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How to Choose Your Wedding Videographer? -->> "Honest Guide"

Updated: Aug 5

"Who hired a videographer for their wedding? Pros and cons? Was it worth the cost?" - Bride from Facebook
"I am thinking about booking a wedding videographer and was wondering who you would recommend & if it is truly worth it? Do you ever really watch it again?" - Kansas City Wedding Swap & Shop

These are the most common questions I repeatedly heard from brides. And to be honest, I see their pains since the wedding cost has been skyrocketing higher. According to theKnot.com, the average "Cost of a Wedding In The U.S." was $33,900 in 2019. That is A LOT of money I admitted! Even though I was not quite sure if videography was included in their list.


Should You Hire a Videographer?


The answer is: It depends.

Although I am a wedding videographer, I have never pushed any brides to choose me as their videographer. It is your choice to invest anything for your day! I would say that wedding videography is a "new investment" to the brides. My humble advice is to watch some wedding films and see if any of these interests you.


If you want to hire a videographer but not sure who you are looking for, I am here to show you: "How to Choose Your Wedding Videographer"


1. STYLES

The best way that helps the bride to find the right videographer is style. I want to introduce FIVE different styles that most videographers offer (based on my experience):


Hollywood:

When I said Hollywood style wedding film, I meant film-look, cinematic, or cinematography. It brought to the audiences with a feeling like, "Oh, I am watching a movie? This wedding film is just like a movie!" If the audience has this feeling, that would be the BEST compliment to the wedding videographers. Most Hollywood style wedding films feature a voice-over from the priest or anyone who had a speech and beautiful drone/ aerial scenes as an intro. We love to include some speeches from maid of honor, father of the bride, bride and groom's vows, to the scene which is connected to the moment. For example, we used the father of the bride's toast while the dad first saw his baby daughter with the dress:

Other Hollywood skills like "Multi-camera", "Rack Focus", "Steady Motion" are widely used as followings:

Multi-camera Angles from two videographers
Rack Focus
Steady Motion

Vintage:

Unlike the Hollywood style, Vintage style features a retro film look, which looks so artistic. If you think Hollywood film is mainstream, then Vintage style is more like Art. As Moontage Films, we do not claim our style as vintage (well, maybe 10% of it...) But personally, I love this style so much! Check out my friend Taylor'd Weddings and see if you are interested in her style:

Courtesy of Taylor'd Weddings
Courtesy of Taylor'd Weddings

Music Video:

The music video style does not focus on the "story". Instead, it is more like to combine numerous short clips with music. You will find this style of wedding films tend to flashback or play non-sequentially. It gives the bride a "feeling" of the entire video. For example, I know some wedding films put all the emotional moments together (first look, bride walking down the aisle, vows...) and put all the exciting moments together (kiss, bridal party cheers, entrance...). Some brides like this way; some brides don't.

When I do the music video style, I still put everything in sequence, only a few flashbacks. Here is an example of the "Music Video style":


Documentary:

Wedding documentary, as known as "Full-length film", is a complete version of your day. It features all the behind the scene details, which your highlight film does not include. All the footage we captured in your day, we put them all together! From your getting ready, the entire ceremony recorded, the full speeches of your MoH, Best man, and your dad's welcome toast, the longer version of your first dance, father-daughter dance, mother and son dance, to the late-night open dancing, we have them covered. On average, the documentary film could be 20-50 minutes long, depending on how long your ceremony and speeches are. Normally, the wedding documentary does not look as fancy as a highlight film. This is for the couples who prefer to see all the details or watch it on their anniversary!


Special Style: Bollywood!

I know this is not popular among wedding videographers, but this is how Moontage Films features your weddings! I am strongly influenced by Bollywood movies because of its musical & dancing performances. When I saw the camera movements by the talented cinematographers, I was ready to transfer this style to my weddings!


2. Personality

After you decide which style you prefer, it is time to talk to your videographer in person. You may start the conversation like, "How long have you worked for the weddings?", "How do you normally work with photographers?", or "What is your film style?". Most videographers, including me, are quiet, but it does not mean we are bad in communication. Like the other good vendors, we answer the emails within 24 hours. I meet my brides and go through the timeline a month before their wedding days. Both my 2nd videographer and I arrive on time and communicate with the photographer during the day. It is never a bad idea to communicate with your videographer and understand their personality.


3. Contract Policy, Pricing & Turnaround Time

When you decide to book the videographer you love, make sure to ask them their contract policy. Do they have liability insurance? Do they charge for traveling? What happened if the videographer gets sick? Here are some questions you may ask:

  • Do you offer additional hours? Can we add it later?

  • Who is shooting with you at our wedding?

  • Can I choose the music or you choose the music for us?

  • What is your video turnaround time?

  • Do you charge for revision?

  • I am not sure about this package. Can I upgrade it later?

  • My venue requires insurance from all the vendors. Can you provide it?

  • If I postpone my wedding, what is your COVID policy?

  • How do you handle our footage? If the files corrupted, what would you do?


Conclusion:

As I mentioned earlier, I think the most important thing is to find the style you love. Please note that these five styles can be combined together. For instance, Moontage Films has 40% of Hollywood, 10% of Vintage, 15% of Music Video, 10% of Documentary, and 25% of Bollywood. It is hard to tell that someone just offers one style of the time. Choose the style(s) you prefer the most!

If the videographer you are interested in is available for your wedding, it is highly recommended to meet him/ her in person. I would say the videographer's personality is equally significant as his/ her style.

Make sure you take note of the questions I listed. Review the contract and ask him/ her when the final videos you will receive.


Happy planning!


My favorite thought is that our one day children will get to see our ceremony, personal vows, toasts/speeches, and dances!!! - Katie S

Reference:

https://www.theknot.com/content/average-wedding-cost

https://www.danielle-smith-photography.com/blog/how-to-choose-your-wedding-videographer/5/5/2020

https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/wedding-videography-styles

https://josephedwardsny.com/5-top-reasons-why-you-dont-want-a-wedding-videographer/1471

https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/rack-focus-shot-camera-movement-angles/

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