An Open Letter to Wedding Photographers from a Wedding Videographer

Dear Wedding Photographers,

I know how you feel about videographers. I know, because I’m a photographer too, and as a photographer I’ve worked alongside plenty of video teams.

Nicki Dembski Syncopated PicturesI know the feeling of annoyance when you find out you’re shooting a wedding with a videographer. You know that your job is going to be harder than it would be if you were the only imaging professional, because you have more people to work around. And if you haven’t worked with the videographer before, you’re not sure how easy they’re going to be to work with. If you have worked with them, your reaction will either be relief… or dread. But, fear not… we’re not the team to dread.

I get it. But the thing is, if there’s a videographer, it’s because the couple wants video of their wedding. As a videographer, I ask that we work alongside each other with a team approach, so the couple gets the best photos and video we can possibly deliver to them. You’ll see below that we’ve put a lot of thought into how to work to be sure we don’t interfere with photography. In return, we hope you’ll show us the same courtesy. (And please turn off your focus beep.)

Having photographed well over 100 weddings, I understand what’s needed to get great photos and video. And, unfortunately, I also understand that there are folks out there that can be difficult to work with.

We promise:

  1. We will dress professionally.
    Hopefully we are not going to be in any of your photos, but in case we do end up in the background at some point, we promise we will not wear jeans, sneakers, or a T-shirt with our company name in big bold letters.
  2. We won’t direct or control the wedding day.
    Except, perhaps, to put someone in better light. We might suggest that the groom put his tie on over by the nice window light instead of the bathroom (since we don’t use on camera lights). We won’t then ask them to tie it again, and again, and again…
  3. We won’t park a tripod in the center aisle during the ceremony.
    We do use tripods during the ceremony, but only in the side aisles. And whenever possible, in venues like Heinz Chapel and St. Paul’s, we’ll place our tripods behind pillars to be more discreet. I will want to come into the center aisle briefly during the ring exchange and for the kiss and recessional, but I will not go in front of you. If you’re in the center aisle, I’ll be either behind or beside you.
  4. We won’t follow you around the entire time you’re photographing the bride and groom.
    Most of the time, posed photos – even with a photojournalistic style – look too posed to be used in our films. We ask for five minutes with the couple before you get started. We may not even need the full five minutes. (We just need a few shots of the bride and groom walking together, and a little bit of snuggling.) If we can do that first before your portrait session, then we will head off to the reception (we need to set up lights and audio!) and be completely out of your way. If this doesn’t work for you, let’s talk and figure out how to get the couple the shots they need.Christina Montemurro Syncopated Pictures
  5. We won’t circle the couple on the dance floor during their first dance.
    We don’t want to be in your way, and it’s doubtful the couple or their guests want us out there either. We stay on the perimeter.
  6. During the toasts, we won’t block the couple or the speakers.
    Because we have a narrative approach, the speeches are very important to us. We do use tripods at this point, but we use telephoto lenses, and position them to be as out of the way as possible. Again, we don’t want to block you, and we don’t want to block guests either. Depending on the room setup, this can be challenging, but we’ll do everything we can to be sure we all get what we need.
  7. We won’t leave our gear lying around.
    Once the speeches are over, we put the tripods away. We don’t want them in our shots of the rest of the night any more than you do!
  8. We’ll consult you about our lighting.
    So far, 100% of the photographers we’ve worked with have not only liked our lighting, but thanked us for it. Especially in very dark rooms, like the Omni William Penn Urban Room. We don’t use on camera lights.
  9. We will behave professionally.
    We will not smoke, drink alcohol, badmouth clients or vendors. We’ll probably be pretty quiet – that’s because we want clean audio in our footage.

To make this visual, here are a few examples of our wedding films alongside the photos by some of Pittsburgh’s best photographers.

Sarah & Matt’s Wedding – St. Paul’s Cathedral / Longue Vue Country Club,
Photography by Randi Voss

Randi Voss Photography

Tami & Justin – Heinz Chapel / University Club,
Photography by Elizabeth and John Craig

Katy & Gautam’s Wedding – Mellon Park / Omni William Penn Urban Room,
Photography by Joey Kennedy, as featured on The Knot

Natalie & Amir’s Wedding – Omni Bedford Springs,
Photography by Elizabeth and John Craig

Lisa & Adam – St. Stanislaus / Pittsburgh Athletic Association
Photography by Milla C., as featured on Burgh Brides

Do you have thoughts on this topic? What else is on your videographer wish list? (Please don’t say invisibility. I would if I could!)

– Christina