Wedding Videos: The 10 Commandments

By Christian Ziadeh (Video creator on Videopixie)

Before you book your wedding videographer, I’d like to share with you a few time-tested tips for the perfect wedding video – a video that will let you relive your big day for years to come. You probably have lots of questions... How do you get the best possible video for your hard earned dollars? How do we get all those ‘special moment’ shots? Here are a few tips that I like to share with all my clients. They will help you create a beautiful, keepsake video that you'll watch with love for the rest of your lives! No less!

1 - Natural light is a videographer’s best friend!

If you want your video to really shine, make sure there is lots of natural light. As a Bride, insist that the make-up artist works in front of a window, and that the room is clean and tidy. The make-up session is very important for capturing the ‘getting-ready’ shots. If you feel self-conscious and unsure about all those close-ups in HD, don’t worry, the videographer will wait until the make-up is all done before getting close.

The light in this video by IQ Videography is incredible!

2 - Be yourself in front of the camera

You want your video to be as natural and realistic as possible; your video will appear phony, or lacking character if you “play to the camera”. Just forget that the camera is there, treat it as background noise, be yourself, tell stories and jokes, laugh and have fun - not with the videographer but with people around you! It's amazing the difference it makes when the videographer is able incorporate snippets of everyone’s personalities into the video. It allows you to relive your wedding more evocatively than a photo ever could.

How great is the impromptu singing during this getting-ready session!

3 - Spend wisely on your video

When you start your search, you’ll likely find a variety of professionals, each at their own price point. It may be tempting to splurge on the videographer. However he or she is only recording the events of the day, not participating in them. If overspending on the videographer forces you to skimp on decoration or location, the video will look bland no matter how skilled and experienced the videographer is. Your responsibility is to get all the real-life details right so you can leave all the storytelling to your videographer. Remember, awesomeness is not about how much you spend, it’s how you build character and spirit into your wedding.

4 - Communicate with your video crew

If you have special requests, try to tell your videographer about them early on. By default the videographer will assume that he should film all the guests present at your house, ceremony and reception. But sometimes there is that one guest that you were obliged to invite – tell your videographer about them, so that they don't end up co-starring in your video! Similarly, if your Great Grandmother will likely be sat in an armchair for most of the party then tell your Videographer that too, so Great Grandma gets her airtime too! I once had a bride asking me to film her mom’s beloved brand new couches. No matter how weird, don’t worry, the videographer has seen weirder - no judging :)

5 - Trust your videographer

A good videographer will never outright reject your ideas for the video, but you should still trust his/her opinion. Their experience will intuitively tell them when something will look dumb, flat or meaningless. I am often asked by brides to take specific shots that I’m pretty sure will not turn out well. I always film them, but they really make the final edit. When I show the bride her scene, she normally realizes that it does not work, and on to the cutting-room floor it goes. No harm done – it's a creative process. It goes the other way too: a videographer might ask you to do something that you think is stupid, but he/she has a vision, and if it doesn't come out the way he imagined it, he’ll discard it. Trust that your videographer will always use the best possible shots in the final video.

Trust your videographer to come up with brilliant concepts to match the mood of your wedding, like in this beach wedding by Federico Ondarts!

6 - Introduce everyone

Try to facilitate coordination between your videographer and other vendors at your wedding. Make especially sure that you introduce the videographer to the photographer, the DJ, the lighting technician, and the wedding planner. It is also important to provide your videographer with the reception schedule (the same that you shared with the DJ or MC). For example, it’s likely that your videographer will want to coordinate with the DJ to ensure that all of the excitement on the dance floor is captured on film. Finally, introduce your videographer to other decision makers in your wedding, such as your wedding party, parents and soon-to-be in-laws. When it gets hectic on the day, you don’t want to be fielding all the logistical questions - spread the load!

When videographer Israel Vazquez learned about the guest polaroid pictures, he thought of weaving them into the video in this perfectly creative way.

7- Give great shot opportunities, by just being yourself

Take comfort that the videographer is always watching you and waiting for something naturally amazing. Holding hands in the ceremony, smiling at each other, stroking your partner’s hair … simple natural acts will add emotional depth to your wedding video. A good videographer will not just seize those opportunities, she will hunt them down. If you liked the videographer's work before, then no need to doubt now!

8- Treat your videographer well

Videographers are only human. As much as they like you and your wedding, remember that they are "at work" on your big day. By keeping them happy, you’ll get the best possible work out of them - your wedding video! Make your videographer feel welcome, and establish a little rapport before the stresses of the big day kick-in. One simple step is to ask the reception management to be flexible on when the videographers get fed, so they don’t miss a shot.

9- Speeches? Yes please!

Videographers crave sound bites – they add a more personal dimension to your video. In my experience I have found that speeches provide one of the best ways to coax emotionally rich dialogue from your friends and family. Some weddings have no speeches at all, but I’d encourage at least two, even if they’re small.

You guessed it! This speech is 3 minutes long and we shaped the entire video around it.

Just imagine the added emotion of a few loving remarks by the groom, or the father of the bride. Or the laughs added by the best man – these are moments you’ll look back on for ever. Of course, in the end it’s your decision, and a good videographer will work with whatever you decide.

The father's speech sets everything up in this iconic video by Paperback Weddings

10- Enjoy your big day

Sure, it’s going to be stressful, but keep smiling. Your video will be the most moving way to relive your big day. Do you really want to appear flustered? Everyone looks better with a smile on their face. Sounds obvious... I know... but trust me there is nothing worse than sad, stressed out, angry brides and grooms. Be happy! you have every reason to be! It's a big day, and it’s ok to be a little anxious, that's natural and it’s beautiful… But if you keep a sad concerned look, then no videographer, even Steven Spielberg, can save your wedding video!

Hopefully you’re now all set for the perfect wedding video. Remember to communicate with your videographer, to help avoid any missteps, and to build a rapport. Also, remember to trust his or her professional judgement. Your videographer has likely shot more weddings than your Grandmother has attended, so they’ll know what’s going to work. Your videographer will put their heart into your wedding video, so you can relive your big day for the rest of your life. All you have to do is be yourself, and keep smiling!