What to Know if You’re Hiring a Wedding Videographer

I’m often asked by my brides if I think they should also invest in a wedding day videographer. My answer is always “yes.” Still photos and video both do a spectacular job of preserving precious memories, but they do it distinctively different. A still photo captures a very precise, exact moment in life. It forces you to recall the sounds, smells and feelings that were being amplified at the time. It is able to instantly halt every single thing happening in and around the image. While on the other hand, video has the ability to incorporate these palpable aids. It captures fluid movement and sounds. Music can also be overlaid to further evoke emotion and sentiment.

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A wedding film will only add to your memories and give you a more complete, indelible experience. Done right, a wedding film can be as much a work of art as your wedding album. It will allow you to perpetually experience the wedding in motion. The moments captured on video will only add authenticity and profoundness to your memories.

Photographers and videographers have a bit of a reputation about working together. And I am not using the word reputation in a favorable or complimentary light. When the two are not on the same page and don’t take the time before the wedding day to know each other and discover how each works, some level of competition sometimes seems to arise. Not always, but sometimes. The two begin jockeying for the best shot, not taking care to stay out of each other’s way, hogging the couple for private time, and it just starts to become a hot mess. In the end, no one wins. Both vendors go home super frustrated and not with their best work, and the couple doesn’t receive the quality of work they paid for or deserve.

So, how do you avoid this nightmare? Here are my best tips to have a fabulous photography and videography experience on your wedding day.


what to know if you're hiring a wedding videographer san antonio wedding photographer

What to Know if You’re Hiring a Wedding Videographer

  • You should hire your videographer just as early as your photographer: ten to 12 months before your big day.
  • When feasible, choose a photographer and videographer from the same studio. Ideally, they will automatically have a shared vision and a joint accountability.
  • Finding a studio with a photographer and videographer that you love might be harder said than done, so it’s still perfectly okay to choose these vendors independently of each other. Just make sure that:
    • They will agree to meet ahead of your wedding day and compile a game plan
    • They don’t already have a bad working relationship 
    • They both have personalities that don’t make you want to pluck your eyes out
    • It’s a bonus when they have previous working experience together; ask your photographer for references
  • Ask if the person you’re interviewing for the videographer position will also be the person who shows up to the wedding. Photographers aren’t the only ones who do the ol’ switch and bait and send in “associates” to do the work. 
  • Your videography team should consist of two videographers. As with photography, simultaneous but different perspectives and angles are a must for the final product.
  • Be familiar with the videographer’s workload. For reasons of stamina, creativity and the time it takes to dump and backup video from previous projects, you don’t want to hire someone who books multiple weddings on a weekend. You want a vendor who is fresh, vitalized and ready to hit the ground running. Burn out is real.
  • Be aware of exactly what you’ll be receiving after your wedding day: a highlight film (2-5 minutes), a short-form wedding film (10-20 minutes), a feature-length video (45-90 minutes), raw footage or a combination.
  • Make sure you’re able to receive different formats: HD and a version for Instagram, for example.
  • If the videographer will host your wedding film Online (Vimeo, Youtube), ask for how long. Some videographers limit this to a year, others are indefinite.
  • Be familiar with their editing style. Just like photography there are different styles of editing the footage from your wedding day. As with your still images, you don’t want a bunch of special effects added that will “date” your video. Choose someone with a very classic editing style.
  • Choose a videographer who is able to mic you up all day long. This isn’t so they can eavesdrop on the private conversations with the groomsmen, but so they can hopefully catch little audio gems to overlay on the video soundtrack to make it even more special. Most will mic you up for the ceremony to capture the vows. Few possess the equipment or the desire to weed through all the audio that results from making you wear a mic all day long. This is a bonus.
  • Try and find a videographer who also offers drone services. The perspectives those little flying machines can yield will adds tons of cinematographic quality to your wedding video.
  • Also, ask if they’re capable of producing a same day edit. This is a short three to five minute video that is quickly edited on your wedding day and featured during your reception.
  • Know exactly what your photographer will film. Will they only capture footage for your wedding film, or will they also record your time with the photographer, table visits and cocktail hour?
  • Ask about music licensing. A respectable videographer is not going to set your video to John Legend’s All of Me. Securing a proper and legal licensing for mainstream music costs thousands of dollars. Using any music without a proper license is copyright infringement and is punishable by law. I’d hate to see you involved in a lawsuit because of illegal song selection.
  • As with your photographer, make sure your videographer has backup equipment.
  • Video production is very tedious. Know how long it will take to receive your final product. Some videographers deliver in as little as eight weeks, some take up to a year. 
  • It goes without saying, but choose a photographer who is insured, running a legitimate business (paying sales tax, self-employment tax, etc.), a member of applicable professional organization(s) and who has taken steps to become accredited or certified.
  • Get everything in writing.

My only concern with your wedding film is having to constantly ensure that you have it in a format so that you can continue to enjoy it throughout the years. It’s not like a printed image and all you have to do is “keep it.” Make sure that as technology changes and different formats become obsolete, that you take the care of your wedding film to have it exported or saved to these newer formats. And always, always keep multiple copies. Something this precious can’t be replaced and chances are, your videographer won’t archive it forever. Hard drives fail, computers crash and social media platforms will come and go. Protect your wedding film accordingly.

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**The images contained in this post were shot under the direction and for assignment of Sara Griffin Photography. The images are copyrighted but are used here with permission.

san antonio senior portrait photographers ata-girl photography since 2010I am a WPPI-C certified professional wedding and senior photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I pride my business in offering a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations. As a full-time professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide amazing, memorable and full-service photography.

I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.

When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents would be proud of!

The post, What to Know if You’re Hiring a Wedding Videographer, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.

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