How to Choose a Wedding Videographer
It’s your big day — you likely already know how important it is to capture it all on video. But there are a lot of videographers out there, all with different styles, results and experience, so how do you know which one is the right fit?
The quality of your video is going to depend on several factors, from your preferences to your budget and location. You’ll have to weigh what you want in a video against your videographer’s skills and specialties. In this guide, we’ll discuss several factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a wedding videographer.
Of course, your wedding videographer must fit into your budget. No one wants to spend more on the video than on the rest of the wedding. That said, you should be prepared to spend more than the bare minimum on your videographer if you want strong results. You tend to get what you pay for with these things.
Wedding videographers are a worthy investment, as this will likely be your best way to go down memory lane in the future. Would you rather sift through an SD card of static photos and try to remember every detail or hit play on a video and feel all of those emotions again? Video captures the whole moment and then some, while photos just capture a fraction of it.
With all of the value that you can get from a wedding video, make sure you fully consider how much you want to invest in this part of the experience.
Don’t forget to pay close attention to the package you purchase, so you know which of your must-haves and your nice-to-haves are covered. You might get more time, more cameramen or longer videos with higher-priced packages.
Many different types of wedding videographers will charge varying prices. A “point-and-shoot” videographer is pretty bare-bones. They might give you a video that looks a little cheesy or plain. Of course, these will be the cheapest. From there, the quality typically goes up.
Here are some of the things you’re paying for when you hire a wedding videographer:
- Experience: A videographer might have as much experience as your cousin who just got a nice camera for his birthday last year. Preferably, your videographer would have a well-trained and well-educated team of cameramen and editors who know exactly what they’re doing from years of practice. This level of experience will show through in the product with technical skill and a strong artistic vision. Professionals, as expected, charge more than amateurs or hobbyists to make up for their education, expertise and the years spent honing their craft.
- Materials: Nice cameras aren’t cheap. Footage on a decent camera will have a significantly different look from one shot on an iPhone. Plus, they tend to look better after being edited than low-quality footage does. Videographers vary widely in the tools that they use, but one that opts for top-of-the-line equipment may factor that into their costs. Someone who works with the bare minimum may be cheaper, but you won’t get the same level of quality. Still, quality equipment is not the best indicator of a quality video. Some artists can create stunning results with mid-level equipment. Don’t let tools be an overwhelming factor in your decision.
- Location: Some regions of the world and country will have higher prices, simply due to the market in that area.
- Time: Each cameraman and editor will spend hours on a video, and you’ll be paying for that time. If a company or videographer is in high demand, you may have to pay more, simply because of the number of people vying for their time.
- Skill and style: Skill typically comes from experience, but not always. The best way to judge a videographer’s skill is to look at their portfolio, which will also tell you more about their style.
2. Videography Style
There are several different types of videography styles, but a select few have become popular in recent years. It’s essential that the style you choose fits with your vision for the wedding. If you’re looking for class and elegance, a Marryoke video probably won’t accomplish that.
Some of the most popular videography styles include:
Cinematic wedding videos are fun to watch and fun to shoot. These videos are shot more like a movie, with creative camera angles, text, montages and subtle effects. You may even see things like drone shots and multiple angles of one event. Typically, a cinematic wedding video will have music and natural sound effects to back up the footage, but they may fade in and out to accentuate the story better.
A full-length cinematic video won’t necessarily be linear. It may flash through shots from different parts of the day to best tell the story and convey the emotion.
Videographers can have varying levels of involvement, but usually, they’ll have a heavier hand in this kind of style. They might set up shots or direct the couple throughout the events. The best videographers can strike a balance between incorporating subtle handiwork that will significantly improve the footage and turning your venue into a mess of flashes and microphones.
To get the right tone, they might work off of your wedding theme and talk to you about what kind of effect you want the video to have. Since they can use music and get creative, cinematic videos are excellent for portraying the emotion of the day.
A journalistic video is more about recording the event in its entirety than making an emotional, compelling video. These videos may still employ some creative choices, like voiceovers and interesting shots, but, for the most part, it will be minimally edited.
Journalist wedding videography is more likely to capture every moment — though not necessarily the emotion behind it — and tends to follow the events of the day in order. The videographer will take a more hands-off approach, with less directing and more candids.
If you want a simple, straightforward option with no bells and whistles, the journalistic style might be for you.
The Love Story
A love story video focuses on the couple’s entire journey, not just the wedding day. It may have more documentary-style elements, with input from the couple and their friends and family talking about their story. It might also include pictures and videos from the couple’s time together.
This is undoubtedly a romantic style, and it would likely use elements from the cinematic form. It may take a little more time to set up and gather the interviews than a cinematic video would, but if you want something that covers more ground than the actual wedding day, a love story video could be the right style for you.
If you want to focus more on the fun times all your guests are having and the togetherness of the ceremony, a Marryoke video might be something to consider. They aren’t as common as other styles and sometimes can be an add-on to a regular video package, but they are certainly entertaining.
In a Marryoke video, different guests will lip-sync to a song throughout the day, and the editors will create a mashup of all of them singing, dancing and laughing. It’s a fun way to get your guests taking part in the video, and it lets you play with shots that look like they’re straight from a music video.
Keep in mind that it might take a significant chunk of your videographer’s time to set up, so an extra cameraman might be necessary.
3. The Videographer’s Portfolio and Past Works
One of the best ways to choose a videographer is to look through their portfolio. You can see which styles they can do and how they edit a big day down to a fraction of the time. Do they lean toward candids or staged shots? Do they use lots of music or voiceovers? You may also be able to see how a videographer will handle specific locations, like a beach or forest wedding.
Another helpful piece of information from a portfolio is consistency. How many breathtaking videos have they done? Do the videos all feel like they share a style? Look through your potential videographer’s portfolio carefully, as this is your best chance to understand the tone and style they use.
Lastly, always check the reviews. A videographer can say whatever they want about their services, but honest responses from real customers can tell you what they’re really like. Make sure to get reviews from independent, third-party websites and not solely from the videographer’s site.
Reviews can offer a lot of information about the videographer and what they’re like to work with. Reviewers could tell you about the videographer’s responsiveness or how easy they were to communicate with. They may also tell you about how the videographer involved them in the decision-making process. Looking at reviews provides lots of little pieces of information that you may not have thought to ask about.
In every region of the country, you’ll have different videographers at your disposal. If you’re considering a destination wedding or enlisting a traveling videographer, you might find that your options can be quite versatile, depending on the location.
It may be nice to know that some companies, like Shutter and Sound, have consistent services in multiple regions throughout the country. Though our locations reach far and wide, our videographers are carefully selected and trained to adhere to a specific style. Your video will receive the same level of care and a similar style across cities from coast to coast.
If your friend from Los Angeles recommended us, but you live in New York, you can still take their suggestion. Alternatively, if you’re looking at destinations or different locations, you can trust that you’ll get similar quality and results with a nationwide videography company.
If you want to pay for the costs of mileage and a hotel stay, you may also be able to send a videographer to your destination. You might want to do this if your location isn’t within their network, you’ve simply fallen in love with their style and you can’t picture anyone else running the show.
Here are some of the other ways your wedding location could affect your video.
- Familiarity in the business: Working with reputable and well-known videographers can make your big day go smoother. Planners and venues may be familiar with their style and be more confident or knowledgeable about working with them. Plus, your videographer may have worked the location before and knows all the tricks to get the best shots.
- Tricky venues: Keep in mind the difficulty of particular venues. If your wedding is in a more traditional location, shooting it can be easier. Places like the beach or less-conventional settings might be more challenging to shoot, so experience will go a long way in ensuring your videographer can adjust to environmental conditions and produce a stellar film. They may need to know more about lighting or know how to keep their camera rolling amidst sand and ocean spray.
- Scale: If your wedding has a massive audience with all your closest acquaintances, you’ll probably need multiple videographers to help cover all that ground on the big day. Make sure your videographer is aware of your guest list, so they can set you up with the appropriate number of cameramen.
Other Things to Consider
Here are a few more questions to ask yourself when choosing your wedding videographer:
- How quickly do you want your video? Editing and postproduction can vary significantly, depending on the videographer, the size of the wedding, the number of cameramen and more. If you’re not particularly patient, you may want a videographer with a quick turnaround.
- Do you want any raw footage? Raw footage is everything that the cameramen shot. Your final video typically won’t show every single detail that was caught on camera. If you want everything possible, you can sometimes request the raw footage, though it may cost a little bit more.
- How involved will the videographer be? Remember, you don’t want an obtrusive cameraman butting in all the time, but a few tweaks can be helpful. Think about the level of involvement and what the videographer’s timeline will look like. Will they stay for the whole reception or just opening remarks? How about the bridesmaids getting ready? Talk these things over, so you can find the right fit.