Michael Caswell Photography

One Photographer or Two?

I often get asked by couples whether they should have one photographer or two for their wedding. My album packages include a second photographer (it can be added to the photograpahy-only Basic Package as well), and you do have the option of removing it to bring down the cost of the package if you determine that you just need single-photographer coverage.

If you are not sure about this decision, it's best for us to have a discussion about the particulars of your wedding plans. But here are some factors to consider:

The Benefit of Two Photographers

A second photographer is particularly useful for certain situations. Most notable is during the pre-ceremony / prep phase if you want extensive/simultaneous coverage of both of you getting ready, especially if this involves different locations.

Having two photographers makes it easier to get various angles during the ceremony (especially for large church ceremonies where it would take an individual photographer more time to move from place to place), and provides another set of eyes capturing candid moments during the reception. For larger second line parades, one photographer can stay up front with the couple, while the other can concentrate on capturing images of the guests (or, if the second line is going from the ceremony to the reception, my second photographer can handle the equipment, which frees me up to more easily be able to shoot).

A second photographer can also help with capturing details and room shots before the ceremony and reception, particularly for larger, more complex weddings.

When One Photographer is Sufficient

For the pre-ceremony portion of the day many guys are not as enthusiastic about having a photographer in the room the whole time as the girls usually are. So have a discussion about that topic to find out how much prep coverage he wants (if you're both getting ready at the same hotel and just want a few shots of the guys getting ready, it's not a problem for me working as a single photographer to briefly pop into the groom's room for this). That said, the lack of a need for extensive groom prep coverage is not necessarily a disqualifying factor for a second photographer, as there will be other things for them to do during this pre-ceremony time, such as helping with bridal prep coverage or capturing detail shots of the ceremony and reception spaces.

Aside from your prep coverage needs, the size of your venue and, secondarily, the guest count are the main factors that should be considered. In a relatively intimate venue like a small French Quarter courtyard or a bed & breakfast, the benefits of a second shooter are not as pronounced as they would be when shooting in a large ballroom or other event space where we can spread out a bit and work different parts of the space without being in each others' way so much.

Two photographers can also feel out-of-proportion for receptions with smaller guest counts. With 200-300+ guests in attendance, multiple photographers will blend in easily with the crowd, but might be a bit too prominent and visible for a 40-60 guest reception.

No Worries Either Way

Of course, these are just general guidelines and not unbreakable rules; while it's true that some large weddings can really benefit tremendously from two photographers and other smaller ones might actually be better off with just one, I've also shot some very large and extravagant weddings by myself, and conversely have captured some smaller, more intimate weddings with two photographers.

So, whether you choose two-photographer or single-photographer coverage, rest assured your day will be captured beautifully! Because of my extensive experience, having shot over 600 weddings over the past 15 years or so, I'm perfectly comfortable working alone, but I can also make very good use of a second photographer if you choose that option.