Here are my top 10 tips for planning your wedding film with your videographer.
1. Build in plenty of time
You may have heard that weddings very rarely run to time. This is very true. Things often run over due to an array of factors. After all we’re talking about an event that involves lots of people with their own free will! There are all sorts of unforeseen circumstances that crop up, chances are you’ve never been married before and add to that your wedding is unique. So my top tip is build in extra time for things that are most important. It’s a long day!
Think about the key moments of your day and those that will possibly result in some rushing and stress. Build time into those moments to allow you to relax and give you a buffer against any hard deadlines you need to adhere to. (The ceremony springs to mind!) I think it’s fair to say we’re all thinking about the prep part of the morning here. With many wedding ceremonies taking place in the afternoon, that leaves a whole morning for wedding prep, so get started early and enjoy it all!
Other things to build in time for are of course, speeches. You don’t have a huge amount of control over how long people will speak for – even if you tell them how long they’ve got, it’s unlikely they’ll adhere to it! Bear this in mind when it comes to fitting in your evening events so there’s enough time for everything to happen without rushing.
From a videographer or photographer’s perspective, we’ll want time with you to capture portraits of you in beautiful light. We can’t control the weather, but if there’s a chance we can capture images of you in the beautiful golden light of sunset, then we’ll push for it! The results can be amazing. Likewise, we’ll also want the occasional moment with you throughout the preparation part of the morning to ensure your photos or video has some of those beautiful portraits of you in your dress or suit in your last moments as single people.
2. Communicate well
A wedding is a project that you are the manager of. This means delegating work to a team of people that will make it happen for you. It’s vital that they communicate with you well and the same is true for your communication with them. So make it your modus operandi to answer emails, texts and calls quickly and with the right amount of information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your vendors and helpers. Information flow is key to a smooth running wedding, where everyone knows what they need to do and when and how to do it.
You may find that you feel like you repeat yourself a lot, saying the same thing over and over to various different vendors. You could consider making a set of documents that you can either publish on a wedding website that you have made, or make available to download from a service like Dropbox. This can alleviate any ambiguity or miscommunication when talking to individual vendors.
Certain vendors could also liaise with each other without you having to be part of the communication the whole time. For example, videographers need to liaise with photographers and also venues. If you have a wedding planner, he or she can co-ordinate much of this administration on your behalf, being the hub for all comms for each of your vendors.
3. Don’t let speakers run away with their speeches
Audio is half of the experience of a wedding film, so it’s important that microphones go in key places to capture the emotional speeches of the day. This can usually happen behind the scenes without you needing to worry about it. A videographer may of course ask if it’s ok to mic up the bride, groom and celebrant. This can usually be done discretely with tiny hidden microphones, but if in doubt, ask the videographer. It’s not always necessary to mic the bride (it can be a challenge!) because the groom’s mic (much easier to place) can pick up her audio.
The speeches are another part of the day where capturing audio is super important. The main bit of advice here would be to communicate with your speakers and ask them to do the following:
- Please stay within the prescribed time limit! No one wants to be bored senseless for hours, or to disrupt the timing of the day.
- Keep it nice! No bitterness, passive aggression, or hostility in any form, directed at anyone.
- Best man/men should not ignore the bride. If they have to do some embarrassing stories about the groom, make sure this is also balanced with how much love they have for him (and the bride)
- Leave profanity out. This could spoil an otherwise great video.
- Don’t move around too much – stand where directed to (so any cameras on tripods can keep the speaker in frame easily)
- Speeches are traditionally pretty male dominated. This is a tradition worth leaving behind (in our opinion!). In your wedding video it could all be a bit one-sided if we don’t also hear from the bride, matron of honour, mother of the bride etc. So consider that.
4. Communicating to your guests about video
More and more these days there are people who don’t want to be photographed, or have children they don’t want photographed. This can make for a very challenging scenario for photographers and videographers at a wedding. The best way to handle this is to advise your guests in advance that there will be filming at the wedding and that it won’t be possible to be selective about who is in the video. If anyone can’t legally be filmed, they will need to have some kind of badge that the videographer can see, and be prepared to get out of shot whenever a camera is around!
5. Details, details
Videographers like to capture details at weddings. You’ve put a lot of thought into decorations and details and will want these to be recorded in your final video. A key part of the day for capturing close ups and details are during the morning preparations. Here are some ideas for things you could have with you to be captured:
- The obvious things: the dress, the shoes, the bouquet etc
- The suit, the tie, the buttonholes, the rings.
- An invitation, order of service.
- Photos of those departed, loved ones absent.
- Any objects that have special significance to you as a couple or individually.
Some of these things may only be possible to capture during the preparations, and so do specify to your videographer what should be captured and when.
6. Posing advice
Now you’ll probably not need to worry about this as your photographer and videographer will direct you during portrait sessions to a degree. However, there are some tips that may help present you both in your best light, so to speak…
- Practice! Get a friend to snap lots of pics of you from all different angles. Work out if you have a best side – not even the top models of the world have perfectly symmetrical faces! Let your photographer know which side is most flattering for you.
- Develop good photo posture! Keep your shoulders back and lift your head up as though being pulled up by a string from the top of your head. This will give you an elegant look.
- Arms shouldn’t be squished against your sides. This will make them look bigger and hide your shape. Create a gap between your arms and body to make your waist look smaller. Bend the elbow slightly.
- Smile naturally – fake grins or half smiles can look weird! Enjoy yourself and have a good time. Make each other laugh for real. Also, there’s nothing wrong with not smiling – lots of models do this all the time, but definitely mix it up.
- Try rotating your body 45 degrees from the camera, placing your weight on the back foot and pointing your front foot towards the camera. This can have a slimming effect.
- Most importantly – just have fun. If there’s good chemistry between you this will come across in your facial expressions and body language, and that will look great.
7. Decide how and when you want interaction with your videographer (and when they should leave you alone)
There will be parts of your day where you want to just focus on the moment, without taking directions from a photographer or videographer. Make this known to them BOTH! Likewise, let them both know when it’s cool to give you direction, to reposition you or ask for your interaction.
It’s really important to communicate the same message to both your photographer and videographer about how the events of the day will unfold and how you want things to happen. They should certainly liaise with each other, but you don’t want a situation where one knows what’s going on and the other doesn’t!
8. Consider your options
Most photographers and videographers have various packages you can choose between. Some have optional extras you can build your own package from, like I do. It’s a good idea to consider these to ensure that you end up with the memories that you want to keep. Not everyone wants the same video, so being able to specify different options keeps the cost down for those who are on a budget, and allows those with larger budgets to specify exactly what they want.
- 60 Second trailer teaser – a fast paced edit of some of the day’s highlights that is super shareable via social media. This can usually be ready much quicker than your main video and will give you and your guests something to see whilst the wedding is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
- Ceremony edit – the main parts of your ceremony edited into a longer section so you can relive every moment.
- Speeches edit – so you can remember exactly what everyone said, the laughs and tears in their entirety.
- First dance edit – the whole of the first dance
- Raw footage – everything we captured throughout the day in one glorious home-movie style extravaganza. So you don’t miss a thing.
- Pre-wedding portrait shoot – This is a great time for me to meet you and build rapport. We can create relaxed and beautiful footage in gorgeous light. This can be a great safety option because we can choose a stunning location and schedule it for a time when the weather is good, which isn’t a guarantee for the wedding day itself.
- Interviews – a great option for telling a bit more of your personal story together. Each of you can either read a letter or have a documentary style interview where you talk about the other. These can be done separate to the wedding but later incorporated into the final film.
9. Imagine your video – what kind of shots do you want to see?
Let your videographer know in a planning meeting they kind of thing you’ve dreamed of or imagined for your wedding video. It may or may not be possible or practical, but don’t be shy about sharing – it might also be totally doable. You only get one wedding (hopefully!) so this is the time to let your professionals know what you’ve been dreaming of.
10. What shots don’t you want?
Equally important are the shots you don’t want to see. It may be that you’ve seen a lot of wedding videos that used a particular shot idea like the bridesmaids holding the groom – maybe you think that’s cheesy and it’s an absolute firm no! Let your videographer know.
There may also be people who don’t want to be seen together, or those who don’t want to be filmed. Let your professional know about anything that you don’t want to see in your final film.