Wedding planning can already be a complicated thing! Especially when your surrounded by a sea of vendors who all provide similar services and make it hard to trust people and differentiate which is best for YOUR wedding day. Every event is a unique, and beautiful moment. Step in Dalton Young Films!
This guide is to do one thing. Transparently educate amazing couples on making the right decision for their wedding team to ensure they get the deliverables they want, the quality they deserve, and an investment they are comfortable with despite whether they choose to work with us or not. So lace up and let’s dive in!
TIP #1: EXPERIENCE
Sometimes planning an event can be both fun and overwhelming. When making constant decisions, the wedding can feel more like a transaction instead of everything you have dreamed of. Trust me, I get it. We all get to that point where we lose track of what it is all about occasionally and that is why I want you to most importantly focus on 1 thing. The experience.
Whether on your wedding day, or 20 years from now when it is all said and done, you won’t be thinking about how much it costs, what camera did they use, but what you will remember is your experience and what those moments were like! A wedding is more than just an event. It is an unforgettable experience with a story only video can tell. We deliver more than just a film… We deliver a lifelong experience from the moment you start working with us.
When you are looking for a videographer, think about “Is this somebody I can spend all day with?” and “Do I feel like I can trust them?”. Don’t think about anything else until you know you can trust them to over deliver the amazing wedding day experience you deserve. Make sure they have a good personality and will also get along with other vendors. I can’t stress how important a high-quality elite, and professional vendor team is when orchestrating a wedding. It is an integral component of your wedding day being a success, or a bust. The vendor team is the glue to keeping everything flowing as perfectly as you are planning it to! Remember, experience first!
TIP #2: WHAT’S INCLUDED
One of the first things I hear from most brides is “What do you offer?” and “How much do I get?” That’s paraphrased, but you get the point. In my opinion, this is the wrong approach as they have already missed tip #1 which is focusing on the experience. Now, I’m not saying deliverables aren’t important. Obviously they are, however, if you just want as many things as you can get, then you can go pay your cousin $50 and have them film it all on their iPhone then take all the different clips and make 10 different edits. See what I did there? We make decisions often by “What’s included?” when we don’t truly know what we are shopping for or exactly what questions to ask.
Now I know deep down that you care about other things too like quality and pricing. We will address those in a minute. However, when planning an event, knowing what you will get is a must and an important detail, but if you only focus on that (or that and price), then you will never really find what you are looking for and what you deserve. The reason being is that filtering your vendors by those attributes still really doesn’t tell you what you should do and will leave your final experience being unfulfilled.
So what should you get? What’s offered? While many videographers have different styles, deliverables, etc. Common things we offer are the following:
• Cinematic Wedding Highlight Films: What we are known for. These luxury edits use artistic storytelling to present the best moments of your big day in a cinematic fashion. These typically end up being around 5-10 minutes and require extensive editing.
• Wedding Trailer: A short 60 second wedding trailer film perfect for sharing on social media.
• Ceremony Edit: Edited video of original footage for entire ceremony with original audio. Usually 20-30 minutes.
• Toasts Edit: Edited video of original footage for entire reception toasts with original audio. Usually 5-15 minutes.
• FOMO Edit: The “Fear of Missing Out” edit is a long-form film of wedding day footage captured and lightly-edited into a home-video style with original audio.
For a complete list of all available options, please contact us.
While there are many more offerings we have, all videographers offer different things, and it’s important to make sure that your “must-haves” are checked off when you select the right collection you desire. We tailor all of our collections to make sure it is the perfect fit for your big day as you are unique and not just any other client with us.
TIP #3: QUALITY
As you have probably already figured out, quality varies dramatically between most vendors. You have different styles and also different levels of experience. My recommendation is find the style you adore, then find the best videographer you can afford with that style. Experience is important, but “How many years have you been doing this?” or “How many weddings have you shot?” is not the right questions to ask. Look at their portfolio and make sure their work is CONSISTENT and HIGH-QUALITY! You may be saying, well, how do I do that? I could go on forever, but instead will outline a few simple concepts to improve your research:
• Focus: All shots should be crisp unless making an intentional effort to not be in focus. This varies based on artistic style of the videographer.
• Lighting: Are the shots dark, or inconsistent? Does the vendor understand natural lighting and artificial lighting, along with how to leverage it to capture subjects in their most flattering appearance? Do they bring lights to help showcase their subjects in low-light situations like receptions or grand exits? Having a consistent lighting style and also understanding lighting is what separates many of the elite from the average filmmaker.
• Shooting Manual: This is huge. Does your videographer know how to shoot manual, or are they shooting in auto? Why does this matter? Although some cameras may be great (or even amazing), they are still electronics and are unable to make rational creative choices that the human eye and mind can. Also, they are inconsistent when set on auto and deliver mixed results in focus, lighting, and colors. Understanding how to use a camera in full manual is the #1 key to consistent footage and editing styles. Each piece in their portfolio should be “similar” in both style and quality.
• Bokeh: This is the “background blur” that most people think about. This gives your film a professional look. Not all videographers use a lot of Bokeh. However, often times it’s due to a lack of equipment, as the more Bokeh present, the more expensive the equipment tends to be. Not everything needs to be blurred out, but having the ability to leverage it and the expertise to shoot manually allows the capability to use the most flattering use of foreground and background bokeh (or blur) at the appropriate times!
• Stabilization or Jittering: Do you see jittering footage or shaky footage in their work? This is often due to lack of proper balancing of a stabilization device, improper handheld shooting, or misuse/over-correction of very shaky footage with post-processing video software. This typically will result in a jitter or wobbly effect in the footage. None of these mistakes are typically deemed as acceptable for luxury videographers or cinematographers.
• Coloring: This is a big component of style, and also another reason why your vendor should shoot full-manual. Getting the colors right in-camera allow for consistent editing of authentic colors without the need to over-correct them during editing. When you look at their portfolio, are the whites actually “white” (with respect to their style), does it feel inconsistently warm or cool, or inconsistently bright or dark, and last but not least inconsistently tinted green or magenta? These are all attributes of a videographer shooting with automatic features letting the camera figure it out, or improperly using manual settings or editing settings.
TIP #4: INVESTMENT
Without a doubt the #1 question we get asked it “How much are your services?” We are unable to answer this because we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Again, these questions get often asked when couples aren’t exactly what to ask besides generalized transactional questions. So why isn’t this the #1 tip? Because although many other vendors may just tell you what their cookie-cut packages are, chances are you may just be another transaction to them.
Our brides don’t hire us because of price. Sure it is a factor, but they hire us because they know the reputation and quality is there to deliver an incredible experience. They know we care! We hand-design each collection to fit our client’s even perfectly as no two couples are the same, and neither are the films we craft!
When hiring vendors, know your budget first so that you are able to first find an investment you are comfortable with. Then from there, start looking for vendors who can deliver the experience, followed by quality, and so-forth.
Weddings can be expensive, but it is important to understand they are not a purchase, but a lifelong investment. Something that many quickly regret not investing more into the second they get home from their honeymoon. See, the elegant food displays, bars full of liquor, perfectly arranged décor, and scrumptious wedding cake… All that will be gone in one single day. It will be a blur, happen fast, and without the right vendors you will not truly be able to relive that experience for decades to come.
When searching for vendors, don’t be afraid to ask about payment plans. Like us, we are happy to accommodate on payments as we truly understand weddings are an important and worthwhile investment, and we want you to have a financial plan you can be comfortable with while also getting the collection of your dreams and the quality you deserve! Many vendors can work with you, but not all will and that is ok. Understand they have set their standards for a reason and most likely have a business to run and family to feed also.
Should you ask for discounts? That is something only you can judge, but again, will getting a discount have a ripple effect into the quality of your films or experience you receive as your videographer tries to cut costs for you? In the grand scheme of things, in 20 years, does that $500 discount really matter on your “once in a lifetime” moments? Sometimes we get caught up in the small details and forget to look at the bigger picture is all. This is only my professional opinion as a luxury destination wedding cinematographer. Make the investment that you know you won’t regret!
TIP #5: MEMORIES
Last, but not least, make memories. Is this a tip? Most definitely!
Planning can be a lot of work, but when the big day gets here, trust in your decisions and that you have hired an amazing vendor team in order to experience an unforgettable and memorable wedding day (since you will spend most of your day with them)! Laugh, smile, show emotions, use a lot of movement in your shots! Find poses you love and practice them before the big day with your partner!
Maybe even choreograph a dance with your partner to create an impressionable first dance, practice that dip for the grand exit in advance! Have fun with it. The more fun you have, the more fun your day will be! The vendor team will be happy and passionate about the moments they are capturing, and the film(s) will bring you so much joy when it all comes together in the end. Remember, it is your day! You are in charge. Everybody is there for you, and ultimately you are the #1 key to your wedding day success.
Bring a positive energy and your vendors and guests will reciprocate it. So what are you waiting for? I have given you my best tips in hopes to help you make the absolute best decision for your day. Someone you are comfortable with, trust wholeheartedly, and are excited to be around. So go book an awesome videographer right now!