If you speak to most couples planning a wedding, you'll discover that they have thought about both a photographer and a videographer. While almost all agree that they need photography, it is still not a certainty that a professional videographer will participate. Yet, in one recent report, those who celebrated a five year anniversary, or higher, indicated that they wished they had made videos of the day. Expressing that it would have been great to have footage of family, friends and special moments, they almost universally suggested videographers.
So, with that in mind, it becomes necessary to know what to ask of potential videographers as they do differ quite substantially from photographers. Naturally, there will be some questions that you'll always ask anyone providing a service (i.e. "Do you have some references?" and so on). However, there are also more specific issues to address. Let's look at 10 key questions you must ask your wedding videographer to ensure the best results.
1. How many years have done videography of weddings, specifically?
As you might already see, there is videography as a profession, and there is videography of weddings – which requires specific skills, knowledge and equipment. If you want a good record of the day, you need to hire someone who has more than a passing familiarity with wedding days. You want those specific moments, details and scenes, and you want them filmed beautifully.
2. Do they have a "style"? If so, ask them to explain.
While you will always view samples of their work, you also want them to explain how they see their work. Do they say that they make documentary styled films? Maybe they say their style is very romantic or very cinematic. Whatever terms they use, make sure that they are in alignment with your style AND that they seem to align with whatever samples are shown. If you see samples that are very documentary in overall style but hear the professional describing them as romantic, they might not be a good fit.
3. Do you get to have input into how things are done?
This is a very important question because a video professional may see themselves as a creative film maker and may resist your input. Your vision is very important, and so you will need to have some input into how things are shot, edited and even the songs used for certain portions of the videos.
4. What is included in their fee?
Always ask any wedding service provider, professional or vendor how their "pricing" works. Most videographers are going to work on a flat rate that is determined by the amount of time they provide as well as other features. For example, they might have more than a single camera working and hire an additional videographer as part of the team. They may do all kinds of editorial stuff, offer you a hard drive with every moment of the footage, and even create a video website for your event. Find out what the base price entails and how much added items cost.
Be aware that some add on fees such as travel expenses and time, setup, initial site visits, and so on. Ask about every possible fee.
5. Do they know the photographer? If so, what is their relationship?
Ideally, you'll hire a photographer and videographer who work well together. You don't ever want a tense relationship to interfere with good wedding imagery. Instead, it is best if they coordinate their efforts and even meet up before the wedding day (and any other events they have been hired to photo) to plot out some good shots, make inventories of "must capture" moments and so on.
6. We just mentioned "other" events. Ask your videographer about them, too.
For example, will they shoot the rehearsal dinner? Maybe they can film you getting ready? Perhaps the pre-wedding setup or the next day breakfast? Ask them about filming these other events if they are something you want a full record of in the years to come.
7. Have they worked in your venue before?
If you are having the wedding and/or reception in a popular spot, it is likely that both the photographer and videographer are familiar with it. However, never assume this to be the case. You always want a videographer who will walk through the venue with you and figure out the angles, the lighting, the ways that things have to be set up and how to make it all work without being too obvious or distracting to the guests.
8. Will they book only a single shoot that day?
This is far more important than many couples realize. Because the industry can be competitive, it is tempting for some videographers to double book themselves, doing a day wedding and an evening wedding. You really don't want that. Their attention may be less focused if they are also keeping an eye on the clock and thinking about how to exit at the ideal moment.
9. How and when is editing done?
There are some videographers that actually do same day editing and get you some footage on the day of the event. Some even use what is known as in-camera editing, or really streamlined shooting, to keep editing time down. However, if you want the best results, you'll work with a videographer who takes their time to record, review and edit properly. That means cleaning up the shots, inserting music if needed/requested and preparing a full, HD video for you to upload or receive on a drive. Expect to hear that three hours or more will be needed for that one hour (or longer) video.
10. Who exactly is shooting my wedding video?
Be 100% sure that the person you speak with and who visits the venue is also the person doing the video shooting. Many videography firms actually have multiple camera operators and someone who comes out to quote the job and get initial notes may not end up behind the camera. Even if you are working with an independent videographer, double check with them that, on the big day, it is they who will be behind the lens.
With these ten issues, you can find the best professional for your needs.