I’ve been working with shooting assistants since 2004 and can’t imagine working any other way; an extremely talented shooting assistant (a true second photographer) is one of the important things that sets my coverage apart from most photographers who work alone or with an assistant who merely carries equipment or does other non-photographic tasks while the name photographer does all the shooting.
No matter how talented the primary shooter is, a good shooting assistant can always contribute to the wedding coverage. That’s because so many wonderful things are going on at any wedding and the primary photographer simply can’t be in all places at one time.
Hiring a team instead of a single photographer means you get photos of the bride getting ready and of the groom getting ready. (Or, of the groom not getting ready but instead going off the rope swing into the lake with his groomsmen. Or fishing. Or drinking beer and watching tv.)
It means we can capture the quiet moments before the bride and her dad walk down the aisle and the groom’s jitters as he waits to see her. One of us can get a wide-angle (overall) shot of the ceremony from the church balcony while the other stays close to capture the bride and groom’s faces as they exchange vows. One photographer can be inside the reception hall or tent recording details (the cake, flowers, menu cards, place cards, etc.) while the other photographer is capturing candid photos of your guests enjoying the cocktail hour outside.
During the ceremony, when the photography should be as unobtrusive as possible, having two people working simultaneously lessens the amount of movement either one of them needs to do during the ceremony. Typically my assistant and I take opposite vantage points at the ceremony, which means we can offer you more variety of the ceremony without moving around and distracting your guests. And, if–heaven forbid–nasty weather moves your outdoor ceremony into a cramped indoor area where there is just no room at all for moving about during the ceremony, having two photographers means you get two views of the ceremony and not just one.