The questions below were all asked by my good friend and brilliant Wedding Photographer Dainelle Smith as part of a blog on her website.
Those last few moments before the bride makes her arrival
WHY DO YOU THINK WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY IS SO IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO A WEDDING?
Having got married myself in 2015, I have seen the value of both Wedding Photography and Videography first hand. A lot of the time when it comes to booking a wedding, couples combine Photography and Videography together as the same medium, when in reality they are completely different and hold different values in the future.
Photography has the ability to capture moments in time and allow you to display them wherever you like, in an album, on your walls or online, a constant and consistent reminder of a special moment in time.
Wedding Videography I always feel, will mature more as the years go on, as children grow up and as people sadly pass away, video brings those old memories to life, the voices, the mannerisms, the smiles and the interactions.
Wedding Photography and Videography go hand in hand as part of a way to preserve a couples wedding memories for generations to come.
WHAT SETS YOU AND YOUR WORK APART FROM OTHER WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHERS?
I think the key thing that sets me apart from other Wedding Videographers is although there are some amazing emotionally charged wedding films out there, personally my key intention is for you to look back on your wedding with a smile on your face and tears in your eyes. I want couples to look back and see the fun, excitement and happiness of their big day. So, in that sense my intent in filming your wedding is to concentrate on the interactions and the moments within your wedding rather than spending half an hour getting a nice shot of your shoes.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY?
My style of wedding videography is very much in the documentary realm, I use long focal lengths which means I can blend into the background, be discreet and capture moments without people realising they are being filmed.
My whole approach relies on being discreet, so much so that the cameras I use are small and look like a photography camera, so people at a wedding usually just think I am taking pictures. Guests always expect a photographer so their guard is down… by using this type of equipment it allows me to capture natural shots.
I always value natural over forced posing and fun over traditional.
When it comes to the couple’s shots, again I simply let you do your thing as a couple and just film what happens… I won’t tell you to “put your hand on your husband’s shoulder and look lovingly into his eyes” unless you want me to of course?
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WEDDING DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AS A VIDEOGRAPHER?
If you have booked just myself to come and film your wedding day (I do offer the option of a second videographer too) then I usually arrive around 3 hours before the ceremony to capture all of the final bits of bridal prep. (Sorry guys but I usually go to Bridal Prep as it’s vastly more interesting than Groom prep haha). I then like to head to the ceremony location about 30 minutes before the ceremony. This allows me enough time to set up cameras properly for the ceremony, speak to the officiants to let them know I am super discreet and finally get some shots of the Groom looking super nervous!
After the ceremony and whilst group shots are happening- I don’t linger on the group shots too long because it’s just replicating what Danielle is doing as the photographer -so I use that time to get shots of the venue, the wedding breakfast room and most importantly guests interacting at the drinks reception.
With regards to the couples’ shots, I usually prefer to just follow along with Danielle and let her lead in what she wants to do with you and then I just film around and capture all the natural shots.
During the wedding breakfast, I leave you alone to eat in peace but I will be right there in the room to capture the speeches when they begin.
Finally, when it comes to the evening reception, I usually stay for about an hour after the first dance to capture the vibe of the evening, however if it’s a good party I will stay later!
The key thing is; on your wedding day I am super flexible. If you would like me to come earlier in the morning or not shoot bridal prep at all, I am in your hands. Similarly, if you have something later in the evening that you would like captured, like fireworks or sparklers, I am happy to stick around and capture it all.
Having a good chuckle at the speeches
ARE YOU ABLE TO CAPTURE BOTH THE BRIDE AND GROOM GETTING READY ON THE DAY?
If both bridal prep and groom prep are happening in the same location then yes I can easily cover both bridal and groom prep, but be aware any time I am with one of you I may potentially miss things happening with the other.
If capturing both bridal prep and groom Prep is important to you then I do suggest booking a second videographer as it allows me to essentially be in two places at once and capture more footage overall.
HOW CAN COUPLES PLAN THEIR DAY IN ORDER TO HELP YOU CAPTURE THE BEST CONTENT?
My whole mantra is just to film it as it happens, so I try and give the least amount of input into your day as possible, however there are some key things that always level up your wedding films.
For example, if you would like me to capture you revealing your dress to family and friends once it’s on, then I would recommend doing that in plenty of time to allow me to get to the ceremony at least 30 mins before it starts. Getting into your dress earlier than you think you need to also relieves a bit of stress on the morning for you too.
An amazing moment to capture on video that some couples choose to do is write a letter or card to each other. Being able to capture the emotion involved in each of you reading personal words from your fiancé is something that is always a great moment to capture.
Speeches can be an integral part of your finished film and really drive the story of your video along, so ask anyone speaking to really think about their words, the meaning and its intent. The best speeches I have recorded are ones that are personal to the couple or partner, show feelings and don’t linger too long. 5-10 mins for each speaker is always ample time if the speech is well constructed.
The first dance… one thing I love is confetti canons! They always look amazing on film and in the photos.
But most importantly as I keep saying is to just enjoy your day and I will capture it in a natural way.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE COUPLE PORTRAITS WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHER?
This portion of your day is where I really step back and allow Danielle to take charge, I usually follow along with Danielle but let her lead with whatever she wants to do with you as a couple and I can then just film all the natural bits of you together; the smiles, the interactions and the laughter. Very rarely will I ask you do anything specific and if I do it will most likely be to tell you both to “get closer” and stop acting like you are repulsed by each other haha.
I keep it super natural and stand back and let you both have a few moments together alone away from your guests.
WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE A COUPLE TO MAKE SURE THEIR WEDDING FILM IS GREAT ON THE DAY?
This will be a quick simple list:
– Keep Bridal Prep room as clean as possible.
– Choose a large room with lots of natural light for your Bridal Prep room.
– If you can and there is enough natural light, make sure all artificial lights in the Bridal Prep room are switched off; artificial light tends to make skin tones appear a little orange.
– If your make-up artist sets up in a dark corner of the room, ask if you can move in front of a large window with natural light. Trust me your photos and film will look amazing because of the natural light.
– Background music is great for the morning to get everyone in the mood, but if any important moments are happening like a letter reading, champagne cheers with your bridesmaids or dress reveals then turn the music off so I can use the natural audio and vocal reactions in the film.
– Anytime you are walking, like down the aisle or through a confetti tunnel… walk twice as slow as normal, if you think you are walking slow, walk even slower, allow enough time for me and Danielle to capture those moments in all their glory and so they aren’t over in 2 seconds.
– As mentioned, ask people giving a speech to really think about their words, humour is great in a Best Man’s speech but caring words about the couple, bride or groom will always pack a punch in your final film.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP though is just enjoy your day! Don’t stress about things you can’t control like the weather and relax knowing that you have booked suppliers that are well oiled machines when it comes to weddings and have done it 100 times before. Sit back, relax and enjoy every moment because your wedding video doesn’t lie and if you are stress free and enjoying your day, it will show on film and look amazing in your final videos.
WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE IN WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY?
My experience started 11 years ago in corporate video working on big events and with important celebrities. I learnt quickly to work under pressure, adapt to situations effortlessly and how to handle and interact with people. In 2014 I was asked to film my cousins wedding, sadly her father (my uncle) was very ill with terminal cancer and only had a few weeks left. I filmed the day and got the video to my uncle 3 days before he passed away, he was bed bound and unable to speak but I am told when he saw the video, he gave a huge smile and put his thumbs up. That will stay with me for the rest of my life and from that point I knew I wanted to capture people’s memories and allow them to relive them over as many times as they like. It is so important to capture everything we can… fast forward 6 years and over 100 weddings and here I am. I love filming weddings, every single one is different and every wedding has its’ own story to tell.
Once I get in a spot for the ceremony, I do not move, so you wont see me running up and down the aisle
WILL THE WEDDING VIDEO USE DIALOGUE FROM THE DAY OR JUST MUSIC?
That’s completely up to the couple, I work with you before the wedding to understand what you want from your final film. Ultimately, it’s your wedding film so you have got to be happy with it. If you want dialogue I will put it in, if you want just music then that’s fine too. Each couple is different and that’s how I want each film to be too.
ARE COUPLES ABLE TO PICK THEIR OWN MUSIC FOR THE FILM?
Music licensing in the UK is such a grey area, to put it simply you need a license per song to use in a wedding film. If you want to use popular chart music and share your film online then you need a commercial music license which sometimes start at £40,000 which I am sure your wedding budget doesn’t stretch to! The good news is in the UK we have a few licensing websites in which the companies have bought licenses from artists to use their songs for use in wedding films and promotional videos. I have access to these sites and can choose any music I like from the site that I feel works well with your story. Most of the songs are from accomplished artists who have just not broken into the mainstream yet, which I think is good for couples because the songs are not well known and adds an individual aspect to your films.
Usually I choose the music, purely because most couples don’t know what they want but if you have a specific idea or genre of music you want, then all I do is send you the website links and you can sit down and go through tens of thousands of songs and choose.
WHEN CAN COUPLES EXPECT TO RECEIVE THEIR FILM AFTER THE WEDDING?
The wedding films usually take about 10 weeks, although it can be a little longer in peak times. I edit every film myself and never outsource the editing, so with a personal bespoke touch I always ask couples to be patient. I have a dedicated page on my website that you can log into and see the progress of your films and the estimated date they should be ready.
I know you are super keen to see your films and relive the day but I would never want to rush the editing just to get the films to you quicker.
WHAT SHOULD COUPLES EXPECT TO BUDGET FOR WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY?
Quite simply; budget the same amount for your wedding videographer as you are for your photographer. The only thing you have after your wedding is the photos, video and memories… everything else disappears after the wedding or gets used up on the day. Photo and video is an investment not just another cost.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD COUPLES AIM TO BOOK THEIR VIDEOGRAPHER?
Again, photographers are usually one of the first things for couples to book and with wedding videos becoming more popular and shaking off the 90’s VHS stereotype, us videographers are getting booked up earlier and earlier – especially on peak dates. So 12-18 months is a good time frame.
I can’t guarantee there wont be the the odd Mark photobomb on the day though