Patton Photography | Calgary Wedding Photographers | Why You Want a Second Wedding Photographer

Why You Want a Second Shooter on Your Wedding Day

There are a lot of opinions and articles on why you should and should not have a second photographer on your wedding day.  We are huge supporters of having a second shooter at all our weddings and truly believe they add huge value to the day, because of this we include a second shooter in all our wedding packages.  So, how do you decide what is right for you?  Well, here are the reasons we believe in it so much.


One Photographer Can Not be in Two Places at Once

If the bride and groom are both getting ready in adjoining rooms, that is one thing, however generally the bride and groom are getting ready in two different locations.  Having a second photographer allows one photographer to stay with the bride while another stays with the groom.  This allows a more relaxed atmosphere as the photographer is not rushing between locations trying to ensure they get all the important shots.   

”but my photographer said they have the groom get ready then go and photograph the bride getting ready.”  While this might work in theory, in reality, this forces one party to get ready well ahead of time and then sit around while the photographer travels to the other location just to satisfy the photographers schedule.  During the travel time, the photographer is missing any of the candid moments that may be happening.   By having two photographers, they each capture the respective detail photos, the candid interactions between the bridal party, and the bride and groom getting ready on your schedule…not your photographers.

In the end, you are paying your photographer to take beautiful photographs, not to drive between locations or rush around your wedding ceremony trying to get into the best position while missing the candid moments while they are traveling.


Different Angles and Viewpoints

Having a second photographer allows a variety of photos that a single photographer can not capture.  Even when shooting from the same position, our photographers will be utilizing different lenses to capture close-up photos as well as wide overall photos.  Some moments such as placing the ring on the finger or the first kiss only last a couple of seconds, this is not enough time for a photographer to switch from a telephoto lens to a wide lens, recompose the photo, adjust settings for the new lens, focus, and take the picture.  Having two photographers allows one to be focused on close up details while the second is photographing a wider angle, this then tells the full story of each moment.

I have heard some photographers say, ‘I don’t need a second shooter to get different angle, I have legs’..yes, one photographer can move about capturing all the angles, however we believe in being non-invasive photographers and to do that, we want to limit our movement. 

Having a single photographer running around trying to capture all the angles is distracting for your guests, they have to move from one side to the other, often cutting in front of the first row of guests in order to make it to all positions in time.  Having two photographers means we greatly reduce our movements and therefore are less distracting.  During your wedding, you should be the main focus....not your photographers.    Our mission is to provide consistently incredible images while being non-invasive.


How Many Pictures Do You Need?

Some photographers will lead you to believe that just because there is a second photographer, you will suddenly have thousands of mediocre images that you must sort through.  This is far from being true.  While we take upwards of 3200 images at a typical wedding, our average gallery is typically about 750 images.  Having the extra photos allow us to choose the best photos as well as offer many more artistic photos as while one photographer is capturing the storytelling images, the second photographer is able to be more creative.  Having this selection of images available to us allows us to be more selective in what we offer our clients, if we are looking for the three best photos of your first kiss and we only have 5 photos to choose from, our ‘best’ images will be limited.  If we now select three images from a pool of 15 images taken from different angles and viewpoints, our three images will be a much higher quality and do a better job of showing the full story. 

By having a larger pool of photos to choose from which have various angles, styles, lens selections, etc, we can offer images that are of a higher quality and more complete.  Yes this means more work on our end to select the photos that will be in the gallery, however our clients are paying us to work hard and provide them with the best possible images. 

Even using top of the line professional equipment and years of experience, sometimes things happen when your angle gets blocked and you do not get the perfect shot.  Whether a guest steps in front of the photographer, the bride or grooms hand blocks the view of the ring, or there is slight misfocus of the camera, having the second photographer ensures the best possible picture is captured.


The two photographers won't have the same style

This is partially true....and this is a good thing.  Our photographers are fully versed in shooting dramatic images through the use of various strobes and flashes, while still knowing when to disable the lights and go for a soft and romantic look.  This allows us to provide you with the best of both worlds rather than being tied to only one style.  In some images, vibrant colors and details provide the best look, while in others, soft muted colors produce an amazing image.  Having the ability to provide you with both styles, and knowing when to use each style, allows us to provide the best in wedding photography service to our clients, whether it is in Calgary or at a destination wedding.


A professional photographer would never work for second shooter wages when they could book their own wedding and make more.

In truth, there are literally only a handful of photographers in Calgary who are truly full-time.  The vast majority of photographers photograph a limited number of weddings each year.  Weddings are an incredible amount of work afterwards with editing and post processing.  Many photographers will second shoot with other photographers as an additional source of income and without the additional editing work.  It also allows photographers to learn from one another and by doing so increases the knowledge and skill level of each as they learn tips and tricks that work for each other. 

When your photographer tells you they are a full time photographer...ask them what they mean by this.  Do they work 40 hours a week as a photographer or do they simply work as a photographer part time but it is their only job.

While some photographers may use students or friends that have a ‘nice camera’, we utilize a pool of five second shooters that all have their own successful businesses.  We are able to work with each other, helping each other with projects and bringing up the skill level of everyone.  By having multiple second shooters, we are able to use the best person for each wedding ensuring that the client has the best possible experience.  Having reliable and talented second shooters also ensures that we always have someone available.