Expert Advice/Wedding Planning 101/Hiring VendorsArrowHiring Vendors

Do You Need a Wedding Videographer and Photographer?

A wedding videographer and photographer serve totally different purposes, so do you hire? Here’s what you can expect from each so you can decide if you need one or both!

By The Zola Team

couple holding hands and balloons
Photo by Bryan Sargent Photography

Having a collection of photos and wedding video footage from your ceremony and reception is something many couples feel is priceless. But, like all vendors, wedding videographers and photographers can come with a hefty price tag, leading plenty of others to wonder if these services are really worth it.

So do you need both? If you can only choose one, who do you hire? A wedding videographer and photographer serve totally different purposes. Here, we clear up just what’s included in wedding videography and photography packages, so you can make the best decision for you and your SO.

What Comes With a Wedding Photography Package

Most couples know the value of hiring a photographer to capture their wedding day and often decide on one soon after becoming engaged. It’s easy to fall in love with a photographer for his or her aesthetic, but what do they provide aside from pretty pictures? Standard photography packages include:

An Engagement Session

Engagement sessions are not only great for supplying you with photos you can use on your website and in your guest book, but also for getting to know your photographer. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera. Most photographers include engagement sessions with even the most basic packages. However, you can always choose to forgo an engagement session and can often swap it for other services, such as additional hours of coverage or photos at another wedding event.

8 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

This usually gives your photographer enough time to capture moments from the end of the getting-ready process to the early moments of the reception, such as the first dance and cutting of the cake. But if you want your photographer present from the moment you wake up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, to the moment you make your grand exit, you may need to tack on a few more hours of coverage.

A Second Shooter

Most wedding photographers will enlist the help of a second shooter on your wedding day, someone to be with the groom and his groomsmen while the photographer is with the bride and her bridesmaids, or vice versa. This photographer will not only shoot different elements of the day, but also capture it from a different angle. Second shooters are typically included in standard photography packages, but could fall under a higher-tier package or be an additional service.

Additional Services:

  • Rehearsal dinner photos
  • Extra hours of coverage
  • Wedding album and/or guest book
  • Photo prints
  • Travel

Your photographer can also be a great resource to recommend a videographer. If you love your photographer’s style and get along well with him or her, the odds are good that you will also get along well with any videographer they recommend, and love their aesthetic as well. Plus, if you decide to hire both a wedding videographer and photographer, it’s important that they vibe, since they will have to work very closely on the wedding day. For some great ideas, see our guide on wedding photo shoot ideas.

What Comes With a Wedding Videography Package

Wedding videography packages can vary greatly in both what you get and what you pay for, so it is important to do your research and ask questions to find the vendor and package that best suits your style and budget. The more hours of coverage, individual videos, editing, and camera operators, the more expensive the package. Standard videography packages include:

6 to 8 Hours of Coverage

Similar to a photographer, a videographer will show up early on the day of your wedding to capture all the feels, from the first look to the final toast. However, you can also ask for a la carte services, such as ceremony or reception-only coverage.

A Highlight Reel

Your videographer will go through all those hours of footage to select and trim the magic moments and turn them into a short, cinematic-like trailer, sometimes called a teaser, for your easy viewing. This is the video you’ll likely share on social media, as it’s typically under 10 minutes.

A Full-Length Film

In addition to a quick highlight reel, your videographer will provide you with a longer film that includes all of the moments that mean the most. Depending on the vendor, this can vary in length and be anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes. Be sure to ask how you will receive the video. Will it be on a DVD, USB drive, or online platform such as Vimeo?

Additional Services:

  • Save-the-date videos
  • Extended videos or video clips
  • Raw footage
  • Drone footage
  • Extra hours of coverage
  • Travel
  • Music (Most people don’t know that you have to purchase the copyrights to certain songs to include them in your videos. Your videographer may factor this into your initial quote, however, if you request specific songs, they will likely come at an additional charge. If the music is important to you, be sure to ask about this during your consultation.)

You Should Hire a Wedding Videographer If…

Now that you know what’s included in both wedding videography and photography packages, you probably have a better idea of what service is right for you. But if you’re still on the fence, consider hiring a wedding videographer if...

You Write Your Own Vows

Whether you write your own or opt for traditional ones, the vows you make on your wedding day are extremely meaningful. And there’s no better way to encapsulate the emotions and words you and your spouse exchange than with video. The memory may grow dim in your mind, but will always be fresh and just as poignant on video.

Do You Need a Wedding Videographer & Photographer Photo Credit // Lisa Kay Creative Photography

You Appreciate Candid Moments

While your photographer will no doubt do a good job of capturing family portraits, beautiful details, and plenty of posed photos of you and your SO, they are often focused on getting “the shot.” While they are busy making sure every element of your wedding day is caught on camera, a videographer can capture everything in between. The film is almost always rolling, which means they won’t miss a tear shed here or a jaw-drop there. So, if you’re a sucker for good facial expressions and expect a lot of emotion from everyone involved, you may want to strongly consider a wedding videographer.

You Expect a Killer Dance Party

So, you like to dance? Looking back at what is sure to be an epic dance party will only bring a smile to your face. Record those favorite songs and memorable moves by hiring a videographer who will watch from the sidelines. You won’t be sorry you caught your fun aunt doing the limbo or the moment all your friends raised you both up on chairs.

You Want to Remember the Speeches

It’s a rarity to receive heartfelt sentiments and favorite memories from the people who mean the most to you. Your parents, maid of honor, and best man will spend a lot of time curating special and/or funny words and stories to share about you and your soon-to-be spouse. If you want to be able to look back on the things they said and cherish their words, be sure to hire a videographer to capture the speeches on film.

You Have Special Surprises Planned

Will there be fireworks at your wedding? Is your first dance choreographed? Did you or your fiancé plan a special surprise for the other? These are moments you will love having on video, so that you can relive them over and over again.

You’re Sentimental

When you’re celebrating 20, 30, and 50 years of marriage, will you love playing your video back and reminiscing on your wedding day? When you have kids, and maybe even grandkids, will you look forward to sharing it with them? If the answer is yes, you will be glad you invested in a wedding videographer to record this most special day.

You Have the Budget

It’s no secret that every additional vendor comes at an additional cost. So while the budget shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when deciding whether or not to hire a videographer, it is important. If you’ve said “yes” to all of the other reasons to hire a videographer, and have the funds, it’s time to sign on the dotted line. If the price is the only issue, shop around and consider asking for reduced services to lock in a rate that works for you while still getting the footage you want. Keep in mind that videographers in places like New York City are going to be more expensive than those in rural areas. Newer videographers may make up for what they lack in experience with talent and will be much more affordable than seasoned pros.

Ultimately, if the sounds, movements, and visuals of your wedding day are important to you, you should strongly consider hiring both a wedding videographer and a photographer. While it may sound expensive now, you will likely deem these memories priceless in the future.

For more resources on organizing your wedding photography and videography, Zola has your back with the guides below:

Do You Need a Wedding Videographer & Photographer Photo Credit // Sylvie Rosokoff
Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola

Even more answers