Now that you’ve decided on your prices [we’ll need to get the wedding pricing post up for that] , it’s time to prep for your gigs and grab the right gear! Before you shoot your first wedding be sure to have these essentials.
Videographer Dress Code
First things first, you’re going to want to make sure you look appropriate for the occasion. And as easy as this sounds, it can get a little tricky sometimes.
For one, you don’t want to show anyone up in the wedding party. You probably shouldn’t arrive in a sleek grey suit, or a brightly colored dress with spaghetti straps. The key is to avoid anything that could make you “stand out”. A great analogy pertains to referees in sports: they know they did a good job if no one even noticed they were there.
There’s a double standard as well. You want to blend into the crowd, but also be noticeable enough that people will approach you for pictures. Your bulky camera will most likely take care of that last bit for you, though! Last but not least, invest in a nice pair of comfortable shoes, and any combination of black would be a great route to go.
If you’re still unsure of what to wear, there’s absolutely no harm in asking your client. Especially if your client is from a different culture as you or follows a religion you might not be too familiar with. There are tons of different rules and traditions involved with weddings, and being conscious of them is part of the job.
Ultimately, which camera you use when shooting weddings is up to you. If you already have one ready to go, that’s awesome! But just in case you need a little help on deciding on a good DSLR to choose from, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the best cameras to use while on the job.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Mark III is Canon’s flagship camera at the moment, and for good reason. Fully capable of shooting great stills and amazing video footage, this camera will provide you with all the essential tools you need in order to produce a beautiful wedding video. Its low-light performance is spectacular, the camera averages 150,000 clicks (for stills), and it’s not even that bulky, considering.
Nikon’s direct competitor to the Mark III is also a respectable choice for any wedding videographer. It carries the same full 1080p HD video capability, supreme weather sealing for rugged conditions, and has a superb autofocus system. Both cameras carry the availability for battery packs and come with multiple card slots. Also, when choosing a high-end camera you know you’re going to be using for years, it’s best to get familiar with them first. We will be able to help you with that process!
The GH4 is actually an upgrade over both the Mark III and the D810 in terms of video. Overall, the other two cameras are superior, yet the GH4 offers UHD@30fps opposed to the Mark III and D810’s 1080p@60fps. Check out this video made by World of DSLR for a visual comparison between the GH4 and the Mark III.
As you can clearly see in the video, the GH4’s video is crisper, more vibrant, and overall looks a little better than the Mark III. Taking into account that the GH4 is a mirrorless camera, therefore lighter and more compact, you might want to test this device out before you decide to go for the heavier hitters. You could find you appreciate its ergonomics a little more than the others, or that you’re a fan of the mirrorless system. On top of all that, it’s less expensive!
It is universally encouraged you take a backup camera with you on any wedding gig. The potential for disaster is always there (e.g., battery failure, unexpected damages, camera failure), and you don’t want to be caught stranded in the middle of a job without a camera. This could be detrimental to your professional reputation, ultimately hurt your financials, and will be sure to cause some humiliation! Long story short, make sure you have a backup. Your backup doesn’t have to be a high-end clone of your primary. Just make sure you have something that’s capable of finishing the job. A Canon 6D is a great example of a backup due to its relative low price and ability to use full-frame Canon lenses. Or if you’re riding Nikon, then any older iteration will work fine, like a D7200. The overarching point is not that your backup is the crème de la crème, rather a battle-tested camera that will help you out in a pinch.
Your lenses are just as important as the camera you carry. And dependent upon the situation, you will find yourself needing to switch them up in order to get good angles. Casting all brand allegiances aside, what’s most important are your focal lengths. And something to take into account is the distance in which you’ll be shooting. There are plenty of instances when you don’t want to be right in the middle of the party. Having a videographer blocking the cake cutting would be pretty obnoxious, especially if your client hired a photographer as well! So let’s talk about zooms.
The 24-70mm f/2.8 is a perfect example of a versatile lens. These focal lengths give you just enough space to record wide-angle close-ups while also allowing you to zoom in from a considerable distance. You don’t want to constantly be running around the venue in order to get an optimal angle—just adjust the focal length and then you’ll be able to fit the entire scene.
Do not neglect primes due to their fixed lengths. If you find yourself shooting an outdoor venue when the sun begins to set, you’re going to want a lens that can go lower than 2.8 (better low-light capability), and it’s tough to find a zoom that reaches any lower than that. On top of that, prime lenses are typically sharper and more affordable, so if you want to pick up an extra lens, a prime wouldn’t be a bad idea!
Last but not least, a telephoto lens will give you very dynamic range, in case you’re covering a large venue or need to be out of the way during those special moments. Given how large they are, a tripod would be a necessity (we’ll get to more accessories soon), because you want to avoid shake at all costs. But the return is definitely worth it, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 is a staple in any wedding videographer’s arsenal.
Get Your Name Out There!
Now that you have a general idea on the basics of what you should be packing, go out and start marketing yourself!