Videographer

How do I choose a wedding videographer?

While still, images are an essential wedding day keepsake, we highly recommend investing in a professional wedding videographer to help capture your special day too! Your wedding day goes by so quickly so you’ll want to have a video to relive all those special moments – like the look on your groom’s face as you walk down the aisle, or the emotional moments as your mother helps you into that beautiful dress. Being able to relive your wedding vows and the speeches that those closest to you worked so hard on is something you definitely can’t put a price tag on!

You may think that having both wedding photos and a video is overkill, or may not want to prioritize videography in your budget, but trust us—you’ll want to hire a wedding videographer. I know this sounds bias coming from a Wedding Videographer =), but hear us out. When it comes to looking back on your wedding, having a film brings the day back to life just by pushing play. Having a video to accompany your photos can give you a full experience to look back on. Still, it can also be amazing to have this piece of art — starring you! or one, the day flies by, and there are things you’ll miss that your videographer will capture beautifully, like seeing your grandmother’s emotional reaction as you say your vows.

Hiring a wedding videographer is an important process. You want to be able to re-experience your wedding in motion. There are so many moments that occur in between photos being taken, and that extra experience adds to the authenticity and depth of memory. Also, you have to think of the sounds that can’t be captured in a photo, like your “I dos,” the reception music and meaningful toasts. But don’t just take our word for it— watch the videos =

Equally as important is the selection of the videography style you want. The best thing to do is to watch a bunch of wedding videos to see which one connects with you.

Ask any of your married friends or family about their big day, and they will tell you how quickly the day went! You spend what feels like months on end planning your dream wedding, from getting ideas to booking suppliers, going to dress fittings and sending out invites, there’s a lot of work that goes into it all and then it’s over in a flash. What’s left are the amazing memories, your photographs and your wedding video, so it’s important you make the right choice when it comes to choosing a wedding videographer. Below are my top tips for helping you choose the right wedding videographer.

Tips On How To Choose Your Wedding Videographer

Videographer

Know the “type” of the video you want

There are two main categories of wedding videos:

  • Cinematic 5-10 minute highlight video: This is the most popular type of wedding video and is primarily dedicated to showcasing the most emotional and memorable parts of your day. The videographer will shoot a lot of footage throughout the day and spend a lot of time picking the best moments to tell a comprehensive story of your wedding.
  • Long-form documentary video: This type of wedding video is focused on showing every moment of your day, typically with a less discerning lens about which shots look cinematic. It’s more about capturing the raw, unfiltered moments throughout the day and giving a full picture of all the events. These edits can be anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes and will look more like a documentary than a cinematic video.

Some wedding videographers can do both, but most videographers specialize in either one or the other and knowing your preference allows you to decide “yay” or “nay quickly”.

Focus on the storytelling

Regardless of style, a videographer is supposed to make you feel like you were at the wedding. They are storytellers and have the enormous responsibility of capturing and re-telling moments in a way that builds emotion and conveys a message. 

If you only watch 10 seconds of their video, it’s probably because they aren’t telling an engaging story that makes you want to watch more. Find a videographer who’s videos captivate you and draw you into the story of the wedding day.

Find your style 

Every videographer has a different way of capturing weddings. The only thing that matters is whether you enjoy watching and re-watching what they create. Do you prefer the slow, dreamy, romantic type of wedding video? Do you gravitate toward the fast-paced, fun, energetic types of edits? A good measure of whether you jive with someone’s style is whether you feel compelled to show their video to your fiance (typically accompanied by the phrase “babe – you have to check this out”). 

*ONE CAVEAT* Every skilled videographer can tailor their videos to a couple’s preference and wedding situation. Watching one video may not give you the full picture of their style, but if you watch a few edits, you should get a good idea for the style they gravitate toward

Check the connection

Consider this: your photographer and videographer will be with you during your wedding nearly as much as your fiance.

Let that sink in … pretty crazy huh?

So before you rush to call up that distant cousin who took a film class in college, consider whether your videographer can do the following:

  • Help you feel comfortable in front of a camera: Most people aren’t in front of a camera every day, and it can feel a bit awkward at first. You want someone comfortable to be around, makes you laugh and helps you feel beautiful or handsome. 
  • Work well with your photographer: You’ve hired both the photographer and videographer to make your day special and memorable. It’s not a competition, and they both should have the same objective and work together to create an enjoyable experience.
  • Keep calm in the midst of a stressful environment: Every wedding has complications, and if your videographer starts panicking, it’s hard for you to relax and enjoy the day. Their job is to worry about the video; your job is to get married. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether they are getting the right shots or capturing the special moments.

Whether it’s over the phone or in-person, if you’re having trouble connecting on a personal level with your videographer, you may want to reconsider whether they are a good fit.

Examine the questions, not the monologue

Remember, you are hiring the videographer for their skill and expertise. They should ask you a lot of questions and offer suggestions to make sure your wedding day goes smoothly. No wedding is the same (although the format may be similar) and you want to work with someone who wants to understand how to tell your unique story beautifully. 

During a phone or coffee consultation, take note of how many questions they ask you and how much they seek to understand what’s special about your wedding. If they spend all the time talking and never ask you any questions, they’ve already put you in a box with all their other videos.

Determine your price range

This one’s a gimme. If you can’t afford a high-end videographer, then you probably shouldn’t hire one, but that doesn’t mean you need to have an exact number. Just knowing a ballpark figure (e.g. “around $3,500”) will help you narrow down the candidates pretty quickly and sort out videographers who are way above or way below your threshold.

If you’re going down the free or cheap route, here are a few things we HIGHLY recommend:

  • Always pay something: Even if it’s your best friend, brother, or cousin, always pay them something for their time. Here why: PEOPLE TAKE STUFF MORE SERIOUSLY WHEN THEY GET PAID! Gifts usually fall to the bottom of people’s to-do lists, especially when it takes a lot of time and effort.
  • Accept the risk: Lower cost typically accompanies lower quality or lower reliability. If you ask your distant cousin to capture the most special day of your life, you need to accept that it may not turn out exactly how you’d like. Hiring a professional provides you with a quality result and gives you one less thing to worry about.

Start with as many references as you possibly can. Recently married friends will be more than happy to share their wisdom (and show off their wedding film!) Similarly, if you’ve already booked your wedding photographer, they will have great recommendations for videographers they have previously worked with. Once you have collected your references, get out the popcorn and start looking through all the portfolios!

We strongly recommend you watch three complete wedding films that your videographer has created (not just their “best” bits cropped from films). Watch through each wedding and think about how they make you feel: if you feel excited, nervous and emotional, it means the videographer has captivated you and forged an emotional connection. The mark of a good videographer is transporting you (the viewer) to the wedding day through their film! Most importantly, it makes you wish you’d been invited!

While you have a mini-marathon of watching wedding films, don’t forget to pay attention to the videographer’s website. You will be amazed by how much you can learn from their online presence and web design! The more developed and well presented their website is, the more in touch with the technology they should be, which is a good thing in the world of videography and editing.

Make sure you know which style of filming you like! Some videographers will take a documentary stance, where the finished film will show your wedding day as it happens, with interviews from your loved ones dispersed throughout the film. Some prefer the storytelling style, where they weave the different moments from your wedding day into a structured narrative. Others will take a “fly-on-the-wall” attitude and will film the day as it unfolds and edit it accordingly. Don’t forget to speak up if you have a song you want to be included – that one that gives you goosebumps or the one you heard when you first met!

Meet with your potential videographer and make sure you get along with them! A meeting in person is incredibly important, as this person (and potentially their assistant) will be an integral part of your wedding day and will be following you very closely from morning to evening. With the right videographer, you will not feel camera-shy. You won’t even know that the camera is there!

Hire the Person Whose Style Most Closely Matches Yours 

Just like photographers, videographers take different approaches to their craft. While each videographer puts their artistic touch on their work, there are a few styles by which most videographers can be categorized. These are the most common styles to look for in your search:

Cinematic

Cinematic is the most popular style of videographer you will find in your search. These films are most like a real movie, edited and stylized as a piece of art. 

Video Journalistic / Documentary

Like documentary photography, a video journalistic approach is meant to capture the day as it occurred. This means that your film will include footage of some of your day’s biggest moments, but will also highlight the other happenings of the day — getting ready, guests interacting before the ceremony, dancing at the reception, etc.

Storytelling

Unlike the other types of wedding films, a storytelling style relies on sound bites, both from the day and recorded at another time, to, as you might have guessed, tell the story of your day. The way that music may be used to create an emotional reaction in other film types, storytelling uses sound bites for dramatic effect.

Nostalgic

There is a trend in wedding videography as of late to use Super 8 film, or 8-millimeter film, to capture weddings with a vintage flair. Some videographers may use this film to document the entire day or will blend it with modern recording technology for a unique effect. 

 It is also important to ask, who will be filming on the day of the wedding? Having more than one videographer present will ensure that no special moment will go undocumented. Your videographer may work with several colleagues that may serve as assistants or even be the primary videographer at your wedding. If you know you want to work with a specific person, be sure to confirm that he is the one that will be present. 

Don’t forget to meet your videographer in person if possible. 

Budget 

Of course one of the most important things to ask your videographer is how much his services will cost. Many times videographers offer package deals that include their time, the video, editing and extra copies. Review all of the package options carefully to make sure everything you want and need is included at a price that you are comfortable with. Also, ask about overtime charges in case the ceremony or reception run long so that you aren’t surprised with extra costs when the bill comes. If videography is a priority on your wedding day, it’s a good idea to incorporate that into your wedding budget as early on as possible. The price of having both a photographer and videographer isn’t low. Depending on what your budget situation is, you may have to make cuts in other areas of your day to afford to have it captured the way you want. For a good videographer, we recommend budgeting as much (if not more) for their services as you would for your photographer.

Coverage

How many hours of coverage you want is also an important budget consideration. How important is it to you that the videographer films you getting ready or your grand exit? Having fewer hours of coverage and focusing on the most important parts of your day can be a good way to keep your budget down and still book the videographer of your dreams.

Check out our post on The Pros of Having a Videographer at your Wedding

Delivery

Your wedding video will be a lovely keepsake for you and your loved ones to enjoy for years to come. Each videographer will spend a different amount of time on your video depending on his editing process and schedule; some may deliver your finished movie in as little as eight weeks, while others may take up to an entire year. Ask your videographer what a typical turnaround time is for him so that you have an idea of when you’ll be able to see your beautiful movie. Another thing to consider when choosing a videographer is how the film and footage will be delivered. Different videographers have their system, but you may want to keep these delivery methods in mind when choosing which vendor is right for you. ( USB stick, cd-rom, external hard drive, online file drop) In most cases, the video production company can accommodate your needs.  

In addition to receiving your film or footage to use, your videographer may make your video available for viewing online. Typically, videographers host their films on Vimeo. However, be sure to check in your contract how long online viewing will be available. Some videographers only offer one year of online video hosting, while some will host it indefinitely. This is a great question to ask in your interviews, as well as what options they have if the video will be eventually taken down.

A final tip from us: clarify the type of filming you want while the wedding ceremony takes place. One of the biggest complaints about videographers is how much they move around and therefore distract during the ceremony (especially in a church) if you are happy for them to be moving around then great! If not, let them know that the ceremony should be filmed statically.

At the end of the day this video will remind you of every moment of your wedding – so work out what you like, find the perfect person to do it and watch it over and over again for the rest of your loved up lives!

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