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Myth busting: Wedding industry myths about having two wedding photographers

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This week we contributed to an article on This is Reportage. The article looked at opinions on whether having two photographers was better than one. It included the thoughts and opinions of around 30 professional wedding photographers. Some lone shooters, others part of photography teams, like us. If you’d like to read that article in itself, i’ve attached the direct link here for you.

We have always been advocates for the idea that having one good photographer is better than having two not so good ones. Reading some of the other comments in the article was great. It was really nice to see input from other teams. If nothing else it’s always reassuring to see your own thoughts and experiences are shared. It was also interesting to see how the issue of second shooters impacts lone shooters and how they feel about being asked to utilise another photographer. A couple of comments (with absolutely no malice I might add) did however propel some myths associated with there being two photographers. This reminded me of several comments i’ve seen over the years in various places and from various sources relating to the idea of having two photographers.

So as someone who works as part of a photography team, i’m going to do a little myth busting….

  1. Having two photographers is all about quantity rather than quality. You’ll just end up with a lot of duplicates and photos from slightly different angles.

Wrong! Although having two photographers does often mean that you’ll end up with more photos, that’s not typically the reason that photography teams operate as such. There’s no sense in churning out a lot of rubbish or duplicates as you’re just creating yourself more work in the long run. More photos means more time spent editing, so believe me, we don’t do it for the heck of it. We work as a team because we personally feel that it’s the best and most efficient way for us to tell a story. And as for the duplicates thing- if two photographers are on one another’s toes all day you don’t have two “photographers”. You have a photographer and someone with a camera. Two very different things. We are usually shooting in two different locations simultaneously. Otherwise, what’s the point?

2. The only reason to have two photographers is so you can have coverage of both bride and groom prep.

Wrong! Although this is often one of the reasons why couples book us, having both of your preparations covered is just one of many reasons to consider hiring a team of two photographers. For most of our couples the most important thing for them is actually dual coverage of the ceremony. Most want (and ask for) coverage of both the brides entrance and the grooms reaction when he turns to see his bride for the first time. Sadly you can’t capture both these angles with just one photographer. Unless the ceremony has a very unique layout that is.

There are several other reasons that we wont delve into in detail now. But to briefly cover some of them- other reasons include things like being able to whip through group photos in double quick time, as one of you can shoot whilst the other coordinates. It’s stuff like being able to capture natural photos of guests whilst the other photographer is capturing details, decor and other important things. If you are interested in reading some more in depth reasons why you might consider booking two wedding photographers, you can see one of our previous blog posts.

Easton Grange Wedding, Essex Wedding Photographers, Sam and Louise Photography

3. It’s too much of a distraction having two photographers. It makes people feel uncomfortable.

Wrong! Well, we can’t speak for others, but that’s certainly not the impression that we’ve ever been given. Furthermore, i’d actually totally disagree with the sentiment of that statement. For starters, aside from the ceremony and speeches, we are rarely both in the same place shooting at the same time. We don’t really cross paths much on a wedding day. For the majority of the day guests could only possibly be “aware” of one of us anyway. If at all!

When it does come to things like the speeches, we’re actually likely to cause far less of a distraction than a lone photographer. This is because we already have two angles covered at any one time, so we have to move around far less to deliver the same level of coverage. We have shot weddings alongside videographers who also work as a duo- do you know what? They are some of the most relaxed and chilled couples and weddings we end up shooting. Why? Because you all bounce off of one another. It becomes like a friendship group and you all blend into the crowd. There’s never any focus on one individual at any one time. No one questions it if there’s already a toast master, a wedding coordinator and a magician around watching guests, but propose the idea of having two photographers and other TOGs get all shirty!

4. When people work as a team it’s because neither of them are good enough to shoot on their own

Wrong! Funnily enough, it’s the people who say this that tend not to be very good photographers themselves… just saying. Perhaps it’s insecurity. Perhaps it’s too much of a new concept for them. Maybe they’re just not very nice people. Either way, it’s nonsense. We work as a team because we know what it is possible to achieve when we work together. We know how much more seamless and smoothly a day runs when we’re not each torn in twenty different directions. Understanding the sheer volume and quality of coverage we can deliver as a team means we’ve never looked back.

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5. Having two photographers will cost a lot more.

Wrong and right! Ok so this isn’t a myth, so much as a general rule. Often it is true that having two photographers will cost you more. But not always as much more as you might assume. Especially if you hire a team who are husband and wife for example. How so? Well, to use myself and Sam as an example…. We both share the same house. Which means we share the same set of bills. We share the same professional insurance cover and even travel to weddings together in the same car. Therefore our total spend on expenses and business outgoings per wedding is less than it would be if we were two individuals operating two separate businesses.

This is what you’re paying extra for when you book a photographer who uses an otherwise unassociated second shooter. The lone photographer will need to cover all the expenses associated with running their business as usual. PLUS the second shooter will have to be paid a rate that will provide them with a a wage and cover their own outgoings.  So essentially, two businesses need to be supported in that case. With a photography team, often only one set of business expenses need to be covered. And as such, the fee we command is often lower than you’d expect.

6. If two heads are better than one, why not have 3 of you?

Wrong way of looking at it. Having two photographers strikes a nice balance between being able to offer another dimension of coverage whilst still being able to be discreet. Often the reason people want two photographers is to cover the (generally) two different angles available. ie front and back of ceremony, bride and groom prep. Having a third person can be compared to having a spare wheel in those situations I suppose. Unless it’s a particularly large wedding that would benefit from having a single person dedicated entirely to natural coverage of guests for example.

two photographers photo of brides veil blowing

7. A second photographer just gets in the way and complicates things. You spend more time worrying about what they’re doing and managing them.

Wrong! If you book a team that is. If you book a photographer who utilises a second shooter then I think the above comment is probably fair enough. When you’re used to working on your own, if you suddenly bring someone else into the mix, of course you’re going to worry about what they’re up to. You’ll notice things like opportunities they’ve missed, or you’ll wonder where they are or what they’re shooting at any given moment. It’s an added stress.

When you book a team however, they work together week in week out. Myself and Sam have shot together for the last 7-8 years. We have pretty much nailed the way we work and got it down to a fine art. It is seamless. At any given point in the schedule I know where he’s likely to be and what he is likely to be shooting. I know the types of shots he’s getting, I know what he (and what I) am responsible for capturing. We know one another and the way we work inside out. It’s like having two lead shooters, each with their own roles and responsibilities. Plus, it has all the perks of having an assistant…all rolled into one!

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