I remember the first time I officially helped Nancy with a wedding, having some sort of real responsibilities. It was Nancy Ray’s first wedding in Charleston, with the Ceremony at a Catholic church downtown, and the reception at the South Carolina Society Hall on Meeting Street. I got an in-depth primer on the use of our professional equipment and we reviewed the timeline beforehand.
I wish I could say that I immediately brought Nancy Ray Photography to a new level of artistry, and that I modeled top-notch client service that day, but I was admittedly quite rough around the edges. That being said, for the last six years I’ve had the privilege of learning and growing, serving over 100 great couples in that span.
Before I came on board to help, Nancy did a few weddings by herself, believe it or not. As soon as I started helping, she said something to the effect of, “We’re never going back.” And we haven’t. Each and every wedding since that initial one, we’ve never sent out a wedding photographer alone. A second shooter always, always accompanies them.
Say that statement to most photographers, and they’d respond, “Duh.” But if you’re shopping for wedding photographers, you might not understand why we don’t negotiate on the number of photographers if you use Nancy Ray Photography. In my six years of experience, I’ve found there to be many, many benefits to having a second photographer at your wedding, but today I’ll just share a few.
6 Benefits to having a 2nd Photographer at your Wedding
1. A second photographer allows the primary photographer to perform on their highest possible level. When the Nancy or Callie know they have a reliable second shooter covering the additional details discussed before the wedding, they can do what they do best: create beautiful art from the moments of the day. As a second shooter, I (or whoever is shooting that day) help keep us on track, and I assist and support the lead photographer.
2. A second shooter brings a different perspective (literally). At the very least, the second photographer cannot physically stand in the same place as the lead shooter, so you’re going to get two different perspectives. That’s at the least. More often, we as second shooters endeavor to bring a different artistic perspective and interpretation, and to capture moments that might otherwise go unnoticed.
3. A second shooter allows us to capture more special moments. Any given wedding day is brimming with special moments and memories. Two skilled photographers allow us to capture more of those for you.
4. A second photographer can capture more of the groom’s perspective and wedding day experience. Much wedding photography is [understandably] bride-centric. A second photographer can capture your groom’s experience much more effectively than a single photographer trying to do everything.
5. A second shooter makes planning your day more effective, requiring fewer total hours of coverage. To have a single photographer (even with an assistant) shoot absolutely everything would cost much more in time. Before the ceremony, the lead photographer would need additional time for shooting all the details; following the ceremony they would need additional time to do both the portraits and all the details. This additional time would stretch your wedding planning, unnecessarily prolonging your day. With two photographers, you can create a simple, effective wedding schedule with no unnecessary delays.
6. A second photographer acts as an insurance policy of sorts. Thank God, in seven years, this has never happened, and God willing, it will never happen. But if we were to experience a serious equipment failure of some kind, a second set of images from a skilled second shooter ensures that we would never be in a situation where we had no images from a wedding. We’ve never had to completely rely on one shooter or the other because of equipment failure, but it’s comforting to everyone to know that we have multiple sets of images from any part of the day.
Ultimately, a second shooter elevates the quality of the art that is created during your wedding. I know that our team would say in 10 out of 10 weddings, a skilled second shooter has helped elevate the final product we’ve delivered to the client, in at least one of these ways I’ve listed above. While it might seem like overkill to have two photographers, we do it to provide the best possible experience for our clients!
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