A recent conversation with a lovely bride got me thinking of this question. She felt that it was best to have two photographers for her wedding in order to cover groom preparations and it started me questioning why I work alone and don’t have a regular second shooter with me at every wedding.
This is a good thing. It is so worthwhile every now and again to look at what you do, how you do it and why you do it that way. It allows for change and also can act as a confirmation that what you are doing is right for you.
I have always worked alone and when I look at wedding galleries I have produced I have never felt anything lacking or missing, or believed that another camera would have greatly enhanced the final product. Of course having two photographers there on the day can be a good thing, particularly for really large weddings where there are a couple of hundred guests. On these days I would often bring a second photographer, to capture the guests with me – 200 is a lot of people to photograph!! Other than that I am quite happy to and capable of photographing the day alone.
For me, my style is quite natural and unobtrusive. I often say to couples forget I am there. I travel light and like to blend in with everyone there. One of the best complements I can get is “we forgot that you were there!”. I love when I go unnoticed, it means my couples are comfortable with me enough to just forget about me and it allows me to capture those lovely natural moments when guests are not even aware that they are being photographed. I wonder does this ability get lost when there are two photographers and perhaps even two videographers? That is a lot of people to ignore!!
I guess it is a question of approach and also a question of personality. I have been very lucky and photographed beautiful weddings with wonderful people. They say “like attracts like” and if my couples are on the same page as me and my photographic style and approach, then I know it is going to be an amazing day and we are going to work really well together.
For me, the main reason to have a second photographer is to cover the grooms preparations. It works really well for this. The guys are being photographed during the morning whilst another photographer is with the bride capturing all of the excitement there too! I am quite happy to start earlier with the groom, capture the atmosphere and excitement with him and then move on to the brides preparations and leave the guys to get on with getting to the church early and finishing off all those last minute jobs!
I know I have given the right attention to both the guys and the girls and that the gallery and final album will be give a really good flavour of everything that happened. I prefer to do this myself for consistency. I often shoot a wedding with the album in mind and in terms of style I feel that covering both the bride and grooms preparations gives a consistency to my work that I really love.
Of course if two photographers are very similar in how they approach and photograph a wedding then this works as well. All I am saying is that I feel as a solo photographer I can achieve this too.
There is also the question of cost. Naturally it is more expensive to have two photographers at your wedding than just one. That is naturally to be expected. I feel that if I can offer my couples the same quality of service with one photographer, then why should they pay more?
Having said all of that I do bring second photographers with me to weddings occasionally. It is how I got started in wedding photography myself. I assisted other wedding photographers, whilst I learned the art of wedding photography and how to approach the wedding day itself – where to stand, what to photograph and what the format of the day looked like. I was so grateful to get this start in the business and I repay the favour when I can when other photographers are looking to get started. It is such a great way to get started and I am constantly aware of that.
So there you go, that’s my reasoning for shooting alone. I hope it has helped those who are getting started in wedding photography and are concerned about whet here they can go it alone without a second photographer. You can! Just get out there and start practicing!