With wedding season fast approaching, I thought I'd share some of my top wedding videographer 'planning' tips to help make your film - and your day - amazing. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will also include tips for all parts of the day, but for now, I'll be focusing on the morning routines. I'll go over: 1) choosing a well-lit room; 2) preparing details ahead of time; 3) keeping things tidy; 4) making sound choices, and; 5) why love letters are awesome. Let's get started!
Tip #1: Go where the sun is
I can't tell you how many times I arrive at a couple's gorgeous home, so excited about what the getting ready images will look like, only to find out that the makeup and hair stations have been set up in the basement. This. Breaks. My. Heart. With many modern, candid style imagemakers, having well-lit rooms is key because it allows us to focus on emotion and interaction, the things that matter.
Let's get (slightly) technical for a moment: because of their relative light temperatures, overhead 'tungsten' lights, chandeliers, lamps, etc. in rooms that also have windows will create an unpleasant orange color cast (since daylight is 'bluer'); on the other hand, neons / fluorescents (often found in basements) generally yield unflattering greener skin tones. Meanwhile, sunlight is beautiful and complex, allowing me to render skin tones faithfully and explore the complexity of shadows for enhanced visual effect. It creates catchlights when you look out a window, and beautiful silhouettes when you stand in front of it. Sunlight, as far as imagemakers are concerned, is almost always the best option.
So, take some time to think about where your getting ready will happen: pick a big, bright room and re-arrange furniture a bit beforehand if necessary. It'll make a huge difference in your images.
Tip #2: Prepare the details
The day before the wedding, move all of the details you want your photographer and cinematographer to capture (earrings, invitation suites, shoes, perfume bottle, veil, dress, etc.) in one area of the house or hotel room. That way, when the imagemakers arrive in the morning, everything is ready and you know nothing will be forgotten. I also recommend leaving the rings with the girls in the morning as the lead imagemakers tend to be with the bride at the start of the day.
Tip #3: Keep things tidy
While I discussed the importance of big, bright rooms earlier, it's important to keep in mind that a well-lit mess... will still look like a mess! So when the day rolls by and you and your bridal party get done up in the morning (or play video or drinking games for the boys), make sure to keep things under control. As a group, try to ensure that leftover food, drinks, clothes, accessories, etc. aren't left all over the space where your imagemakers are working to create candid portraiture. With a clean room, we can shoot 360 degrees without having to selectively avoid corners that we may otherwise have used creatively in composing your images.
Tip #4: Sound matters (kill the music)
I know: this tip doesn't sound fun. But following it can have a huge impact on your wedding film. Why do I recommend turning off the music? Because it will allow you (and me) to focus on the conversations and the people around you.
I love the morning routines, largely because it's such a great opportunity to get to know your friends and family. It isn't just about recording you as you move through the motions, but also about talking and listening. If you do want music, by all means; but please consider, at the very least, turning it off for the moment you slip into your dress, or say a prayer together, or give or receive a gift, etc.
The music playing in the background might not seem like it matters in the moment, but once I start stitching the pieces together, having one verse of a song back to back with another from a completely different one is distracting. One of the big advantages of wedding films is their ability to bring you into the moment. And you know where that starts? With the sound of the doorbell ringing, your dog barking at friends arriving, their voices as they see you for the first time, the contagious energy of honest laughter. If an image is worth a thousand words, then an image along with words is a thousand and one. Sometimes, it's that 'one' that turns simple beauty into pure magic.
TIp #5: Write a letter (for someone) that matters
There are few things sweeter than reading a card from your future spouse in the morning. Those words, a reflection on the past or an enthusiastic look at the future, give perspective to the day to come. Card receiving and reading moments allow you to stop in the midst of all the action. While you certainly shouldn't feel forced to read your letters on camera, know that they are the backbone of many of my favourite edits. Why? Because in making your wedding film 'about you', those genuine, private words to each other are my go-to building block to shape emotion and rhythm with.
And if you don't think you can read his/her letter (some people know ahead of time they likely can't contain the tears), consider writing to your bridesmaids. They'll really appreciate it, trust me.
That's it for my wedding morning tips.
Do you have anything you did or plan on doing to make things run smoother on the day of? How have or will you create moments of magic on your wedding day? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.