When it comes to wedding videographers, the question still seems to be should we even have a wedding videographer at all? And in my mind, the answer is always… it depends. If there any question that you might want to watch your wedding video on your tenth anniversary, or show it to your granddaughter on her wedding night then you got to book someone. If your wedding feels like an evanescent thing that you don’t quite want to be captured, that’s cool too.
If you’ve decided you’re all in for a videographer, you’ll quickly find that figuring out how to book us can be a whole other thing. You need to figure out what kind of style of videography you want (Super 8 video? Documentary style video?). Then you need to find a video company that you like, and make sure they’ll their style will work well with your wedding photographer. That will make both of our finished work awesome!!
So here is a quick wedding Videographer 101 course, complete with suggested questions for the videographer you do find.
How to book a videographer 101:
Book early: For whatever reason, videographers tend to fall toward the end of most people’s wedding to-do list. Maybe you’re not sure you want a videographer, or you didn’t think about it, or you have a more room in your budget then you thought, and you decide to spring for it: that’s all fine. But if you know you want to film your wedding day from the beginning, you want to treat videography the same way many treat photography especially if you have a popular wedding date like 8/8/2018 or 9/9/2019. Assume that you need to lock your person in place ASAP, and prioritize the videography in your budget from the beginning. (That said, if you do find some money at the end of the process, feel free to book someone last minute.)
Shop around: Whenever you decide it makes sense to research multiple videographers in your area. Wedding videographers are just like wedding photographers in that there are multitudes of styles, tastes, and wedding packages out there, and it’s as important that you hire a videographer whose style you like. I would ask your photographer for suggestions: I can’t emphasize this enough. There are a handful of types of vendors who interact with one another a whole bunch, and it’s invaluable to inquire with each if they have vendors they recommend. For example, a DJ with spotty red lights can wreck a natural light photographer’s workflow, just as a photographer who relies heavily on a red auto-focus dot can mess with your video. If your photographer recommends a videographer, they’ve worked with, definitely take their suggestion seriously and set up a chat. But if you want to have your wedding day filmed and your photographer doesn’t have a recommendation then ask them what style of videographer do they enjoy working with and search for that company. At the very least, you’ll know they work together well.
How to book a videographer: questions & answers
You’re going to want to come to your meetings prepared—with working knowledge of the videographer’s style, your own preferences, and a whole bunch of questions. Suggestions:
Will you be the one filming my wedding? This question is a super relevant question because of—surprise!—sometimes the person you meet is not the person who shows up at your wedding. Always double check and find out if your videographer has a team, works solo, or something in between.
Have you shot at this venue before? Whether or not your videographer has worked at your venue previously shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, but you do want to inquire. If they have, that is excellent news! They’ll know where the weird angles are, and where the bad lighting is. If not, see if he or she wants to tour the venue (with or without you), or at least ask the site if there’s anything specific they need to know before that night.
What is their style? Like I said above, videographers often have their style. If you’re into documentary style photography, you’ll probably want a documentarian videographer. If you are going for a more movie experience, look for someone who describes their style as cinematic. If you want Super 8, well, go with a Super 8 artist.
Are you shooting any other weddings that day? Sometimes videographers can book multiple events a day, depending on the length of services offered, or how long the wedding is in general. If it makes you nervous to know your videographer is filming a brunch wedding before your late night event, you probably want to find someone who will only shoot your wedding on that day.
Have you worked with [X photogragher] before? In addition to asking your photographer for suggestions, it’s worth cross-checking with your videographer and seeing if he or she is excited by your photographer—and other vendors that you’re working. The wedding vendor dance is delicate, and it works best when everyone genuinely likes everyone else. Granted, that’s not really your problem, to begin with, but it’s always nice to know that your team is on the same page. And is one less problem that can go wrong on your wedding day.
What parts of the day do you film? This might surprise most, but a lot of your wedding day will not make it to your final film. If you know you want specific moments filmed and included in your wedding film, make sure to ask from the beginning if they will be.
Who chooses the music for your wedding films? A lot of videographers add music to their final films because it’s such a good mood-setter. Ask if your videographer chooses, if you choose, or if you can collaborate (if desired). But one thing to keep in mind if you go the collaboration route that all music needs to be legally licensed for the use in your wedding video. So sometimes your favorite song maybe outside of your film budget.
How is the final product saved and delivered? It’s important to find out if your videographer records on tapes or digitally—and to ask how their work is backed up (and for how long). What format will the final product be in? Will it be edited? Will you get all of the footage or just a final edit? What happens if you lose your video? What happens if your videographer loses footage? And so on.
When will we receive our video? Wedding videos can take anywhere between two and twelve months, so it’s good to know ahead of time just how long you might have to wait. Putting together the perfect wedding video is a skill, and the wait is often worth it.
Did you have a wedding videographer? What did you learn in the process? What advice do you have for anyone wondering how to book a videographer? (bonus points if you link to your wedding video in the comments! We would love to see them.)