When it comes to wedding videographers, the question of the day still seems to be should we actually even have a wedding videographer at all? And the answer is… it depends. If you want to watch your wedding video on your tenth anniversary, then book someone. If your wedding feels like an ephemeral thing that you don’t quite want captured, that’s cool too. (Or maybe you just hate hearing the sound of your own voice? Also valid.)
But if you’ve decided you’re all in for a videographer, you’ll quickly find that figuring out how to book them can be a whole other thing. You need to figure out what kind of style of videography you want (artistic dreamy Super 8 video? Super documentary style video? Just any old… video?). Then you need to find someone you like, and make sure they’ll play nicely with your wedding photographer (because two divas fighting for the best shot of your vows is a super NO).
So with that in mind, here is wedding Videographer 101, complete with suggested questions for the videographer you do find.
how to book a videographer 101: research
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 in the first place, or you didn’t think about it, or you have a little bit of a wiggle room in your budget suddenly show up and you decide to spring for it: that’s all fine. But if you know you want videography from the get-go, you want to treat videography the same way many treat photography. 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 to add videography to your wedding, totally make sure you 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 just as important that you hire a videographer whose style you like.
ask your photographer for suggestions: I can’t emphasize this enough. There are a handful of types of vendors who really 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 red spotty lights can really wreck a natural light photographer’s workflow, just as a photographer who relies heavily on flash 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. 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 is a super relevant question because—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 before shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, but you do want to inquire. If they have, great! 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 venue if there’s anything specific they need to know before the night of.
what is your style? Like I said above, videographers often have their own vibe. If you’re into documentary style photography, you’ll probably want a documentarian videographer. If you are going for a more movie-esque 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 are able to book multiple weddings 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 vendor] before? In addition to asking your photographer for suggestions, it’s worth cross-checking with your videographer and seeing if he or she is equally enthused by your photographer—and other vendors that you’re working with. 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.
what parts of the day do you film? This might surprise most, but a lot of your wedding day isn’t usually filmed. If you know you want specific moments filmed, 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).
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 oftentimes 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!)