E-Guide to Hiring a Wedding Videographer or Filmmaker

Hello friends, thanks for coming to this free e-guide.

I developed this small guide to help you better understand the world of wedding video, be it me or someone else in the business, this is designed to help understand some of the jargon and technical stuff without getting too technical for you.

Plus, at the end, I have a FREEBIE for you as well. But first, lets get started.

Wedding Video vs Wedding Films vs Wedding Cinema

First, let me say congratulations to you, you’re getting married! Now, as you’ve been trying to navigate the waters of wedding planning, the overall budget and just trying to get everything right, you enter the world of wedding video.

Well, a LOT has changed in the last 20 years in the industry and there is a lot to wade through when considering hiring a person or company to capture the day.

The terminology for example has gone from wedding video to wedding films to even wedding cinema. While the terms have changed some depending on the company, they all do the basic same thing, capture the day so you can relive it.

Wedding video is a basic term today meaning they offer basic video services, such as the ceremony and reception. There is some editing, perhaps multiple cameras and audio sources are being captured, but think of the term as more of a basic industry word. This is going to be the most affordable route as well as the most commonly used term in the wedding business. ($ to $$)

Wedding film is a setup from a basic video, it provides more of a storyline of the entire day that’s put into a short film format. It’s still a video but its more like a television program and it can make use of some cinematic style imagery. Think of this as more of an elevated business model, it cost more but it also has a lot more production value. And just for clarification, there is not literal film in this. ($$ to $$$)

Wedding cinema is a very misleading term in the business as 99% of all wedding video or wedding film companies are using video cameras or high end DSLR style cameras. Very few are using cinema style cameras and the term cinema may refer to the production level of what they offer, not so much the technology they use. ($$$-$$$$+)

You will want to determine what you’re looking for in a wedding video production here, some companies offer just one, some offer all three types.

Style of Wedding Videography

In 2019 there are a couple of styles in the overall business that you should familiarize yourself with. This is the traditional style, sometimes called documentary style wedding video and then cinematic style.

Traditional style wedding video is going to be the lengthy video format of yesteryear, providing a much longer video, various smaller pieces like a video montage before the ceremony, perhaps another in-between the ceremony and reception and maybe one at the end. Before the use of computers in our industry, this was the format that couples had.

Cinematic Style wedding films are shorter than the documentary style and they usually are faster paced. The length can vary from company to company, but it’s not uncommon to see 4-8-minute films and some into the 15-20-minute range. Much of the length depends on various factors like what’s happening during the day, how many people are hired to film, how much they charge and the amount of gear they provide.  Cinematic video usually has more bells and whistles such as drones, sliders and gimbals used in the production.

Again, this is where you will want to decide. Most companies today are going to offer and steer toward the cinematic style production. Traditional wedding video is easier to edit but harder to film. Cinematic is easier to film but harder to edit typically speaking.

The Gear

The physical gear has changed a lot too as most wedding video is done with either DSLR or mirrorless type cameras.

The main reasons why people choose them over the older “over-the-shoulder-style” camera systems is that the sensors are larger making a clearer images, they are smaller, lighter and are able to do much more production wise rather than a larger camera.

My best advice is to ask them what types of gear they use and research it just a bit. Most companies in 2019 are going to steer towards some of these types of systems:

·         Panasonic (GH5,G9,G85,GH4)

·         Sony (A7S, A7sII, A9)

While there are differences in the abilities of these camera systems, you will honestly want to watch sample films from the companies to see what they offer. As a client you basically want a clear image, be able to hear everything clearly and something that is edited well. A pro camera in the wedding industry without lenses or accessories ranges in cost from about $1,000 to $40,000 depending on the brand, type and it’s capabilities.

While having what I call “toys” are nice they are not necessary to make a good quality wedding video or film. Some of these items includes drones, camera sliders and gimbals.

A camera system should include the basics, a good pro grade camera, microphones to capture the audio and lighting if things are dark, like a reception hall for example. I for example use all the toys when I can and I also use wireless audio recorders and devices, LED lights when needed and multiple cameras at the ceremony.

The Price and Budget

As with just about any type of business, there are all sorts of price ranges when it comes to wedding video productions. It’s also a common misconception that price equals the level of video that you can get, it has to do with many factors like quality, location, workload and livelihood for example. Someone filming part time can cost less than someone that does it full time in order to pay the bills.

Finding a good quality wedding videographer or filmmaker can vary region to region within the United States but if you typically want someone with good gear and good experience plan on paying between $1,000 to more than $10,000.

While that’s a huge spread it’s important to remember that there are multiple factors here. For example, someone that charges $1,500 in Roanoke Virginia could be equivalent of someone that charges $3,500 in Miami, Florida.

For the purposes of the e-guide you just need to know these 2 categories:


These are the budget videographers that are usually new, have very little production experience and their gear is typically low value. (Think a $500 cheap camera like Canon Rebel T7 for example).

While there is nothing wrong with seeking this type of person, don’t expect professional level results. They usually don’t have the best in gear nor the toys to help elevate them. Expect a very basic production.


These are people that will charge more, have pro grade equipment and will carry even the most basic video to a much higher standard, thus more in cost. I’d say that most within the wedding video business fall under this category and will have a much better eye for details and a better understanding for your wedding day too.  Between the two options, I’d recommend an experienced person. They cost much more, but you will have peace-of-mind that the job will be done right and very well too.

Budget Vs. Expectations

If you’re trying to hire someone on a cheap budget, just expect cheap results. It’s hard to create wonderful video productions on a tight budget, hiring someone online for $500 is not the same as spending $3,000 and that $3,000 person is nothing like the $10,000 wedding filmmaker either.

It’s all relative and what the market is willing to pay.



As a “thank you” for downloading my basic e-guide, I want to extend a discount of $50 off all my services when you book with me, simply mention the code “WEDDINGFILM50” when you either meet with me or connect with me via email.

Whomever you choose to film your wedding day, make sure they understand the importance of what’s being captured and that they will do the job right the first time as there is no second take for your first kiss, your first dance or your entire wedding day.  

I hope this guide has given you a little bit better knowledge into the world of wedding video and what to look for when meeting with your video production professional.