Let’s all be honest here, when the couple fill in their questionnaire and send it back and the space marked ‘videographer’ isn’t blank we all break out in a cold sweat, especially if we’ve not heard of or worked with them before.
A quick google search of their work and we start to feel a bit better, ‘IT LOOKS OK’!!! A quick happy dance in our office chair and then we post in our local groups asking if anyone has worked with them before, and this is pretty much how it goes each and every time.
You know what though a lot, in fact most are awesome to work with and for people like me who shoot alone it’s a bit of company which is wonderful when they turn out to be good fun. However how does a videographer feel about us? I don’t know is the answer, so instead of pulling a puzzled face for a bit before moving on with my day I asked Jon Lunt from Top Table Films a few questions.
Hey Jon, you’re a Videographer right? I know photographers don’t always like video guys, we’ve always had a blast working together though, where do you think the negativity comes from?
Hey guys, yes I am a videographer (for my sins). I have been doing it at weddings for 5 years and it’s fair to say I have worked alongside a wide variety of photographers in that time. From the new kids on the block with their fresh faces, quirky poses and youthful enthusiasm – right to the older generation, who have been doing it since forever and cannot cope with having to share their, and I quote “Special alone time” with the couple.
Anyway, back to the questions…Firstly, I have been called much worse than a Vidiot (although that tends to be just when I annoy the wife). I think the negativity stems from a lack of respect and understanding. Mix that with a videographer who feels they have to capture every moment of every second from every angle and you are in for a problem.
I think it is very easy when you are ‘in the zone’ on a wedding day, that you just get caught up in what you are seeing through the viewfinder and totally forget about what is, and more importantly who is around you. When I started out I used to be exactly the same. I would get as close to the action as I possibly could, totally forgetting that there may be a photographer capturing the same moment but from a little further back. Now-a-days I much prefer to stand back and watch what is going on from a distance. The shots are better, framed better, more natural and I am very rarely in the way!
Do you guys have any pet names for us photographers when you work with a particularly bad one?
Diva. It’s not especially a pet name, but I can guarantee that the only reason I would ever have an issue with a photographer is because they think they are the most important thing at that wedding. I appreciate everyone works differently and every photographer has their own way of doing things, but us videographers are also there to do a job, so let’s leave egos at the door and get through this day together. Go team!
What do you think is key to having a good working relationship with a photographer on the day?
Communication. Simple. First thing I do when I see a photographer I have not worked with before on the morning of a wedding is say hi and have a quick 2 minutes conversation to find out their style and their approach on the day. It is really important for us Vogs to remember that quite often a photographer works alone at a wedding. They have their routine of doing things and they pretty much like to stick to it. After all, the couple have chosen them for that reason.
As a vog, I have only ever shot one wedding where there has not been a photographer. (I felt so lonely during the meal time).
Anyway, I find the best way is to let them choose the order of things. If they prefer to do group shots straight after ceremony, then so be it. If they want to give the couple 20mins of mingling before they start the shots, no problem.
At the end of the day, I am there to capture things however they happen. Don’t get me wrong I still need to get my shots so I can supply the couple with a great video that matches my style, but the order of how I capture it doesn’t really matter. It also means the photographer feels like they are in charge, I am accommodating them and happy to work around them. Win. Win.
Is there anything we do as photographers that makes your life harder than it should be?
Let’s take a step back. You togs are looking for that milli-second of a moment, that tiny split second of a smile, or a laugh or even just for that one beautiful looking bridesmaid to step into that pool of light in the middle of the church so you can capture THE SHOT (and upload it to Photographers Keeping It Real).
As Vogs, we are also looking for those moments, but we need more than a millisecond. We need 25 of those frames just to make 1 second of footage. Therefore, inevitably we can be a bit slower as we need several seconds per shot. We also need to manually white balance, manually focus, manually change exposure, let alone the fact we can’t just crop out something, or photoshop something. It is not as easy to “fix it in post”. Please do not think I am saying you guys can shoot something really badly, that is not at all what I am saying, it is just we can’t photoshop out a fire exit sign. (We can technically do it but it would take forever!!). Therefore, we just need a bit of time. I am not talking hours, not even minutes, just a few extra seconds to capture the shot.
So, for me, if we are working together during the couple portraits, just hold off for a few seconds after you have your shot, just so we can get enough time on our angle. This is even more important when you guys use flash.
How much does communication play in a successful Tog / Vog relationship?
It’s massive. It is the key to a successful working relationship on the day. Find out what each other is looking for and then work together. Share ideas, bounce off each other. I love going for a recce with a photographer during the meal, scouting out places to take the couple. Why not work together? Two heads are better than one, right? And do you know what, we all see a situation or location differently, so we can learn from each other. We also make awesome flash gun holders at night. Much better than a drunk, slightly excited Usher who can’t stand still!
Do you ever liaise with the photographer before the event to try and build a rapport with them, or is this something you can achieve on the day with a simple hello and quick chat?
I very, very rarely speak to a photographer before the day. Saying that though, I will usually check out their Instagram or Facebook and see what style they are. I then get a pretty good idea of how they will work.
For example; ok this tog seems to shoot a lot of close up stuff on a 35mm… that means they are going to be very close to the couple, a lot of the time. That is the complete opposite to me. I like to stay out the way, hide in bushes and use long lenses (only at weddings, I promise). Therefore, I need to just explain to the tog that after they have the shot can they just step back so I can direct the couple in that position before we move on to a new location.
If you could give us one tip for something we could do to help create a symbiotic relationship with the videographer what would it be?
Talk to us like we are on the same level. We are both being paid to be there, we are both there because the couple love our work and want us to capture their day. So let’s work together and create some wedding magic! And do you know, you might actually get something you never could have achieved without us.
Two weeks ago, I was shooting a wedding with a photographer and they mentioned to me how they don’t really do night time shots as it is not really their style and they don’t have much knowledge in the area. Well, I love to shoot night time stuff. I’ll get some lights out the car, set up a shot and see what happens. Therefore, for this wedding, I set up my lights and borrowed a couple of the photographers lume cube lights to create a scene. We both shot it at the same time, both the footage and the images looked awesome and the couple were over the moon! Team work, it is what it is all about!
Huge thanks to Jon Lunt from Top Table films for speaking to us for this article.
TopTable Films – www.toptablefilms.co.uk
Images of Jon working by Steven McDonald
All other images by Top Table Films.