2 Photographers or 1? A common question I get often from not only brides but also a lot of photographers wanting to know why they should offer 2 photographers or why a bride needs 2 photographers. My short answer to everyone, it depends on your business model, what the bride wants and what you think you can provide to your clients.
I know, not the answer you wanted to hear. So let me give photographers a few tips on how to provide second photographers and a few tips on what brides should and can expect when shopping for photographers. First let me start with a few tips for brides, then a few tips for photographers and sum it all up with what we do. Not saying what we do is the perfect way of doing things, as every business has their own way of running the show.
Tips for brides searching for photographers.
Every bride wants beautiful pictures. Most brides think they need certain things for their wedding based on what friends, family and other brides have suggested. This is a great starting point, but it is your wedding and only you can decide what you really want and need. Please, start with the suggestions of others and then build your want/need list from there. As for wanting 2 photographers; have you asked yourself why you think you need 2 or want 2? If so, what are the reasons? Most times, saving the money you would have spent on having a second photographer would get you an album, or parent albums or other details for your wedding day.
A good photographer should be able to capture your entire day on their own and a second photographer should just be an added bonus to telling the story of your special day, not an essential. A few things you should consider when shopping for photographers that offer 2 photographers are the following.
1. Is the second photographer a professional photographer?
2. Can you see samples of their work or meet them before your wedding?
3. Can they do everything the main photographer can do?
4. Can they step up and take over if something should happen to the main photographer on the day of the wedding, be it the photographer got so sick they were in the hospital or were in an accident, ect….
If the studio/photographer cannot confidently answer those questions for you, their second is not a professional with samples of their work, or they cannot step up to be the main photographer in time of need; then they are not the studio you should be spending your money with. There are a lot of photographers in every market; some offering 2 photographer and some offering 1. Believe it or not, some studios will advertise 2 photographers as a marketing scam to get people to book with them. Then when the brides big day comes, they just use any old person that can hold a camera and turn it on. Be it the photographers cousin, friend, neighbor or someone they found on Craigslist. So be careful and do your homework.
Tip for photographers offering 2 photographers.
Brides only get married once, (knock on wood) so we need to educate them a little more than photographers that should already understand and know how a good photography business works. Many photographers either already offer 2 photographers or are thinking of offering 2 photographers. There are a lot of things to consider if you are going to offer 2 photographers to brides. Here are a list of things to do or consider when offering this service to brides. Remember, they only get married once so you need to not only protect your reputation but also protect that brides special day with awesome photos.
1. Is your second/third/fourth photographer a professional?
2. Can you provide samples of their work?
3. Would you be willing to let the bride meet them before she books you?
4. Can your other photographer take over as the lead if need be?
5. Do you pay your second enough to make them care about your business and do a good job? (yes this is important)
If you cannot answer yes to all 5 of these questions then you need to find new second photographers or reevaluate your business model. It will only protect you in the end and get your clients awesome photos.
So now that we helped both brides and photographers with some tips on second photographers, here is what we do in our business. Just so brides already know what to expect from us and so other photographers have a guide to base off of.
1. We offer 2nd photographers for ALL weddings, but we show brides samples of weddings we shot with 1 photographer to show that we are capable and comfortable to photograph any event with 1 or 2 photographers.
2. We show samples of work that has stuff done by our second photographers and a lot of the images on our site are done from either myself, my wife (my main second shooter) or our other shooter Tony.
3. Any bride or groom is welcome to meet either my wife or Tony before their wedding. Tony lives out of town so an in person meeting may not always work, but he does have family in Pittsburgh and visits often or we could do Skype or FaceTime. Either way, we will let any client meet with our second photographers.
4. Either Tony or my wife can step in as a lead if need be. There have been a few times I let one of them step up while I did the second shooting for a while. It gives the client different perspectives and artistic visions on their wedding day. It also gives me second shooters the confidence to really step it up in case there was an emergency and they had no choice. I do not want them to be a deer in headlights if I go down and they need to put their game face on.
5. Here is where we are a little bit different in the way we operate. When you book Photos by Nick, you book us because you like my vision, my style and my way of telling the story of your day. I have been doing this for many years now and I have a distinct style and a way of capturing your day. I may shoot a particular way for certain shots, knowing that I will do something special in post production editing. This is something that you cannot teach someone and something that cannot be replicated by second photographers. The main purpose for our second photographers is to capture images that we may not have the opportunity to capture because we are engaged in a moment with the bride or groom. An example would be when the bride is getting ready and dad comes in to see his daughter one last time before he lets her go. I capture dads and the brides reaction, but mom may be standing behind me crying in the moment. This is something my second photographer would capture since I obviously do not have eyes in the back of my head. (Although I am working on that HAHA) So our second photographer usually travels with the main photographer, me, as we capture your day. I will guarantee you awesome photos that tell a beautiful story and my second photographer will capture the moments that fill in between.
I hope this is a big help to both brides and photographers alike. If you have any questions if you are a bride or photographer, feel free to leave comments, email or call. I am always glad to help. I hope this helps brides understand the difference between quality photography over quantity. For photographers, this should be a good starting point on how to offer this service to your potential clients.
Have a wonderful day and happy wedding season everyone