I’ve been working as a wedding photographer for around a year and a half now, and have also dabbled in wedding videography in that time. While it would seem, on the surface, that the two practises are fairly similar, there are actually a lot of differences. In this piece, I’m going to break down the differences.
Capturing the moment
As a wedding photographer, you have a little bit of leeway. You’re capturing still images, so it doesn’t really matter when you start shooting as long as you get those important moments. For videographers, it’s a totally different story. You need to capture every second of every special part of the day, and can’t miss a single moment. If you’re not there to capture the couple saying ‘I do’, then you may as well have not even showed up at all.
Similar to the previous point, the ability to compose an image is another big difference. Photographers are able to move around their subjects in order to get the perfect angle, and can delete any individual shots that didn’t quite work. Videographers, on the other hand, have to get it right first time. You can’t move position halfway through a moment, because the video will end up with awkward jerky motions and will look unprofessional. Before the action starts, you need to know that you’re in the right spot to capture it flawlessly.
Generally speaking, wedding photographers will shoot either in full manual or in aperture priority mode (or shutter priority for those fast moving moments). It’s easy to switch settings in between shots, however, if you can see that something isn’t quite right. You can also adjust your focus in between shots to make sure you’ve hit that sweet spot. With videography, on the other hand, you need to be able to change settings during shooting. Videographers have to be quick with their focus ring whenever anyone moves, and must know how to change their exposure quickly yet discreetly to avoid blowing out or under exposing the footage.
Videographers get the upper hand in this sense, because they are able to take advantage of not just sight but sound as well. A video captures more than just a moment in time; it captures an entire day, and that includes the mood of the party, the excited whispers of the guests, and the special music chosen for the first dance. It’s a lot trickier for a photographer to create a sense of atmosphere within their still images.
Along with carrying a specialist video camera (and often several lenses) around with them, videographers also need a whole array of additional equipment that photographers don’t even need to worry about. From microphones (both wireless and wired) to monitors and video lights, the list is endless. Video also takes up a lot more space on memory cards, so they usually keep a lot more with them compared to photographers.
While a photographer might spend a couple of weeks editing their photographs (and realistically it shouldn’t take longer than that – if it does you’re doing something wrong), a videographer has a lot more to deal with. Clipping a highlight reel alone can take a couple of weeks, never mind the full-length, two-hour-long video itself. And in my opinion, video editing is a lot more dull and frustrating than photo editing. In fact, I’ve said that the next time I have a wedding video to edit, I’m outsourcing to somebody else.
I personally find videography a lot more difficult than photography. It’s all about being able to change and adapt quickly, without over or under compensating and ruining the entire video. There are no second chances in videography, and no way to reshoot that special moment. However, I was trained as a photographer; not a videographer. The things that I find easy and natural in photography might seem alien to a trained videographer.
Have you seen my highlights video from Jenny and James' wedding at The Boathouse, Oulton Broad yet? If not, check it out below!
What do you think about videography vs. photography? Let me know in the comments.