Video Q&A: Essential questions for your videographer

It's agreed: When it comes to hiring a videographer for your special day, one of the most important considerations is whether you, well, like them. Photo by Mat Slagle It’s agreed: When it comes to hiring a videographer for your special day, one of the most important considerations is whether you, well, like them. Photo by Mat Slagle

You know your maid of honor will slay them during her toast. If you hope to be laughing at her jokes decades from now, you’re going to want a wedding video. So what important questions should you ask potential videographers when you’re deciding who to hire? We talked with Ian Atkins of Ian’s Creations and Brett Sandridge of Gardenia Wedding Cinema to find out.

What’s your style like?

Obviously, watching samples of a videographer’s work is key. But don’t forget to ask yourself why you want a wedding video in the first place. “There are some videographers out there that make more of a movie-style film,” says Sandridge, comparing those types of films to music videos. “Others are capturing candid moments and documenting”—recording the wedding so that you can relive it later. In Atkins’ words, “Do you want to present your day to others, or to experience your day all over again?”

What comes with the package?

Packages might include only an edited highlight film with music, or longer stretches of raw footage. Different vendors offer different options, so ask for nitty-gritty details. Sandridge, for example, offers four finished products with each package: a one-minute teaser that’s completed within a week of the wedding; an edited video; a documentary-style video of the ceremony in full; and a reception film.

How many hours will the videographers stay?

“We usually recommend showing up as hair and makeup is finishing up,” says Sandridge. Eight to 10 hours of shooting covers most weddings. Find out, too, how many shooters will be on hand.

What recording equipment do you use?

Atkins and Sandridge both stress that good audio quality is essential. “I always watch videos without any audio,” says Atkins. “Do the visuals tell a story in and of themselves? And then flip that: Can you just listen and get a sense of the story? That speaks to the filmmaker as a storyteller.” Sandridge shares his techniques: “Most of the good audio we get during the ceremony comes from a lapel microphone clipped to the jacket of the groom or the officiant,” he says. “For the reception we reach out to the DJ or band beforehand and see what setup they’re using, so we can hook up our gear to their gear.”

What’s your turnaround time?

Sandridge says that a typical wait for your finished videos can be up to six months. “We try and do a month to three months, depending where we are in the season,” he says. “There’s a lot of work to go through the footage and create something good.”

Can I choose the music for my video?

You might be surprised to learn that videographers have to pay to license music for your wedding video, which can cost thousands of dollars for popular tunes (including, sadly, your wedding song). “We have a style of instrumental music we go for,” says Sandridge, “but we have had couples browse and find songs we both agree on that will work.”

Do photographers like working with you?

“The photographer and videographer work in tandem,” says Atkins. “They’re dependent upon one another to do their best job.”

Do I like you?

“Make sure the people you’re hiring are the people you want around you,” Atkins says. Sandridge agrees, reminding couples that their videographer will be close at hand for 70 to 80 percent of the day: “If you don’t like each other, it’ll put a weird taste in your mouth on your wedding day. And it could affect the videographer’s work if you guys aren’t clicking.” So schedule some face time with potential videographers before you sign on the dotted line.

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