You’ve set the date, maybe the venue too, and now you want to the right wedding videographer for your big day…
In my previous blog, “Is your wedding video package deal is too cheap to be true?”, I covered the perils of picking a cheap wedding video package and what the consequences might be.
So how can you make sure that you choose a quality professional videographer for your wedding? Here are seven questions you should ask when making that decision:
Question #1: Are they free on your wedding day?
Okay this probably sounds just too obvious, so I almost didn’t include it, but it is definitely the first question you need to ask before delving deeper.
From experience I’ve found couples often book their videographer quite late, as they’ve not allowed for the video from the beginning. I’d advise asking as soon as you can, especially for popular summer and early autumn dates – also so you can allow for it in the original budget.
Question #2 Do you like their work?
By now you’ve probably looked at the videographer’s website and checked that you like their work, their style and they type of films they offer.
Do you feel you get a sense of what the couple, their family and friends are like as people, and the emotions and happenings of the day? Are clips of the venue, your dress, your ring and cake just the same as the photographer’s stills but just panned or zoomed in or are they included with something going on?
For me it’s so important that the film offering adds more and is different from the photographer’s take on the day, otherwise, why bother? You, your family and friends are the stars of the day, and it’s all about capturing the movement, sounds and emotion as well as the action from the beginning to the end of the day.
Can you follow your videographer on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter? If you can, sign up to their blog if they have one, so you can learn more about them and get useful tips for your wedding day.
Question #3 What do you want?
Before you chat to your videographer, it’s worth taking some time to think about what you want. Who are the films for, and where will you/they want to see the films? What memories of the day do you feel will be most important to you?
Maybe you’re getting the film for someone who can’t be there on the day? Do you want every detail of the day in one film, or would you prefer one or several shorter films? Or perhaps it’s really important to you to also have a shorter film that you can share on social media?
If you want your videographer to record the full ceremony and vows and/or the speeches, or know you want a longer film (e.g. a 30 minute feature film), ask how many cameras they’re using, as multiple (multicam) camera angles produce much more interesting and watchable films. If they’re only using one camera, it’s very unlikely they’ll be able to give you a complete and continuous film of what may be the most important stages to you.
Maybe you’re having special vows or have a special story you want told. How is your videographer recording the sound? To me, audio is equally as important as the image I capture as it conveys so much about the day and I can’t imagine filming without it. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like seeing videos where the mouths are moving and I can’t hear the words they’re saying – to me it looks weird.
I use very discreet microphones to ensure I get the best quality sound from the day, regardless of whether it’s the band, the ambience, the vows or the speeches.
If you’re not entirely sure what you want, will they be shooting each stage of the day so that you can add on additional videos later? At one wedding where I was filming, the venue’s speaker and mics completely failed and it was heartbreaking that the guests missed a lot of what was happening. Luckily I was able to provide clear audio for the full ceremony and speeches in the wedding film so it was not lost for ever.
Question #4 Do you like them? How interested are they in you and your day?
The next stage is to talk to your videographer – and I really recommend you do this, even if it’s only on the phone. Do you like them? And do they ‘get’ you and what you’re like?
They’ll be spending all day with you, so it’s important that you feel you can relax and open up with them and feel at ease, and that they take the time to get to know who you are, and that they’re a ‘people’ person who’ll be able to put your family and friends at ease on the day, especially if they’re feeling stressed.
Is your videographer curious about your wedding and do they take an interest in the details of the day? Are they interested in meeting you? Are they listening to you? It’s so important they do this – for planning shots and checking you get what you really want from your wedding film.
Are they a good fit for you? If you’re not the loud extrovert type, you’re not going to want an ‘in-your-face’ videographer moving around a lot with a large gimbal in your face, you’ll want someone filming the day naturally, in the background, almost so that you forget they’re there.
I always follow up with either a face-to-face meeting, Skype call or phone call (whichever suits you best) after the initial enquiry, so you can tell me about each stage of the day and that you can really connect with me- a good videographer should know the schedule of the day as well as you do…
Question #5 Who’s actually going to be filming and editing your wedding video?
Check if your videographer will be shooting and editing your wedding themselves. You don’t want to find out on the day that they’ve outsourced the filming or editing to a local student or freelancer, who has no connection with you and may know nothing more than your names beforehand. You don’t want any nasty surprises – you want to talk to the person who’s actually going to be covering your wedding!
If you book me to film your wedding, you get me, I’m there the whole time and because of this it means I can edit the footage so it really tells the story of your day, and in the best way possible.
Question #6: Check the contract before you sign
Okay. You’ve talked to them and you know you want to book them to film your wedding. At this stage you should get a draft contract that confirms how you’ll work together. I write mine in a conversational style so it’s not scary and is as easy to read as possible.
Check that any dates and times and locations listed in the agreement are correct, and that it lists the type and length of films you’re expecting.
It is really important that you have an agreement with your videographer and that you check it. This document doesn’t just protect the videographer, it protects you as well, and should be a written confirmation of what you’ve already agreed verbally.
If there’s anything you don’t understand in a contract you should call the videographer to clarify it. I can promise you they would so much rather you asked in advance rather than be disappointed later.
If you book me for your wedding, when you sign the contract, you pay a non-refundable booking fee then to reserve my time for that day. This is normal practice with wedding filming, as if you cancel the videographer, they may not be able to get other filming work that day. I normally ask for the balance 4 weeks before the wedding. At this point I’ll also check in with you on the schedule of the day so I know about any changes.
Question #7 Are you protected if things go wrong?
Okay, it’s not the most exciting of things, but you need to check with your venue what level of insurance they require of their photographers and videographers. It’s fairly normal now for high profile and luxury venues to require that suppliers are covered for public liability for up to £5 million (which is what I’m currently covered for). Your videographer should be able to send a copy of this (and for drone footage, if you’re having this) to you and/or your venue when you book.
Likewise, your videographer should be able to tell you their back up plan if they’re ill or can’t, for some catastrophic reason, be there for your wedding.
It goes without saying that they should have a back-up plan if any of their gear goes wrong on the day but, if you know your videographer is filming with only one camera, definitely check that they have a spare in case anything goes wrong.
It’s also worth asking how long your videographer keeps the original footage and the final films. Original video files can be huge, and videographers may delete these after a few months, or every year, to clear space for new weddings,
This could be an important factor if you think you may want additional films later. If for some reason you lose all your data and files, will you be able to go back to the videographer for their back-up files?
If you want music overlay on your films, check that your videographer is using licensed music for their edits and where you can show your video. The last thing you want is a copyright strike or a life-time ban from YouTube or other social media because the music on your video is illegal to use.
Making the decision on the right wedding videographer for you…
Choosing the right videographer is a big decision to make, and you want to make sure you pick someone who fits in with you – after all they’re going to be one of the people closest to you on the day apart from your photographer and your immediate family.
I really hope that this article has helped you with how to approach finding the right videographer for you, and if you think of other questions you feel I should have included in this, please do let me know.
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Or get in touch with me to see if I’m available for your wedding date…I’d love to know more about you and your wedding!
Art of Life Films.
Wedding filming specialist, covering the South-East of England, including Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, London, as well as weddings further afield within the UK, and destination weddings abroad.