Everything to Know Before Hiring a Videographer

Hi friends! We get asked all the time for referrals for wedding videographers, and it's one of those wedding vendors that can be tough to find good information on. We've found that a lot of folks don't really understand everything that goes into wedding video, so we're gonna be busting some myths, laying out some common sense rules of thumb, and helping folks decide whether a videographer is a good fit for their wedding day.

If you're still on the fence about hiring a videographer, there are two really big things we want you to know. First off, in today's market, good videographers are going to cost at least as much, if not more than a good photographer. That’s right, you read that correctly! Why? Because videography is both harder AND more expensive than photography.

If you are approaching videography as an add-on vendor that will be less than your total photography budget, you are taking a big risk, and you'll probably be hiring a novice with limited (or no) experience. Again, why? Because if you thought photography was obscenely expensive, let me introduce you to the mindblowingly costly world of video gear. The sheer dollar amount for a good wedding videography gear kit is far more expensive than wedding photography. Now, while it’s absolutely true that the gear never makes the artist, and a talented videographer can make use of less gear to great effect, it’s still worth mentioning that the costs of doing business as a videographer are NUTS, and that has to be reflected in their prices in order for them to make a living. 

So if wedding videography is important to you, I would implore you: spend AT LEAST as much on your videographer as you did in your photographer. If you can’t do that, heavily consider skipping video altogether. I know it sounds a little radical, but we have been at so many weddings where the videographer was an afterthought vendor, and the result was someone who was a novice, underfunded and underprepared for the incredibly complex, high stress, difficult job of wedding videography. We've felt bad both for the videographer, who was stressed out and underprepared, and for the couple, who didn’t realize how much goes into videography vs. photography, and wouldn’t be receiving the quality they expected from their videographer. 

Seriously, the stuff required of wedding videographers is insane, and hats off to them. Not only is a wedding videographer capturing moving footage (which requires image stabilization, like a steady cam rig or a gimbal, multiple cameras and tripods), but they’re also responsible for capturing sound, audio equipment, multiple microphones, and doing all of this while on the go, and oftentimes after dark, which adds an extra element of off-camera lights and light stands into the mix. They are amazing artists for even trying to manage all this gear and challenging situations, and now you understand why you’d want someone who is an established professional.

The second big thing you should know is this: (and this is the most important thing I stress to couples): videography is incredibly high impact, high visibility vendor on your wedding day. If wedding video is important to you, make it an integral part of your wedding day plans. Make sure you effing LOVE your videographers. Make sure they’re super fun to hang out with, that their personality is a great match for yours. Because videographers handle so much equipment (tripods, lights, cases of equipment, multiple cameras), they often come with assistants or second shooters. Couples often don’t think of the emotional impact it will have having 4 or more people (2 photographers + 2 videographers) following them around All. Day. Long.

While we try really, really hard to be as low impact as possible, hang back, and observe the moments with our cameras from afar, videographers can’t really do that. Lots of them shoot on a wide angle lens, so they have to be very close their subjects, less than a few feet away. They’ll be moving around, often with lots of equipment, and directing the action a lot more. They will definitely be more high visibility than us, the photographers, partially because Devon and I have a very low-impact shooting style (we are firm believers that documenting your wedding should never be more important than your wedding itself and we’re introverts by nature!) and partially because videographers don’t have the luxury of hanging back like we do.

The luxury of hanging back? Let me explain what I mean by that. Candid wedding videographers are really rare. We've only come across a handful in all our years of shooting. Videographers are, out of necessity, much more hands on, and will be giving you much more direction than we will. Think of it more like your wedding is the set of a movie, where the videographer is the director, and you are an actor, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. Because they’re capturing moving footage, videographers really do *need* their subjects to be specifically posed and moving in a certain way at a certain speed for a certain amount of time to capture their shot correctly. Since photographers are only capturing frozen snippets in time, we can afford to have a much photojournalistic and candid approach with our couples. 

Everything to Know about Hiring a Wedding Videographer. Image by Forthright Photo.

So! With those two things in mind, if you've gone ahead and hired a videographer for your wedding day that you're super stoked about, there's just one more thing you should know: you absolutely will need extra time for portraits in your wedding day timeline. Plan on at least an hour of bride & groom portrait time (we recommend 30 minutes of portrait photo time, and 30 minutes of portrait video time) and around 45 minutes for wedding party portraits. If you decide to do sunset portraits as well, we’d recommend allocating 15 minutes for photo and 15 minutes for video. 

Why do we separate out photo & video time? Because, if you are working with a videographer for your wedding day, we will be dividing up the portrait time. Unlike a lot of folks, we don’t shoot portraits at the same time as videographers, because we’ve found it’s very difficult for everyone to do their best work (and every one of our couples deserves our best work!).

It sounds a little weird, but let me explain: It’s taken years and a lot of good hard work for Devon and I to shoot together seamlessly, so you can imagine that trying to integrate a completely new artist with different set of needs and equipment within just a few hours and *still* creating the photos & experience we work so hard to provide for our couples just doesn’t happen unless there’s some absolute next-level magic involved. Because videographers are valuable, lovely artists who want to create their best work for you, and it can be tough to mesh our loose, candid style with videographers who need you to move or pose very specifically (often in multiple takes) in order to get their shot, we decided to divvy up our couple's portrait time to make sure everyone has all the time, tools, and space they need to make your wedding magic. So, if you decide to hire a videographer, we'll be divvying up the portrait time so that everyone has the ability to work uninterrupted to get the best experience, the best footage, and the best photos possible. It's a little unconventional, but we think it's a pretty cool, common sense approach!

Still undecided about videography for your wedding day, have more questions about videography or want to more about what to consider before hiring one? You can always reach us via email & we'll happily talk it out with you!

Til then, shine on, babes.

Sincerely, Laura

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