I’m going to make a few people mad, but you know what?
I don’t care.
Let’s hit on a HOT TOPIC. Working with photographers on the wedding day. As a videographer, we’re trained from the moment we step foot on our first wedding day that the photographer is ‘in charge’. Then couples ask their photographer questions about video that they don’t know the answer to and it’s embarrassing to look like you don’t know what’s going on.
Obviously this rhetoric has created a lot of problems not only for photographers and videographers, but also for couples and planners.
In this video I’ll cover:
How to work as a team
How to communicate so that everyone gets the shot
What photographers need to know about how videographers work and everything we have to do on wedding day
A guide for photographers so that you look like you’re worked with a video team before (even if you haven’t!)
A guide that videographers can send photographers who have questions about working with you
New episodes will drop every Monday and will be sent straight to your inbox! You can watch on YouTube or read the transcript on the blog. Don’t forget to subscribe, like, and comment!
Transcript: Hello and welcome back! Today, .we are talking about photographer relationships as a videographer working with photographers on the day. I know there’s a lot of photographers who are also watching this. So, welcome. Let me know in the comments what you think if there’s anything you want to add. We can do part two of this later. I’m Sarah. I’m a videographer. If you haven’t met me or don’t know me quite yet, I’ve been a wedding videographer for like 10 years. I do a lot of destination work. I do a lot of local work. I’ve got a small team, and we love it. We love weddings, we love working with photographers. We love everything about it. I wanted to come on and offer some advice for my other videographer friends, on how to work well with our photographer friends.
As a videographer, my relationship and your relationship with photographers go far beyond just the wedding day. In my last video, we talked about relationships with wedding planners, and I can link that in the comments in case you want to see it. But they go so far beyond just the wedding day. Photographers are often booked early in the booking process with couples. Same thing with the venue and the planners. Those are the three big vendors that people want to get locked away so that they can move on with the rest of their wedding planning. Videographers, though, come in sometimes early in the process, sometimes later in the process. It just kind of depends on the couple. But your relationships with planners and photographers are probably the two most important relationships you’re going to be building throughout your career as a wedding videographer.
Photographers are highly respected in the wedding industry. People plan their weddings around the photographers. If the photographer is not free on the date they want, they’re probably going to move their date. If their photographer shoots like one style of wedding, that couple is probably going to lean towards that style of wedding. Like it’s crazy, photographers hold so much influence, and that’s a great thing because that is a lot of work. It is a lot of pressure that we, as videographers, don’t feel as much as they do. There’s a lot of stress on photographers beyond just the actual act of producing the photos. Keep that in mind as you’re going through planning, or networking with other vendors, talking to photographers, and building those relationships with people. The photographers are important. They’re a really important part of the wedding day. Literally, the entire wedding day is for the photographers to take pictures. So, with that said… video is also very important. We’re also hired to come in and document the day with the added elements of movement and audio. Working with a photographer who’s also hired to document the day can get sticky. Because videos are kind of new to the wedding scene and roughly half of the weddings have a videographer. A photographer may or may not be familiar with working with a videographer and sharing all of that time that they’re used to having completely to themselves. So, just know sometimes as a videographer, when we’re showing up on the wedding day, the photographer isn’t always jazz that we’re there because it does make their job a little bit harder. Having a photographer on-site as a videographer is just commonplace. Every single wedding has a photographer, but not every single wedding has a videographer. So we’re very used to it, it’s just part of our day. But our photographer friends, it’s not as commonplace. So, keep that in mind. They might not love that you’re there. Sometimes when you walk onto a wedding day. You show up, and you introduce yourself to everybody. You can feel: “Oh, excuse me.” You can feel some weird vibes from the photographer. Because again, they might not be jazzed you’re there, or they might not be looking forward to sharing their time, or they might have preconceived notions about what it means to work with a videographer. Because wedding video or wedding photographers were used to having full control of the day, not having to keep up with anybody else or consider anybody else in their workflow, and now they do. That’s more stress on them than an already stressful day. Just keep in mind they might not be super stoked that you’re there but that’s okay because as a videographer you can help the photographer and make their day easier.
Here’s a couple of ways that you can do that. A couple of the ways I do that and some of my favorite ways.
The first thing is to go ahead and set up details if you can. If you are a videographer who likes to capture details as I do, I like to put together flat lays and things like that. Go ahead and save the photographer some time and gather up all those details. Because the photographer is probably going to be shooting a little bit more of the getting ready than we’re going to be shooting and things like that and doing poses that we might necessarily not need. So, go ahead, get those details. Start setting them up in a flat lay. get the shots you need. Then leave them set up for the photographer because they’re going to want them. And then, the next thing you can do is also just helping the photographer wrangle people because we know who on a wedding day it’s like herding cats. People wander off. People are drunk. Sometimes there are other substances involved and people are just not there.
They’re here to have a good time. They’re here for the bride and groom. But they’re not. Like the wedding party isn’t necessarily there to be like: Yes, we are invested in these pictures and videos and things like that. That’s not always the case. Help your photographer friends to wrangle people.
During the getting ready part, if they’re trying to get all the bridesmaids together and they’re in the main part of the room but you know that there are some other bridesmaids like in the back of the bathroom or something- just go be an extension of the photographer, and go tell those other people who might not have heard the photographer in the main room. Go to the bathroom. Go wherever you know people are and just say:
“Hey, bridesmaids, groomsmen, we’re going to try to do these XYZ pictures. Can you go ahead and get dressed?”
Or whatever the photographer’s instructions were. This goes a long way and it saves that time that you as a videographer are going to be adding to the timeline, just by being there. So, keep that in mind.
Another thing too is to try to connect with the photographers when you’re moving from place to place and just ask them where they’re going to be on the property. Photographers are not used to having to tell a video team: “Hey, we’re going to go back into the woods in this rural area to do XYZ pictures like we do bridal party pictures.”
They are probably not thinking that we would need to know that. They’re thinking we’re either going to track right along with them or we’re just going to figure it out. Or a lot of them think we don’t need that content. Just try to let or try to ask them when you know that they’re moving from place to place, “Hey, where are you going? So I can find you.” Because as a videographer, we can’t move as fast as they can. And we have to move tons of equipment everywhere that we go. So just ask them, where are you going to be? Go ahead and let the photographer go. Don’t make them wait for you. That’s not their job. They’re here to do their job, not your job. So just catch up with them when you can. Because there’s going to be plenty of content for you to get when you get there.
Another thing too, that comes or that pops up that can be stressful is when you have to mic up people. Let the photographers know before the first looks and anything where you have to get a microphone on somebody just say:
“Hey, I’ve got to get a microphone for the groom or someone to do this event. So, please don’t start it before I give you the ‘okay.’”
Now, some photographers don’t love that because it can slow them down.
However, .this is one of those instances where the videographer has been paid to do a job. You have to do it at whatever expense. Getting audio is one of those like, you cannot compromise on that. It has to happen. Go ahead and be assertive with the photographers who you’re working with on that day without being rude. Because again, you don’t want to cause tension. Just let them know:
“Hey, I got to get the mic on these people. I’ll give you a nod when we’re ready. And then, we can start this event.”
I’ve never had a photographer give me an attitude about it. They’ve all been very nice. So, just say what you need because they don’t know. They are overwhelmed trying to get through their shot list and make everything perfect. They’re handling a lot more emotions on the wedding day than we are. Then the couple is a lot more emotionally invested typically in their photos than they are in their videos. Some of that is because the video is so new to the wedding world. And that couples don’t know what to do with us but they know what to do with the photographers. There’s a lot of stress on the photographers. And the photographers are wrangling people as I’ve mentioned before. So they’re just handling a lot on the wedding day. Just try to communicate with them. And then, as we’re moving through the wedding day, we’re going to come upon the ceremony. So, just ask them nicely:
“Hey, what’s your ceremony plan? Are you going to be in the aisle? Do you like to walk around a lot? And let them know where you’re going to be setting up your cameras.”
Ask them if your camera placement is okay. Because as videographers, we can move our cameras back. You should have an array of various zoomy lenses. Some 70 to 200. Probably, multiple 70 to 200 just for the ceremony.
So just ask, “Hey, is my camera placement okay? Let me know,” to make sure that you’re out of their shots when they’re getting the wide shots and try not to set up your cameras directly in the aisle. Because the photographers are going to be up and down the aisle. You don’t want your camera in their shots. Try to set up that aisle camera way back. Yes, the photographer is going to get in that shot. And you’re going to lose a lot of content from the day in that angle. However, when it’s clear, it’s a beautiful angle. So, just have the multiple cameras set up when the photographer is in front of one camera, switch to the other. It’s not that hard. It’s just part of the game.
Another thing you can do is be mobile with the photographer. So, get a monopod or be on a gimbal and just say shoulder to shoulder with them. Don’t get in front of the photographer because now you’re in the photographer’s shots. The same thing, don’t stand back behind the photographer and let them get in your shots. If you can just be right beside them, it works well. So try to stay mobile. Get your cameras out of their way. Let them get the photos they need to get. And we need to be the more flexible ones on the wedding day. Even though the actual act of videoing and producing a video is a lot more involved. The stakes are higher for our photographer friends. So, it’s kind of you to have to balance that with them.
Moving on to the reception and portrait time and all the stuff that happens after the ceremony. Us, as videographers, have to move a ton of equipment. We have to unplug the audio equipment. We got to get mics off people and re-set up everything for the reception. This is a stressful time for a lot of videographers. If you have two people, so, if you’re a videographer, and you’re shooting with a second shooter, this is a great time to just send whoever is a better filmmaker with, like the bridal party, and let them go get portraits. While the other person who’s maybe better at setting up audio and environmental type stuff, they go and get their reception set up. So, try to divide and conquer as much as you can to save time.
But if you’re a solo shooter, go ahead, let the photographer go off. Just ask them where they’re going to be. Go get all of your stuff set up and move into the reception space.
Plug up your audio, get that ready, then go meet the photographer later. You might lose a little bit of content, or maybe some moments, but in the end, as long as you can set up quickly, you’re not gonna lose that much content. They’re probably going to be doing family photos anyway, which most videographers don’t capture a ton of that we might pop in for a couple of group shots here and there. But this is a really good buffer time for you as the videographer to go and set up and save that time.
Now, when you’re doing portrait hours with your photographers, this is where things can get dicey. The photographer is usually going to be given a shot list from the couple. It’s a stressful time. So, they’re going to be sitting there like:
“Oh my gosh! I have to get through the shot list. We don’t have a lot of time. Maybe things got pushed back. Or maybe it’s just a tight timeline.”
The pressure is on for them. Again, as videographers, no one knows what we’re doing. No one expects a ton out of us. They just want a really good end product. So, to deliver that for them, we have to get the shots we need as well. This is, we’re going back to the planning process, if you can get involved in the timeline planning process, maybe you can build in just like five or 10 minutes for video-specific shots. But if not, or if there’s not a lot of time, or you don’t have a designated time slot, just shoot right along with the photographer. Maybe let them know if the photographer is not giving you time or checking in with you to see if you’ve gotten a shot. Or if the photographer is someone who only does static poses with no movement. As the videographer, it’s your job to speak up for yourself and to say:
“Hey, we need a little bit of movement. So, maybe between every couple of shots, can I just get like one pose?” Or just say: “Can I get five minutes in the end to just do a bunch of movement-type things?”
So that you can get what you need quickly while leaving tons of time for the photographer. And then, you can also shoot right beside the photographer or in the in-between moments that the couple is like the photographer is working the couple in and out of their poses. These are all great ways that you can stay out of the way and give the photographer lots of time while also getting what you need.
Now, we get to the reception space, and usually during the receptions is great like this is a relaxed time for a photographer for the most part. They just kind of get to shoot the events and document them as they’re happening. But as a videographer, this is our bread and butter time. We have to make sure that our shots are on lock, and our audio is good. We get a lot of content during the reception. As you’re doing that, you might be setting up lighting, just okay with the photographer. If the photographer is shooting with a flash, their flash is going to overpower your lighting anyway, so it shouldn’t be an issue for them. If they’re not shooting with the flash, usually they love when I bring out the video lighting because it helps them focus quicker and better, and it improves their images. Your lighting should never be a problem with the photographer. It might be a problem with the DJ because they might want some kind of ambiance or something going on. You can run it by them and run it by the planner. Just like make sure it’s okay with everybody. But in the end, you’re hired to produce your service. You need to stick up for yourself. If someone does say they have an issue with it, just say: “Okay, well, I need it for a video. So, I’m going to have it on during this event, then I’ll turn it right off.”
That’s always a great compromise, especially during the dancing part. Sometimes the DJs want their lighting instead of any kind of artificial lighting. It might not look as great, but it’s gonna cause tension. It’s not worth it. Do what you have to do. Make sure you’re getting that crisp audio and you’re capturing the days as they happen. Now, when you are shooting an event with a photographer and a videographer, try to keep tabs on where the photographer is going. Because if you’re shooting onto an event and the photographer is in the background, you cannot edit them out. They can edit you out, but you cannot edit them out. So, try to stay on the same side with them because the photographer doesn’t want to have to edit you out either. That’s work on their end, and that they shouldn’t have to do. Try to stay beside them. So that way, you’re not getting in the background of their shots. They’re not getting in the background of your shots. You’re staying together, you’re working as a team and kind of follow them around. It’s not that hard. Try to have some kind of mobile camera setup, some monopod or a gimbal. So that you can move with them and then, you’re going to do the same thing for the grand exit, and then, at the end of the wedding day, I like to just reach out on Instagram and just be like: “Hey, thanks. That was such a fun day.”
Make sure you’re liking and re-sharing the pictures that they’re posting from the wedding day. When you finish your film, you can send it out to the photographer and the planner and everybody and just be like: “Hey, here’s the film. We finished it. Thanks for an awesome day!”
And then, they can see like: “Wow! Working with that videographer was a great experience because they were kind and courteous and out of the way! They sent us the film at the end. So, that they can maybe be cross-posted if they want to.”
They can do anything they want with it. They can just see the end product and how amazing it is, and everything like that. It’s just a great way to network.
Those are my tips for having a videographer trying to stay out of the photographers’ way, I hope it helps. I’ve also got a guide for photographers on how to kind of understand the video process a little bit as well and to help photographers know what to expect with a videographer on-site. I’m going to do another video that’s coming from a videographer’s perspective talking directly to a photographer. You can be on the lookout for that. It’s coming out here in the next couple of weeks. But for now, I will see you next time.