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 indeed been fruitful.
But there have been many lessons learnt along the way. Preparation for a wedding is crucial to making it a successful day. I will take this information into this year’s wedding season from a technical perspective. These are skills and techniques that will benefit both the beginner or the experienced shooter. Potential couples, we also help 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 what I do to plan and shoot a wedding. I’m a preparation guy and believe that it’s all in 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?
I have met quite a few videographers and photographers who don’t meet the couple before the wedding throughout my career. For me, this is an essential part of the planning process. This meeting’s knowledge will ultimately guide me in the couple’s expectations for their film and how I will achieve this. Where possible, I also try and meet, or at least touch base, with the couple a few weeks before the wedding to 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 how the day will unfold. I use a CRM program, “Studio Ninja” to track my bookings. 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 the entire wedding party and the parents.
Ensure these details are easily accessible on the wedding day – either electronically on a phone or tablet or just printed. Myself, I usually 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 an elegant, 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 primary vendor I work with is the photographer. I always send them a more specific email detailing 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 before the commencement of the wedding. To discuss your thoughts on how you both plan to shoot the day. You can find out more about this by reading my blog post – ‘How the videographer and photographer work together.
Know your locations
Being aware of and planning for the locations throughout the entire day will undoubtedly 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 critical moments. You don’t want to suddenly realise a camera has set in the wrong location and you have no view of the proceedings, or the audio method you were going to employ has amended, 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 a run sheet outlining their timings for the day. Based on this, I will approximate travel times to and from locations. I always endeavour to be at places early if any unforeseen issues arise – trust me, never leave anything to chance!
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 hate for something to happen to my equipment, and that and I missed a crucial moment of a couple’s big day. Drawing up a list of equipment is a great idea, that way I can check all the gear before the wedding to ensure it is in good working order and that will leave behind after 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.