This is something I get asked a lot by my clients. The answer of course will depend on numerous factors, from where you're getting ready to the size of your wedding. Here are my top reasons I would recommend a second shooter:
1. I can't be in two places at once.
It may seem obvious, but there are many moments during a wedding where I wish I could be! For example in the morning when the bridal party are getting ready in one location and the groomsmen in another. Or at the start of the ceremony when I want to focus on the grooms face as he turns to see his bride for the first time, but also on the bride walking up the aisle. Or perhaps after the ceremony when we have a few moment to take photos of you and your new husband, but there are some great guest moments happening just outside. A second shooter means more moments captured.
2. Many hands make light work.
Many second shooters are pros in their own time, so they know weddings. During those moments when all hands are needed on deck to gather the right people for their group shots a second shooter can be invaluable as I can be taking one photo whilst they line up the next. They are also great spotters for when a button hole is askew from a hug or there is unwanted clutter in the background or straightening the bride's dress.
3. It's a different perspective.
As the second photographer there is not as much pressure to produce the classic 'must have' shots from every wedding that the primary photographer is responsible for. This often means they have more opportunity to get creative and as a result capture details and moments that a solo photographer can't always focus on. I always work with experienced photographers (not assistants) who have a different 'eye' to me. That way I don't simply get a repeat of the images I am taking but a completely fresh perspective which sometimes wows me when I'm going through the files for the first time.
4. You get more photos.
Again, this may seem obvious, but two photographers will take more pictures than one, meaning you're more likely to receive a higher number of beautiful moments to treasure after the day is done. This is especially true if you're having a large number of guests. Whilst I'll try to capture everyone that was there, you're more likely to get those fabulous moments of everyone laughing at the speeches if there are two of us focusing on different people.
5. You get to see what was happening when you weren't there.
Want to know what your partner was doing at the moment you were having your dress zipper pulled up? Was he taking a deep breath and checking his watch? Or was he on his third pint?!!! There is something magical about spotting two images side by side in a gallery of images and knowing that whilst you were doing and thinking one thing he was nearby doing something else. A little precious insight.
6. And finally...
On a personal note I often work with my partner and given the nature of the event we are covering I feel that this more intimate partnership conveys something a little different on to the way we cover an event together. Working with a regular second shooter give you a support and understanding that allows you to create your very best work.
However, on the other hand, if you are having a particularly intimate wedding, or everything is happening in one place then I enjoy the buzz of capturing the whole event alone. I get a good rhythm going and the story is told in a more chronological order.