Monthly Archives: August 2014


Videographers and Photographers: Professionals vs. Students vs. Uncle Ron

The one question on most bride’s lips: Do I really need a Professional Wedding Photographer and/or Videographer, or can I just get by with my “Uncle”, who just received a DSLR camera for Christmas/birthday; I mean he films all of his kids events, so he’s got to be pretty good, right? I’ve been coming across this question a lot in my line of work, and I feel it is high time I addressed it.

Instead of imparting my personal opinions in this entry, I thought it would be much more beneficial to the planning brides and grooms to layout the pros and cons of hiring either a professional, student, or a friend or relative to “shoot” (Film or take photos)  your wedding. This way, you can see which is best for you and your special day.

First, enlisting a friend/relative:


· Your friend or relative knows you very well. They are most likely familiar with your style and taste they’ll know what you like or what you don’t like.

· If they are familiar with the workings of they’re camera and have a decent supporting set up for it they may do a good enough job to warrant asking them for assistance.

· They will probably (most likely) do the work for free or nearly free.


· Your Friend or relative thinks they know you better than you know yourself, and this can result in a product you hate or isn’t what you wanted at all.

· They may tell you they know what they are doing even if they don’t because they felt obligated to help you out. Don’t be fooled, it happens quite often. Make sure you look at their work like you would any vendor.

· If you planned on inviting this person to the festivities as a guest plan on one of two major things happening: A) they forget film an important part of the night because they are trying to enjoy themselves with the other guests and you. Or: B) they don’t enjoy themselves at all because they are trying not to miss anything important. If you would prefer them to party the night away, you should look at hiring someone else instead.

· They said it would take a few days to edit your video, and it’s been almost a year. Friends and relatives have lives just like you they have jobs and bills and editing together four plus hours worth of footage maybe too much for them to handle when life gets in the way.

Second, Hiring a Student:


· Students tend to have lower rates than that of companies so you could potentially get more bang for your buck.

· Students have access to more equipment than the typical hobbyist and more experience with the equipment, and editing videos and photos at a pro level, therefore usually a better-looking product.

· Students are bold in their choices and decisions. They are developing an eye for what works and what doesn’t. Often this can be an asset to your end product.

· Someone who works in or used to working the industry is teaching students giving them access to many things that hobbyists don’t always have readily available.


· Students are still learning and depending. Who you happen to hire may not have filmed a live event before. There’s a big difference in shooting a scripted film for a class and shooting someone’s wedding.

· Students tend to make bold choices when shooting, because sometimes they haven’t learned what will look good in camera and what will look good in post work. This can sometimes bite them in the butt as far as editing goes.

· You are not top priority. You know that feeling you have that it’s your wedding, and you should have it your way and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to be there. Yeah, I would check that at the door if you were thinking of hiring a student. They often have other things going on in their lives, such as jobs, other freelancing work and school. It may be a while before you get a finished product from them. Especially if it falls around their schools finals.

· In some cities finding a student to work at your wedding can be easier said than done. Lots of photography and videography schools are often in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago smaller towns are less like to have them.

Finally, Hiring a Professional:


· Professional Photographers and Videographers are just that Professional. They work hard at finding out what you want you wedding Day memories to be. They dress, speak and prepare appropriately for each and every job they do.

· Professionals typically have their own equipment, and they are well versed in using everything they work with to give you a good finished product.

· With professionals you are center stage to them. You and couples like you are the reason they took this job, and they will treat you this way; keeping you up to date on progress as well as keeping your personal style in mind.

· There are lots of different companies out there so finding a company that has a similar style may in some places be easier than finding a student.

· Professionals are well versed in shooting live events and can be trusted to work out any problems that may come up during your wedding day.

· Professionals will have a portfolio of work to present to you without the need to ask. This shows you what you’re likely to be getting in the end.


· Professionals have experience, equipment, knowledge, and this is their job, so they tend to be a higher price because of that. They put a lot of work into getting you the best product possible, and that requires time. And as we all know time is money.

· Depending on the company you hire to work your event, they may have several weddings happening the day of your wedding; this may affect the time spent on your video or photos.

· There are a lot of different companies out there and choosing just one can be a bit overwhelming. When going this route, I recommend figuring out what you want, how you want it to look and how much you want to spend, it can help narrow down your choice.


Styles of Wedding Videos

There are many different ways companies all over the world create wedding videos. I find that most of them fall into one of two categories: Cinematic or Traditional.

Cinematic wedding films include several key items to classify them as such: overviews of the day’s events and a music track that will accompany the video. Cinematic style videos are also shorter ranging between a Preview, at 30 seconds, and Epic, at 15 minutes. They reflect the entire days events from getting ready to the last dance, or even leaving for the honeymoon. A story line that runs through them, yes they tell the story of your wedding day, but also of you as a couple and your journey together. Cinematic wedding films have more of a creative flair, which allows the videographer and the editor to be more inventive while working; this means that there’s no distinct formula to creating them. Each video is unique because each couple is different.

Traditional wedding films are similar to documentary films in definition. They are an account of the events that happened exactly the way they happened. Traditional wedding films are stricter in their structure and format. It is a simpler edit, and there tends to be less creative license with them. Though music can be added for the ceremony, in certain situations, typically traditional edits have only ambient sounds that are captured during filming. Traditional wedding films are often included in addition to the cinematic style edits.

The way that each of these types of videos is handled varies company to company. It’s best to find a company that’s doing the types of videos you like and set up a meeting. They will be able to explain their spin on the types of videos and services they offer. Giving you not only a better grasp on what they do, but what you may want the final product to look like.