wedding videographer

Finding the Right Wedding Videographer

When it comes to hiring a wedding videographer, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. We chatted with Kaan Tulgar Productions, New Milford Productions, Delia Studios, and TLJ Studios about their line of work and asked them for their insight.

The basics

If you were choosing your own wedding videographer, what would you look for?

Kaan Tulgar: The biggest thing I’d look for is the videographer’s personal touch. Videographers don’t just sell a product. We sell our creativity, our personal input. I personally like when a wedding videographer does their own work, shoots their own work, and edits their own work.

New Milford Productions: I’d make sure that the samples I’m viewing were shot by the wedding videographer I’m hiring. I know a lot of larger companies can show beautiful samples, but sometimes those samples are shot by the company’s best wedding videographer. After you book with them, a large company can then send out another videographer for your wedding.

Delia Studios: Seeing their work is the first thing. I’d dig through their work and see if it feels compatible with what I’m looking for. I’d definitely check reviews so I have an idea of their online reputation as well. Pricing too, of course, as that plays a factor in decision making.

TLJ Studios: I’d look for a specific style that fits within my budget. I suggest clients look at a number of different samples to see which ones speak to them. Couples should definitely do their homework: if a price is too good to be true, it probably is.

What’s something that a lot of clients overlook?

NMP:  Running behind schedule. Building in some additional time for hair and makeup, or your photo session, can help make your day run smoothly.

DS: Some couples feel safer going with a company that bundles everything together. I’d recommend spending the time to do the research and hire individual vendors for what they do best.  While it might be easier to get a bundled package, I hear stories of couples regretting it later.

TLJS: Brides never ask what kind of hardware videographers use and what caliber of quality the video is. They don’t ask, “Is it 720p, 1020p, or 4K?”. They don’t really think of the logistics of the day as far as video is concerned. I don’t think they care too much about what camera videographers use or the kind of technical things videographers worry about behind the scenes. Besides that, clients overlook things like whether we’ll clip a mic onto the groom during the ceremony. They also don’t consider whether their wedding videographer will connect to the DJ’s or band’s sound system.

KT: Know who you’re hiring. The biggest mistake you can make is not even caring who’s going to shoot your wedding. They don’t ask about the videographer’s experience, how many weddings they’ve captured, or if they’re worked at a specific wedding venue. When it comes to deciding on a wedding videographer, you really have to go by individual talent and experience.

What are some questions they should be asking?

TLJS: They should ask if the wedding videographer has redundant gear, like an extra camera, lighting, batteries, or memory cards. I’ve heard horror stories of videographers’ primary cameras going down, and they’re using an iPhone for the rest of the day. Couples should also ask, “Do you have backup gear in case there’s a problem?”, or “Are you discreet while shooting?”. You don’t want the wedding day to be about the support staff, you want it to be about you.

KT: Ask questions like, “Do you have a backup camera?”, “Do you have liability insurance?”, “Do you have any hidden fees besides what we’ve discussed?”, or “What happens if you’re sick on my wedding day? Who shoots my wedding?”. My biggest tip is to hire people you feel comfortable with and click with personality and style-wise. There’s a reason you invited specific people to your wedding, and the same rule should apply to your vendors.

What type of footage generally makes it into the final video?  What type of footage do you end up cutting out?

KT: It’s easy for anyone to put together a three-minute highlight video and lay music over it, but it’s such a challenging thing to tell a story in a fully edited feature mode. Frequently, people miss the details. I’m not talking about earrings or shoes or things like that. I mean capturing moments like a grandmother attending or their parent’s photo session. To me, what goes in the final video is basically a very extensive coverage of the day. As far as cutting out footage, sometimes it’s down time or redundant shots. There’s only so much you can watch of your uncle dancing. I know some people do cut speeches, but to me, unless it’s specified, I keep speeches in.

TLJS: A small portion of the video is very artistic and stylized, intended to be used as highlights. The majority of it is shot in a documentary style designed to make you feel like you’re actually there. Personally I don’t think videographers should cut out a bunch of stuff for the sake of fitting a one-hour presentation. Who am I to say that one person’s dance should be cut in favor of another’s?

NMP:  When deciding on coverage start and end times, I always recommend starting earlier and ending earlier, as opposed to starting later, and ending later.  I find that the getting ready portion of the day can work great to lead into the video and tell the full story of the day. It can also be fun to watch this part of the video since this is typically the only part of the day that you aren’t together!  Most of the time the last hour of the reception is just informal dancing footage. Typically by that point I have already captured enough dancing footage.

DS: In our videos, we look for emotion above all. All of our editors look for emotion when it comes to prep, dancing, and toast delivery. The story comes second.

How has video changed over time?

KT: Years ago, it was simply about quantity, not quality. People expected four to six hours of raw footage of the wedding day. Today, it’s about quality. Couples get less raw footage (most companies don’t even provide raw footage!) and a twenty to thirty minute highlight video of the day. Equipment-wise, video has definitely changed. Quality and technology are so advanced now–you can literally shoot a wedding with an iPhone.

Just for fun…

What are some of the more unusual edit requests you’ve received?

DS: Some of the more regular requests ask for fewer soundbytes, something more music video-oriented.

NMP: Most of the edit requests I receive have to do with the content of speeches, or what a guest might say on video.  I always try to pick the best parts of the speech for use in their highlight film.

KT: One time a client wanted to have an alternate ending on the DVD. My initial reaction was, “What is an ‘alternate ending’? Not marrying the girl?”. That was the most interesting editing request I’ve gotten–we came up with a cute idea for the alternate ending.

TLJS: I usually don’t get many editing requests because I don’t cut out stuff left and right.

What’s your secret to choosing music for your videos?

TLJS: I usually go with the couple’s first dance song. After all, they thought long and hard about choosing their first dance song.

KT: I let my client choose it. This way, they have the song they enjoy playing in the background. The only thing I warn clients is to not choose a song they happen to enjoy listening to today. Clients should choose a timeless song, something they’ll enjoy listening to twenty years from now.

NMP: Everyone has different tastes. Letting the couple choose their music allows for their video to more closely reflect their personalities and have more meaning to them.

DS: We get all our music from It’s important that we license all our music especially if the video’s going to be shown online publicly. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves in legal issues. Once we get a rough cut, we can start toying with music and see what works best. We ask for suggestions from the couple, like what style of music they like. If they feel like the song doesn’t work, then they can always request or choose something else from our library.

Some pointers

Do you have any other tips so couples end up with a video they love?

NMP: Try not to stress.  I know it can be very difficult to relax after so much planning, but enjoying your day as it is happening will allow us to capture more candid footage, and will allow you to take in as much of your wedding day as possible. The day really does fly by!

KT: There are three important things. #1: Surround yourself with people you love and trust. By the time you leave your meeting with your shooter, you’ve got to be 100% confident they’re the right one. If there’s any hesitation in your mind, they’re not your guy. #2: Don’t give in to any kind of sales pressure. Shop around, do some homework about videographers. #3: Be involved in the process. This is your own video. Make sure you have a say in things: choose your own song, discuss things with the video editor, and discuss what you want to include or exclude after the wedding.

TLJS: Couples should do their homework when looking at samples because samples you like should match the kind of style you’ll end up getting.

DS: One reason we’re good at what we do is that we put a lot of time into pre-wedding preparations. We go over the timeline for the wedding day, making sure we have enough time for each section of the day. A lot of couples underestimate prep and only spend thirty minutes on it. They don’t realize that we need an hour and a half or so to really cover prep properly. Going over the timeline can really help prepare the couple for their big day and make for a better video.

How important is it to have a second shooter?

KT: Because of today’s technology and the type of equipment being used, I think it’s important to have a second shooter. Having said that, it really depends on the wedding you’re having. If you’re having a 400 guest wedding, you’d want a second cameraman. When you have a single camera, you’re capturing action. With a second camera, you have the capability to capture more reactions. I think having a second camera makes the distinction between a film that tells a story and one with a film approach. If the budget is there, I always suggest clients go with two cameramen.

DS: For us ideally, three cinematographers is the right amount. That can be overwhelming for some couples because even if reviews say we blend into the background, telling a client there will be three people filming them–that can sound a little intimidating. Still, we should have two or three shooters available to our couples. For example, wedding prep is important for our videos, as it’s going to set the pace for the rest of the day. With two cinematographers, you can have one for the bride prep and the other for groom prep. You can also cover more angles during the ceremony, like everyone’s reactions. You can still get great coverage with one wedding videographer but two is an ideal minimum.

TLJS: The primary cameraman’s job is to shoot the main action. If they want more reaction type shots, they’ll need a second camera. Having a second camera is beneficial in getting shots like Mom and Dad tearing up.

NMP: I think this depends on the style and experience of your wedding videographer. I have been filming weddings for 12 years, and I film the majority of them without a second shooter. I set up a stationary second camera for the ceremony, but I try to capture everything in full with the main camera. I’ve found that most of the time, if you plan ahead and know what is coming, you can capture all of the key moments with one wedding videographer.

Aside from a great wedding videographer, what do you think is the next most important vendor?  Why?

KT: Besides video, I’d say photographer. The reason for that is you’ll go to your banquet hall and eat food, but you’ll forget the taste. Your flowers will look beautiful, but they’ll wilt. After the wedding, you’ll be left with photos, videos, and if you’re lucky enough to truly enjoy the wedding day, the memories.

DS: I’d say photographer. However, couples usually look for a venue first, as it trumps everything. Without a venue, you won’t have guests.

NMP: I would have to say photographer. After your wedding, photo and video are really the only way you can look back and remember your day!

TLJS: Typically the first thing couples research are venue and photographer; they seem to be staple items.

How important is it that the photographer and videographer work well together?

DS: If the photographer and videographer work well together and have chemistry, they won’t be stepping on each other’s toes. The couple benefits from that relationship the most. In the opposite case, the ones who suffer the most are the bride and groom. That’s because the product won’t be as good as it could be. On your wedding day, you don’t have time to figure out how other people work together. You’re just going to assume they’re professional and can work together. If they work well together, they can keep an eye out for each other and they’ll know how much time the other needs for certain tasks.

Itching to learn more about wedding videography? Send us your thoughts!

Check out How to Hire a Wedding Photographer!

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