12 tips on hiring the right wedding videographer

Jordan T. Nagasako

Are you looking for the perfect wedding videographer? Here are 12 tips in finding the best wedding videographer for you!
Being someone who is passionate about my craft for the last thirteen years, I’ve compiled some of my top tips for finding the right wedding videographer and getting the most out of your wedding film! 🙂

1. Hire a professional.  Bride’s number one regret is not having a video.  I know I wish my parents did and so do they.

There is no other time than your wedding when you are surrounded by so many happy friends and family, and to hear what was said

and see people interacting is priceless.  Considering all the time, money and energy that goes into your day capturing professionally it is a fairly small investment that will pay off for generations.

2.  Hire a local videographer.  To hire someone who has shot at the location and worked with the local vendors already will make for a better film.

A professional, who is familiar with where the sun will set, what shot angles are best, when conditions and light are optimum are all big factors in having the best film possible.

3. Don’t just look at just their portfolio, look at their reviews on multiple sites.  The top professionals have consistent delivery.  This means that even on the days when things don’t go perfectly

 (timing, weather, lighting, and hundreds of other variables that could be problematic) they can still deliver a great film.

Maui Sugarman Estate / Bonnie & Chris

4. Know the style you like.  There are so many ways to shoot a wedding but here are the three main ones:

Music video: It focuses on cinematic shots, and is a visually driven film with lots of time shifting through parts of the day with effects and music with lyrics. This style has little to no audio such as vows, speeches or any other voice over dialogue.

Candid/minimalist: The opposite of the music video: This style is like a professionally shot home movie– it focuses on candid moments with a more handheld style, and is more about moments of guests laughing, speeches, natural audio and interactions between people over visual flair.  These films have a more organic natural feel with instrumental music driven by dialogue.

Cinematic Story Telling:  I personally feel this style is the best of both worlds and this is how I shoot my films.   It has the visual production quality of the music video but with the feel and emotion of the Candid style.  In this style there are the stunning cinematic shots but also the emotional feel of the day with dialogue from the day.

5. You should pick a videographer because you love their films and style.  After you hire them please don’t send them films shot by other videographers.

6. Make sure your videographer is a licensed drone pilot. Nothing captures the beautiful landscape of Maui like the drone.  Legally you must be licensed to fly. Also some venues don’t allow drones.

7. Have personal elements.  Personal vows are best, but if you don’t want to do personal vows during your ceremony, you could exchange vows during your first look, if doing one, or you could exchange cards to be read out loud.

To have the personal dialogue helps us tell your personal story more.

8. Be aware of your videographer’s turn-around time for your film.  Some brides wait a year for their film but industry standard is about six months.  We have it in our contracts to delivered within 120 days.  Also before hiring, be aware of how responsive your videographer is.  You don’t want to have the nightmare of having to track down your videographer months or years after the wedding for your film.

Wedding Video Shoot
Wedding Video Shoot

9. Legally we have to use licensed music. Not every song is available to the public for licensing. There are licensing sites and tons of options and I think that using music most people haven’t heard makes your film more personalized.

10. Final edit options.  There are so many options for final delivery; here are the main delivery options.

Trailer/Teaser, a video that is one to two minutes in some cases sixty seconds so that it will fit on Instagram (their current time limit is sixty seconds)

Highlight film, ranging from three to six minutes of the best moments of your day, this is great for weddings without much of a reception or with minimal speeches

Short Film, eight to ten  minutes, I  think this is the best balance:  it still has the visual engagement of the shorter films but you still have time to include speeches and content to tell the story.

Feature Film twelve minutes and longer, this is great to get completely into your day and story.  The feature paired with a trailer is a great option so you have both versions for those who want the full film and those who want to just see the best moments.

Documentary Video or Long Form Edit: this is the full ceremony and reception edited between the cameras. This like a “live edit”  there really is no cinematic quality to it.  It just shows the entire day in chronological order in a watchable format.

These edits are usually around forty-five minutes long but the length can vary greatly depending on the ceremony denomination and length of speeches.

Raw footage:  completely unedited footage.  I recommend having this for archival purposes, it isn’t as watchable as the Documentary edit but is also usually a less expensive option.

Regarding the format for your film:  4K resolution is four times the resolution of HD and will become the new video standard probably in the next four years so if you want to time proof your film this is a great option. Usually an add on.

4K is only viewable on 4K TVs and computers. USB flash drive or online is the standard delivery for your film now.  I haven’t delivered Blu-Ray or DVD in years. We do offer it as an option still but USB drive is the most universal delivery format or even online via download link.

After receiving your films it is crucial you back them up.  Hard drives fail over time so having your films backed up in a second place or in the cloud is highly recommended.  Most videographers only hold on to the project for so long after deliver so do not rely on one copy.

11. Leave it the professionals.  Many guests are aspiring photographers, iPad users or are a bit over eager to capture your ceremony, so have your minister make a request to the guests prior to the ceremony to leave the photos and videos to the hired professionals.  You don’t want a pink iPad in view when you are coming down the aisle! Here’s a video about guests blocking shots at weddings:

12.  Timing. Videography has a lot more moving pieces than photography does, from our tripods, to lights, to drone and other gear we rely heavily on the timeline to make sure we can cover what is happening but also be ready to cover what is going to happen next.  And at times multiple things are happening at once, such as the bride getting into her dress, the groom getting dressed and the completed ceremony site is ready for filming.  For coverage of all of these crucial moments, we rely on the detailed timeline that your coordinator put together.


I know these tips will help you find the perfect fit for your dream film and budget.
If you have any questions or comments please ask I’m happy to help!