First and foremost, YES, you will regret it forever if you don’t have a videographer at your wedding, even if its Uncle Joe shakily holding his camcorder in one hand and a beer in the other, you will want a video of your wedding day. I have brides contact me all the time with the same story, it goes something like this “We were not sure if we had the budget for a videographer, but then we really think we will regret it if we don’t have one, are you available this coming Saturday???” Fortunately for me and unfortunately for those brides, on most cases I am already booked because more and more brides are realizing the importance and one of a kind feeling a well shot and produced wedding video can bring you for years down the road. I frequently have brides tell me that their wedding video is more precious to them than their photos, and why shouldn’t it be? Pictures are classic and beautiful and “tell a thousand words” and you should NEVER forgo pictures for a videographer, but with video you get to see your mannerisms, your swagger, hear the voices of your loved ones, even hear your actual vows and see that first kiss as it actually happened; its priceless!!!
With all that said its important to know what to look for when you are hiring a videographer, so here are some things to consider when choosing a great one.
- Are they a TRUE professional and can they prove it? Nowadays anyone can go out and buy all the necessary equipment to film a wedding, but that doesn’t mean they are qualified to use that equipment or use it well!! Make sure you see their previous work, resume, and ask them about their video production experience and training. If they only have one or two videos on their website it’s a RED FLAG, chances are it’s the BEST video they have ever shot in their lives; anyone can get lucky so make sure they have a CONSISTENT body of good work to show you!!
- Do they have reviews? I’m not talking about reviews posted on their website, those can be written by anyone, including the videographer themselves. I will even admit when I first started out and didn’t have any real reviews I posted a fake one on my website. Check credible sources like The Knot.com, websites like that make sure the reviews are written by the brides themselves. You should also ask your wedding coordinator, if you are using one, if they can recommend a videographer for you!!
- Has your photographer worked with them before? Yes, there are TONS of photographers and it’s a good chance your photographer has not worked with your videographer of choice, but if they have they can give you priceless insight into how that videographer performs on the day of. Its critical the photographer and videographer are on the same page for the wedding, otherwise most of your priceless photos will have your videographer in them, and vice versa your video will have the backside of your photographer. Its imperative they work together and get along on your wedding day!!
- Will you get ALL your footage on DVD? This is something that you assume all videographers will provide you, only to learn that service costs extra when you open your video package and see a bunch of tapes that you have no idea what to do with. A good videographer will not only provide you with a great edited video, but will also give you what we call the “RAW” unedited footage on DVDs, that way you can watch EVERYTHING that was captured on your DVD player.
- Are they insured? For obvious reasons….
- Do they have a backup? If the unthinkable should happen and your prized videographer breaks their leg the night before your wedding, you need to know they have a TRAINED associate who can take their place. Its not good enough to have a buddy in the “biz”, a wedding is a completely different setting than a TV show or concert, and while I shot for TV for many years before I got into weddings, my first wedding was probably the most overwhelming and stressful live event I have ever shot. Unlike TV, if you don’t get it right the first time you can’t yell “cut”.
- Is their camera equipped for low light situations? Many times your reception will be held in a lighting environment that is not the best for video cameras. It’s imperative that your videographer has a camera that is designed for low light and that they have an on camera light for their camera. YES, this light can be annoying, but it’s ESSENTIAL to making your dance footage look great. If your videographer does not have one or has a camera that is not great in low light they will have to turn up what is called the “gain” This can add that grainy “noise” to your video and take away from the quality you are paying for.
- How do they capture audio? Most cameras have an on camera microphone that will pick up most things within a decent distance, but if you want your vows captured you will need to have a wireless microphone attached to the groom. If your videographer does not offer this feature you can kiss any hopes of reliving your vows goodbye; unless of course they film your ceremony from 5 feet away.
- Do they offer Blu-Ray and do they shoot in HD? If your videographer does not shoot in HD they CANT offer you a Blu-Ray or HD DVD, simple as that, make sure they shoot in HD and can offer you what you are looking for.
- A Note To The Bride: No matter what videographer you choose it’s important that you actually WANT them there!! I cannot tell you how many brides hire me, only to cower away from the camera, stare at me out of the corner of their eye like I’m an intruder from outer space, or turn their backs while dancing. Remember, YOU hired your videographer and should take advantage of that. Play to the camera, dance in its face and always remember, your wedding video is a direct reflection of your day, its hard to make you look like you are happy and having fun if you don’t act like it, so SMILE AND HAVE FUN!!!!!
Owner/Lead Videographer & Photographer