I’ve seen a lot of photographers work extremely well on their own. Some photographers just employ or contract in a second shooter on a per wedding basis. I think it's all personal preference. I’m incredibly lucky to have my husband work alongside me on wedding days. I have come to believe that Matt helps me be the best photographer I can be on a wedding day and for the most part we work extremely well together.
While I wouldn't recommend that working with your spouse is for everyone, it does mean that my second shooter knows me well. Matt knows what the nod of my head means during group photos, he recognises when I need a drink of water but am too busy to stop and we are just so familiar with one another that what I can explain to him in one sentence may take me a few minutes to explain to anyone else I might work with.
Even if Matt wasn't the awesome budding photographer that he is, he's still invaluable to me as an assistant. He makes sure I have fresh batteries in all my gear, keeps me updated with the time, he has lenses ready for me when I need to swap one out, he's even known to hold bouquets and champagne flutes for the bridal party! All this leaves me free to concentrate on getting the shots I need & to be more creative.
TWO PLACES AT ONCE - A huge benefit of having a second shooter is that it creates more time for us on a day. As much of the multi-tasker that I like to think I am, I just can't be in two places at once. Having a second shooter at your wedding means that while I am seeing the girls in the morning, Matt can be with the guys so that if time is short I don't have to rush between the two places. It means during bridal party photos while I am getting the required group shots, Matt can be capturing candids. We can get more done in the same amount of time.
MORE CANDIDS - The second shooter's angle is often the more preferred angle for photographs, because while the main photographer is focusing on the bigger picture of the day and is the photographer that gets everyone's attention, the second shooter can shoot away often under the radar, capturing more candids and what I call the 'stolen moments'.
Matt couldn't have timed this shot of Koreena better! Just before she stepped into the church she looked down to adjust her dress and he captured the beautiful, candid moment.
TWO PERSPECTIVES - Having a second shooter also adds a different perspective to your wedding photographs. Instead of one photographer having to move around for multiple shots, two photographers can work in unison and keep the flow of the day going for the bridal party while providing variety and two perspectives of the same situation to your image collection. Often this comes in the form of an environmental, full-picture image and a more intimate portrait of the same moment. Here's a couple of shots to show you what I mean, I'll let you guess who took what ;)
BETTER COVERAGE - Another benefit of having a second shooter is being able to focus on different tasks and produce better coverage of the day. An example of this is during ceremonies, I focus on the bride coming down the aisle and Matt can focus on getting the reaction of the groom. And likewise for first looks. At the last wedding we shot; while I was shooting the beautiful table details and decorations, Matt was busy taking candids of guests enjoying themselves - creating a more complete visual story for the couple when they look back at their images.
SUPPORT (HE'S GOT MY BACK!) - Finally, I would be lying if I tried to make out that I never make a mistakes. I'm going to admit something that still makes me cringe... I once had a couple who's first kiss was so quick that I got the 'just before' and 'just after' of the kiss but not THE kiss. I inwardly panicked when I reviewed my images from the ceremony! My heart was racing as I explained this to Matt, he grinned and showed me a perfect shot of the first kiss he had captured. While I will never rely on a second shooter to get the shot (that is my job as the main photographer!) I have to admit that a second shooter is insurance, giving me a back up in what can be a high pressure job. Knowing someone has my back helps me perform at my best because it eliminates an element of stress.
All my wedding collections include a second shooter, it’s not an add on or an additional extra cost, it's just part of the service. While I'm the lead photographer and it's my name on the business, Heidi Horton Photography is very much a team.