography packages you can always add a second photographer for an additional charge. If you are still unsure, feel free to shoot through an email or call 0419 043030.

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