SHOULD YOU HIRE A WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHER?

I get a lot of questions on hiring a videographer for your wedding. There are two approaches I recommend, and one you should avoid.

Strap a GoPro to your tallest friend.

Grab an iPhone / GoPro, give it to a guest for the day, done deal.

You should definitely buy or borrow a tripod - shooting handheld will be annoying for them and produce terrible footage. There are adapters to hold a phone if needed. This guest will usually be respectful of the photographer!

Everyone loves something for free, but this option does come at a cost -

•  The footage will be terrible. You might get nothing at all - I've seen plenty of people forget their battery, their memory card,  or not realise the camera stopped recording halfway through. Without editing, the result will be a half-hour clip from one angle. You won't be watching the most thrilling footage. You probably won't watch it much at all.

•  The sound will be terrible. Many couples want a simple record of their ceremony and speeches - with the style of cameras mentioned above, even this might be difficult to make out. If your ceremony is outside with the slightest breeze, forget about it.

•  You're loading a bunch of responsibility on your poor volunteer. If they're keen, that's great - but they probably just want to enjoy the day.

Hire a true professional.

The dot points for this approach read exactly the opposite -

•  The footage will be gorgeous. Multiple angles, clear focus, crisp sound and a beautiful soundtrack. The standard of wedding videos has skyrocketed over the last decade, they really are quite cinematic.

• You'll get someone who understands how weddings work. They won't get in the way, they won't ask you to repeat something ten times to get the shot, they won't ruin the photos that you also paid thousands of dollars for.

•  You will receive what you paid for.

The obvious compromise is the price - starting around $4000. There is a lot of variation in the type of film you can have produced - you might not care about full audio from the ceremony and speeches, for example. Think about what's important to you and what you're likely to actually watch in the future. Check out their prior work. As with photography, the editing style has a huge effect on the final product. It's not a matter of better or worse, but finding a style that you personally enjoy.

Speaking of which, I have a hand-picked list of the Hunter's best wedding videographers. I've worked with each many times over, and guarantee we play nice as a team. They each have their own unique style, but they share an ability to blend in to the day.

THE OPTION YOU SHOULD AVOID

If I'm pulling out an all-caps headline, you know this is serious. I care about this because I hate seeing couples waste their money, and this option does exactly that. That is, the option of hiring a videographer who is not true professional. But how do you spot an amateur from a pro?

•  Their price is generally in the $1000-3000 bracket. Yes, there are exceptions. Yes, your friend's cousin's 17 year old son might be the next Spielberg - but they're probably not.

• They don't have many (or any) wedding videos available. "We've focused on corporate events before, and now we're moving into weddings!" Bzzzt, no thank you, do not pass Go and do not collect $200.

• None of your other vendors have heard of them. Yes, everyone starts somewhere, but the wedding industry is a tight one and the reputation of professionals will preceed them.

I understand the temptation to go with these middle-of-the-road options. The reality is that these newbies will still cost you a bundle, but the end product won't be enjoyable and they will drag down your photos. I've had videographers stand at arm's-length for the entirety of the speeches. I've had videographers jump in front of me as I go to shoot the first kiss. I've had videographers ask to borrow my memory cards because they forgot theirs. I wish I was kidding. Choose this option at your own peril.
In terms of whether you should have anyone filming, that's up to you. Video definitely captures the wedding in a way that stills cannot, but every wedding has a budget and lines need to be drawn.

Is it awesome to be able to watch down the track? Yes.

Do you need it? No.

Will you regret it if you don't?    ...I'd also be inclined to say no. Don't stress if you have someone in your ear saying you must hire a videographer. It's easy for them to say when they're not the ones paying! Talk to your partner, decide where your priorities for the wedding lie and work from there.

In short, go big or go home. If your budget can't stretch to a true professional, it's probably best to not pay anyone at all.