How to Choose a Wedding Videographer

Bride in wedding dress holding wedding bouquet laughing with bridesmaids in blue grey bridesmaids dresses holding wedding florals at The Regency at Dominion Valley, a wedding venue in Haymarket, Virginia.

So, you've decided to hire a videographer. But what does that even mean?

Whenever I get an inquiry, I follow up with a zealous email bursting with excitement and ideas... and it's probably a little much for those of you that have ZERO idea what it is you're signing up for. More often than not, I hear something like, "I don't know how any of this works. I don't know any of the right questions to ask you." I know for me that would be a totally stressful situation!

I've heard from clients and vendors alike that videographers are a total mystery to them. Much like you, each videographer has a unique style, process, and vision. These traits will not only impact your wedding day experience, but will also determine what your wedding film will look like. So, it’s important to find the right fit!

1. The type of coverage will determine the type of video produced

In your search for a videographer, you will likely encounter packages with a set number of hours that you are "covered". Many couples feel that opting for less coverage for a cheaper price is a better deal. But, this is highly dependent on your end goal.

For a short, portrait style video (2 to 3 minutes), you probably won't need a ton of coverage. At a typical wedding, a videographer should be able to capture the ceremony, portraits with the couple, and some of the reception in six hours.

If you're planning some important moments before the ceremony, go with the package that gives you more coverage. Remember: the longer a videographer is there to film, the more he or she has to work with. As someone who prioritizes storytelling, I love capturing the anticipation before the ceremony. Shots of the bride getting her makeup done or the groom suiting up add an intimacy and coziness to any film. Arriving earlier in the day also gives me the chance to set up a talk-to-the-camera interviews, record a letter reading, or even capture a first look. Each are important elements that help drive a narrative and set a tone for your film.

2. Audio is just as important as video

This might not make sense at first, but good audio is a key ingredient to provoking emotion and fully transporting you back to the moment. Imagine watching a movie with the subtitles on and the sound muted. You would be able to follow along, but without hearing the emotion in a character's voice you might have trouble feeling what they're feeling. Having a professional looking film with beautiful music is of course a nice thing to have, but clear audio from your vows, speeches, etc. will allow you to relive your day in a much more intimate way. When looking for a videographer, look for one that gives the right attention to audio.

3. Not all videographers are the same, and that’s ok!

We're not all the same, and, like you, we each have different goals for capturing the wedding day. For this reason, it's important to hire a videographer with a shared vision. Our priority, for example, is to create a candid film that will match the couple in their truest and raw form. Ideal clients for us will be ones that want to get real and let loose. If you tend to gravitate toward a fine art, editorial style, then you might want to look for a videographer who prioritizes posing, and a more traditional approach.

Before signing a contract with a videographer, opt to meet them for a coffee or hop on a quick phone call. Consider if they really get you as a couple, if they ask you the right questions, or even if they share the same sense of humor as you. Working with someone you vibe with gives you the added benefit of a totally fun and relaxed experience. If you click—great! But don’t be afraid or embarrassed to go a different direction. Most videographers genuinely want every couple to have their dream wedding experience, even if that means they won’t be filming it.

4. Pay attention to how they tell stories

I once saw a wedding film where I didn’t even see the bride or groom until a FULL MINUTE IN. For that entire first minute, I was watching all kinds of cool camera tricks and pretty, cinematic shots. But it was like... ok is this film about you showing off or is this about the two people getting married? Sheesh!

When hiring someone to film your wedding, look for someone who moves you. Search for a videographer that understands how to craft a great narrative and command an audience’s attention from start to finish. These will be the people to create the unforgettable tear-jerker that you will actually want to watch over and over again.

5. Don’t let RAW footage be a deal breaker

Let me just start by saying there is A LOTTTT of work put into the editing process that turns your RAW footage into the beautiful and smooth film you’re given at the end. If something comes up in the middle of filming—maybe someone steps in front of a camera that’s rolling on the sidelines, or the sun suddenly comes out loud and proud—we are able to cut to different cameras or adjust color to create a seamless edit. Because a videographer’s name is associated with any video taken during the day, many videographers will not share RAW footage with their couple’s because it just flat out doesn’t look good.

We totally get that one day you might want to re-watch some moments interrupted, or even show your kids. The way we work around this is by allowing couples to opt-in for their RAW files edited into one long, uncut film. Because we work with four cameras, it takes a lot of time to sync every moment and craft the files into a linear timeline. It's basically like creating a whole other wedding video, so we charge an additional fee rather than build this into packages.

Knowing what it takes to put your files into a chronological order, I suggest looking for a videographer that will do you better than just handing you dozens of RAW clips that you don't really know what to do with. Trust me--it'll be a much more enjoyable experience to replay!

6. A Wedding Videographer doesn't have to bankrupt you

You may not have several thousand to spend on a wedding videographer, and that's ok. But remember, you get what you pay for. Consider what you're willing to compromise on, and who offers the most value for your budget.

You could also ask a videographer about payment plans and if they're willing to split payments up over time. This is something we automatically do with every couple, and most videographers are more than willing to work with you to make your dream a reality.

Be sure to read our article, "How Much Should You Invest on a Wedding Videographer" article to learn about how wedding videographers price their services!

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