You are a bride to be. You have a wedding soon. You have vendors to book, invitations to send, and cakes to taste. You have a lot to do, but when you’re finished you have a deep breath and a stiff drink awaiting you. We know that planning your wedding is ultra stressful and the less you have to worry about, the closer you are to that drink. So we thought we would weigh in on what we know and try to alleviate some guesswork leading up to your big day.

OK, we know you need flowers at your Wedding videographer – that’s a florist, we can’t help there. You might book a band – we could suggest M C Hammer? (You probably shouldn’t listen to us). You will almost certainly hire a photographer, in which case we can make a few great recommendations. But what about hiring someone to capture your day through sight AND sound? Someone who will turn your day into the next Sundance Official Selection? What about booking a videographer?

The Wedding and Event Videographers Association reports that:

“Prior to their weddings, barely 50% of the brides listed videography as a Top 10 item. However, after the weddings the emphasis changed dramatically. A whopping 79% of the brides placed videography among their Top 10 items for wedding planning.”

You might think this statistic is rubbish if you simply cannot picture your wedding day without a video… and we are inclined to agree with you. Sadly, however, this stat is true, and we can’t help but think part of the reason for it being true is that brides struggle with how to choose a wedding videographer. Understandable.

Here are ten things that are paramount when selecting a videographer. We hope they breathe new life into your understanding of wedding videography and ultimately help you find a videographer that’s right for you.

1. NO, see this is how we do it… what were you thinking?

The first and most important thing when selecting a videographer is finding out if their style matches yours. There are two major styles of shooting and editing a wedding video: documentary and cinematic. In a nutshell, documentary is a “hit record” mentality and cinematic is an “artistic” mentality. More literally, from a documentary standpoint, your wedding video might end up being a couple of hours long and very “as it happened.” With a cinematic style, your wedding video might be twenty minutes long and feature a more exciting pace, more stylized shots, and a more artful pairing of those shots with the music. Neither style is right or wrong they are simply different. The end of this article has a link to a great little quiz to help you determine which side of the fence you are on.

Even after you choose sides, you still need to dig into a company’s body of work. Let’s say you choose a cinematic edit. (We hope you do!) Every individual company will have their own style in which they tend to shoot and edit. Which leads us to our next two points…

2. Check Out ALL of Everything I Have Here.

This should go without saying, but if you’re going to hire a videographer, you should see samples of their work. Nobody would expect any sane person to sit down and watch ALL of a company’s videos, but watching more than a couple of them is not a bad idea. After watching 4 – 5 videos (3 – 5 minute highlights is what we are talking about here… this will only take about 20 minutes of your time), you will get a sense of how the company shoots and edits. Many companies have professional looking images, but you’ll need to watch the videos themselves to get a feel for their film editing abilities. sums it up:

“Just like other arts, you cannot just hand someone the tools and expect them to be an artist. Take painting for example. Most people, if handed a paintbrush and given a canvas, would have a really difficult time creating anything that anyone would like. The same is true for videography and photography.”

By watching several videos, you can get a sense of how they tailor the video to the couple, the venue, and the overall feel of the wedding. You might be surprised at how naturally you are able to discern whether or not the vibe of the finished video matches what you perceive to be the vibe of the wedding.

3. Wanted: Emotional and Social Intelligence.

As we said above, the feel of the video should match the feel of the wedding. A lot of people can press record on a camera. A lot of people can even capture great images. However, it takes a professional to be able to select the right clips, arrange them and pair them with music to truly convey the feel of the day. Part of this is not selecting an inappropriate song for the video. But a larger part of it is whether or not the videographer and the editor have emotional and social intelligence. For example, it would be really strange looking if part of your video had the audio of your sister giving an emotional toast paired with an image of the crowd watching the toast with two guests in the back of the room conversing and  Wedding videographer laughing. You might not be too happy if the broll of people interacting in your video featured primarily random guests who you hardly talked to and left out your immediate family and closest friends. Getting these small things right takes someone who understands social interactions and who understands how to use the right parts of video clips to convey the right emotions at the right times. Watch a company’s sample videos and you should be able to pick up on this fairly quickly.

4. ROI or Return On Investment.

You’ve probably heard this term before and may even know the formula for figuring out your ROI on a particular investment. But for these purposes, we’ll ditch the literal definition. The most important thing to look at here is the quality of the product you’ll receive vs. the amount of money you pay for it. This is hard to quantify but it’s a good thing to always keep at the front of your mind when scoping out videography companies.

How much should a wedding video cost anyway? This question abounds on the internet. However, this isn’t necessarily the best question to ask when finding a videographer that is right for you. A wedding video can cost anywhere from $500 to $15,000 and there is no right or wrong. Everyone will have a different budget and things that are important to them in the video. Here are a couple of things to look for regarding your ROI:

– What is so special about a video that runs you $15,000? Is the company charging that much simply because they can or are they following you around in Hawaii for 3 days with a crew of 4 people? If you are going to pay this much money, just be sure that you are getting a good ROI. Also be aware that some full service production houses charge less than this to shoot a commercial.

– What are you going to receive from a company who charges $500? If you are looking for a full day of coverage with multiple shooters and a personalized cinematic edit in full HD, you might want to be wary of someone who can do it for so cheap.

There are some companies out there with great artists who will attack your wedding with the force of a commercial production crew, give you an unbelievable finished product and can justify a high price tag. And there are some “hobbyists turned pro” who shoot in standard definition and will try to charge you over $1,000 to show up and hit record. Just be sure that you find the best of what you can get within your budget and don’t overpay for no good reason. P.S. POP Video’s wedding coverage starts at $1,395.

5. My Equipment Is Better Than Your Equipment.

Leaning heavily on the last four topics, let’s discuss equipment and how much it matters. Equipment matters, quite a bit. Without good equipment, the most talented videographer in the world wouldn’t be able to give you a good product. These days, wedding videographers NEED to shoot in full HD. If the company does not, move on. A good wedding videographer will have multiple different pieces of equipment in order to capture your wedding in the most dynamic way possible. They will undoubtedly have a tripod but should also have a slider, a handheld mount, and some sort of glide-cam/steady-cam. The videographer should also have multiple types of microphones and recording devices to allow for all possible sound scenarios. They should be using professional grade lenses and should be completing your wedding on professional grade editing and color correction software. They should offer Blu-Rays for delivery and their web formats should be consistent with modern day standards.

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