We run through some practical tips on how to video a wedding, from the best equipment to bring to the shots you need to make sure you get paid
It’s lucrative, hectic and often emotional, but there’s often nothing more nerve-wracking than shooting a wedding. Here are some wedding video tips.
The couple will want and expect you to get all the iconic shots – the vows, the kiss, the dance and the rest – and you’ll only have one chance at each (and these days will probably have to content with an iPhone-wielding aunt popping into the frame).
If it all sounds a little daunting then don’t fret, because we’ve put together a quick video overview of the essential steps you need to take in order to get wedding footage a bride and groom will love.
Our wedding video tips
Focus on the couple
As you might expect, you need to focus on the couple themselves – it’s their day – but this doesn’t mean you should neglect the rest of the party. From the bridesmaids and groomsmen to the beaming proud parent, your video needs to make room for everyone to shine and provide some spectacular memories of the day.
Don’t shoot a home movie
As tempting as it may be to simply hold the camera for an entire day and end up with hours of footage following the bride and groom around, it won’t make for a great video.
“Don’t shoot a wedding like you would a home movie. Think about how you are going to build your story. Do short clips lengths – 3-5 seconds,” says Jeff Wood, a top wedding videographer.
One piece of advice he ushers is practicing by editing a short film of still images of your holiday. Think how you can use these still images to tell your story, then translate this to video footage.
To that end, remember the golden rule: close-ups, close-ups, close-ups. You need to get in close to capture the emotions on people’s faces, as this is what they want to remember. However, you need to keep your distance, as no one will give you the genuine reactions you want if they notice themselves being filmed.
A telephoto lens is your best bet to capture details while staying out of the way. We recommend the Canon 70-200mm – a much-loved workhorse for photographers and videographers alike, it’s a solid choice that will see you covered for most situations. Of course, you’ll need to pick a lens appropriate for whatever system you’re using.
Vary the angles
“Shoot everything at three different angles,” says Wood. If you see something interesting find a few different ways to record it. When editing this will allow you to cut between the different angles. Jeff also advised looking for good alternative views, shooting through flowers, reflections in mirrors, or windows, basically using out of focus foreground objects to add a sense of depth in the scene.
Don’t overdo slow-mo
Slow-motion is important, but don’t overdo it. A nice slow-mo of the first dance is perfect, but a video with every subject moving in slow-mo quickly becomes tiresome. Restrain yourself a little and the effect will be all the more powerful when you do deploy it. Less is more, as they say.
4K and Future-proofing
Whilst the obvious advantage of 4K is the increased resolution, that’s not the be all and end all. “All of the colour information [when shooting 4K] is what helps make the footage look great, especially when you compress that 4K footage down to a more standard HD resolution.
“It also enables you to shoot slightly wider and then crop in to the frame afterwards” Wood pointed out.
Whilst not everyone may have a 4K enabled television now, within a few years they will be the norm. This means that you should start recording those important moments in your life in 4k now. That way they will still look there best when you watch them on a 4K TV in a few years time.
However, don’t feel that you need a 4K camera to shoot wedding videos. Different clients will ask for different things and if you’re doing someone a favour they may not even realise.
“I tend to do two passes when editing. I throw it all together in half a day, as fast as I can, and then I spend another couple of days editing the final version,” says Wood. However the key to editing is to enjoy it. “You have to have fun whilst editing, otherwise it will show in the final edit.”
Although many bemoan the processing power needed for editing footage whether HD or 4K, Wood uses a MacBook Pro. “I tend not to apply colour effects. Most of those looks date so quickly. If anything, I go for a classic film look, but really I only ever really colour grade to correct mistakes.” Getting the right look is something that you should agree upon before editing to reduce any back and forth between yourself and your client.
You’re going to need plenty of b-roll, so get shooting those exteriors before the wedding starts, and those immaculate place settings before they get ruined, and that champagne tower before it inevitably gets knocked over. It’ll save your life in the edit!