The events of your wedding will flash by: your first kiss as husband and wife; laughter and tears of joy; family and friends toasting and dancing. Don't let these moments disappear forever -- with a professional videographer, your wedding can be preserved for you and generations to come. Read on for our top tips on how to find the videographer that will suit your personality, your needs, and your style.
Start With a Little Surfing…
Find a good selection of local professionals in our Local Resources section, then browse each videographer's website and watch wedding demos. Ideally, you should watch an entire two-hour wedding video online using StreamingDVD -- demos are always the cream off the top of any wedding video, so it's important for you to see an entire wedding before you commit.
Discover Your Style
If you aren't sure what videography style you want, take a few minutes to research. Styles are diverse, including traditional, video journalism, the short form, and cinematic styles. You'll probably know the right style when you see it... your wedding video should fit your personality like a glove!
Look for the Associations
Professional videographer associations are a good way to make sure that the videographer you're considering is professional, skilled, and reliable. Look for a local association in your area or check out a national association such as WEVA (Wedding & Event Videographers Association).
Testimonials, References and Referrals
A videographer's website will usually have testimonials from happy clients, but if it doesn't, feel free to call and ask for references. They should be happy to give you a few clients you can call for some personal feedback.
If you know any newlyweds who had a videographer, ask who the videographer was, how the overall experience was, and if they'd recommend that person for your wedding. If you've already lined up your photographer, he is sure to have a recommendation. But do beware: Referrals from people in the industry can be commission-based, and therefore, occasionally biased. If in doubt, ask if a commission is involved.
Meet In Person
Once you've narrowed down your list to four or five possible candidates, call or email to arrange a meeting in person. Make sure you ask a few preliminary questions on the phone -- see if they're available on your wedding date!! -- and then set up a meeting to ask the rest of your questions.
Questions to Ask:
1. How much experience do they have? How many weddings have they shot?
2. What's their style and approach in filming a wedding, i.e., interview-style, artsy, documentary, short form, avant-garde? Do they have a standard shot/set-up list?
3. What form will your final video take? Will you get an industry-standard, chaptered DVD with thumbnail image menus? Will you get to select images from your movie and have photo prints created from them? Can they deliver your entire wedding online in StreamingDVD format so you can send friends and family to look at it for a year after your wedding?
4. What type of equipment will they use? Is it new and modern or old and potentially obtrusive? Will they have backup equipment should something go wrong? How will the tape be edited (so you get a feel for how technologically-advanced the videographer is)?
5. Who will actually be taping your wedding -- the person you're talking to, a colleague, or an assistant? Will an assistant be on-hand to help out, and will that cost extra?
6. Do they have other weddings scheduled that day or weekend?
7. What kind of lighting will they use? If you're having a romantic evening wedding with ambient candlelight, and they need the lights on in order to get footage, there could be a problem.
8. Has the videographer worked with your chosen photographer before? If so, find out if they worked well together -- and get the story from both sides.
9. Have they filmed at your venue before? If so, ask to see the StreamingDVD or tape(s).
10. How much and how do they charge for services? Hourly? Project-based? Get a price list -- often prices and packages will be listed on their website, but you may have to call for pricing in some instances.
The Deciding Factor
Once you've narrowed down your favorites, take personality into account. Do your personalities mesh well? Can you see them interviewing your Uncle Al with good taste? Does he seem able to work well under pressure, or handle any curves thrown his way? Once you've found your dream videographer, be sure to get everything in writing, and that there are no hidden fees. Once the details are taken care of, you can look forward to years of reliving your special day by watching your wedding video.