Today's blog is about stylized wedding sessions, what they are, the purpose, and a recap of my first ever event as a participant. Day one of arriving on the Florida wedding vendor scene felt like being dropped on the moon. I had literally no network and in the world of wedding service providers building one can be an uphill battle. As a videographer you are often the last thing couples consider adding to the budget. (Danielle is writing a blog soon about why this shouldn't be the case) However currently that's just the way videography is seen, as a last minute addition. So that being said having a network that helps build you up and promotes you is key to landing new clients.
I was lucky enough to be given the name of a few incredible points of contact from none other than a previous Bridesmaid of a Michigan wedding I had already worked. I was connected with Jessica Rios, and that was the starting point for what would become my second confirmed wedding in Florida. Jessica was planning a stylized wedding shoot for the opening of her second dress boutique, Arden Bridal, located in Tampa, FL. The event was being coordinated and planned by Eventfull Weddings own Karen Cerboni. You can actually check out her blog version of the event by clicking the button below.
This brings us to the more technical questions of what is a style shoot and why do vendors participate in them. A styled shoot is essentially a mock wedding, planned in coordination with multiple vendors, to showcase talents and imagery. The negative side of style shoots is the argument that they can set an unrealistic standard for the everyday bride. However what you have to realize is that these events are meant to be inspirational not aspirational. As a wedding videographer I participate in them because we work in a world where content is the best advertisement and as an artist I just love creating videos within my craft. I am passionate about the projects I take on so what better way to showcase my talents than to do a mega networking event with likeminded people.
The network I was able to build from that one style session alone has lead to my second confirmed wedding event here in Florida, as well as another wedding that I participated in, as a network builder, thanks to connections made during the Arden Grand Opening.
One last reason I love doing these events, all the free food from companies like Bakes by The Bay, and Local Mini Donut Co.
In the interest of making this both informative and fun I'll do my best to write this on the creative side. It's your wedding day and you're sure to bring the beauty, so for the main camera I like to bring what I refer to as THE BEAST. The Beast is a Sony A7siii well know in the industry for its low light capability, and its 4K quality at up to 120FPS. (Frames per second) I'll avoid getting two technical but I run the The Beast with two v90 SD cards recording simultaneously. That part is important. What that means is that every second I record is actually being recorded twice in camera. This ensures that even if something goes wrong, or an SD card gets damaged that there should be a safe 2nd copy of the footage available. This camera rig is paired up with a monopod, camera strap, or gimbal just depending on the shot design Im going for at the moment. The gimbal is a DJI Ronin-S. Great tech, but a pain to set up and balance.
The twins job is to capture matching shoots of the most important moments. I set them up on opposite sides of the ceremony, point them at the speakers and the couple during speeches, and generally just anywhere that they need to produce similar image results. If I bring the creativity to the edit, The Twins bring the consistence. These two cameras also operate on the dual SD card system to make sure everything runs smoothly at the editing phase of the project.
The supporting gear for all 3 cameras include multiple manfrotto brand stabilization options, back up batteries, and so much more. My favorite piece is our 2 peak design carbon fiber tri-pods. These are such incredible tools packed in a tiny foot print, they have been perfect for our traveling weddings. You'll notice in the picture above that all the gear fits inside 2 Pelican air 1535 cases. This means I can load in and out of an entire wedding area and relocate within minutes with all gear in tow. Thats how eI am able to offer unlimited locations even with packages that only have one videographer. The gear we use is professional level quality, but allows for a run and gun system than still produce cinema quality footage at the end of the day.
Gear Blogs Coming Soon
Part 2 - Lens
Part 3 - Drones
Part 4 - Audio
This post is to be the first post in a series about previous weddings Ive had the opportunity to service. At the time that I started in the wedding videography business I did not have the fore thought to start blogging then, so now instead I'll just reminisce and remind myself of the wonderful couples Ive had the opportunity to work with.
-Valerie & Jarred-
This Michigan winter wonderland wedding was in the very early stages of forming as a company and this couple could not have been a more perfect fit. Through a series of events I met Valerie, scheduled, and serviced the wedding in less than a 4 day period. They invited me into their wedding with open arms and a trust for my ability. At the time they had not viewed any examples of my wedding work, just travel vlog examples from my personal youtube channel. (The Martin's Mark - Shameless plug) To have a couple connect with you and trust you so quickly created an environment that I wanted to exceed any and all expectation they had of me in making there video. Based on the great reviews they have left me over the years I think I can safely say mission accomplished.
The wedding took place at Crystal Garden Banquet Center in Howell, MI on a snowy extremely cold Michigan day in December 2019. I remember my wife handing me a pair of fingerless gloves and laughing at the idea of wearing them. Let me tell you thank goodness I had them. The biggest challenge of the day was making sure that the beautiful reds of the Plythowany wedding colors showed in the video despite an overcast sky.
Check out the video here -
Thanks to Valerie and Jarred I knew that this passion project was something that could be a real wedding videography business. Valerie and her family were the first people I reached out to when we made the move to Florida, to this day I would consider them friends as much as clients. So if you guys are reading this, thanks for the foundation that Ive been building my company on ever since.
If you would've asked me 2 years ago where my life would be in a year I would've said making full time videography a possibility. See at the time I was working a regular job, and doing videography as a side project out of pure passion for the art. If you would've asked me a little over a year ago where I would be today, my answer would've seemed comical compared to what my life actually is now.
So to answer the first question in the title, "Why Florida?", it's pretty simple. Somewhere along the way in the crazy year we have all experienced I, along with my wife decided passion and life was the end goal of happiness. 2020 brought change in the form of closing down one family business of 35 years, going full time in a new one, having a son a full 7 years after the last, (it was planned before Covid, LOL), and finally moving across country to live somewhere we had always wished was a possibility.
Covid allowed us to put our dreams first and re-arrange priorities, make new memories, and grow as a family. So to answer the second question, "Why videography?" That answer is pretty simple as well, because it's what I love doing. I have my work camera tattooed on my arm along with the word create. My goal at every wedding is to make a video and a life long friend. The first person I reached out to when moving to Florida was actually the sister of my first ever bride.
That much change in a single year doesn't come without it's own list of challenges. Challenge #1 right now, networking and regrowing my business one satisfied customer at a time. Let me know if you want to experience that level of service, that only comes from someone doing what they love for a living.