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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old February 23rd, 2013, 08:19 PM   #1
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Couple Time

I posted a while back asking what types of poses you ask the couples to make when you have a little time alone with them but in all honesty this is turning in to a bit of a nightmare for me.

Most events I film start at around 6pm till 12am and the couples only get 30-45 mins with myself and photographer within a venue. So it may be something like a small room or the main entrance of the venue, outside is pretty much a no no.

We then have to think of something which is 'cinematic' and also unique to the couple. We sometimes get brides that are shy and don't want to get to close, we sometimes get grooms who just can't relax with a camera.

Any ideas would be great.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 06:09 AM   #2
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Re: Couple Time

I loathe the photoshoot period, and it sounds like you've got it tougher than most.

Random ideas (note: these likely won't work, but anyway):

-- if you're really after a billion different poses, just google for wedding photos and start making a list. Kissing, gazing longingly, watching a sunset together, whispering a secret, more kissing, groom carrying the bride, yet more kissing...

-- maybe it's not so much a case of finding something specific to the couple, but more like finding something specific to the environment. The better photographers I know seem to have the ability to take advantage of the environment, its angles, lighting, props, etc.

-- or bring your own props -- giant ampersands, picture frames, oversized balloons, rose petals...

-- but all this maybe just makes for dodgy video. Maybe the best you can do in these circumstances from a storytelling point of view is shoot the photoshoot. Film the photographer.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 11:02 AM   #3
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Re: Couple Time

I said this many times already but to be a good wedding filmmaker, we don't only need to know our equipment inside out but we need to know our couples even better.

For me, it is important to break the vendor-client barrier with my couples from day one. I always try to find time to hang out with them and really get to know them and connect with them on a personal level way before their wedding. It allows them to be really comfortable with me on the shoot and also allows me to know what is unique about my couple and what I can do to bring out who they are as people instead of only going for generic shots that are simply eye-candy but meaningless.

For example, if I know that my couple is the sensitive and emotional type, it would make sense to have them cuddle and kiss during their alone time. If they are the funny type that always like to laugh and joke around, I would probably have them tease each other and tell jokes and capture that side of their personality instead. The possibilities are endless.

If couples are shy in front of you, it's normally a sign that you haven't invested enough time to break the ice with them because couples should logically not be shy when they're alone so you really need to make an effort to get into that comfort zone to capture that connection of theirs.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 03:10 PM   #4
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Re: Couple Time

I simply don't do it - to me it's artificial and not part of the day. I'm there to document the day and that to me means not interfering, directing, posing etc

I don't go on the photo shoot (if I can avoid it) I think my time is better spent shooting the final reception prep & pre-dinner drinks.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 03:18 PM   #5
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Re: Couple Time

^ Agreed. On the day, that's the stills photogs job. You usually don't get to meet them prior,
and many will get right p***ed off and say so.

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Old February 25th, 2013, 06:20 AM   #6
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Re: Couple Time

I like my wedding videos to have a chapter that is a little romantic as opposed to the other chapters that are 'celebratory' so what I do is edit a sequence of footage of just the couple, including the signing of the register, the recessional, throwing confetti and the couple's photoshoot with the photographer (including shots of the photog taking his pictures)

It usually makes for a nice sequence however occasionally a photog will insist I not accompany them (the video camera is off-putting apparently) so I pretty much leave it at that - I have thought about taking the couple off and getting some shots, but quite often the photog has them right up until the wedding breakfast, plus they will see it as a duplication of what the photog has done!

Also as my background (and my wedding videos) are documentary style so anything contrived looks fake and ill at ease with the other sequences
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Old February 25th, 2013, 07:53 AM   #7
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Re: Couple Time

It's video so you need movement. Just walking hand in hand can be enough. Get them to repeat this several times & get various shots that can then be cut together creatively e.g. wide angle, walking towards you, walking away, close-up of hands, close up of faces,

As Tariq is aware there can but cultural sensitivities to consider so it may be OK to have video of the couple touching foreheads but kissing will not be acceptable (to the parents or grandparents anyway).
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Old February 27th, 2013, 04:25 AM   #8
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Re: Couple Time

I love the fact all videographers have their own individual taste and level of service.

If your talking on a business level.

I don't think it's viable to break the vendor / client barrier as it may well lead to other unwanted problems and expectations. Although this is THE BEST way to really capture their personality.
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Old February 27th, 2013, 05:15 AM   #9
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Re: Couple Time

I also feel that there is a great danger in trying to get too friendly with the Couple. They are paying you to do a professional job and will trust your judgement. You are not their friend and never will be, otherwise you would be doing it for nothing, and once the work is delivered to them you will probably never see them again or even remember who they are.

Trying to get too close can appear quite creepy in my opinion and all that is required is to show them early on that you are a nice guy who knows his business. Be honest friendly and professional but don't try to ingratiate yourself. Confidence in your abilities will help them to feel comfortable with you.

Roger
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Old February 27th, 2013, 04:24 PM   #10
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Re: Couple Time

My latest trailer, gives you idea of how I filmed this event and the couple loved it. I guess this is the safest route.

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Old February 27th, 2013, 05:16 PM   #11
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Re: Couple Time

Tariq, that trailers perfect in my eyes! what else would a couple want ...

Personally if a bride/groom want to pose. Let them come up with the idea's ... otherwise what you have done there i.e. just following them around with your camera while they walk, talk and laugh looks excellent in the trailer !
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Old March 1st, 2013, 03:51 AM   #12
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Re: Couple Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
I love the fact all videographers have their own individual taste and level of service.

If your talking on a business level.

I don't think it's viable to break the vendor / client barrier as it may well lead to other unwanted problems and expectations. Although this is THE BEST way to really capture their personality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I also feel that there is a great danger in trying to get too friendly with the Couple. They are paying you to do a professional job and will trust your judgement. You are not their friend and never will be, otherwise you would be doing it for nothing, and once the work is delivered to them you will probably never see them again or even remember who they are.

Trying to get too close can appear quite creepy in my opinion and all that is required is to show them early on that you are a nice guy who knows his business. Be honest friendly and professional but don't try to ingratiate yourself. Confidence in your abilities will help them to feel comfortable with you.

Roger
My best advice to that is to really be yourself and adopt an approach that you're personally comfortable with. I like to become friends with my clients and have a personal connection with them because that's the way I like to approach my business and life in general and it's been working great for me.

In a past life, I used to work for a big company where people only cared about crunching numbers and get the job done and left all genuine human emotion at home. I dreaded it and decided to change my career and do something that allows me to not only feel fulfilled creatively but also get in touch with the human side of people.

I do so because it gives everyone a great experience working with each other and I also get to know my clients well enough to capture little things that many would miss if they didn't know what really matters for them. I find myself much better prepared for the shoot and I can anticipate things better since I have a better idea of who they are and what they do.

For example, after I'm done shooting the safe makeup & hair stuff and find myself having a spare 15 minutes before the next important part, instead of setting up a generic ring shot, flower bouquet or hanging dress that don't mean much, I would spend more time and energy shooting the grandmother making a tea and sitting by herself in the living room if I know that she's an important person to my bride. But I would sometimes rather sacrifice the grandmother scene and put more effort capturing her uncle mowing the lawn outside if I know that he plays an even more important role in her life. Since you can't always be everywhere shooting everything at the same time, you sometimes need to make decisions like that and knowing your couples on a more personal level can help you make the better choice.

Very often, you would hear during speeches some anecdotes or stories that tell you more about the couple and there will be parts you know you can use as voice over for your film because not only do they serve as great narrative, you also have the proper shots that best describe what's being said. When the bride spends an extra bit of her thank you speech and gets emotional talking about how much she loves her uncle and how he is like a second father to her, you will be so happy that you have captured that scene of him cutting the grass earlier in the day. Adding shots like that with the voice over and combining it with a proper soundtrack that supports the energy and emotion of your scene, you can end up with a much more powerful and unique film that people will love to watch so much more than a generic wedding film that captures everything and nothing at the same time. The whole experience just because greater and that's how your work will stand out from the rest. And that eventually translates into an increase in your pricing as well.

Many of my couples have remained friends with me even after their wedding and I can't see any danger in that other than having cool people to hang out with occasionally and people who also talks about you to all their other friends and bring you the best clients to work with because they are already sold before they even hire you.

Like I said, everyone has a different approach and as long as you're comfortable with yours, that's what matters.

Last edited by Long Truong; March 1st, 2013 at 06:16 AM.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 08:10 AM   #13
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Re: Couple Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
^ Agreed. On the day, that's the stills photogs job. You usually don't get to meet them prior,
and many will get right p***ed off and say so.

Cheers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I also feel that there is a great danger in trying to get too friendly with the Couple. They are paying you to do a professional job and will trust your judgement. You are not their friend and never will be, otherwise you would be doing it for nothing, and once the work is delivered to them you will probably never see them again or even remember who they are.
I could not disagree more! We make friends with 90% of our couples. It's getting to know them and what their dynamic is that the single most important factor in a wedding film being meh or being great.

We also get to know photographers and make friends with them too. I cannot for a second understand why you wouldn't!

fwiw, here's a trailer of a couple who we'd never met when they hired us. They're now good friends, as is their photographer. We made them pose a bunch.

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Old March 4th, 2013, 11:48 AM   #14
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Re: Couple Time

Nice roll, Tom! I think this idea of posing couples, or sticking to a purely documentary style, is all about what your brand is, and that comes from who you are. There's a place for pure documentary style, but it's not my place. I shoot the photographer's shoot, and then usually get around 10 or more minutes with myself and the couple where I go through a routine list of poses that can vary based on the couple's personality.

As for not being friends after the job is done, I just don't understand that at all. One of my brides became a wedding photographer -- it would have been insane for me to tell her that we couldn't be friends. But even if they don't go in the biz, they're more likely to refer you if they like you, and that's especially true if a genuine friendship develops. I can't think of a single reason not to befriend a client.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 01:01 PM   #15
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Re: Couple Time

This may be a cultural thing. Americans want to be best friends with everyone they transact with, be it the trash collector or the bank manager, whereas in Europe we know our place and treat commercial transactions with a degree of distance, friendly but not familial. Most couples here would happily acknowledge the person that videoed their wedding if they met in the street or a bar but would be horrified if they turned up for dinner or phoned for a chat. Americans have no qualms about accepting money from friends whereas here we consider friends to be people we don't charge.

For fear of pricking sensibilities this is meant as a lighthearted tongue in cheek observation.
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