Hi friends! To all the engaged folks navigating the weird, wacky world of wedding planning, we’re chatting a bit about videography. We get asked aaaaaaall 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 a wedding video, so we’re gonna be busting some myths, laying out some common sense rules of thumb, and hopefully helping folks decide whether a videographer is a good fit for their wedding day! Phew, it’s a lot. You ready to dive on in?
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 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 HUGE risk, and I can almost guarantee you’ll 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 it’s 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 or won’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 a clear afterthought, and the result was someone who was a novice, underfunded and underprepared for the incredibly complex, high stress, difficult job of wedding videography. We 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, oftentimes after dark, which adds an extra element of off-camera lights and light stands into the mix. They are AMAZING for even trying to manage all this gear and challenging situations, and now you understand why you’d want and need 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 don’t really exist, at least, not that we’ve ever seen. Every single videographer we’ve ever worked with has directed very specific poses or moments for the bride & groom and throughout the whole day, from directing how to get into your dress, where to walk and stand and pose for the first look, all the way through the day’s events to the grand exit. They 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.
So! With those two things in mind, if you’ve 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 do hire a videographer, we will be dividing up the portrait time. Unlike a lot of folks, we don’t shoot 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’s taken years for Devon and I to shoot together seamlessly, so you can imagine that trying to integrate a completely different 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 kismet involved. It’s pretty hard 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. 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 common sense approach, once you think about it.
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 over some lattes.
Til then, shine on, babes. 😉