Why I Really Regret NOT Hiring Two Wedding Photographers
Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Among all of the things you will plan for during your wedding one of the most important is wedding photography. Think about it. If you find the most beautiful wedding dress and don't get any good photos of you in it, then did it even matter that you found the perfect dress? If your flowers are jaw-droppingly awesome but nobody catches the moment when you throw your bouquet to your lucky bridesmaids, then who will remember it? The answer is nobody, especially not you. Because our wedding day is such a whirlwind of events and people we tend to not remember much of anything from our own big day.
I literally only remember three or four special moments from my wedding day. I remember messing up my vows because I decided to memorize them instead of write them down (brave, but dumb). Next, I remember dancing with my new wife and our five year old niece. I remember my best mans speech, and lastly eating blueberry pie for desert. That's it. I don't remember seeing most of my friends. I don't remember talking to most of my family. I don't remember any of the laughs I'm sure I had with my uncles. I don't remember any hugs or kisses from my mom and dad. The only way I know for sure that these things happened is because we had an awesome wedding photographer. But I know for a fact that there was a lot of action they weren't able to capture because like the mortal he is - he could only be in one place at a time. So yes, we seriously regret not hiring a second photographer to cover our wedding. Even though our photographer did an amazing job and got all of the main shots that we wanted, we missed out on a ton of classic candid moments that we can never recreate. In retrospect I honestly wish we'd had the candids even more than the first look or a shot of us saying "I do".
There were tons of moments that my friends and family related to me that I not only don't remember, but have no record of. So I know from experience that having two wedding photographers is ultra important if you really care about catching most of the candid moments AND all of the obligatory wedding shots that we've come to require for our instagram stories. One photographer simply can't catch everything. Even two people can't get EVERYTHING but they can certainly snap twice as many shots and drastically increase the likelihood that when grandma gets out on the dance floor to boogey-down and bust a funky move, there's someone there to catch it in all its glory.
Aside from all of the random candid moments that you're definitely going to want immortalized in your wedding photo gallery there are a bunch of standard wedding moments that it's just impossible for only a single photographer to capture, let me count the ways.
Getting the look on BOTH the bride and grooms faces at the same time that they see each other during the first look.
Similarly, catching both bride and grooms faces as the bride walks down the aisle.
Shots of the bride and groom both getting ready at the same time especially if they are in separate locations. Unless you're hiring The Flash as your photographer, it's not happening without two shooters.
Covering cocktail hour while the other photographer shoots family group photos.
Snapping shots of the best man/maid of honor speeches AND the couples reactions simultaneously.
Any other moment where a photographer needs to, but CAN'T be in two places at one time, and there are a lot.
Ok so I've told you why it is so important to have (at least) two photographers for your wedding day. Now let me let you in on a little industry secret. When you hire a photographer and then ask for a second you will get what is known as a "second shooter". Generally these photographers are much less experienced and are getting paid a low hourly wage (low for a wedding photographer - generally around $25/hour). These second shooters may just be out of college or even still attending school. They may be on their first or second wedding shoot, and therefore are not guaranteed to do nearly as good of a job as the "First shooter" whose work you fell in love with and hired. Obviously they'll try and do a good job, but are you really willing to gamble the most cherished memories of your life on a potential amateur? I think not. That's why people invest a lot in hiring tried-and-true professionals so that they can go through their wedding day with the peace of mind that comes from knowing the folks behind the shutters will execute a quality product every time.
We're a little different from most wedding photographers over here at Annie x Mike Photography. We work exclusively as a team and will NEVER work a wedding solo. We do this for a few reasons but the biggest one is that we pride ourselves on our photojournalistic approach to capturing candid shots of you and your guests. We know from experience that a lot of the time catching that amazing moment of laughter or that intimate moment between newlyweds comes down to numbers. The more shots we take, the more likely that we catch that priceless moment. Now onto the BIG DIFFERENCE that we bring to the table. When you hire us you're not getting a first and second shooter. You're getting two "First Shooters" who have years of experience working together and are both full-time professional wedding photographers who have serious skin in the game, as in they both own the company. If the final product isn't miraculous then it seriously hurts us. Unlike a low paid second shooter who's been outsourced for a one-off gig. So, basically we care more. Lastly a big point of value for having two first shooters who know each other intimately (I mean seriously, we're married) is communication. For example if one of us sees a moment about to happen across the room, and it's too far away to get to, a simple glance can signal the other photographer to turn and grab the shot before the moment passes. This type of intuitive communication only develops over years of shooting weddings together and it means that we'll immortalize way more memories for you to enjoy forever. So now that I'm done with my shameless plug for our business I'll finish with one last piece of advice.
Don't skimp on your wedding photographers! There are so many things that you need to book for an amazing wedding to go off without a hitch. From food vendors to musicians. From wedding planners to florists. These are all worthwhile and sometimes absolutely necessary services you'll want at your wedding. BUT, ask yourself. Does any of it matter if there isn't a beautiful photographic record of it all that you can enjoy on every anniversary, every birthday and holiday? Every year? For the rest of your lives?! I'd argue that it doesn't. It's like the sentiment us elder millennials like to remind each other of incessantly. "Pics or it didn't happen".