Top 10 Wedding Photography and Videography Questions Answered

Here's how to hire the right pros to document your day.
by Miles Stiverson
Wedding recessional
Maggie Harkov Photography

Your wedding photos and video are the record of the laughs, tears, hugs and toasts that will happen throughout your celebration. Here's everything you need to know to book the right pros for the job.

Do we need to hire a photographer and a videographer?

You probably know to keep photographers on your must-hire list (and rightfully so), but videographers should be a priority too. While your photographer will immortalize much of your wedding day, think of the sounds that can't be captured in a photo, like your vows, the reception music and the toasts. If your budget allows for both vendors, it really is worth the investment.

How can we find good shooters?

Start your search by asking recently married friends and family for recommendations—a thumbs-up from someone you trust is the most reliable way to find your photographer or videographer. Then head to The Knot Marketplace to search local pros and scroll through real married couples' reviews. Once you've compiled a list of vendors with potential, take a look at their online portfolios. The sample shots or clips will obviously be the best of their best—it might be tough to judge the breadth of their skill from these highlights, but you can at least get a good sense of their style. Also check the photographer's blog—these are a great way to gauge a photographer's talent and the way they approach their art. 

Do our photographer and videographer have to get along?

While they don't have to be best friends, it's a plus if you can find shooters who've worked together before. A bigger concern would be if they've worked together with disastrous results—you don't want to have vendors at odds when they need to cooperate for severeal hours to get the same shots. One way to guarantee a good tandem is to hire a studio that does both photo and video, or simply ask your photographer if they can recommend a videographer (or vice versa).

What should I ask when I interview a photographer or videographer?

After you've narrowed down the list to three or four candidates, set up interviews. In terms of photographers' work, ask to see a complete wedding album so you can gauge their range—if there's a strong mix of formal portraits, candid shots, details and scenic pictures, chances are your album will be similarly complete. When you interview videographers, ask to see 20 or 30 minutes of a video rather than a five-minute highlight reel. When you're watching, pay close attention to the quality of the video and the audio, as well as how smoothly the transitions are edited.

Is personality as important as skill and availability?

Just as important as their skill is how well you get along with the photographer or videographer. You should feel comfortable with the person you choose to shoot your wedding—in fact, these vendors often like to get to know their clients on a personal level. Considering they'll spend numerous hours with you on your wedding day (and you'll be in close proximity much of the time), you don't want someone following you around who makes you want to run the other way. And remember, if you don't like your photographer or videographer, chances are your friends and family won't either, so find someone who will treat your whole crew well.

Should we be scared if they use a ton of special effects?

Your photographer might use effects to correct colors or highlight details, but some effects can make a photo feel dated years from now. If you look through a portfolio and you're turned off by the type of effects that are used, ask whether they can be toned down in your album. Remember, it normally takes around six to eight weeks to get proofs of your photos. If a photographer says they can deliver an album suspiciously fast—like within two or three days—you should be wary about the amount of time they'll spend editing the finished product.

What's better, film or digital?

Although some purists may never stray from film, digital photography has more or less caught up in terms of image quality. Those with a trained eye may be able to spot a print taken with a digital camera from one shot with film (some say film captures more true-to-life colors), but the differences are not dramatic. One plus for digital is it's easier to make copies of your photos, and you can quickly archive all your digital prints on a disc.

We're worried our shooters will bring too much equipment. Is this a common problem?

Forget every cliché you've heard about videographers hauling around tons of clunky equipment—new advances in technology over the last few years have made wedding videography less obtrusive than ever. Small cameras that shoot great in low light and tiny wireless microphones mean videographers can take a fly-on-the-wall approach. In fact, more couples are hiring videographers to accompany them to their destination wedding because of the smaller size of their equipment. You can expect both your photographer and videographer to use some extra lighting, especially if your ceremony space is dim or your reception takes place at night.

Should we make a must-shoot list?

Don't worry about reminding your photo and video pros to shoot the classic scenes—they'll definitely capture the cake-cutting and your first dance. What you should give a heads up about, however, is key people to shoot (your grandparents, the ring bearer) and any traditions or unique details you're including on your day.

Are there any new wedding photo and video trends?

The prevelance of digital has helped some photographers push the envelope, since they can try out new techniques, unique angles or lenses, and know the results almost instantly. And the next big thing in photo and video? Drones. These little flying, footage-snapping machines can take sweeping, dramatic shots of your wedding and capture unique moments you never would have thought of (like an aerial view of the groom waiting at the altar while the bride and her father stand on the other side of the venue before the ceremony begins—how cool is that?). Another notable advance is the increasing number of videographers who've upgraded their equipment to be able to shoot in high-definition. Some couples add special effects in postproduction, like a Super 8 effect, which has a warm, grainy appearance and a vintage, romantic feel. For the social media savvy, request an additional, shorter cut of your wedding video—a sort of highlights reel—to make it more sharable on social platforms. A super-techy trend is 360-degree video live streaming (perfect if any friends or family can’t make it on the day of). Many video pros now include 360-degree wedding services, making this high-tech amenity more accessible.

Ready to find your shooters?

Start your search for local photographers and videographers.

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