Elopement Planning 101: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Videographer

Mar 22, 2021

Elopement Resources


Welcome to Elopement Planning 101: a series where we’ll dive into how to plan your elopement with 8 key steps and considerations.

Each of these blog posts is also a podcast episode. You can listen to The Elopement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play.

Everything you need to know about hiring a videographer

I’ll be honest: video is oftentimes an afterthought. I can’t tell you how often my couples decide to hire a videographer within months of their day. In fact, I know this to be true from my own experience. We decided on getting a videographer as an absolute last minute decision and I’m absolutely grateful that we did!

Unfortunately, I think videographers in general can pose some interesting divisions among couples getting married and vendors. I have been to a great deal of weddings and elopements by now, and I can say I’ve had several off-putting encounters with videographers – however the gems that I know and have worked alongside are some of the most special humans out there!

Today we’ll dive into the things videographers wish you knew about hiring them, what photographers wish videographers knew, and some of the questions you should always ask before diving into hiring this vendor.

First off, I want to start by talking about the things videographers wish couples knew about the hiring process. I polled several platforms for these answers. 

Things videographers wish couples knew about the hiring process:

  • Videography is not cheap, and should not be treated like a budget vendor. Not the place to skimp!

  • Videography takes an incredible amount of gear and post production editing.

  • Videographers are just as capable and important in the preservation of your day. You can’t print the video, but with proper storage and delivery — you’ll have it forever.

  • Not all video is created equal! Many people don’t know how to distinguish one filmmaker from another. Just like editing styles with photography, composition and editing styles exist for videographers. Pay attention to the way the story is told.

  • For every minute of video, it’s approximately 3-6 hours of editing.

  • Good SOUND matters. A romantic song does not make up for the words spoken on your day, from the vows, to the speeches, to the first look. The sound is the foundation of what the rest of the story will be told upon.

  • Video can transport you back the moment on your elopement day, because it captures far more than just a visual.


Secondly, I want to cover the issues that many photographers encounter with videographers. There is not enough dialogue around these two vendors and the inevitable rivalry/bad blood. I do not speak for everyone when I say that my experiences with videographers have been more neutral & negative than positive, but I do know that there is a huge gap in communication between the two, and that it can often change the way that the day flows. So much of this could be avoided with better pre-wedding communication AND proper vetting and relationship building. 

Issues many photographers encounter with videographers:

  • Videography often doubles your “media” team, which can greatly impact the day and how it feels. If you hire someone who is focused on “getting the shot” vs. telling the real-time story, you might find yourself in scenarios where you’re just repeating what was originally a tender moment for the sake of the film. This is valid! But, it can take time away from the rest of the day and impact the vibe.

  • Because there is a need for both vendors to have time with the couple to execute their unique visions, it can be hard to balance creative control. This is why it’s 1. Really great to get a referral from your photographer or ensure that they’ve worked together before and 2. Ensure that you offer a proper intro between vendors if they haven’t met before.

  • Photographers: we can be ridiculous sometimes, and I’ll admit it. If you feel defensive about me saying that, you probably need to check yourself, my friends! In my early days of photography, I was always annoyed by videographers because they just felt like overkill to me. I wasn’t great at communicating a shared creative control and establishing a good flow for the CLIENT. I was still new and didn’t really have MY flow down. Experience and perspective is everything, though. The more solid I became in my wedding day workflow, the more unaffected I was by whatever was thrown my way. So to clients: hire the experienced vendors! There is a value in that, beyond measure.

    Last point for photographers: you have a responsibility to your client to contribute as much as possible to their positive wedding day experience! You have power to introduce yourself, make a point of allowing and encouraging shared creative control, and utilizing teamwork. It’s your client’s wedding day, not your ego fest. I would encourage you to take time to inquire about your clients’ videographer and ask for their contact to chat beforehand. Relationships are the foundation of all the good stuff that is to come.

  • Speaking of ego…because of the previous point, there can be a *lot* of ego in the mix when you have a photo and video team that are not familiar working together. Again: it’s important to vet your vendors to ensure they’re on the same level and will create a positive environment. Sadly, I’ve experienced some mega disappointing egos in the realm of videography and them clashing with photography. But, this is not exclusive to these vendors. I’ve had issues with caterers and makeup artists and florists. Which just brings us back to ensuring that the people you hire have kind and genuine hearts and are willing to build relationships. 

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OK. So – I asked a friend of mine who is a videographer (and one that I love working with) to briefly list a few things he wishes people knew about hiring video, and the importance of it.

Here’s what he had to say: 

“ I think that sometimes people don’t think long-term when they don’t hire a videographer because, for example my parents always took photos of themselves, and me and my sister when we were little kids… but never did they ever take video. In photos you can only see so much personality and you could see his smile, but you can’t hear voices and laughter and all that stuff 50 years down the road. I think a lot of people think that they only get a 3 to 5 minute highlight video when in reality they actually (with the right videographer) get a full edited ceremony with high quality sound, edited speeches, and anything else worth capturing . A videographer might not seem like a good idea now but in 30 years down the road when you want to listen to those vows or you hear those family members that are not here with you anymore you are going to appreciate that you made the decision to hire a videographer”

Alternatively, I also asked a friend of mine who shoots more traditional weddings for her take on videography.

This is what she had to say:

“…it’s the difference between having two people and four there to capture and be in your face. It can be doing things over again for the sake of “getting the shot” for multiple people. If video is the thing that makes them emotional and they can’t imagine NOT having that movement element to remember their day, then that’s great. But also a lot of videographers I’ve met and worked with have huge egos and demand space in a way that often makes myself and my couple uncomfortable. In my experience, they are often there for the art and not the relationship. I have 2 Videographers that I refer to and LOVE the way they naturally capture the day. Otherwise it’s too much of a production and often times I don’t think a couple gives much thought to how that might change their day.”

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So….what questions should you ask going into it?

Questions to ask when hiring a videographer

  1. Check the community! See who your photographer recommends, check local directories (like Tahoe Unveiled and Wandering Weddings)

  2. You don’t need to ask about the tech specs of things, necessarily — because that can be a lot of mumbo-jumbo that you might not understand from the consumer side, but watch their portfolio and ensure that:
    – the sound is good
    – the story is there
    – the transitions are smooth
    – the video is stabilized

  3. What are the deliverables? Will you get full speeches and a ceremony video? Or just a highlight?

  4. WHY do they do it – is it the story, or is it the art, or a mix of both? I would ask this of your photographer, too. There is nothing worse than a portfolio-driven photographer who’s there for them, and not you. Every industry has these people!

Lastly: I asked on my Instagram why people don’t plan on or didn’t hire a videographer, and one of the biggest answers was a fear of not actually watching it. I’m only a few years removed from our wedding, and no — I don’t watch it as often as I look at the photos on my wall, but when I do… it’s something special beyond compare. I know in 30 years when our families look different than they do now, we’ll treasure the moments documented on film greatly. 

Don’t forget to check out the full Elopement Planning 101 series on the podcast, and head to the blog for more elopements, tips, and resources. Still in need of a photographer or help planning your elopement in Lake Tahoe? Reach out!

Ruthanne is an Elopement Photographer & Expert based in Lake Tahoe, California. She specializes in elopements inspired by the beautify and elegance of the High Sierra mountains, but you can find her all over the west at any time. She lives in Truckee, California where she was born & raised, with her husband Demetri & Australian Shepherd, Sasha. 


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