If you’re anything like us, you have a serious weakness for beautiful wedding films. (And like us, you may even low-key weep over your laptop every time you watch one). Nothing captures the emotion of a wedding day quite like a fine art film, and you will love reliving yours—and sharing it with your family– for years to come. But when it comes time to inquire with a videographer, how do you even know which questions to ask? We’ve got you covered, with every question you need to ask your videographer, and insights from some of the industry’s finest filmmakers! Start imagining the slow-motion video intro of your dreams NOW…
Photography: Sandra Fazzino
1. “Why is video so important?”
We can’t emphasize it enough: as time passes, your wedding video will become more and more meaningful. Little keepsakes can bring back wedding memories, but there is nothing quite as emotional—quite as transporting—as video. When you meet with your videographer, ask them to explain why their art form is so important, and why you will treasure your video for years to come. Hopefully, you will receive an explanation as beautiful and compelling as this from Lindsay of NST Pictures:
“Prioritize video, rather than adding it on as an afterthought. Why? Photos, your video, your dress and a copy of your invites to frame are usually the only tangible items left after your wedding. A video is the only item that will bring back the feeling and atmosphere of your wedding day because it immerses your senses with the moving imagery, the sounds and the spoken words of the day. Videography is an investment in your family’s history, so make sure you budget for it and book it early in your planning process.”
Photography: Oliver Fly Photography
2. “What should I budget for videography?”
Before you meet with your videographer, pricing may be the biggest unknown. As with any fine art wedding service, it takes a little education to fully understand pricing for videography, so don’t be too shy to ask your vendor about their approach. According to Lindsay of NST Pictures, “Your video budget should be roughly the same as your photo budget. We often see couples with half the budget or less left for video because they feel it’s less important than photos. We understand that, but it does take the same amount of work as photography: coordination of details before the wedding, two experienced videographers running around for 8-10 hours, top-of-the-line equipment and hours of editing your final films and footage.”
What’s absolutely essential to keep in mind, explains Lindsay, is that “video is a long-term investment” and pricing should reflect this. “When you’re looking at the prices,” she continues, “remind yourself that you will be keeping this forever: longer than your car, longer than that expensive leather couch and maybe even longer than the house you buy with your spouse. A few thousand dollars might seem like a lot right now, but with every year that passes, your film will be worth more than gold.” Above all, understand that your vendor has taken great care to create perfectly precise packages. “Package prices aren’t arbitrary numbers,” reiterates Lindsay; “The cost is directly related to experience, equipment, time and what you take home when you’re wedding is over. You get what you pay for.”
Photography: Koman Photography
3. “What sets your work apart?”
According to Julie of Elysium Productions, the number one question she wishes brides and grooms would ask is “what makes you stand out from other studios?” This question is so great because it gives your videographer the space to articulate her process and style, to speak with freedom and discuss her philosophy. In a sea of beautiful options, you want to know what makes your videographer unique—and if her work has that intangible ‘something’ you’re looking for. Look for any electricity—any spark, any connection you feel to your videographer’s words and work. While “couples should look for quality of picture and sound,”says Chris of Zen Film Works, the most important thing is “if the films wow them or move them emotionally.” If you feel that indescribable, magnetic pull, then you’ll know you are “onto a winner.”
Photography: Emm and Clau
4. “I’d love to hear more about your career path! Can you tell me more about your wedding experience?”
When meeting with any videographer, you’ll want to assess whether they have the ability to create the wedding film of your dreams. Ask questions about how long the videographer has been in the industry and how many weddings they’ve done. Pay attention to whether they respond to your questions with tangible examples from their portfolio. This kind of deep experience and skill set will make all the difference, and will give you complete confidence in your investment. “Experience is key,” agrees Lindsay of NST Pictures. “You will keep your wedding video for the rest of your life so you want to look for a company that has a great track record. Read reviews, look for awards and see if they have any notable past clients.” Be mindful also that with this rich experience comes a (justifiably) higher price tag.
Photography: Anya Kernes Photography
5. “Do you have any experience with companies outside of the wedding space?”
Lindsay of NST Pictures has some fascinating thoughts on how experience outside of the wedding space can enliven and enhance wedding work. “Artists need to keep themselves inspired and inspiration can come from many places,” explains Lindsay. “Consider a videographer or company that also does work outside of weddings because they will have a well-rounded perspective on filming and can bring those creative experiences from their other projects into your wedding video.” This kind of experience has given the artist’s wedding work an entirely new layer, a refreshing perspective. “For example,” explains Lindsay, “a videographer who has worked for National Geographic may be more likely to notice and capture a butterfly landing on a flower before your ceremony begins, which can add a beautiful element to the start of your wedding film.”
Photography: Simply Sarah Photography
6. “Can you describe your aesthetic?”
It’s so important to approach your videographer for what they are—an artist—and be curious and engaged about their aesthetic and artistic approach. You may notice that your favorite fashion designers have a totally distinct aesthetic—you can spot a Dolce & Gabbana floral print, or a Chanel tweed jacket on first glance—and you will want to sense something distinct and exciting about your videographer’s work as well. Allow them the freedom to explain their approach, to talk about what lights them up, and see if you resonate with their words. We asked our experts to define their aesthetic—and we hope you get an equally compelling answer when you ask your videographer the same question!
From Lindsay of NST Pictures: “We make classic, cinematic-style films that incorporate the natural audio of the day and added music for atmosphere and emotion. For us that means no filters or overtly stylistic editing, which keeps the focus on the couple and the physical and emotional beauty of the day. We believe the focus of your film should be your wedding and you two–not us.”
From Chris of Zen Film Works: “I stand out amongst the rest because I don’t copy other filmmakers. I stand by my style. My approach to a wedding film is to create a timeless film that focuses on delivering emotion and the energy of the day. This is delivered in a very cinematic way with inspiration from the great directors of the cinema world.”
And from Julie of Elysium Productions: “Our style is very authentic yet cinematic. We shoot in a photojournalistic style and it’s more about complementing the client’s photos by focusing on the action of the day (not the posed stuff). Our clients want to see the event as they remember it: an AMAZING party with some incredible romantic moments. Most of all, they want to see themselves—and their event– represented accurately. Our couples are typically down-to-earth and want the attention focused more on their family and friends (and the fun) than themselves. In the edit, we focus on the in-between moments as much as the scheduled ‘events’ while editing to the beat of the music and weaving in amazing personal soundbites. But that’s OUR client… every studio’s clientele, and thus, their style, is different!”
Photography: Greg Finck Photography
7. “Why should I hire two videographers vs. one?”
When meeting with clients for the first time, Lindsay of NST Pictures lists this as one of the questions she wishes her couples would ask. She emphasizes how absolutely vital it is to hire two videographers and describes how this translates into an interesting, multi-layered story. “During a wedding, there are many little events that sometimes happen simultaneously,” states Lindsay. “For instance, most couples are not getting ready in the same location. You photo session might take place during your cocktail hour. With only one videographer, you will have to choose what is more important to cover. Two videographers can also capture simultaneous reactions, like when the bride walks down the aisle and the groom is tearing up on the other end when he sees her for the first time. During speeches, we can capture the speaker and the couple laughing.” Hiring two photographers will ensure that every little nuance—every loving glance, every tender moment—is captured, and that words spoken in vows and toasts are met with a beautiful, complementary image. This way, you will get such a full, dynamic narrative— the story of your wedding day, only a little more artful.
Photography: Sally Pinera
8. “What do videographers do during photo session? We have the photographer then, so can the videographers take a break?”
Lindsay also formulated this question, and has a great explanation for curious brides and grooms. “We cover photo session right alongside your photographer to get the most beautiful shots of the day. We capture the moving moments, between photos, and sprinkle them throughout your wedding film to add beauty throughout. We need this footage to weave the story so that when your sister talks about how well your spouse takes care of you during her speech, we can cut from her speaking to a shot of your spouse putting his or her arm around you while the two of you walk down the sun-soaked beach.” Again, it’s all about creating as much beautiful content as possible, so that your story can be told in a number of ways—each fascinating, nuanced, and considered.
Photography: The Cablook Fotolab
9. “Can I pick any song I want?”
This was one of our burning questions—and thanks to Lindsay of NST Pictures, we’ve finally got the low- down on wedding video music!
“Legally, all videographers are required to use licensed music–even for personal wedding films. Sorry, John Mayer fans!” explains Lindsay. She goes on to explain the necessity of using licensed music, adding, “Some videographers don’t [use licensed music], which leaves their businesses and their couples at risk of being fined and even sued! Fortunately, the library of licensed music is vast, with hundreds of thousands of songs in many different genres. You can even license mainstream music from Lady Gaga and Bob Dylan. Protect yourself and ask your videographer if they purchase licensed music.”
It can be so helpful to allow the editor to make music selections, as they’ll be mindful of the overall narrative you’re creating. “We love it when couples allow the editor to choose the music because the editor can set the tone for the film based on the couple’s personality and style, while keeping their music genre preferences in mind,” says Lindsay; “For example, a slow, romantic, cinematic song could be perfect for a snowy, castle wedding, while a couple getting married outside a barn with a boho lace dress might be better paired with an upbeat folky jam.”
Photography: Sandra Fazzino
10. “As the couple, what can we do to make our video great?”
Also suggested by Lindsay, this question is incredible, because it will help you understand your role in helping your videographer create gorgeous content. Lindsay emphasizes how important couples are to the overall process, explaining, “It takes planning, great shooting, precise editing and an artistic eye to craft the perfect wedding video, but not even the most skilled videographer can inject emotion into the footage like you can. Gush your heart out in a letter! Be present when you tell your spouse that you will love him or her as long as you both shall live! Get wild on the dance floor with your friends! The more you enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime celebration of love, the more you’ll cherish reliving it through your wedding video.”
Photography: Tatyana Chaiko and Vicky Lamburn
11. “Is it important to capture prep?”
In a word, YES! “Footage of getting ready in the morning will be some of your favorite moments to watch later,” muses Lindsay of NST Pictures. “You might think the ceremony and dance floor are the main attractions, but how often do you get to have all of your best friends in one place relaxing and hanging out? You’re young, beautiful and getting ready for the event of a lifetime! You’ll be sharing stories and laughing hysterically. Plus, there’s usually at least one emotional moment as your mom helps you into your dress or your dad sees you as a bride for the first time.”
Photography: The Cablook Fotolab
12. “What does a typical wedding day look like for you?”
When it comes to the wedding day timeline, “I am asked mostly about how intrusive I will be on the day,” states Chris of Zen Film Works. “And my answer is always, blending in is my forte and you will never feel like you are on a film shoot. It’s a wedding first, not a film or photo shoot.” Because her studio focuses more on action over posed events, says Julie of Elysium Productions, the actual timeline isn’t a huge concern. The main thing couples should keep in mind, notes Julie, is “the time it takes to set up and break down gear. A photographer can have everything on their body and move quickly,” she explains, but videographers often need to “be set up ahead of time in order to capture events properly. Not to mention, it takes time to break the equipment down and move it!”
Lindsay of NST Pictures, meanwhile, stresses that time is one of the greatest gifts you can give your videographer. “Time is a luxury. The more you have, the more beautiful moments and tangible details we can capture and sprinkle throughout your film. Allowing us to capture prep helps us build anticipation. Glasses are clinking, girls are giggling and the champagne is flowing. Everyone is excited! During photo session, carve out a little time for your videographers. With more time, we can film you walking into the sunset from afar, but we also have time to get some close up emotional details, like the way she squeezes your hand or the way your ring sparkles in the sunlight.”
Just remember that those magical, serendipitous moments—and especially that glowing, golden hour light—requires some prior planning and cooperation with your videographer. “Hazy golden rays and pink sunsets have to be planned for so talk to us about your wedding day timeline,” encourages Lindsay. “That way, you’ll be outside during the best hours of the day to create the most magical scenes.” Schedule everything in advance so you are prepared to catch the magic.
Photography: Rebecca Yale
13. “How can I plan my day to help you capture the best content?”
It’s so important to let your videographers know that you respect their artistry, and that you want to position them to capture the best footage. “I think my couples need to understand the amount of time it takes to make a beautiful film, from pre- production and post- production to the extra time needed on the day,” states Chris of Zen Film Works. “It’s something that needs to be considered when planning the timing of the day.” Collaborate on the timeline, and ask what your videographer needs on event day to create and capture the most beautiful content possible.
Photography: Imaj Gallery
14. “What is your turnaround time like?”
It’s so essential to ask about delivery time upfront, so that you don’t place undue pressure—or feel unnecessary anxiety—as your videographer creates your stunning, personalized film. Chris of Zen Film Works underscores how important time is to the creative process, saying, “I usually explain this in my first call with [clients]. I tell them that to create something beautiful and with intent, it can’t be rushed. A rushed piece will drop in quality and emotional quotient.” Lindsay of NST Pictures agrees: “Creating a work of art takes time,” she stresses. “We want to give your film our undivided attention so please be patient with us. We know you’re excited so we are doing our best to get it to you ASAP without compromising quality. You’re going to love it–we promise!” If you want your video quickly, be prepared to spend a little extra to compensate your videographer for the quick turnaround time. “We also offer the option to expedite your film delivery for an additional fee that can be added to any package,” says Lindsay. “The fee covers the editor’s overtime to get your film to you ASAP!”
If you want to give your guests an incredible, interactive experience and “you’re dying to see your video ASAP, consider a same-day edit,” encourages Lindsay. “Your videographer will film everything up to your cocktail hour and deliver the footage to an on-site editor who will edit your film in time to show it off to guests at your reception!”
And for a little extra celebrity inspiration, check out the gorgeous, same-day edit by Le Rêve Films for Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon, and the couple’s tearful reaction here!
Photography: Rebecca Yale
15. “Do we have chemistry?”
This is a question you should ask yourself. For some clients, it’s ok to have a purely professional admiration for a vendor, but for others, it’s all about chemistry. Chris of Zen Film Works insists that chemistry is “ incredibly important. Great energy creates great films.”
16. “I’m not sure if I’ve asked all the ‘best’ questions… what am I missing?”
When it comes time to meet with a wedding videographer–or any new vendor– it’s so natural to feel overwhelmed. Whether it’s stationery, florals, or videography, this may be the first time you’re encountering this medium, and everything is new. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll feel much more confident and prepared, but don’t worry if you still have some lingering uncertainty! Julie of Elysium Productions insists that it’s totally normal for clients to feel this way; most of the time, she says, “clients don’t know what to ask because they’ve never done this before. It’s only through education that they truly ingest what we do and questions come from there.” Once you’ve had some one-on-one time with your videographer, we promise, the floodgates will open. Julie marvels at how quickly her clients catch on, adding that “once our clients hear more about our process, they inevitably ask some GREAT questions like how music is chosen, delivery time, how many people are there on the [wedding] day, etc.” In meetings and initial inquiry stages, let your videographer take the lead; they are there to guide you and illuminate their process.
Photography: Simply Sarah Photography
17. “Tell me again—what are some of the exciting things I have to look forward to? Why am I going to love this video forever?”
We can’t help ending the article the way we began—by emphasizing how completely grateful you will be to have your wedding video, your own deeply personal work of art. We hope by the end of your meeting, all of your questions will be answered, and you’ll feel thrilled for creative process that awaits you. Allow yourself to be totally excited about the videography process. “Having a wedding video is NEVER a regret for couples. I wish they realized this before the wedding!” enthuses Julie of Elysium Productions—and we couldn’t agree more.
Photography: Andrew Bayda
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