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Do I Need A Videographer For My Wedding?

Bride and groom being photographed by a professional photographer

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Photography is and has always been a major part of the wedding tradition for as long as photography has existed. However, photos aren’t the only way to capture that special day, as videography is a very popular choice as well. A good professional videographer can create a marvelous documentary out of your wedding footage – a great way to capture and remember that special event and share the sights, sounds and movement of the day.

At the same time, however, your wedding day will also likely be one of the most expensive events you’ll ever organize and hiring a professional photographer and/or videographer tends to be one of the major components in these expenses, almost always reaching four digits in price.

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So, how should you square the pros and cons of a wedding videographer? What are the best alternatives to hiring a professional videographer? Should you settle for just hiring a photographer? Is hiring a friend amateur photographer/videographer a good idea? Let’s take a detailed look at these questions below.

Pros And Cons Of A Wedding Videographer vs. an Amateur

Professional photographer on wedding day

As with most complex questions, there are many sides to this issue. On the one hand, you likely want the best possible videos of your wedding.

On the other hand – not breaking the bank over some footage that you’ll re-watch once a year sounds like a sensible idea. Most people get out of this dilemma by having a friend or amateur videographer to do the job. But is this a good idea?

Pros of hiring a professional videographer vs. an amateur videographer:

  1. Photos vs. Video. Wedding photos can be amazing, beautiful, and outright art pieces, however, they can’t replace the experience of watching a gorgeously shot and edited wedding video. The right wedding videographer will easily give you a wedding video that’s shot and edited like a movie.
  2. Experience. When hiring a professional you won’t just get the expertise of someone, but you’ll get years, often even decades of experience too. Furthermore, most professional videographers and photographers tend to know all the wedding venues in their area from the inside out, meaning that they probably have had experience shooting there and know the best ways to utilize the lighting of the place and take beautiful and tricky shots in it.
  3. Consistency. With a professional videographer, you can be 99.9% certain that the quality you’ve witnessed on their portfolio will be the quality you’ll receive as well. With an amateur you just don’t have that consistency – even if you’ve seen some of their work before you can’t be as certain that you’ll get the same quality.
  4. Style. Experts have their individual styles of creating a wedding video. Shooting a wedding isn’t just about getting nice pictures and a cool video. It’s about capturing memories and picking out the best moments – that’s what you’re paying all that money for, after all.
  5. Equipment. Your amateur videographer friend may have a nice camera and some auxiliary stuff to go with it, but a professional is virtually guaranteed to have everything that your venue and wedding might require for the perfect photos and video.
  6. Better event organization. Anyone who’s been to a wedding knows how much time goes for the photography and videography shoots. Getting that perfect shot takes time, patience and retries. Because of their professionalism, professional videographers will usually end up helping to keep the party on time throughout the wedding day – no delays, no missed opportunities. Now, granted, this can be a bit of a con too as no one wants to be rushed by a stranger on their wedding day but that’s why it’s important to find the right person for the job.

Cons of hiring a professional videographer vs. an amateur:

  1. Money. Pretty or not, those professional videos cost a great deal of money – more so than just photos and definitely more than what an amateur can do. And yes, they are breathtaking but still, is that worth an average person’s monthly salary? Wedding photographs and videos are nice but they aren’t – or shouldn’t be – why you are getting married.
  2. Discomfort. We alluded to that above but it bears its own mention – your wedding is an event for you and your loved ones to celebrate the happiest day of your life and the amazing future that’s in store of you. Having a complete stranger running around, interrupting everything, and even often rushing things along just because he or she has a time schedule to adhere to – that’s not the best feeling to experience on your wedding day.

Hiring Just a Photographer (no videographer)

Bride and groom being photographed by a professional photographer

Maybe you’re thinking of skipping the videographer and go with just the photographer. Here are the pros and cons of that.

  1. Photographers cost less than videographers. Remember that a lot of the work both professionals will end up doing isn’t just on the day itself but in the editing bay after that as well. Videographers have a lot more work to do in terms of editing.
  2. Photographs are generally more useful than videos. Yes, wedding videos are awesome but they take time to watch. A nice photo can be framed and placed anywhere you want so that you can take a quick glimpse at it and smile whenever you want.
  3. However, most of the time the monetary discount won’t be that significant. Yes, photographers charge less than videographers, but they still charge quite a bit.
  4. Photos don’t tell the full story. A truly great wedding photographer will be able to take and edit their photos in such a way that they are not just beautiful but that they tell a story. Still, even that can’t beat a well-shot and well-edited video footage of the most special moments of your wedding.

What About Getting a Friend to Shoot My Video?

Man taking photo using a camera

This is a great way to get your friends involved and make the event more personal and intimate. Here are the advantages of getting a friend to shoot your video for you:

  1. Money. There could be many different arrangements regarding payment with a friend or a relative but most of them will end up being much cheaper than a professional. The photos and videos can be their wedding present for you, they can be a nice learning experience for them, they can add the pictures to their portfolio, or at the very least – they can give you a nice “friends and family” discount.
  2. Comfort. Contrary to the cons of hiring a professional, getting a friend or a relative to do it can feel great – they’ll often be and feel like just another of your guests, walking around, having fun, and snapping pictures along the way.
  3. You can help their career along. Yes, your wedding is your day, but that doesn’t mean that helping others is any less of a great thing on that day. If your friend or relative has aspirations of going professional, letting him/her snap photos and videos of your wedding can go a long way to helping them expand their portfolio and kick-starting their career.
  4. Nostalgia. Looking back at your wedding photos and videos will be a nostalgia-filled experience either way, but it can be even more so if they were made by a close friend as then that’d be a part of the photo’s story as well. Professionally made photos and videos are gorgeous but they are also standard and sometimes, hardly unique. Photos made by your close personal friend, however – those can be even more special for you.

However, there are also drawbacks to this:

  1. A lack of professionalism. Even if your friend is a great amateur photographer and they’re showing a lot of potential, wedding photography is a tricky thing to do, especially if you lack the experience. There are a lot of things that can be missed if it’s your first time, and missing key shots from a wedding is not fun.
  2. Pressure. Having a close friend or relative take care of the wedding photography can put a lot of pressure on them, on you, and on your friendship. Why do that and not just let your friend enjoy the wedding with everyone else while you hire a professional?
  3. The missing brilliance that comes with experience. An amateur photographer can snap some really cool and beautiful photos or videos on your wedding. But professional wedding photographers have the know-how and the experience to create true art with almost every shot they take.

Other Alternatives to Hiring A Professional Videographer

So, what else can you do if you want to keep your wedding budget low and not spend too much on a wedding videographer?

  • Hire a professional but for the minimum amount of time possible. In this way, you can have a professional video from the ceremony and during the family photos directly after it. And for the reception venue you can get an amateur buddy to chip in for some pictures and videos there.
  • Get an amateur friend to do everything. The quality won’t be the same but the same goes for the budget. Plus, if you know that your friend or relative can do a good job you’ll still end up with photos and videos that will be nice to watch years down the line.

So, there you have it – the pros and cons of a videographer, an amateur videographer and other options. Hopefully, this article gives you some inspiration and pointers on going about hiring (or not hiring) a wedding videographer.