Couples are busy shopping for venues, cakemakers, planners, studying design pallets, oh yes; and wedding photographers! It’s an extremely busy and time consuming process. It’s my interest to simplify the experience for couples consulting with me and those who secured my photography services. When couples research photographers, it can easily become overwhelming and confusing, because the styles of work and overall experience between photographers is very different, which is a good thing. Many wedding photographers use the second photographer as a point of value for their services. Are second photographers necessary? What exactly does it mean?
My neutral opinion-
It’s perfectly fine for each unique wedding photographer to work how they see fit. I’ve never worked with a second photographer personally. I take a journalist approach, and appeal most to those who want to have their story told and not have to think about it. It’s also perfectly fine that others prefer to work in teams. I would however beg to differ that the way some present it as being a necessity is accurate, regardless of who you choose. There is nothing I can tell you, and there’s nothing anyone else can tell you that should program your mind either way. The work, personality, and reputation of your ideal photographer should be the only thing that impresses you and strongly influences your decision. Anyone can talk, actions speak louder. If you like a specific photographer and their work, and feel that they show up prepared, then common sense should tell you that there’s no reason to want it done differently. Part of what you are relying on and trusting are their systems.
Clients don’t care about the contents in my camera bag, just that I show up prepared and insured. (most never question either, though venue owners should). I answer their questions and tell them anything relevant. I went to two weddings as a guest and observed these two photographers at one of the events. They seemed to be tunnel-visioned and neither one of them even noticed an adorable toddler protruding into the aisle quietly observing and eating a snack. If the couple got what they wanted, it’s a win. The other, the photographer was barely noticeable but still worked. That couple also got what they wanted. I can’t say that I saw the value of the second shooter in the first wedding, though different approaches can create a different result.
It’s only a perk if the qualifications and style are similar to the primary photographer, which is not usually the case. I’ve seen many posts on local wedding photographer social media groups looking for a second shooter at the eleventh hour because theirs bailed. That’s just heaping in a second shooter, and it’s only because it was promised, and for optics. How is this an asset to the couple? An author writes a book, and a copy editor proofs it. There’s one film producer. Are second photographers beneficial to some photographers? Yes. Are second photographers necessary for all wedding photographers? No. Just be sold on your choice for the right reasons.