How to Choose a Wedding Videographer? Why bother reading an article on How to Choose a Wedding Videographer? After all, you just look at his (or her) footage and size up their personality, fees and plans, then make your choice, right? Right. And that’s how the majority of weddings get ruined – or at least have the “Fun Meter” turned way, way down! That’s right, four out of five weddings are ruined by the wedding Videographer. So, if you don’t want your wedding Videographer ruining your wedding, read on..
Wedding Videographer Styles of Operation There is a time for posed, formal videofooatge – at your photo session. Often there are two photo sessions, one held before the ceremony, with guys and gals kept separate, and one held after the ceremony. In my opinion, a wedding Videographer should be told that this is the only chance to get posed footage and that he must be good enough to capture all other footage as though he were a professional event Videographer – oh wait, he IS (supposed to be) a professional event Videographer. Event Videographers and photographers are supposed to be able to unobtrusively record an event without interrupting it to stage and pose for footage, etc.
Puppeteers Unfortunately, most brides are unaware of this little fact. After all, she only has to choose a wedding Videographer once in her life (hopefully). So what happens when she hires a wedding Videographer who cannot shoot like an event Videographer? One who thinks he must be in charge of everything and that every shot must be posed in order to get a smooth and easy montage. I’m glad you asked, because now we’re getting to the whole purpose of this article. These guys act like puppeteers with you and your groom as the puppets. You are never left alone to enjoy your day. There will be no casual footage of you and your groom, friends and family having a great time, partly because all footage will be staged and partly because the wedding Videographers will make it difficult for people to have a great time.
It begins while the bride and bridesmaids are getting ready. Some Videographers will come into the room and stay out of the way and quietly get some casual shots, then ask for a few posed shots, then leave. Those are the pros. Unfortunately, most are not pros and will hover over the bride and bridesmaids, constantly harassing them for posed shots, so that the bride and her friends can hardly find any time to chat freely and enjoy the moment.
The Wedding Ceremony During the ceremony, a time that should have reverence, a time that should belong to you and your groom, I see these wedding Videographers continually turning their video lights on and off and walking back and forth in front of guests. They seem to be doing a much better job of distracting your guests than of getting good shots. A professional wedding / event Videographer should be able to cover this from a tripod further back in the room, using a telephoto lens and without lights. He should not be moving about and distracting people. The purpose and focus of a wedding ceremony should be you, your groom and your guests – not a wedding Videographer (and not a wedding photographer either).
Photo Session I’ve seen after-ceremony photo sessions run two hours and longer. By that time, guests at the reception had grown tired of waiting and had begun leaving. This is not the way you want your wedding remembered! A real “pro” Videographer will extend the photo session less than 10 minutes to get some special video footage.
Reception This is where it really gets bad! Wedding Videographers know they need good shots of the main events – grand entrance; first dances; cake-cutting; toasts; bouquet toss; garter toss; etc. A true professional wedding Videographer will get these shots “casual style” by staying out of the way, yet close enough to get the shots. You, your groom and guests will see he is there and there will be camera lights, but he won’t be really distracting or obtrusive.
However, the majority I’ve seen are not pros and they have no confidence in their ability to get these shots without staging them. They will not let you and your groom enjoy things like cake-cutting and toasts without trying to manipulate you both as though you were puppets. Imagine going through your reception while constantly being told what to do by the wedding Videographer! This isn’t a “wedding reception”, this is a “modeling session”!
I am constantly amazed at the way brides and grooms meekly allow this to happen, then rail angrily about it afterward. Sure, you’ll get your video – but will you and your groom really look happy?
These wedding Videographers will hover over you so closely that your guests probably won’t get a very good view of the major reception events. Your wedding photographers will have to be magicians or use three or four cameras throughout your reception in order to have any chance of getting some shots that don’t include your wedding Videographer.
But the real “pros” can get great shots without manipulating you through all your events and without unduly distracting your guests. Don’t take chances – demand that your wedding Videographers and photographers work from a twelve to fifteen foot radius, allowing you some breathing room and your guests some viewing room.
How Does Your Wedding Videographer Dress? I am constantly amazed at the way many wedding Videographers come dressed for weddings. A true professional will wear all black for most weddings, so that he is unobtrusive and so that he is not mistaken for a guest. He may wear light tan at a beach wedding, for the same reasons. Another consideration is that your family and guests will be taking photos and a wedding Videographer dressed in loud colors or black and white polka-dots will be quite distracting in these photos.
How is Your Wedding Photographer Being Paid? Most wedding photography plans are structured so that the more photos they have that you want, the more money they make. I’ve been told more than once that many wedding Videographers consider the wedding videographer as their competition. If the wedding video doesn’t come out well, then the photos are the only remembrance products the bride can choose from and the Videographer will sell more photos. However, their thinking goes, if the wedding video comes out great, then the bride may not want to buy more wedding photos.
This is why many wedding Videographers purposely get in front of the video cameras at every opportunity. I know this sounds incredible, but I have footage of photographers aggressively getting in front of video cameras. I have many times seen footage from an unmanned video camera where a photographer is standing to one side, looks over his shoulder to see just where the video camera is, then repositions himself to block its view better!
Most wedding videographers plans are flat fees that change only if the hours change. But saying that, most professional photographers understand that videographers and photographers are here to do whatever we can to please our client – the bride and groom, and therefore we extend every courtesy to the photographers.
SUMMARY – What Should You Do? Sit down with several wedding Videographers that you’ve pre-screened and discuss this article and your feelings about it, with them. Listen closely to what they say and how they say it. It takes training and experience to cover an event like a wedding, and get great shots while being unobtrusive. In short, it takes a ‘pro’.
Unfortunately, both the wedding photography and wedding videography fields are full of amateurs, hobbyists and even experienced people who have been doing things wrong for years. Finding a real ‘pro’ is not an easy task. You will have to invest some time and effort, but it will pay off tremendously!
Remember – this is supposed to be YOUR DAY, not the Videographer’s day! More than anything else, your choice of a wedding Videographer will determine how YOUR DAY turns out. “How to Choose a Wedding Videographer” may be the most important reading you do before your wedding.
Saskia is a female wedding videographer at the French Riviera / Cote d’Azur. You can find more information on her work on: http://www.weddingvideo.fr.