Should I Hire A Photographer With A Second Shooter?

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Good day! Today’s blog is about whether or not to hire a second shooter for your St. Thomas Wedding. I have a guest blogger to answer some of the pressing questions you may have! Let’s welcome Jay, from Nashville, TN. He owns his own  photography business, Jay Farrel Photography. Jay is an expert on documentary photography and it’s how he shoots his events. We see this question everywhere, so we decided to tackle the question.

Take it away, Jay.

My name is Jay Farrell.  I see the discussion everywhere I participate online, and even amongst other wedding photographers, about second photographers at weddings. Do you really need two photographers?

I can see where some couples assume two are always better based on human logic, and it’s double the coverage and extra angles / perspectives. Is it always? I think most couples do their best to research all matters pertaining to weddings, and much of that research is done online. There are some great tools, and some not so good that are click bait, shock value, and hype.

Second Shooter

It boils down to the working preference of the photographer. Just as not every chef uses the same amount of prep cooks and sous chefs, but that’s their choice. As long as they work efficiently and get the food out to their standard of quality, that’s what counts. Often portrait or fashionista wedding photographers use second shooters because they spend a great deal of time orchestrating various parts of the event and posing people and need someone to fill in the gaps. Whereas me being a documentary photographer, I don’t. For the former, it makes sense if that’s how they work best. There is only true value to that second shooter if their style and approach compliments the primary, and rivals the quality and skill level of the primary.

There is no right or wrong here. Realize that it’s the working preference of each pro. The primary concern should be loving the style and approach, feel to their photos, and personality when selecting a photographer. Seemingly “more” isn’t always better. It’s the thoughtful approach used when telling the story. If you are impressed with everything about them and their work, let them worry about how they choose to work. If someone likes my approach but insists on a second shooter, that’s passive aggressively telling me how to do my job. Eight years of photographing weddings, having never worked with a second shooter, do you want me to start doing so at your wedding? Didn’t think so 😀

Second shooter

Here are reasons I personally don’t use a second photographer.

-Getting ready shots, how many photos of hair and makeup, tying ties, doing shoes, etc. do you REALLY need? You don’t need two photographers for this. I go back and forth at least once, capturing highlights and this way I keep a more low profile and get more natural photos. It’s WEIRD to stay in the same changing room the whole time, just seems redundant and unnecessary.

-A second shooter can make it feel more like a media circus. By me not being so noticeable, it helps me catch people in their element when they don’t expect it, this helps me get photos full of life that are natural.

-It’s redundant for most parts of the event.

-I don’t want to have to worry about delegating another photographer. My attention is better when it’s undivided.

-I don’t spend much time on posed photos, so that reduces the need for extra coverage.

Second Shooter

I know my approach isn’t for everyone and each photographer works with a second shooter, or works as a solo operation for a reason.  Whether you work with a photographer who works as a team or solo, it has to start with at least one great photographer. Not two mediocre ones. Each photographer tells a story differently and provides a different experience. As for me, I’d rather make  each moment count, rather than mass produce. Mileage varies.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Thank you to Jay for stopping by! And if you have other questions that he didn’t cover, feel free to ask in the comments!

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