Tips that will help enhance your wedding video.
Wedding planning Tips from a Photographer and Videographers point of view. FYI It’s all about timing!
Over the last 12 years of being a wedding videographer, I have filmed well over 300 weddings. In this time I have seen nearly everything. I’ve seen the good and the bad. And I have a pretty good idea on the things that will help make your day special and one to be remembered.
These tips are general random thoughts I’ve tried to put down to give couples thinking about having a wedding video, valuable information to help plan their big day to be a success, while also increasing the chances for a beautiful wedding video.
Lets start in the morning with the Preparations:-
Hair and Makeup
It is important to let the hair and make up people know you’re having a wedding videographer on the day and that they shouldn’t start and finish to early. Let say you are having a 3pm ceremony and are 15mins away from the venue. Working backwards from 3pm I would like to arrive at the ceremony venue to setup by 2:15pm. Meaning I need to leave the bribe preps by no later that 2pm to allow for travel time. Now we would like to film your bridesmaids helping the bride with the dress and if we are photographing as well as filming we’ll need at least 30 minute minimum!
So this will mean you’d need to start putting your dress on no later than 1:30pm. So to be safe you’d need to tell the hair and makeup people that the must be finished no later than 1:15pm which will give us 15 minutes of wiggle room. For a 3pm ceremony I’d like to arrive at the brides location no later than 12:00am.
It is very important to stress the finish time to the hair and makeup artists! There are two scenarios that are not good. First is that the hair and make up people arrive to early and are finished before I arrive! The second is that they run over time and I need to leave for the ceremony location without getting the important shots I needed. I can not bite into my setup time, it is very important I have properly setup before the bride arrives.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the time and make sure your makeup artist has a good idea of when you need to be finished by too. With the 3 pm ceremony example you would definitely need to be finished by no later than 1 pm. This will allow for the needed time to dress and capture the photography and video needed. I also need to be at the ceremony location one hour before the ceremony to setup and begin filming on this end. It the ceremony is 30 mins from the preparation location I will need to leave the bridal preparation at 1:30 pm to achieve the best results for your wedding video. If the hair and make up run over time we risk missing these valuable dress and preparation shots.
It is nice to have some personal touches in your wedding video. If you are getting ready at a location other than your own home like an apartment, it can be a nice touch to bring a few personal items along to add warm to your wedding video. Things like some framed photos of you both together or wedding cards. Also bring one of your wedding invitation so that this detail can be captured is a good idea.
Rather than have you dress photographed hanging on a dodgy plastic hanger think about bringing along a nice wooden one, or go one step further and pre-order the custom hangers that have the bridal parties names twisted into them.
Many brides like to get all the bridesmaids silk robes with there names embroided. This is a nice touch and also can double as a gift to the bridesmaids.
In the morning we will look for all these details and try to capture them in special arrangements. These details will look great in your wedding video! If time is tight or you are feeling creative yourself we are always happy to arrive and have these details already laid out for us.
Gifts and Cards
Cinematic wedding videography is all about storytelling and capturing special moments. To help add a personal dimension to their wedding videography some couples like to exchange gifts or cards on their wedding morning. These are beautiful moments to capture and it’s important to remember not to do it too early in the morning if you don’t have us scheduled to arrive until later. Ideally with our longer packages we are arriving early enough to also film the card being hand written and delivered at the other end.
One thing that gives our wedding videography that cinematic feel is the fact that we like to film some interviews in the morning of the wedding. These interviews are very casual and help us find story elements to include in your film. It is a good idea to let your bridesmaids know in advance that we will be doing this so that they can refresh they’re memories on what they know about the proposal and your first meeting if this is something that they should know. If your bridesmaids or groomsman are nervous about the prospect of doing this you can relax them by letting them know we will only include their interview in the film if it is good and appropriate material.
It’s great to be able to cover some of the groom preparation to help balance out the film. Having the groom preparation covered will depend on the package you have chosen or the distance between you both.
Usually we require having a second cameraman come along for the day to be able to capture this end in a good way. I can sometimes manage to cover the groom preparation in our single cameraman packages to you are both getting ready in the same location, for example in the same apartment building or two houses on the same street. In the situation where I am filming the grooms preparation as a single cameraman I will need to groom to get ready earlier in the morning for the sole purpose of being films. If the ceremony is many hours away the groom and groomsmen can undress again and relax and redress closer to time while I am filming the bride and bridesmaids.
When covering the groom in the morning with a second cameraman we have more time to let things progress naturally and take a more fly on the wall approach. During this time it’s nice it the groom has something to do rather than just twiddling his thumbs. Things I think look nice in the film are things like ironing a shirt, having a shave or buffing his shoes. Other things that work well when covering the groom is playing cards, playing video games, having a beer or drinking spirits
Clean and Tidy
It’s always a good idea to clean up a little on the days leading up to the wedding if you think this could be something that could bother you later in your video and photography. We also like to film into mirrors for creative effects, so ideally it would be great if these can be cleaned too.
We do have trick we can use for hiding clutter and making things look nicer than reality so you don’t need to go over the top.
Our shots will look much nicer if we have natural sun light entering the rooms you are getting ready in. We may open blinds or a doors on the day to help optimize the lighting. We might also suggest filming the dress being laced up in a different room than you originally had in mind if the light is better there. Just remember that this is part of the expertise that you are paying for and we are trying to make your recorded memory fantastic.
Tips for organizing your wedding ceremony.
When planning your ceremony it’s handy to take into consideration the time of year you will be getting married. If you are getting married in Summer you might want to think about having a later ceremony so that things cool off a little. Being summer you’ll have more afternoon light for your photography and can even enter your reception a little later to take advantage of the beautiful afternoon light.
If you are having an out door wedding this will be especially important because guests will swelter in the heat of the day and the sun is too hash from 12pm to 2pm which doesn’t film or photograph as well as later in the afternoon.
If you are getting married out doors, it’s a good idea to provide water and fans and if at all possible shade, Paper Parasols can be purchased very cheaply on eBay.
During winter months you might near to choose a time a bit earlier so that there is enough time and light left in the afternoon to allow for an adequate photography time.
Family photos and group shot after the ceremony can take quiet a long time and eat into valuable couple photo shoot time if you don’t delegate a family member to help the photographer organize the each family shot. Remember the photographer has no idea whether someone is missing from the photo so preparing a list and giving it to a delegated family member will speed thinks up greatly.
If you are planning on getting married on a week day and you will be in or around the city, be sure to take into account peak hour traffic times. 3 pm and 5pm to 6pm
Utilize your locations for Photography
I always recommend to the couples we film to try and avoid zig-zagging all over town during the photo shoot. I suggest to try and utilize what is around the ceremony location and also find what locations can be found between the ceremony and the reception venues. You need to be realistic when choosing the number of locations and take into consideration the amount of time we have. When you are having both a wedding video filmed and wedding photography taken more time will naturally be need.
Ideally you want to get the final sunset photos taken near to the reception venue so that you don’t keep your guests waiting any longer than needed.
Church weddings verses Out door weddings.
Both option come down to personal taste and beliefs. Although many outdoor ceremonies are preformed by celebrants, some priest are also quiet happy to step out into Gods creation to conduct an outdoor ceremony. Depending on the location and time of day they can look very stunning in the film as long as you are not out in midday sun. Plan for a ceremony outdoors no earlier than 2:30pm for better lighting conditions and milder temperatures in the Queensland climate.
Things to consider when planning an outdoor ceremony are the time of year and weather patterns. Your guests may be to hot or to cold. Here in Queensland we need to consider the to hot aspect. It’s a good idea to have an outdoor wedding here in QLD in the milder months, even winter here is OK for this.
If you are doing an outdoor wedding ceremony in the heat of summer it’s a good idea to provide water and paper fans and if at all possible shade, Paper Parasols can be purchased very cheaply on eBay.
Beach weddings can be a nightmare and would be my least favorite type of wedding to film even though they can look stunning. The biggest problem with beach weddings is the constant wind. This wind makes it very difficult for guest to hear the ceremony and it is also very hard for the mics to pick up the the vows without the thumping wind sound in the background.
A midday wedding on a beach is very bright with the reflected light also coming off the sand. This can cause both the bride and groom to squint, which doesn’t look very attractive in the photos.
If you are dead set on having a beach wedding I recommend having it on the edge of the beach in a park area similar to Len Wort Park http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/len-wort-park-27341.html
Church or Chapel weddings have the advantage of being under cover and not as susceptible to bad weather. From a wedding videographers point of view it is a little easier to film weddings inside as we can control the lighting easier. The only real negative to some church or Chapel weddings is that they can be quiet tight and difficult to move about in without being noticed. If you are planning a church or Chapel wedding I highly recommend that you have a second cameraman come along.
Things that can make your ceremony that little bit special.
I quiet often see very quick ceremonies that seem to last only minutes. This is a little bit sad considering that many guest have travel such a long distance to witness it. It also doesn’t give us as much to work with when it comes to editing your film. I many of the most touching ceremonies I see have more substance and it’s not hard to add. I feel it is quiet important to choose a marriage celebrant who finds out who you both are and tries to tell a little bit of your story, maybe of how you first met.