29 Jan

Why Two Photographers?

Posted by Brent Looyenga
Spokane WA Wedding Photographer

The Why Series: Two Photographers

I’m starting a new periodic series called “The Why Series.” In this series I will explain why I do the things I do, why certain things are included in my wedding photography packages, and why they matter. In creating each package, I weigh and measure each element’s value and priority. In the first installment of the series, I want to talk about second photographers, what their benefits are, and why they can be so important.


Second photographers are a big deal for several huge reasons. But first it’s important to talk about who they are. I always try to find a second photographer who photographs a similar style to myself. They love the details, the emotion, the beautiful depth of field, and above all, they love people. No matter how great the images they, or I, can make, it’s important that we are people you want to spend time with. The quality of a person matters a lot to me. My main photographer, Brent, makes things easy on everyone, not only because he’s extremely talented, Godly, and very smart, but it also means everyone only needs to remember a single name (that is, my name is also Brent). When we come into a wedding we know what we’re doing, we each know how the other works, and we know how to create amazing images. For example, one of my favorite shots of the year is this one of Chris and Britany in their wedding at the Jewett House.

But this isn’t the only photo of the moment. Because there were two of us, we were both working two different angles. At this exact time, one of us was photographing from above, as well, giving a drastically different photo.

Here is another example. While I was taking a more “traditional” straight on photo of Michael and Julianna, Brent was off to the side and took a photo that is equally amazing, even though it looks completely different.

Another instance happened during an amazing Coeur d’Alene wedding at Settlers Creek. Adam and Dana were cutting the cake, and at the same time they were looking completely adorable. While one of us got a great shot of the cake itself being cut, the other one was able to catch the look Dana gave Adam at that exact moment. No matter how great I or anyone else might be at photographing an event alone, it is simply not possible to get both of these photos at the same time.

The second photographer also comes up big when two things need to happen at one time. For example, at this same wedding when I was taking photos of the groomsmen, Brent was able to take some amazing bridesmaid photos.

So while these guys were doing that, the ladies were doing this:

Another example comes when I’m photographing families at a wedding. There isn’t often a reason to have two photographers at the family portrait session — when it comes to groups, you need everyone looking at the same place. Having two photographers allows me to capture more of your wedding. That is, there are so many things that demand my time, such as family photos, or couple photos, that it can cause me not to cover other aspects as well as I’d like. In this example, Yer and Kia’s wedding at the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Hagadone Event Center, was absolutely beautiful inside and out. Angela Austin Floral Design did an amazing job with the flowers, and Misty Cerillo with Cameo Events did a beautiful job setting up the entire venue. So while I was outside taking family photos, my second photographer was inside getting the beautiful details before anyone had a chance to dirty them up. These two photos were taken at virtually the same time:

Having a second photographer also gives me more creative freedom. That is, I can take more risks to get you an amazing image, rather than having to play it safe to get you an image that will for sure “work.” A great example of this is during a sparkler exit. There are two ways I can shoot a sparkler exit, and both look amazing for different reasons. One is to photograph it with natural light only (that is, use the light from the sparklers to illuminate the couple). This can often have a very beautiful, soft, almost intimate look — if you can get enough sparklers to illuminate the couple, that is. The other way is to add some speedlights behind the couple to give it a more “exciting” look. I think it can capture the excitement of the moment a little better, but at the same time takes away that amazingly beautiful look of the ambient light. All this to say that the sparkler shot at the end of the night is one of the hardest shots all day, as it happens so quickly, and with low light, focusing problems can easily show up. So the first benefit of having a second photographer there is you have double the chance of that exit photo turning out. Here is an example from Mitch and Jody’s wedding at a Coeur d’Alene event and wedding location, The White House.

This one was photographed with only ambient light and has a very cool look by itself. The photo below was shot using the flashes, one on each side of the couple. You can see it gives them more of a rim light, but can also make the sparklers be more underwhelming. A second photographer allows me to not have to choose between ambient light and a background flash. I, and you, can have the best of both worlds.  

By now it seems pretty clear that a second photographer has some pretty serious benefits. This leads me to my last one, but it is just as important and valuable. Two photographers means more photos for you, the client. Half of the photos on this blog wouldn’t exist if I didn’t have someone else there to take the photo. The second photographer brings much to the table, and it isn’t simply more photos, but rather a large array of benefits. 


Brent Looyenga is a Spokane Wedding Photographer based out of Coeur d’Alene. He loves people and specializes in wedding, engagement, family, and senior photography. You can like Looyenga Photography on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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