Wedding videography preparation: tips and advice
Become a better wedding videographer.
To date, I’ve shot over 60 weddings as a videographer – the transition from photographer has certainly been fruitful.
But there have been a lot of lessons learnt along the way. Preparation for a wedding is a key skill vital to making it a successful day. I will take this information into this year’s wedding season. From a technical point of view. these are skills and techniques that will benefit both the beginner or the experienced shooter. Potential couples we also benefit and understand how I plan for every wedding. Every wedding is a learning process. I never feel I’m complete as a videographer – I am always striving to better myself and my films.
Shooting a wedding as a single shooter
I shoot 99% of my wedding as a single shooter. These tips are based on what I do to plan and shoot a wedding. I’m a preparation guy and believe that it’s all in the detail. Leave nothing to chance! Shooting alone can be a challenge – it’s all in how you prepare for the day that makes the difference.
Should I meet the couple before the wedding?
Throughout my career, I have met quite a few videographers and photographers that don’t meet the couple before the wedding. For me, this is an essential part of the planning process. The knowledge from this meeting is going to ultimately guide me in the couples expectations for their film and how I am best going to achieve this. Where possible, I also try and meet, or at least touch base, with the couple a few weeks before the wedding, so I can ensure that there are no changes and they feel comfortable with me. It simply cannot be overrated carrying a great rapport with the couple into the wedding.
When preparing for a wedding, I want as much knowledge as possible about the couple themselves and the plan for the day and how this is expected to unfold. I use a CRM program “Studio Ninja” to track my bookings. Once I get an inquiry and a couple book their wedding, I initially send out a questionnaire to collect requisite information, such as:
- Basic location info for preparation, ceremony, photoshoot and reception;
- Contact information for the couple; and
- Names of entire wedding party and the parents.
Make sure these details are easily accessible on the wedding day – either electronically on a phone or tablet, or alternatively, just printed. Myself, I usually just choose to print these details as it is simply easier to access these in a hurry rather than scrolling for these on an electronic device.
Should I contact other vendors?
Crucial to achieving a sleek, well run wedding, is building and maintaining effective interactions with other vendors involved in the day. I have found that a simple, short introductory email works wonders. I specifically always recommend contacting the Celebrant in particular to get information on the ceremony -trust me, you don’t want wedding day surprises and this simple step goes a long way towards allaying many of these! Of course, the main vendor I work with is the photographer. I always send them a more specific email detailing information of what I do and my usual process and procedure. Where possible, it is also a great idea to meet up with them before the day, or at least arrange a time prior to the commencement of the wedding to discuss your ideas on how you both plan to shoot the day. You can find out more on this by reading my blog post – ‘How the videographer and photographer work together’.
Know your locations
Being aware of and planning for the locations that will be utilised throughout the entire day, will certainly make the execution of your duty a whole lot easier. In particular for me, the ceremony and reception are key areas where I need to consider where I’m going to best position my cameras during these integral moments. You definitely don’t want to suddenly realise a camera has been placed in the wrong location and you have no view of the proceedings, or the audio method you were going to employ has been changed and you are left running around trying to figure out a back- up plan at the last minute.
What time should I arrive?
Closer to the wedding, I request the couple send me through a run sheet outlining their timings for the day. Based on this, I will work out approximate travel times to and from locations. I always endeavour to be at locations early in the event that any unforeseen issues should arise – trst me, never leave anything to chance! If anything needs to be amended, I will email the couple to update and make these changes.
Looking after your equipment.
Things can break! Even though my cameras are reliable and thankfully I’ve never once had a failure, I away have back-ups as a contingency. Call me paranoid, but I would simply hate for something to happen to my equipment and that and I missed an integral moment of a couple’s big day. Drawing up a list of equipment is a great idea, that way every piece of equipment can be checked before the wedding to ensure it is in good working order and also that nothing will be left behind at the conclusion of the day when you are tired, and it is easy to overlook such things. Essential back-up equipment items are of course cameras (I have four),. audio recorders (I have six), and lots of spare batteries and memory cards.
You can find out more about my wedding films by clicking on Wedding films – my creative style