Most videographers have mixed opinions on filming a wedding solo if we ask them directly. Some of them will say that it’s a living nightmare and something that ends in a lot of foot sores, exhausted legs, and anxiety at having to rush around like the world’s busiest bee.
On the other hand, videographers who like a challenge will say that it’s actually kind of enjoyable. It’s hard, sure, but at the same time, they get to have total control over the quality of their footage, and knowing that everything rests on them is a thrill like no other. If we’re planning on being one of these guys, we’ll need a little help to get started with filming weddings solo.
This guide will highlight the best tips for ensuring we’re getting the best footage of the entire wedding while simultaneously not missing out on any opportunities for a great shot.
Shooting in a Group vs. Solo: A Review
Wedding videographers who shoot in small groups often face the challenge of not getting good footage of the entire ceremony since it’s hard for three people to be everywhere at once. A solo shooter can move around more freely and shoot from different angles without worrying about getting permission from the bride or groom.
The main downside of shooting solo is that we must do everything ourselves. We’re also likely to feel that we have less time to capture all the crucial moments of our client’s big day. If we don’t have another photographer or videographer with us, it’s up to us to make sure that every critical moment is captured on camera.
Shooting solo also means we’ll be responsible for editing our footage and putting together a final video. This can seem hard if we’re not used to editing videos, but with some practice and guidance, it should be no problem! Thankfully, a lot of wedding templates are freely available nowadays, which makes editing videos easy.
The Benefits of Choosing to Film Solo
The biggest benefit videographers get from filming a wedding solo is absolute quality control over their footage. There’s no worrying about someone else’s editing style or approach to creating video content. They don’t have to check every single shot made twice and thrice because they took it themselves, and they know what quality they’ve maintained in their footage.
Another benefit is that videographers can set their own schedule. If they’re booked for a wedding, they don’t have to worry about coordinating with another videographer who may be unavailable on the same day. They can do their job freely.
Effective Tips for Filming Weddings
1. Keep Multiple Cameras on Hand
An excellent tip for filming wedding solos is to use multiple cameras. We’ll need at least two to get shots from multiple angles.
The first camera should be placed on a tripod in front of the altar, ready to catch the ceremony and speeches.
The second camera should be mounted on our chest or shoulder, ready to capture all the action throughout the day. We can also use a GoPro or another small camera if we don’t have one already that fits our budget.
Another option is to set up a third camera on a tripod near the bar area where people are mingling before and after the ceremony. This way, we can catch candid moments with friends and family members who aren’t directly involved in the ceremony.
2. Get a Good Tripod
A good tripod
We can find a good tripod for less than a hundred bucks, an essential tool for any wedding videographer. It will keep our camera steady when shooting in low-light conditions or when there’s a little wind outside. A good tripod is also helpful when we’re trying to capture moments that require lots of zoom or fast shutter speeds (like fireworks).
We’ll also need a remote shutter release. This tool is vital if we’re shooting with a tripod. It will allow us to activate the shutter without touching our camera, which helps eliminate camera shake and gives us more control over the shot.
3. Get a Solid Bag for our Equipment
We’ll need a great, durable bag to hold our gear, plus any extras we might pick up along the way. The bag should be comfortable to wear so we can take it wherever we go. We’ll also want one that is durable and waterproof since it will likely get wet and dirty at some point during our trip.
Our bag should be able to easily hold the following:
- Our camera body and lenses (including filters if needed)
- Extra batteries and memory cards
- Other accessories like tripods, remote shutters, and spare lenses
4. Make Sure our Gear’s in Perfect Shape Before the Big Day
We need to make sure our cameras and microphones are fully charged and check all the connections to make sure they’re secure. We must test everything out at home before the big day. If we plan to use external microphones, we must ensure they’re fully charged.
We don’t want dead batteries while the bridesmaids sing a song at the reception. We should ensure all cords and adapters are in good working order and that they’re not tangled up in messy wires.
5. Being Prepared Is a Must
Videography extra equipment
We need to ensure our gear bag is packed with everything we might need — extra batteries, chargers, backup SD cards and tapes (if necessary), extension cords, etc. We’ll want everything within easy reach, so we don’t miss any shots while rummaging through our bag, looking for something important (like an extra battery).
6. Befriending the Photographer.
It’s no secret that videographers and photographers work together on a wedding day. But they don’t always coordinate their efforts with each other, meaning there are a lot of missed opportunities for both parties.
Videographers have the opportunity to capture moments that are often missed by photographers, like speeches and first dances. Photographers can capture moments that are rarely captured by videographers, like candid interactions between guests or even the bride or groom getting ready in the morning.
We need to talk about what we’re each going to shoot on the day of the wedding so that we’re all clear on what shots we’re responsible for capturing and when they’ll happen. Just that much is enough to make sure we’re making the most of our time!
We can also coordinate with the photographer to make a beautiful wedding video.
7. Get to the Wedding Venue Early
Wedding photographers and videographers often have to get up early on the wedding day to be ready for the first shots of the day. This means we must ensure that our equipment is packed, charged, and ready to go before we leave our house or hotel room—ideally, at least an hour before.
Arriving early also means that when we get there, we can use the extra time to run a check over everything. Are our cameras fitted out correctly, and do we have everything we might need within arm’s reach?
Have we talked with the photography team so that we can work together to get the best footage? We can also include a view of the venue in the invitation video. As already stated, countless wedding invitation makers have surfaced online that help creates the perfect transitions, montages, and other edits.
And most importantly, we need to allot time to have breakfast. Even if we didn’t eat anything before leaving, a little snack at the wedding venue before the event would keep us sustained throughout the day!
8. Use our Down Time Wisely
If we have any spare time before the event, we need to use it wisely: look around, get to know our surroundings, and see if anything is interesting or beautiful to record. If we don’t know where to start, we can ask the venue staff what they recommend—they may even suggest some of their favorite spots!
Yes, this is somebody’s big day, a day many people (and two in particular) will remember for the rest of their lives. But we must remember that we are also human beings, and there’s only so far we can push ourselves before we’re a pile of walking on-edge nerves. We can take breaks, grab a seat and scarf down some food while we still have time. That’s the only way we’ll make it through the evening.
As we can probably imagine, filming a wedding solo isn’t a walk in the park. It takes hours of hard work, dedication, and the willingness to get a lot of sores on our feet the next day from just how much we’ll be running around.
We have to be dashing from one camera to the next, trying to get the best candid shots of the event. Still, if we’re somebody who likes a little challenge, it’s probably one of the most exciting things a professional videographer gets up to.
And if we’re already tired from having done it once, this simple guide can help us get a grip on how we can be best prepared for filming a wedding solo.