What to Ask Your Wedding Videographer and Why
For most people, booking a wedding videographer is just as stressful as the rest of the wedding planning process. To be honest, maybe a little bit more stressful than some of the others simply because it's one of fastest growing segments of the wedding industry, while also being one of the most unfamiliar aspects of a wedding to most brides. So if you find yourself confused or unsure what you want from a wedding film, don't panic...you're not alone.
Alongside photography, videography is going to be the longest lasting investment of your wedding day, which is why you want to do everything you can to make sure you know exactly what you're asking for when you book your videographer. We've put together a list of the most important things you can ask when you're trying to make a decision on who will be filming your wedding vows, first dances, and all the memories you'll keep from your wedding day.
How would you describe your style (documentary, cinematic, vintage, etc.)?
Some couples have a preferred style for their wedding video. It is good to do a bit a research before picking your videographer by viewing different styles of wedding videos online. Deciding before-hand, what “style” fits you, can help picking your videographer an easier process! If you're unsure what those terms refer to, a quick search online should give you a little guidance. We'll be making another blog post in the future to go over these more in depth, but the important thing to determine is how big a role the videographer will play in the planning of the day. "Cinematic" for some companies can mean that they will be setting up multiple lights, and staging the shots, sort of like a film set. For another company, "cinematic" could just mean that they shoot some slow-motion video to make their videos more emotional. Take a look through a company's portfolio of work to see if their style matches what you envision for your wedding film.
Who will be shooting my wedding?
This is one of the most important questions to ask; depending on the size of the company, sometimes who you meet with, who shoots your wedding, and who edits it could all be different people. It’s good to know beforehand, especially if there are a lot of timing details in your day to make sure you get continuity of vision from start to finish in your wedding film.
One of the biggest dangers in finding your videographer is making sure are booking with a company that isn't outsourcing your wedding to inexperienced videographers. For your wedding, you really need a videographer with plenty of experience, not just a first-time hire that a company is trying out. Having worked with some of these companies before, I have seen a number of wedding videos completely ruined because a company is simply trying to hire as many videographers as they can to fill all their bookings, without performing due diligence on the capabilities of the videographer.
Do you offer a second shooter?
This is an especially important question to ask if the wedding party is getting ready in separate locations. Having a second shooter the day of ensure that that the lead videographer can get all the intimate moments of the bride getting ready while all of the groomsmen shenanigans are covered too! Having a second shooter allows for more shots throughout the day and provides additional eyes, ears, and equipment to prevent any missed moments throughout the day, even when the unexpected happens.
What are the different packages that you offer?
A lot of videographers have different packages to offer for your big day, ranging from the simple ceremony and toasts plan, to the multi-day destination wedding. It is important to know what is included in each package to find what fits your needs. Some videographer’s offer custom packages designed to fit your unique day!
Have you shot at my venue before?
This can be a helpful question to ask in case they have! Sometimes when a videographer has filmed at your venue before, they’ve got the inside scoop on the best spots to get shots throughout the day. This can benefit the other vendors as well, especially the photographer as they typically have a similar schedule and shot list as the videographer.
What exactly will you be filming the day of our wedding?
Having a shot-list is a major part of planning what shots will be included in your wedding film. It is also helpful to give the videographer/photographer a list of any special moments or events happening throughout the day that you’d like captured (such as a confetti cannon to kick-off the dancing for the night or a sparkler grand exit). Most of your day will be filmed, (more if you have two shooters) but it is important to be aware of the hourly break-down for the packages as sometimes all events will not occur in the time frame you have your videographer.
Can we add on additional hours to packages in case something comes up on the day of?
Weddings are some of the most fun, joyous occasions in the world; they can also be some of the most chaotic, and can go by in a flash. Sometimes things run a little late so it is good to know before if you can add extra-time the day of, and, how much it will cost. Adding on a few hours in the beginning can also ensure that you get that first look or gift exchange that you might have otherwise missed.
Are we allowed to make suggestions or request changes once the film has been created?
As your videographer is working to create an heirloom that preserve your film for generations to come, it is important that you have a film you can be proud of. Most videographers are open to making changes and edits to make sure the couple is satisfied with their video, but some companies will charge an additional fee for edits. Always check to see what their policy is on edits in order to avoid paying more after the wedding.
How do you typically pick the music? Can we have say in the music for the video?
Each videographer has their own style, and music is a huge part of that! It’s good to know how they pick the music for their video, and if they are open to using some of your favorite songs (if that’s important to you). One thing to bare in mind is whether your videographer will be purchasing the copyrights to the music or not. While the odds are against you encountering any big problems, you may have an issue sharing the video on social media if the videographer does not purchase the copyrights for the music in your wedding film.
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Things happen, so it is important to know if you have any wiggle room should your plans change. It's also important to know that your videographer has a plan if something should happen to them as well. Accidents and illness are a part of life, so make sure that your videographer can provide a backup or a full refund if, for some reason, they cannot provide their services on your wedding day.
Another option to consider is using Wedding Rescue to ensure that you won't be left empty handed should something go wrong. Wedding Rescue has a list of vendors who provide last minute emergency services should a vendor cancel on you, even if it's the day of the wedding. If you really want to cover all your bases, Wedding Rescue is an essential fail safe for any wedding.
Do you have insurance?
Though it may seem like a strange question to ask, it's important to know whether your videographer has insurance to cover any mishaps that may occur. Though not all, many venues will often require a proof of insurance from the videographers in order to permit them to film at the site.
Do you offer any discounts for paying in cash or all at once?
Some videographers offer these discounts, but don’t always advertise it. It never hurts to ask, and might save you a lot of money in the long run.
How do you work with photographers and other vendors?
Often videographers and photographers will work side-by-side throughout the day as most of the shots you want on video, you also want on camera. This can be tricky though, as I'm sure any photographer will tell you. A good videographer will be able to work with/around your photographer to make sure everyone is able to get the shots they need without getting in the way. You can always ask your videographer if they have a photographer or photographers they have worked with in the past and had a great experience with. This is great for the flow of the day, and for the ease of both vendors.
When will I received my wedding video?
It’s helpful to know if you should expect your video in 1 month, or 6. It’s better to know up front what your expectations are so you can find a videographer that matches your needs. When reviewing the contract, be sure to find a guaranteed delivery timeline in the copy. Otherwise, you may find yourself waiting a year or two to receive your finished video (believe me...it happens).
In what formats will I receive my wedding video?
If you want a YouTube link, but your grandparents want a DVD, it is important to consider when choosing your videographer the different formats they offer for your final video. DVDs, thumb drive, hard drives, and uploaded videos/personalized links are some of the most common formats videos are distributed.
With these questions on hand, you'll get a comprehensive understanding of what to expect from your wedding videographer on your big day. If you can think of any other questions that you feel are important, please add a comment below and we'll be sure to update our list!