Things to understand before hiring a videographer

by Ana E. Rivera, Cinematographer

I started out writing an article on the 10 things to ask your videographer, however, I couldn’t come up with questions that weren’t already pasted all over the internet.  However, there are some questions that deserve repetition.  For example:

  • Do you have sample videos I can see?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you use professional equipment, accessories and supplies?
  • Do you have back-up equipment that is comparable in quality to the original?
  • Will the shoot interfere with the proceedings in any way?
  • Do you work with the photographer to ensure mutual cooperation?

I wrote an article on the last question due to the fact that I feel mutual cooperation with the photographer is important to ensure everything goes smoothly.  However, I want to talk about something different this time.  Something that goes a little deeper than what questions to ask.  If you are the kind of person that doesn’t mind paying a film student $200 to film your wedding, then this article is not for you.  However, if you realize the value of having a great wedding film, then you want to read this. 

Remember EET

What?  You’re not hungry you say?  Well, I actually want you to remember that acronym.  It’ll help you weed out the good from the not so good.  What does it mean?

Equipment… Experience…Talent


“It is difficult to create great works of art without the right tools… but not impossible” -Unknown

Wedding sites always tell you to ask what kind of equipment the videographer has.  Well, if you don’t take a little bit of time to understand the differences between consumer, prosumer, and professional equipment, you won’t be able to understand the answer to “Do you use professional equipment?”  When interviewing a videographer, I suggest you get the model names of his/her camera(s), tripod(s), audio, and lights.  Then take a few minutes to Google them and make sure they’re considered at least prosumer.  When you pull up the equipment, you’ll see reviews, forums, etc on that particular model. You don’t need to know what CCD, CMOS, DSLR, or any of these things mean, but you do need to know if it’s good enough for your event.  Make sure your videographer uses a professional tripod with a fluid head.  If you remember anything about tripods, remember FLUID HEAD.  The short explanation for this is that the camera will pan and tilt like butter.  Also, make sure they have audio equipment and are not planning to just use the built-in camera mic to capture the ceremony.  Check if it’s wireless and has good reviews (again, Google it).  Lighting usually consists of camera mounted lights either LED or HMI lights.  We prefer LED lighting with dimming capabilities since we don’t always want to have bright lights attracting attention.  


“Every job you do, you learn something and you become a better filmmaker” -Steve Weiss, Director, Zacuto Films, Chicago, IL

The time a videographer has spent behind his camera will make a huge difference on how good the final product will look.  It’s not just about how many years they’ve been doing this.  It’s about how many hours he/she has logged using the camera.  First, because some people have years in the industry but have only completed a few projects.  This could be because they don’t focus just on videography.  They could be editors, illustrators, photographers, etc., that only moonlight as videographers.  Consider also that even if they’ve completed many video projects, technology is changing so quickly and so often, which means that videographers are constantly upgrading their equipment.  Using a new camera can be awkward at first.  For example, there is a learning curve when going from an HDV camera to a HDSLR.  Therefore, ask about how much time they’ve spent working with the equipment they currently use.


“Good storytelling is a gift.  It is something that can be learned, but, basically, you either have it or you don’t.” -Fritz Feick, Owner, Aftershock Digital, Hollywood, CA

I agree with the above quote.  You may love something, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be good at it.  The best videographers are those that, not only love what they do, but have the talent to tell the story in a fresh and captivating manner.  Be assured, your wedding is a story.  It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  You want to be sure that the person telling your story has the talent to do so.  After all, don’t you want to WANT to watch your wedding video?  Don’t you want your friends to also be entertained watching your wedding video?  So how do you know if he/she has the talent?  Check out their work.  Read the testimonials (oh yeah, make sure they have testimonials).  If you connect emotionally with their work, chances are, you’ll be happy with what they do for you.  On a side note, some very talented creative types can have eccentric personalities.  Don’t underestimate the importance of getting along with your videographer.  But that’s an entirely different article.

In conclusion, having talent and experience without the right equipment is like hiring a sniper that only has grenades.  But someone may tell you they own a $25,000 state of the art camera.  However, just because you own the perfect gun, doesn’t mean you know how to shoot it.  I may own the most expensive ballet shoes, but I can’t pirouette to save my life.  Equipment without talent and experience means nothing.  All are necessary to produce a great wedding movie.  So remember:  EET!

I hope this helps to guide you in your quest to find the right videographer to capture what will be one of the most important days of your life.  So for now, champagne wishes and caviar dreams to all!

Contact Ana E. Rivera at

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  1. Luisa Ocasio Says:

    Fantastic information! Most of us don’t know the difference between all that equipment and what results to expect. And to know what to look for is exactly what we need before making a decision.

    • Thank you! I’m glad that you found this entry useful. I decided to cover the topic of Questions to Ask Your Vendors because many clients find the vendor selection process very exhausting. Unless you plan events regularly, or have more than average knowledge about the services you need, it can all be so confusing. Several more vendors will be covered in the upcoming weeks! Stay Tuned!

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