11.10.17

I recently came across a blog online that talked about 5 Secrets Your Wedding Videographer Wants You to Know..and to be honest most of it was bogus .  I've seen my fair share of bad ideas, bad setups, horrendous lighting and vendors in this industry that I have no idea how they had someone sign their contract.  With all of that aside, here are 5 secrets your wedding videographer wants you to know.

1. Trust us.  You fell in love with our work from the beginning, now enjoy the day and let us do our thing...we may have "crazy" idea's but our end goal is simply to give you the greatest investment on your wedding day.
2.  Content - It takes far more material for videographers to create a film or highlight than most people realize.  As we need constant motion we can't "fake things" so we need makeup to be in great light before it gets applied (yes this should be a common sense thing) but sadly it's gotten just plain ridiculous as of late.  When bride's speak up for us and say. "I do not want to get ready in the bathroom, I want to look the best in proper light." our day is so much easier.
3.  Wedding Toasts - this is the most important part of our product for you, audio is king of the wedding day and the words from these speeches will mold your final product.  There should never be a reason these don't look their best, and sound their best.  You wouldn't watch a movie with 1 wide shot the entire time...I feel this should also be common sense, but oh my word "but it's so much easier for me to take a few photo's of everyone in a line, then I can go back to eat." -a bad photographer
4.  We love when brides understand that their wedding day IS GOING TO RUN BEHIND, and that when videographers help create a timeline it most likely will go a lot smoother, this is because it does take us a bit longer to get shots our brides need and it takes a little longer to setup for certain portions of the day.  Videographers don't have the luxury of walking around freely, with an auto focus taking 10-15 photo's of staged makeup or you slipping on your dress.  We have our camera on a monopod or tripod, we need to adjust all of our settings and manuel focus our lens and need real motion.
5. Dinner - I personally don't eat at weddings most of the time, because I need a lot of things setup and testing my sound, but when we are told to eat last this makes zero sense.  I've personally had a plate taken from my hand years ago because I stepped in the buffet line and it was rude to the guests (lol) of course I stated my case and was able to get back in line, but if vendors don't eat first we either don't eat, or we eat and miss some valueable content.


All the above I stress with my couples, and luckily my weddings are run with perfection.  Most headaches can be avoided if vendors spoke up and let each other know what they need...I won't interfere with your details and portraits if you don't interfere with my wedding toasts.


10.18.17-

Let's talk about wedding reviews!

I don't think brides really understand how easy it is to make a review and how some vendors are protected.  Reviews can serve a certain purpose and possibly help brides out, but most reviews aren't that real.  Now when I am out of state for filming weddings, I admit the first thing I do is open google and type in the following "pizza near me" I read the top 3 that come up and look for key words that I feel makes a great pizza, I will spend about 30 minutes debating and reading those. Now I know a pizza review for $12 is much different than a wedding vendor who will charge between 3-5k on average, so reviews can narrow the field down quite a bit.
These giant wedding websites -  ANYONE CAN WRITE A REVIEW! WITH OR WITHOUT WORKING WITH YOU... If you want a beautiful example, here is a review that I received years ago (when I cared about them).  

     Reviewed On 12/15/2011 Laura S

...My experience with Brett Hatfield is something he should be embarrassed of. He was very unprofessional in his communication, writing one sentence, casual emails that might be sent to a friend, not a potential customer....

This reviewer admitted never working with me, never exchanging money, never meeting me...but my initial email was talking to her more like a friend.  
My success in this industry has been being personable and getting to know my couples, I never deliver these over the top canned responses.  I don't want my business model to sound like the operator when I call Verizon and have to make a payment.  After months of trying to get the review down (when I cared). I was told that I already had too many great reviews and it would be wrong if someone had that great of a success rate... after this email I just gave up, didn't care about them, didn't care about these "ribbons" and participation trophies...and I stopped writing brides after they received their product to review me.


The last couple of weddings I have had have been painful to work at, not because the venue was bad, or the couple were a bit lame, or the planner had bad eyebrows..but because the bride thought she was hiring someone else.  A lot of couples will read a review or two meet with the "face of the company" and come wedding day I am working with 4 photographers and an associate training them the day of.  Of course the bride isn't going to be happy, she was lied to, and now we have 5 total people clogging up the day, having posing practice and a real power struggle.  These photography companies are ruining the industry.  I know a lot of these big companies who claim they just want to suck up the business so nobody else gets work, when your vendors care about the money rather than delivering a fine polished piece of art I can gurantee you will most likely be a little bit upset.
Here are a few things brides can do to make sure they have a great experience.


1.  Find a vendor who has experience with your wedding theme.  I'll be the first to admit, if a bride is looking for a fast pace hipster wedding and she reaches out...I am 100% certain I am not the right fit, but I know others who strive in that environment.
2.  Read bad reviews first (yes I mean it).  bad reviews can actually be a wonderful tool, sometimes the couple didn't have real expectations and will throw that vendor under the bus.  I've seen reviews of photographers that are wonderful people and highly skilled, but the review was bad because the bride didn't receive a million photo's, or her book may have been damaged in the mail or her wedding day was all rain and she wasn't able to get her pinterest park photos...I've seen reviews saying, "don't hire this photographer because they will Photoshop you and make you look fat"...some people will go out of their way to try to ruin a business.
3.  Make sure the person you meet with is the actual person showing up, and if they aren't make sure you've seen this persons actual work.  Early on in my career I was linked with a very shady photography business - who would send high school seniors and early college kids - this company is no longer in business (shocker).
4.  Make sure the work is consistent.  I know many videographers who make great films, and just plain bad films, and the good films are usually when they outsource the work to other companies, or they film the wedding and outsource their editing..the more work they display the better idea you will have.  Also, look at the date of the work, everyone can have a great wedding once or twice a year, if your photogapher/videographer last work shown is years ago, chances are they don't have anything current or that great to show.

Hopefully this clears things up a bit, not all reviews are real, the good, the bad and the downright hilarious.  Most vendors are protected because they simply pay for that protection.  The best resource is your gut feeling, and what you see...don't base your wedding day off some "award winning ribbon" because chances are those are paid for.  


So many wedding videographers and wedding photographers have the same frustrations throughout the day.  The biggest questions in facebook forums, groups and social media blogs are how we can overcome these wedding day challenges?  I decided to put together a brief video describing the early stages of weddings, and by hiring a makeup artist that understands natural light and what a great photo and video look like will save you hours of time on your wedding day.  This is an educational video helping makeup artists understand the importance of letting wedding photographers and videographers have brides in the best light from the beginning of the day.  Which can be seen here


Who is the best vendor in the wedding industry?  Who is the best photographer for my wedding?  Who should I have plan my wedding do I need a planner?

^^ some common questions I have had from current brides and previous brides..the answer?  Keep reading!

The biggest question I get from brides outside the normal is... who is the best wedding photographer?  This question is loaded and really shouldn't be asked...why?  All weddings are different photographers have a certain bride they attract and certain weddings they thrive in!

I've had some brides use a photographer their friend used and they ended up not so thrilled with them, or a DJ who played at a friends wedding and ended up unhappy - now those two vendors thrive at other styles of weddings, If a bride wrote me and asked to record a full mass only..I would have to turn it down, because that isn't my kind of style or wedding...and I know she wouldn't be happy.  Mostly because of priests refusing to wear a microphone and totally lie about the church not having a soundboard I can plug into (I've got a beauty of a video coming in the next month or so regarding this issue, you will not want to miss these behind the scenes moments and the behavior videographers have to put up with).

Brides should seek out vendors who have either worked their venue, or a wedding similar to theirs (think rustic wedding, unique wedding...etc).  This will ensure your specific vendor will be the ideal person for your wedding.  I once had a bride reach out in Feb. (wedding in Cincinnati) and she sent me her friends wedding (GA rustic wedding near a pond and cabins in the summer).  She was looking for a videographer that could mock that style in her cold winter, catholic wedding in Cincinnati... this just isn't really possible to mimic since everything was completely opposite.  So to all future brides always take recommendations from friends, family and other vendors...but make sure those that are referred have experience with your theme and your visions...otherwise you'll be left with a product that falls short of your wedding dreams.

 

I am asked all the time, where are my brides getting ready at?  A lot of facebook groups, or forums in photography and videography this question arises a lot.  All of my brides are just set in light that I happen to suggest.  I never will give any of my brides the run of the mill product, the boring type videos that we see everyday online, the cringe worthy, no emotion, no style, just the bland shot anyone can record.  I believe a wedding should be romantic and "dreamy" of course the brides that hire me also share the same vision on the wedding.  This is one of those behind the scene weddings, in a hotel conference room...all rooms have some beauty and it should be up to your photographer and videographer to find the sweet spots.  A simple before and after has really helped a lot of my fellow vendor friends and brides can see really how simple it is.  Turn off the lights, and move some things around :)  Weddings are fun, unique, beautiful and elegant...they shouldn't be treated like a kids birthday party, or a friend that happens to have a camera.  Without a trained eye and a passionte vendor that is exactly what brides get, and the rest of us get a bad name.

I am asked all the time, where are my brides getting ready at?  A lot of facebook groups, or forums in photography and videography this question arises a lot.  All of my brides are just set in light that I happen to suggest.  I never will give any of my brides the run of the mill product, the boring type videos that we see everyday online, the cringe worthy, no emotion, no style, just the bland shot anyone can record.  I believe a wedding should be romantic and "dreamy" of course the brides that hire me also share the same vision on the wedding.  This is one of those behind the scene weddings, in a hotel conference room...all rooms have some beauty and it should be up to your photographer and videographer to find the sweet spots.  A simple before and after has really helped a lot of my fellow vendor friends and brides can see really how simple it is.  Turn off the lights, and move some things around :)  Weddings are fun, unique, beautiful and elegant...they shouldn't be treated like a kids birthday party, or a friend that happens to have a camera.  Without a trained eye and a passionte vendor that is exactly what brides get, and the rest of us get a bad name.

Before I jump into this, and probably offend a few people :)  This is just an example, not all weddings are like this...but usually there is something along these lines as far as reception light, whether it be with wedding speeches (extreme high value) or the first dance (extreme high value).  it seems these moments are the moments when anyone decides "what looks best" and ironically, those who make these calls, have no idea about what actually looks best.  There are 2 ways to approach these situations.  Leave your professional opinion to yourself and make vendor friends, or speak up and make your bride happy.  The choice is always yours.  I choose the latter, because I am hired for the work I create,  I would never tell a DJ or a venue coordinator how to do their job, because I don't know their job.  This post is for every photographer, and videographer out there that has to deal with this...and for brides who need to understand why this is so valuable.

Below are 2 examples.

bad_2.1.1.png

This is what a few in the industry wanted the first dance to look like.  I literally had to debate through a lot of people and waste so much time because this scenario isn't acceptable.  DJ says, "well they paid for this..so sorry" in house coordinator says "we will fix it"...then sadly disappear the entire night.  The planner is usually not even on site which has never made sense to me and if they are, some just keep quiet because its easier. Most LED type lights the DJ provides will cause an ugly effect in video, and can ruin photo's.  After going through 3 sets of vendors I just went to the bride...and told her the room is going to look like something from a horror flick, I understand that you may have paid for certain lighting, but the photographers and I strongly urge to let us light the important dances.  I would suggest the lights be in our hands for about 20 minutes after so we can get some "party shots"  Of course we ended up getting the better light, because brides trust the visual team because this what we were hired to do.

Finally...FINALLY after the bride understands what's going to look best we were able to control the lighting structure...the DARKER the room, THE LESS LIGHT WE NEED.  Now, not all rooms are 100% dark because that would be silly, but rooms that are blasted in red, skin tones are ruined, dress details are ruined, facial expressions are ruined.  For any bride out there, to my subscribers... just know that when you hire me... I am 100% all in for you.  For all those vendors who seem to tell photographers and videographers what looks best, please stop.  To all Djs, all wedding planners that would never put us in this situation, or have helped us in this situation I cannot thank you enough.  If we are all educated on what we need and why the only thing that happens is magic and happy brides.

 

Let's talk about ideal bride prep situations.  10-20% of your wedding film, or highlight will come from these moments.  Brides need to have a better understanding of lighting setups and real wedding situations photography and videography are handed.  Our job is to make you look and feel flawless on your wedding day.  Below are two examples of good vs bad, and the why it's important to have us setup where these moments take place.

Typical bride prep:  Bride not facing the light, Bride in terrible spot, Bride in low makeup chair (hunched over). Bride cluttered (missing mom and bride crying because the beautiful daughter is all grown up).  Missing VALUABLE content.  On top of this we are missing actual makeup being applied.  So the usual answer is "well we can do fake makeup" - which is just a waste of time, and it's fake. Answer:

Typical bride prep:  Bride not facing the light, Bride in terrible spot, Bride in low makeup chair (hunched over). Bride cluttered (missing mom and bride crying because the beautiful daughter is all grown up).  Missing VALUABLE content.  On top of this we are missing actual makeup being applied.  So the usual answer is "well we can do fake makeup" - which is just a waste of time, and it's fake.

Answer:

The videographers ideal spot.  Now here's the reason why fake makeup is a bust - most makeup artist will say "we can't touch her face because the makeup is applied" So we can just hold a brush to her face, but video needs actual motion.  Now we've lost all the moments with mom, the little sister or the elementary best friend because of the original setups.  We've lost 20 minutes of real time to do fake makeup that usually doesn't make the video because its posed and fake.   These are all little ingredients in the final wedding film and these need setup a specific way.  So to my lovely brides who read all of this, please use this as a reference for when you're doing your makeup... "fakeup" just doesn't work.  We want to give you a lot of amazing content and to save a lot of time :) 

The videographers ideal spot.  Now here's the reason why fake makeup is a bust - most makeup artist will say "we can't touch her face because the makeup is applied" So we can just hold a brush to her face, but video needs actual motion.  Now we've lost all the moments with mom, the little sister or the elementary best friend because of the original setups.  We've lost 20 minutes of real time to do fake makeup that usually doesn't make the video because its posed and fake.  

These are all little ingredients in the final wedding film and these need setup a specific way.  So to my lovely brides who read all of this, please use this as a reference for when you're doing your makeup... "fakeup" just doesn't work.  We want to give you a lot of amazing content and to save a lot of time :) 

Natural light hitting the face, bride has a lot of room and every angle is perfect because our girl is in the pocket of the light the room provided.

Natural light hitting the face, bride has a lot of room and every angle is perfect because our girl is in the pocket of the light the room provided.

Rustic themed wedding, our bride was getting ready in the cabin.  I had moved her from the kitchen into one of the rooms.  Natural light poured all over and I brought in a mirror for some interesting "artsy" photo's.  Every angle was also perfect, from the artsy look, the silhouette look, shooting through different mirrors and reflections this room and setup added a lot of value.

Rustic themed wedding, our bride was getting ready in the cabin.  I had moved her from the kitchen into one of the rooms.  Natural light poured all over and I brought in a mirror for some interesting "artsy" photo's.  Every angle was also perfect, from the artsy look, the silhouette look, shooting through different mirrors and reflections this room and setup added a lot of value.


Should I get a wedding highlight, or a wedding film?

May 8, 2017

When brides first reach out to a lot of video companies they need to understand the differences between these two options.  If you're a bride and you're looking for a tampa bay wedding videographer, OR a wedding videographer elsewhere, let me save you the time and headache and cover these two products for you.  So... you can make the right choice as what's best for YOU.

Highlights - will vary from company to company, but typically around 5-7 minutes.  Now if your wedding is very traditional and more low key this is the best option for you.  Let me explain.  Even if videographers film all day sometimes when we get back to edit we have very little material to work with.  A highlight will need minimal content.

So how much material will you need to make a great film?  

In order for a great film, here are some things that can be done. Brides and Grooms that write each other letters beforehand, exchanging gifts, first looks, personal vows, wedding toasts during the reception.  All of those will add a lot of value and personalize your wedding.   you can get by with just having a maid of honor or best man give a speech during the reception.  I have personally created wedding films from a very traditional small basic ceremony.  Films can vary in length, but typically 8+ minutes on up.

Talk to your wedding videographer and let them know the type of ceremony, how many guests are coming,  The more our brides can feed us, the longer and better the product will be.  You can't have a BBQ with 30 family members and only serve 10 hamburgers... In order to make a beautiful film videographers need a lot of content, if you know there isn't a lot of content to be filmed, you're an ideal bride for a wedding highlight!.

 

This is a pretty hot topic, why is an unplugged ceremony important, and how should you approach this?

I'll come out and admit, I have had several shots of the bride coming down the aisle ruined...and there isn't a thing I can do about it.  Even with two cameras up front, that shot sometimes is still missed and its a high value shot. 

When the bride is coming down the aisle everyone seems to jump in the middle of the aisle with their phones and cameras when this happens I've now missed a high value shot.  What a lot of people don't realize is every time "the wedding videographer" has to hit record we must move our tripods, re focus, re expose and adjust F-stop...which can take about 10-20 seconds once we do all of that the bride shot is missed.  Thanks aunt Kathy for giving the bride a busted wedding video.

Unplugged Ceremony - two ways to achieve this.  Unplugged means - cut the nonsense and stop getting in paid vendors way.  keep your phones off and enjoy the time spent.  

Brides can either have a sign up saying keep phones off, or have the officiant before the wedding ceremony tell the guests this.  I can't even count how many times I've missed this shot.  Now, this even happens during the reception.  I miss cake shots ALL THE TIME, during the first dance a lot of family will circle the couple and take facebook live videos, or pictures with their phones...which ruin the light, ruin the moment and that valuable content is lost.

We update new phones about every year or every other year, how many times do you really back up all your photos, or print them out from your phone?  ZERO.  Unplug your wedding so your photographer and videographer can really deliver that grade A product which you fell in love with, an unplugged ceremony will always let this happen!