During a recent wedding, my second shooter and I were surrounded by a videography team of six. We were all armed with 5D Mark II’s. Numerous comments were made about how many photographers were actually needed and how having eight photographers was a little “excessive” for a wedding day. Needless to say, many of our shots could be a made into an “I spy” album comprised of people dressed inconspicuously in black with a big camera and tripod in tow.
Then there was the time when the videographer stood next to the priest during the entire ceremony…except when he moved and stood next to the groom the rest of the time.
As photographers, working with a videographer on a wedding day can be as painful as going to the dentist or it can be a symbiotic experience where we work together to create awesome work for the client. I can honestly say that most of my experience working with a videographer during the wedding day has been seamless and actually a lot of fun.
In a recent blog post, photographer Jasmine Star posted a few tips to create a “positive experience working [with a videographer] on a wedding day.” I’ve shared a few of her tips, along with my own.
1. Communication is Key
Jasmine recommends contacting the videographer via email before the wedding just to introduce herself and say how excited she is to collaborate. “The goal is to set a positive tone and keep the air clean.” She also formally introduces herself at the start of the wedding day and “establish[es] a plan of action for us to work together.” I also make it a point to connect before each point of the wedding day – details, portraits, ceremony, romantics, and throughout the reception so we can briefly discuss ideas, expectations, and where we each plan to start shooting so that we won’t be in each other’s shots.
2. Give Each Other Time and Space
Again, the key is communicating what our needs are in regards to where we need to stand in order to get the shot we want. “It’s vitally important to be on the same page during key moments.” It is also important that photographers remember that the videographers are there to do their job as well and even if the timeline is tight, I try to allow the videographer time to get shots that they want as well as my own.
3. Test The Light
Before “things are in motion,” suggests Jasmine, “I ask if [the videographer] can turn on [his artificial light source] before an event takes place so I can test the light. Nothing’s worse than setting up your shot and a different light source complicates things with last minute over-exposure.” Often times on a low lit dance floor, I use the videographer’s video light to help my camera focus quicker or light up the subjects so I don’t have to use my flash. Videographers are usually glad to help, because they are also getting their shots in as well.
4. Be Cognitive of Each Other
One of our challenges as a vendor is to be discreet. Especially since photographers and videographers are the ones constantly moving around during key moments, we need to be aware of each other and so we don’t photobomb each others’ shots. Often times I find myself up close and personal practically in the videographer’s armpit for a few shots or using a different lens or a different angle. I’d just as soon as not have to try to crop the videographer out of my shots and I am sure he feels the same.
5. They Are Not the Enemy
It’s wise to remember that we were all hired by our client to help them capture memories of their important day. I’ve had some great experiences working with videographers and have given and received many referrals from them. Ultimately, I think that mutual respect and patience goes the furthest in a harmonious working relationship and perhaps friendship between photographers and videographers. And that will be the most beneficial to your clients in getting not only great work, but a great experience as well.
For a hilarious take on the epic battle between photographers and videographers, check out this video on how to take out the photo or video crew.
Here is Jasmine’s original blog post, “Can Photographers/Videographers Get Along?“