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How to Vet Your Videographer

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Call it the “video gap.” While almost 40 percent of brides had no one recording their wedding in any form, 98 percent of newlyweds recommended that future brides have their weddings recorded, according to a study by the Wedding and Event Videographers Association. Or as Kris Malandruccolo, owner of Elegant Videos by Kris, in the Chicago area, puts it: “If I sold wedding video after the wedding, I’d make more money. Then the video becomes priceless.”

Actually, good video is priceless; bad video collects dust. The trick is making sure you get the former while staying in your budget, and that can be tough with video. Although Malandruccolo says price is usually the first thing couples ask about when considering a videographer, the truth is that making good video is time consuming – and thus costly.

“If you ever see prices under $1000, you have to ask what makes it possible for [the videographer] to spend two weeks to edit in addition to shooting the wedding,” says Brett Erskine, owner of

But before you fork over a few grand to just anyone with a video camera, here are some guidelines to help ensure your money is well spent:

Like many photography companies, video companies often use freelancers. Be sure to meet with the person who is going to film your wedding. Ask to see their most recent work (this also will give you an idea of how fast they will get back to you with your tape), and make sure you see a full-length video. What is the style? Some videographers use voice-overs from interviews to add a cinematic feeling to the wedding tape, while others stick to a more documentary approach. It’s up to you what you prefer, but whatever you do, beware of just seeing a videographer’s highlight reel. “It’s exciting to watch, but it’s not what you’re going to get when you get your videotape – and people don’t realize that,” Erskine says.

Once you’ve found someone whose work – and personality – you like, sit down and discuss logistics. If you’re getting married in a dim church or at dusk, will you be OK with camera lights? Who needs to wear a mike and at what time? Going through a timeline with your videographer will sort these things out.

While videography remains somewhat outside of the mainstream wedding industry (98 percent of brides hired a photographer versus only 29 percent who hired a videographer, according to the same WEVA study), it still boasts some snazzy trends. For example, now you can have a sneak-peak movie trailer made before your wedding or a music-video version of the event created afterwards. Many videographers also offer digital prints made from single frames of your video – because the last thing you want is your wedding video gathering dust.

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