Welcome back to the Ready to Wander Podcast! I’m your host, Sydney Breann, and I am so excited to be back this week with a super exciting episode all about wedding photography vs. videography. You’re probably like, “Syd, aren’t you a photographer?” Yes, yes I am. BUT I wanted to bring a videographer on the show to chat about wedding and elopement videography, and we can debate a little bit about if you need one or not. I’m so excited to be joined by my dear friend, Hunter Chear, for Ready to Wander Podcast EP5: Photography vs. Videography Q&A. We’ll be answering the ‘age old’ question of if you really need a videographer for your wedding or elopement.
This podcast is going to be for those planning a wedding or elopement, or for those people who want to hear a different perspective on videography and what it really means to be a storyteller through a motion format rather than stills. If you don’t know what wedding videography is, if you want a better look into what a videographer does on a wedding day, or if you just want to stick around to get to know the contrast between photo and video, this podcast is for you and I am excited to introduce you to our guest, a good friend of mine and fellow creative.
But first, I did want to address something. This podcast is in no way saying yes, you have to have a videographer to have the best wedding day. And it is definitely not bashing videographers saying that photo is more important than video. The photography vs. videography debate is real within the wedding industry. If anything I want today’s episode to give more videographers a voice and the recognition they deserve.
I want those planning a wedding to understand the difference between photo and video and how they both have strengths and different roles on a wedding day. Wedding videography is typically either one of the first priorities for a couple planning a wedding, or it is the last. I would say more often booking a wedding videographer is an afterthought, and I am excited to dive into some chats with our guest here about that and why you should consider prioritizing video.
Like I said, I am joined by a fellow creative and professional in the wedding and elopement industry, Hunter Chear with Chear Media. Hunter is a wedding and elopement videographer based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but travels around the country for his clients. He loves adventure and travel, and he is passionate about being an intentional storyteller so that you can authentically relive your day through film.
Hunter is not only a friend of mine, he is also my own elopement videographer. So I promise I am not going to be biased (although, he is freaking amazing at what he does), but I did want to bring him on here to chat more about what the role of a videographer is. We are going to put him on the hot seat to debate if a videographer is 100% necessary on your wedding day.
On the day-to-day, you will typically find Hunter parked in front of his computer, editing. Just like a photographer, the day-to-day tasks aren’t what most people see. What most people see is filming (or photographing) a wedding day, moving a big ole’ camera around. Hunter mentioned that he spends the vast majority of the ‘work week’ creating his films, but most weeks are full of the actual filming process (his favorite).
Photographers and videographers definitely focus on a lot of the same ‘basics’ when it comes to weddings and elopements. However, I was very interested to learn exactly what videographers like Hunter focus on! As mentioned before, most people hear “videographer” and probably picture that person carrying a big camera around, getting the perfect shots. While that’s certainly true, Hunter has a focus that goes beyond that.
The process for many wedding vendors starts eons before the actual event. Hunter likes to meet with his clients 2-3 times before their wedding or elopement to really ensure he’s figuring out everything about them. Because Hunter’s business is centered on capturing the authenticity behind the couple, his focus lies in understanding who they were before they made it to the alter. What was the moment the bride knew she was in love? What was the moment the groom knew he was going to propose?
From a more technical aspect, Hunter also focuses on the lighting of the venue when he arrives. Something that’s very important to many videographers is figuring out how to best capture the moment without creating too much of a production. Reflecting back on each detail learned from the couple, Hunter is also meticulous in capturing exactly what is important to the couple. Perhaps the bride is wearing her mom’s veil. A videographer (and photographer) are going to make sure to document that detail.
I know as a photographer, I am always thinking of a day laid out kind of like a photo album. So as I am capturing each moment of the day, I am constantly thinking of what they would feel when flipping through those pages. How can I ensure they still feel what this moment felt like? How can I bring them back to this day, the emotions, and the beauty surrounding it? I am always focused on obviously capturing the moment in an authentic way, but also on the more technical things like lighting, details, emotions, and facial expressions.
As a videographer, those same “items” are on the checklist. They have to ensure they are filming the details, first looks, family portraits, etc. However, Hunter’s business model looks beyond the present and leans towards the future. One of the biggest things Hunter mentioned that he pays attention to is documenting all the little things that may be important in 20, 30, 40 years to come. Hunter and his clients find value in watching things play out as authentically and naturally as they occur. After all, a wedding is a day of real people, real emotions. It’s not a day of high production lighting and altering the moment.
A common package I offer that clients love is multiple days of coverage. Either for elopements with just the couple adventuring for one day and having a ceremony the second, or for couples who want to involve their family or friends while also having a day to themselves. Hunter offers 2 collections (1 for elopements + intimate weddings, 1 for traditional weddings). Regardless of the package, the couple receives a highlight film and a teaser. The teaser is a 1-minute compilation delivered within 1 week of the wedding. Chear Media also offers drone coverage if appropriate, as well as a few add-on options. Couples can opt to have an in-depth ceremony film, toast film, etc. One of my favorite things that Hunter offers, though, is his keepsake film. It’s essentially a high quality home movie of every shot he captured put into 1 watchable edit.
Because Hunter focuses on elopement videography, he does offer multi-day coverage for couples as well. Leaning into what his couples like to do on their day is something that holds a lot of value for Chear Media + his clients. There’s something so special and unique about being able to create a unique, tailored film for a couple.
Most photographers typically fall within a certain “style”. Whether it be ‘dark and moody’, ‘light and airy’, ‘true to color’… you get the picture. There’s so many similarities when it comes to photography vs. videography in this regard. Something really unique about Hunter is that he tailors his style to the couple. A traditional wedding video is not going to have the same vibe as a mountain elopement video. By tailoring his documentary style to the couple, he’s able to ensure their love is still represented in a real way. While his editing is still consistent, the overall style is still a reflection of the specific wedding/elopement (which I love).
Something else that truly makes Hunter invaluable and unique to the wedding and elopement industry is the client experience he has created. Not only does he create the most beautifully crafted films, but he’s able to really connect with his clients.
He strives to feel like a friend to his client, so much so that when he shows up to a wedding, he is greeted as such. He’s not greeted as a stranger or “just” a wedding vendor. The time and effort he spends pouring into his clients is top-notch. Although Hunter is a friend of mine, I feel valued and cared for as a client of his. Knowing that he is constantly putting in the effort to know my fiancé and my love story really just adds to it. I know that he will do his best to create a film that is authentic and true to Ethan and my story.
Buckle up for this because the process for a videographer is mind blowing. I asked Hunter what his entire process looks like from the time he films to the time he delivers the video. Let’s break it down.
I literally had no idea just how much work and how many moving parts go into being a videographer.
I know that most people hire a photographer to capture their day. 98% of people are taking some sort of photo to remember their day, but not everyone is hiring a videographer. What is the difference? Why do you think more people value photos over video?
It honestly comes down to tradition. Videography is still a pretty “new” trend in the grand scheme of wedding planning. Just think about your grandparents’ weddings. Odds are, you’ve seen photos from their day. But videography wasn’t really a thing until somewhat recently. Or maybe your parents have a video from their wedding – but it’s literally someone with a camcorder filming the ceremony. Many people value photos over video because they feel more tangible. Photos can hang on your wall, be displayed on your computer screen, sit in a book on the coffee table. And there’s often the argument of “will I really watch my wedding video that much?!” People value photo and video differently – but they are both intended to preserve the memories of the day.
Trying to convince someone that they need a videographer can be a tough feat, especially if their minds’ are set on videography being a “want” not a “need”. What I tell a couple who inquires with hesitation is that photos can only do so much. Yes, your photos will show you a still of a moment. But a video?! It will have audio, movement, and the full ‘picture’ of the moment. You’ll see your partner’s smile form as you read your vows. You’ll see your dad embracing you and telling you how beautiful you look.
Many people also express that their biggest regret from their wedding day is not having a videographer. It all comes down to what you prioritize. While you may not see a value in it now because the photos can do the same job, you will value the video for years to come. In years to come, you’ll watch that moment your dad embraced you, and he may not be around any longer. The emotion behind wedding photography and videography is real and raw. Your flowers will dry up, the food will be eaten, your dress will be boxed up. But your photos and video will last for a lifetime.
If I am being honest, I don’t think it is a need. And here’s why. I do think as video has advanced, it has become a little bit of a luxury item. Prices have gone up, but the experience has also advanced from this guy with a video camera showing up to film your ceremony to a whole experience that compliments photography. It truly helps to tell the full story of your wedding day with words, music, sounds, emotions, movement of landscapes and details around you on your day…. I think it has turned into less of a need and more of a want, but not in a bad way.
I don’t think people need a videographer on their wedding day if they are not going to value it. Correct me if I am wrong, but as a videographer, you probably do your best work and capture the best days when clients value you and prioritize having you there. If you are an afterthought in the budget, I feel like clients won’t really care if you are there anyway.
So I am not saying couples don’t need a videographer. I am saying couple’s need to prioritize a videographer if they value that kind of coverage on their wedding day. So maybe it is a roundabout way of saying you need one, but I truly think you only need a videographer if you are going to prioritize it and value it and fully enjoy that experience. If you are just doing it to use up your budget or because your friend who had a videographer said you need one, don’t do it.
If it comes down to your budget, we want to encourage you to take a step back and evaluate your priorities. You don’t need a videographer if you don’t find value in it. However, remember what will last for decades to come.
Videography compliments photography, but it is a completely different form of coverage. It’s definitely not photography vs. videography because that implies one is more important than the other. It is a way to involve sound and motion to evoke certain emotions, feelings, and memories. It is a totally different way of telling your wedding or elopement story. You do not NEED a videographer on your wedding day, but I do think you should have one if you are going to prioritize it and value that creative way of telling your story from start to finish in a more comprehensive format than photo. I think if you want one, you need to make room for it in the budget and not make it an afterthought.
I can’t say whether photography vs. videography is more important than the other (I don’t need any drama here), but what I can say is that photos are something tangible. Something you can print out and hang on your wall, or flip through pages in an album. Photos capture emotion and details and can tell a story, but video is a way to take that moment that is captured in photos, and add sound and motion to it to bring you back to the way things sounded and the way the landscapes and people moved around you. Photography vs. videography truly compliment one another. However, I would say video is more of a want than a need, and definitely worth the investment.
Hunter and I actually have a partnership discount, so if you are looking for a photographer and videographer for your elopement day, we actually offer a pretty sweet deal if you book us together. So if you want to reach out, mention this podcast or that you want to book us together, and we will give you 5% off your package with both of us.
Well, I guess this is the end of Ready to Wander Podcast EP5: Photography vs. Videography Q&A. Having Hunter with Chear Media on today’s podcast was such an honor. If you haven’t had enough of him, you can find him on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. You can also find him on his website (chearmedia.com).
Definitely look him up and binge his videos. I find myself doing it quite often and I am just awaiting the day I receive my own wedding video from Hunter. But, this was such a fun little Q&A and I can’t wait for you guys to tune into the next episode. So what do you say, are you ready to wander?