- “Wait Wait! Can you read that card one more time over here? Your bridesmaids were making too much noise.”
NEVER HAVE TO SAY PHRASES LIKE THIS AGAIN!
When it comes time to capture a wedding, we’ve taken THESE 10 BASIC STEPS TO PREPARE OURSELVES. Our cameras are charged, the team has a plan, and we’re ready to roll. Instead of running into our location with cameras blazing (whether that’s on the wedding day or at one of the fun wedding week events), we actually walk into our location with no gear at all.
Let’s just say, for the sake of this post, that we’re only talking about shooting wedding day events. We think a lot of wedding filmmakers forget that most wedding couples have never been in front of a video camera and have no idea how they should “act”. Sometimes showing up with cameras blazing can cause people to clam up immediately. This is why we’re very intentional with how we set the atmosphere when we first show up.
LET’S BREAK THE ICE.
We walk in and hang out with the wedding party for a minute, just making small talk. During our little hang time, we’re also checking out the location if we weren’t able to do that during pre-production for the wedding. This is when, in the back of our heads, we figure out the white balance we’re going to be at, where the best shooting zones will be, and we’re listening for any audio obstacles we may have.
In every big budget hollywood film there’s an army of people intentionally figuring out every single frame that will be shot. Why can’t we approach weddings the same way? Okay well maybe not with an army of people. There probably isn’t the big hollywood budget and there are no second takes. What you can do for sure is be intentional.
CAN YOU IMPROVE THE LOOK OF YOUR LOCATION?
We try to always find ways to make a location look better than it already does. Sometimes it’s as simple as moving a few cups off of a table. Sometimes it involves a little more work. If you walk into a bridal suite at a venue (who does weddings regularly) and you see wedding photos hanging all over the walls, why not take that junk down?? We do! We aint Scuuuured. :) Do we really want other random wedding photos in the background of the story we’re trying to tell? This is when location scouting comes in handy. We knew this bridal suite had a lot of photos covering every single wall. It was actually weird how many photos were in this little room. Knowing this issue ahead of time helped us plan for shooting there. We just chatted with the venue owners and arranged to get there a little earlier than the bridal party so we could take down photos and hide them behind the big red couch.
MAKE THINGS HAPPEN WHERE YOU WANT THEM TO HAPPEN.
How do we do this without being “those people”? You know the people I’m talking about. “Wait Wait! Can you read that card one more time over here? Your bridesmaids were making too much noise.”
In Nashville we have a Starbucks where we like to hang out. Every now and then the Starbucks team will re-arrange the tables and stools; & most people will walk in and sit exactly where they have the tables set up with no questions asked. The same thing happens when you rearrange your furniture so everyone who visits your home can see your new 65″ 4K TV. Even if you have guests who visit your home all the time, when you rearrange the furniture they’ll sit where ever you have it set up. We use this same concept when it comes to weddings. We’re very intentional! Do you want the bride to get her makeup done by a big window with pretty soft light coming through? Find a stool for the bride to sit on, a table for the makeup artist, and make sure there’s power in that location. Instead of having to ask the makeup artist to move closer to the window and away from that bright ugly orange light, the makeup artist will more than likely choose that spot on her own. Do you want the groom to open his gift in a different room away from his groomsmen? Move his gift in the other room. He obviously can’t open a gift that isn’t in the room.
Now lets take a look at this diagram. That wedding venue we mentioned with the photos alllllllll over the wall… this is how it was laid out when we walked in before the bride and her bridesmaids.
During our pre-production, we found out that the couple would be writing each other letters on the morning of the wedding. We also found out that both the bride and groom were pretty emotional. After talking to a few of their friends we just knew that the bride was going to cry at some point in the day. As filmmakers, capturing great emotional moments can be gold if captured right. When shooting our couple, the last thing we wanted to deal with was issues that would be distracting and take the viewers out of the story. If there was something we could control to make these moments better, we wanted to do it.
Setting Up For the Letter
We definitely wanted the bride to write her letter to her groom on the red couch. It was quiet. The light was great, and there was enough room for our team and the two photographers. We wanted the couch to be where the bride would want to write her letter. So here are a few things we did to try to intentionally make that happen.
- First, we wanted to get rid of the mixed light in the room. So we turned the lights off and only used the daylight coming through the window (also, in order for the bride to write her letter, she’d need to be over in the light so she could see.)
- Instead of our bride being back lit by the window directly behind her or exposing for her face and blowing out the background, we just moved the couch so we could use the window light as our main light source.
- We had our spot picked out so we started looking around at what may be distracting in our shots
- There was an ugly rack in the room that was obviously put there by the venue so the girls could hang all of their dresses on it. - We simply moved it into the little kitchen area so it was out of the way but accessible to the girls.
- The bride ended up hanging her dress and a few bags on a hook right behind where we now had the couch set up. Boom! Now we had a little unexpected texture in the background (and it wasn’t a random wedding photo).
When we used to just jump into a wedding without any idea of what we wanted to capture we would just shoot anything and everything. Shooting weddings that way left no time for us to be able to move furniture or have time to deal with distractions. Instead of run and gun, it was run and pray that we’re shooting the right things.
Here’s a look at the diagram after we made the changes to the room.
Once the bride was ready to write her letter, she had the option of sitting in a fold up chair that was against the wall next to all of her bridesmaids, or she could sit on the couch on the other side of the room. It wasn’t by chance that the bride sat on the couch. We were very intentional about the way we wanted to capture the bride writing her letter.
We really want to encourage wedding filmmakers who follow us to be way more intentional in how you approach weddings. Being intentional has helped us create much better wedding films; and in turn, we’ve created raving fans out of our clients. Clients who can do nothing but rave about us help spread the word about what we do, and keep us in business.
In the next few blog posts we’re going to be sharing more about how we approach wedding filmmaking and more things we do behind the scenes.
We will also be sharing exclusively with our newsletter subscribers how we’re very intentional when it comes to working with photographers and tips on how to avoid issues that many filmmakers run up against when working with them. Make sure you’re signed up because it’s good stuff!