A Guest Blog Post by Megan Pettus of Megan Pettus Videography

You’ve secured the perfect wedding venue, a fabulous planner, and you have your eye on a photographer that you love. Now what? Well, now it is time to find a wedding cinematographer who will be a perfect fit. Here are our tips for securing the wedding filmmaking team that will serve you best. 

Identify your vision for your wedding memories.  

Just like photographers, videographers have a carefully crafted style. Styles can vary in many ways. Two of the biggest differences in videography are Coloring Styles and Editing Styles. Some videographers like a dramatic, dark coloring style, with plenty of shadows and moody tones. Others enjoy a desaturated, earthy coloring style, which is very popular in the midwestern parts of the country. 

Megan Pettus is a wedding filmmaker based in Birmingham, AL, and says, “We’ve spent years honing our films to have the coloring style we love as well as a style of editing that we feel best serves our clients and protects their memories. Our style is true to color, with emphasis on beautiful skin tones and dreamy, vibrant coloring of our couples’ wedding day landscapes/venues.”

As for editing styles, some videographers may enjoy a shaky, hand-held style that is fast-paced with quick effects and transitions. Some videographers make “music videos” which feature video of your day, set to music but with no additional audio from your day. Others enjoy a storytelling, cinematic style of wedding filmmaking. 

Megan explains that, “We consider ourselves storytellers, and our editing style reflects that. We use the speeches, vows, and love letters you exchange on a wedding day as part of the audio of your film, and try to include the audio of the little moments that happen as well.”

There are other differences in style from one filmmaker to the next, but these are two of the biggest style choices you’ll notice. So, how do you find the right style for you? Buy a box of tissues and start watching our films! Make mental notes of what you love and connect with, and choose those filmmakers. Pay attention to the filmmakers whose films keep you drawn in from start to finish. Do you like the style of music these filmmakers usually select? Are all the films cookie-cutters of each other, or do they truly reflect the couple’s style and story?

Select a filmmaker you like being around.

You should look for someone you genuinely enjoy being around and values your experience more than their “cinematic vision.” Your wedding videography team will be with you all day, sometimes more than your future spouse. Making sure that these people provide a calming, happy environment is key. Megan says, “I think one thing that stands out about us is that we are an all-female team. We love getting to know our couples so that, on the wedding day, they feel like – ‘hey! that’s just Megan and Kelsey, our friends!’ (Who also happen to create beautiful wedding films.)”

Pick your Dream Team.

While picking a filmmaker who has previous experience working with your other vendors isn’t a necessity, it’s certainly a big bonus! Consider this – every day you go to work with people you trust. You know their values, their style and flow of getting work done, and hopefully, you inspire each other to work harder and do better. It’s the same with your photo+video team. Megan says, “I definitely see photo & video as a team, because we are there to work together and serve clients by capturing the moments and memories that are important to them. When you have a team that frequently works together, the day flows smoothly, and you get photos and video that are true reflections of each of our portfolios that you loved when you hired us.”  We love working with other vendors with similar values about the experience – vendors who value those organic, beautiful moments that happen naturally, without needing our intervention. 

The risk you take when you hire a video team that hasn’t worked with your photographer before is that their workflows may not mesh well, causing them (and you) stress on your day. If you do hire a videographer that your photographer hasn’t worked with previously, let each of them know how to contact each other so they can chat before your day. This will help them talk through ideas and strategies and make your day smoother. 

Invest in Quality Filmmakers.

You should budget at least 4-6k + for a quality, experience-oriented, professional team. (Also, if they are based out of your venue’s area, budget for their travel as well.) At the end of the day, you only have your memories. Invest in them. Megan explains “The biggest regret I hear from newlyweds isn’t that they didn’t hire a videographer–that they didn’t budget enough for one and ended up getting someone cheap that detracted from their day or the quality wasn’t on par with their memories.” Also, if you’ve invested in a fabulous photographer, you would be doing a disservice to them by hiring cheap videographers. If they are having to work around someone who isn’t used to the caliber of work they expect of themselves and the quality of service they intend to give to their clients, they will have a difficult time providing those services.

Book Your Wedding Filmmaker Early for Best Results. 

Typically, a wedding cinematographer is booked at the same time as your photography team. This gives them ample time to get to know you, your vision for your day, and to work with your planner to provide an excellent film & experience for you. Megan books up 6 to 12 months in advance. “Sometimes we will get the opportunity to start serving couples as late as three months out, especially now with the current state of weddings being planned in the pandemic, but I love having that 6 to 12 months to really get to know our couples and provide an awesome experience leading up to the wedding day!”

Watch some of Megan’s personal favorites of her films below!

Historic Tutwiler Hotel Wedding | Olivia & Jacob

Lowndes Grove (Charleston, SC) Wedding | Elizabeth & Caleb

Montgomery Country Club Wedding | Sara & Harrison

Would you like to hire Megan to film your wedding? Contact her by visiting her website at https://meganpettusvideography.com/