So the age old question arises… Okay, maybe not “age-old”, but definitely one of the most common questions I get asked during the initial inquiry is “Do you have two shooters?” And while this is a legitimate question, I’d like to take the time to give some advice on even more important questions to be asked in addition to this one. So, are two photographers necessary on wedding day? Here is the answer.
Alright, so it was a trick question. In my eyes, there is no “right” answer to this question. But there are definitely some more prying questions you should be asking your potential wedding photographer during that initial inquiry. Is there value to having two photographers? Absolutely. I will admit on my own wedding day that I had two shooters. And I adore my wedding photographers Sarah and Rachel Photography. There are also MANY noteworthy and nationally recognized photographers that comprise of a team like Katelyn James and Amy and Jordan, just to name a few. Having two shooters is particularly nice for the photographers as it allows one to get a little more creative while the other gets all the “necessary” and “safe” shots. But coming from a photographer who is a single shooter, I can tell you first hand that it is not absolutely necessary and that you would be surprised what you will get from a single shooter that is passionate about what they are doing. Here are four questions you really should be asking your potential wedding photographer:
Having access to an entire wedding gallery is essential to viewing the variety of shots your photographer is able to get on wedding day. I always offer potential clients access to several different galleries so they can see exactly what kind of images they can expect to get. Viewing an entire gallery shows you what images that photographer was able to capture from start to finish. Sure if you go to a photographer’s website you will see links to their “galleries” or “portfolio”. But 9 times out of 10, these galleries are only displaying their very best and most highlighted work. And while this does give you a good sense for their style, it does not show you a wedding from start to finish. Which leads me to my next point.
This might not be a question you are directly asking a photographer in an email, as you can pretty much get a photographer’s shooting and editing style by the images that are displayed on their website. This is more of a question to ask yourself before you start looking for the perfect wedding photographer. Do you like light, airy, romantic images? Or do you gear more on the dark, edgy, contrasty side? None of these styles are wrong and there are an abundance of amazing photographers that have completely different styles. The question is, what style speaks to you. And what kinds of images do you love and want to display in your home or as your beloved profile picture 😛
I have to admit, a few years ago a well known photographer from my area approached me via email and asked if I was available to second shoot a wedding with them. As someone just starting out in wedding photography, you better believe I was excited they would ask little old ME to be their second shooter. But looking back, this was a little scary. This photographer never even asked to look at a portfolio of my work prior to asking me. Not only that, but there was as point in the wedding where they were relying SOLELY on my shots… as a second shooter! Now, this may be an extreme case, but it is definitely something to think about. Like I mentioned before, there are some crazy good photographers that work as a team. People like Katelyn James and Amy and Jordan are husband and wife teams that shoot all of their weddings together. They don’t just hire any old Joe Schmo to second shoot their weddings. Just because a photographer provides a “second shooter” does not make their second shooter qualified. And many times, a second shooter acts more like an assistant and their images are many times used as “backup”. Again, this does not discredit all second shooters, but it is a legitimate question to consider because if the second shooter is a rookie, you’re paying more for something that isn’t necessary.
Does the photographer establish a wedding day timeline that is agreed upon between the two of you? The wedding day timeline is another essential piece to the puzzle to make sure you get all of the images you want and love. About a month prior to the wedding, I ask my brides for their tentative timeline including what time they get their hair done, when they are getting dressed, ceremony and reception times. Then I tailor a photography timeline around this in order that both of us know where and when I will be taking each particular set of shots to ensure we get all the shots we need! Ofcourse, I also offer assistance in helping my couples with their timeline to make sure we are utilizing our time well and again ensuring we get all of the shots we want and need!
I hope these questions help guide you and give you a little more insight in your decision making when it comes to picking a wedding photographer. I honestly believe I am able to get all of the shots you want and love as a single photographer. I may be running around like a mad woman to get them, but you better believe I am dedicated to serving my couples and delivering high quality images that my couples love! Blessings on your day!