A New and Growing Freelance Industry: Wedding Videographer

You may have had an experience with videography or two, albeit non-professionally. Maybe you have a friend or relative who asked you to shoot their wedding. You did well, and now more friends are asking you to shoot theirs as well. You find that there’s actually a big market for you in the industry. In the photography industry where it’s already full of competition, going into the new and growing freelance wedding videography industry might be a good idea.

Yes, venturing into wedding videography is a smart choice for enterprising creative people. But there are several things you need to research before you put a price for your services. You need to invest in a lot of time for research, preparation and experience. Obviously, you need a few things to get you started.

The Right Equipment

There’s both good news and bad news already for those who want to enter the field of wedding videography. Good news is, video equipment is now very affordable and accessible to everyone. It’s easier to get into the industry than it was five or ten years ago. Bad news is, technology advances so fast that your video equipment can become obsolete fast. Thus, nowadays you will need more research to know which video equipment to invest in.

First off, you have to decide whether you want your videos to be cinematic or documentary with the final output. The cinematic look means you shoot it in widescreen, 16:9 ratio, rich colors, dramatic effects, steady, professional shots. Documentary wedding videos, on the other hand, offers a grittier, more amateur-ish effect, but doesn’t require all the expensive and bulky equipment you need to shoot cinematic wedding videos.

Nowadays, you no longer need the bulky HD professional camera equipment to produce high quality wedding videos. Here is the list of the equipment you’ll need to start videography:

1. Digital SLR Camera with Video Capabilities

Most videographers, film makers and even movie studios now employ SLR cameras with video capabilities to record footage. The best option is the Canon 5D Mark II.

You need at least two or three cameras in order to capture all the important video footage during the wedding. Of course, this does not mean that it is impossible to make a wedding video with one camera only. But this means you will only have limited footage to work with. For example, during the dress up of the bride and groom, you cannot shoot the dress up of the bride without compromising the opportunity to shoot of the groom because these events often take place simultaneously.

2. Appropriate Lens

Of course you need the appropriate lens to be able to capture all the right shots. You will need the following:

First, macro lens to capture close up shots of important wedding objects and symbols like the wedding rings, shoes, bouquet, just to name a few. Secondly, you need a wide angle lens to shoot wide shots like the reception venue, the cathedral, etc. Thirdly, you need mid-range lens to shoot the whole event. Make sure the lens can handle well with low light or indoor situations.

Stated above are the main purposes for these lens. As much as possible, do not use wide angle lens to shoot mid-range shots, or macro lens to shoot wide shots, and so on. However, among the best lens for videographers is the Canon 24-105 mm f/4. It can serve both wide, telephoto and mid-range purposes. You can shoot a wide scene as an establishing shot, and also zoom in to the bride and groom to capture the moment. The lens performs well in daylight situations, but also does pretty good in low light and nighttime situations with its wide aperture of 4.

3. Equipment for Stability

Of course you need equipment to deliver steady and professional-looking videos. With this you need a monopod and tripod to support the camera while video recording.

Other equipment you will need is the Glidecam. Monopods and tripods are great for steady shots, but you need the Glidecam to deliver a smooth and steady performance for moving shots, such as back and forth, side to side, or up and down.

4. Audio Equipment

Have a microphone and audio recorder to get the necessary audio for your wedding video. Of course, it is possible to make a wedding video without a mic and audio recorder– by simply overlapping the whole video with background music. The end result, however, is more of a music video than convey a story on what happened on the wedding day. Remember that the vows, candid comments, priest’s sermons or the best man’s toast add spice and interest to the viewers.

5. Lighting

During nighttime situations, it helps to have decent lighting equipment. Be sure to know what equipment to use though, as there are pros and cons when you use lighting for the occasion. Obviously having lighting provides a brighter and clearer shot, but may also blacken out the background. Another is that it can cause eye discomfort to guests and can heat up the room. Shooting without lighting can be beautiful, as it provides more candid and deliver a more natural ambiance. Just make sure to bring lighting when needed, but more often than not it’s better to rely on whatever lighting is provided at the event.

The Right Footage 

Image by Bridal Cookie

Be sure to be able to record the most important scenes or events of the wedding. Here is your checklist to make sure you have recorded all the right footage:

  • Bride, bridesmaids, groom, groomsmen dress up
  • Establishing shot of the church and the reception venue
  • Entourage arriving and the bride’s entrance
  • The whole ceremony, plus reaction shots of the family and guests
  • Vows and most importantly, ‘the kiss’
  • Leaving the church
  • Arriving at the reception
  • First dance, Dad’s dance with bride
  • Throwing of the cake, best man’s toast, cutting of the cake
  • Giveaways, decor, cake, etc.
  • Guests saying their wishes and goodbyes

Master Different Types of Shots

Know the different kinds of camera shots.

Fast Editing to Meet Demanding Deadlines

In most cases you need to produce a short video of the events that happened on that day to show at the reception. This means you only have, more or less, five to six hours to edit everything. You have to think fast and edit on the spot. Thus, you will need a fast computer, preferably a laptop so that you can take it with you anywhere. The preferred choice of most photographers and videographers is the Macbook Pro, because its features are accessible for editing. The Mac OSX is also said to be more stable than its Windows counterpart.

There are several editing programs you can use to edit your footage, but the most popular for professionals are: Adobe Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas and Final Cut for Mac.

Image by DV Info


Finally, every wedding videographer needs to find inspiration. Look for inspiring, creative and one-of-a-kind wedding videos found online. You do not want to give the same video outputs and ideas all the time–a wedding videographer needs to play it up a bit. Play with the scenes, and the concept to make the video more fun and meaningful. Showing your wide range of portfolio shows that you are a multi-faceted and creative videographer.

Here are a few great wedding videos as inspiration:

Great wedding proposal, must see!!

About video: “My girlfriend Ginny gets taken to the movie theater to see “Fast Five”. After a preview for the Hangover 2, a trailer for a movie comes on. A trailer I made of her father and I where I ask her father for her hand in marriage. After he gives me permission, I race off to the theater she is at to ask her to marry me.
What she doesn’t know is our family and friends are in the theater with her watching the whole thing, along with about 100 strangers ;-)”

Not exactly a wedding video, but this is a prenup video, or a ‘Save the Date’ video. Creative scenes, unique concept and racy subject, the video caused quite a stir in the Philippines when it first came out.

Rachel Arandilla

Rachel Arandilla is a curious subject -- she appreciates things that are quirky & clever. She loves spontaneity and adventure. She is a carefree soul, has a deep love for travel, culture and languages. And she's beginning to wonder she keeps on referring to herself in third person perspective.

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  1. says

    This is a good starter article for those interested in learning the craft. I think above anything else, equipment or creative style, you have to know how to communicate with clients and really flush out their ideas. They will have a good idea of the style they want, but it’s up to you to execute, so always know the deep goals/visions your clients have and you’ll be able to succeed a lot easier than if you don’t focus on this.

  2. John Rozewicki says

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