This summer Jonathan Ment the videographer (that’s also me, folks) was contacted about a September wedding in need of video. Short notice, sure. But this isn’t unusual. Video is often an add-on.
The fact that still cameras now record video, and have for several years, is irrelevant. The person behind it cannot do both effectively.
As a wedding videographer, I see my role as there to ‘follow the action,’ capturing the mood and spirit. As a wedding photographer, the job is the same – but principally to ‘follow the bride.’
Since I do both, when video is the order of the day I’m always watching the bride in between events.
I caught this brief magical moment at that late September wedding. Following the ceremony, the wedding party was being corralled for photos near the driving range at the Sunny Hill Resort and Golf Club. I was watching Erin and planning my next move. I think this was her first moment alone all day, and it seems to me she used it to enjoy her dress as it all began to sink in.
Sometimes video is an add-on option on a photography package, and I offer that – bringing in extra staff if I’m the photographer and the couple wants me to handle video as well. I have several people I rely on when needed.
Sometimes video is a standalone contract – and I do that too. (Always get a contract – it spells out what everyone can expect!)
Video is that last detail, when the bride gets close to the wedding day and realizes there’s just this one chance to preserve it. The scramble to line someone up begins.
I once recorded a wedding at the Saratoga Museum of Dance, where the bride actually forgot she’d hired me. To be fair, it was the second of two weddings – one traditional Indian affair in New Jersey and this, the Anglo version in New York. I’d been hired just weeks before the big day.
Video is associated with television, and few people realize just how much goes into it. There’s the image, as in photography – but unlike still pictures, that image is moving; there’s sound and possibly steady lighting – not just momentary flash. When Jonathan Ment the photographer is working, I’m looking at what’s behind the subject. When it’s video, I’m also checking to see what will be behind the subject if I follow the action with the camera.
Honestly, it can be a tougher job than still photography. While photos are edited after a wedding, video editing involves ‘post production’ which is a bit more complicated. Folks joke about fixing photos with Photoshop (a real thing, I’ll agree) but rarely do you hear about video ‘we’ll fix it in post,’ also a real thing.
As photographer, you can move around a great deal to ‘get the shot,’ ‘find the angle’ or clear the frame – if some thing or someone in front of you interferes, you can simply move and reset quickly.
As videographer on a single-camera shoot, you really can’t move nearly as much. Steady cam gear is an option – but nobody would want to watch a wedding ceremony where the cameraman was moving around like it was the Bourne Identity.
You’ve got to find an angle that should work, while giving you a little room for adjustment – then basically stick with it. Often, you’ll be catching glimpses of the back of the photographer’s head – because they’re (we’re) moving around constantly.
Last-minute bookings are never a problem, if I’m available. Plus, rather than charge a premium, I occasionally discount 11th-hour-bookings since the date would otherwise be lost. It’s a win-win. Risky, to count on, but sometimes they work out.
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