Ask The Expert- Photographer Jeff Haden: Can’t Your Wedding Photographer and Videographer Just Get A

Posted by Azure on September 17th, 2009
About Jeff Haden of Blackbird Images

The Q:What is the best way to have the videographer and the photographer work together and not get in each other’s way? I went to a wedding where I thought they were going to get in a fight because they kept getting in front of each other. I want a good video and good pictures and no drama. Thanks, Lisa. The A:

At its best, the interaction between photographers and videographers is smooth and trouble-free; we move seamlessly into and out of the best spots, work around each other, anticipate what the other person needs…It’s like a dance, except in my case without any semblance of grace, poise, or style.

At worst it’s a pain for everyone involved and dramatically affects the quality of your photos and video.

Here are some things you can do: • Ask questions before hiring. When you’re interviewing a prospective wedding photographer, ask how they work with the videographer. You’ll get a sense of their attitude right away: If they frown, grumble, or complain about videographers… there is a good possibility of problems on the day. If they smile and say they usually never have issues, it gives you a great indication of their attitude. Same goes for interviewing videographers. Most of us go into the day knowing we’ll be collaborating with other professionals – anyone who sees that as a problem rather than an opportunity to improve the end result should raise a red flag in your mind. • Set expectations. Be up front with both parties. Tell them you want great photos and great video and you expect each party to work well with the other. Suggest they call each other to talk about any issues they foresee with the location, lighting, etc. Even if they don’t make the call… they’ll know you expect cooperation and expectations help set the right tone. • Prioritize. Occasionally we’ll both want the same spot. For example, if you’re cutting your cake in a corner of a room… we’ll both probably want to stand in the same place. Other times, like during your first dance, there’s plenty of room for both of us. So if you anticipate a special moment occurring in confined quarters, think about which is most important to you– video or photos – and let us know. Otherwise we’ll both try to do the best we can for you… which could lead to us elbowing each other out of the way. • Think about the ceremony. The only time we’ve had a problem was during a ceremony. Church guidelines restricted photographers and videographers to the back of the church – no coming up the aisle, slipping up the wings, etc. No worries. But once the ceremony began the videographer moved halfway up the aisle, planted himself and his tripod in the middle… and stayed there. Due to the layout of the church and where the couple stood, we had no angle to capture… well, pretty much anything other than heads. I asked if he could move, he refused… so short of causing a scene – which I didn’t – we really had few options. Ask where videographers plan to position themselves, make sure that fits your ideas about what you want photographers to capture… and make sure they plan to work together, not against each other. • Designate a point person. Our couples appoint someone to be our contact on the day of the wedding; if we need something, have questions, need to round up people for a particular shot… that person helps us so the bride and groom can focus on having fun. Let all your vendors know they should approach that person with issues, problems, suggestions, etc – and you can stay out of the way of any conflicts or “challenges.”

In short, it’s not hard – as long as you communicate to both parties that you want a great end product, you expect them to work together, and that you selected them because you know they are both creative and professional. That way everyone will work hard to live up to your expectations. And don't forget, ladies- now you can haveANY and ALL of your wedding questions answered by our panel of experienced experts! Just send your question(s) to!
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