The Dos & Don'ts To Ask When Booking A Videographer

My first suggestion when booking a videographer for your wedding, is to watch as many films as you can. The absolute best way to get a feel of what a videographer has to offer, is to watch the final product. After you find a videographer with films that give you all the feels, here's a list of dos & don'ts to ask them before you book:

DO ask: What makes you passionate about filming weddings? 

DON'T ask: Did you go to school for this?

      It's always important to know where someone's motivation comes from. If they are creating work they love and gives them life, it always shines through. It not only affects how deeply the film connects to a couple emotionally, but it also affects how they work with you and other vendors.  Passion comes from a place in you heart, not where or how long you were educated for. When it comes to a creative trade, you could learn about it for years, but without a deep love for what you're creating...none of that matters. 

DO ask: How do you go about capturing the day?

DON'T ask: What type of camera do you use?

     Everyone's filming process is different, but it's important to know if their process works for you. If you are someone who likes a more candid feel, you are probably looking for a videographer that is quietly working behind the scenes (when you forget someone's filming, it's easier to capture those raw moments). If you are someone that loves to be directed with a more styled approach, you probably want someone who gives direction side-by-side with the photographer. Again, the best way to know the quality of a videographers footage, is to watch it! It doesn't matter the price/brand of the camera. If the final outcome is beautiful, that's what counts. 

DO ask: What is your editing process? 

DON'T ask: How many weddings have you shot?

    The editing process after your wedding can be even more important than the actual wedding day itself. Post-production is when all the magic happens! It's important to know things like: do they edit with the flow of the music, do they follow the same editing structure for every wedding, what happens if you want to make a change after the film is edited, etc. Experience is important, but the best way to judge is based on their portfolio of work, and how well they communicate with you. Just because someone's filmed over 100 weddings, doesn't mean the outcome will be better than someone who's only filmed 20. 

Hope that helps!

xo, 

Sammie 

 

 

President Obama: The Wedding Crasher

Not in my wildest imagination could I have guessed what would go down during the wedding we were hired to film on Sunday, October 11th! We arrived at the Torrey Pines Golf Course/Lodge around 12:30pm, and as we were pulling in we noticed a very intimidating line of cop cars and black SUV's pulling into the golf course in front of us. I turned to my boyfriend Mitch (my second shooter, and who captured most of the amazing video below!) and said, "geez, looks like that could be the President or something!" Mitch then informed me that he heard a rumor that the President was going to be in town. Full of curiosity, of course I asked the bell man opening our door to the hotel if the President was going to be playing golf here today. He just looked at me, smiled, and said, "I have no idea what you're talking about." I took that as a YES!

When we got inside to film the bride getting ready, I informed her of my suspicions...and she too had heard the rumors. The wedding planner, Kelly, from Mint Weddings came into the room shortly after and confirmed that the suspicions were true. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be insane if by the time 4:30 rolled around he was at the 18th hole (the ceremony is right in front of the 18th hole). I was just day dreaming at the point...

4:30 rolled around and sure enough the secret service arrived right on cue. They informed us that every guest attending the wedding needed to be scanned by a metal director, because President Obama would be playing the 18th hole soon. At this point, the bride and groom were still up in their suite awaiting the grand entrance. When the President finished up his game, he came over and started shaking everyone's hand! I couldn't believe what was happening. Right after he shook my hand, he said, "where are the bride and groom!?" That's when I saw Stephanie (the bride) running across the lawn, in her heels might I add, to meet the President! We were so lucky to have captured this moment on video, and I'm so grateful for the experience. It's all still a blur to me! 

The Youngrens (the photographers at the wedding) captured some great images as well.

Michelle + Dan

Michelle and Dan's wedding in South Lake Tahoe was a videographer/photographers dream! A gondola ride up a mountain that overlooks a beautiful lake, followed by a reception on a boat!? It really doesn't get much better. I had so many pretty shots to work with, it was quite a challenge to narrow it down. But of course, that's my favorite type of problem to have! Dan and Michelle are such a sweet and fun couple, and they made us instantly feel comfortable and welcomed. Thanks Dan and Michelle for having us capture your day! 

Here are a few pics from some of my favorite moments during the day:)

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xo, 

Sammie

Jessie + Emanuel

      I met Jessie during a photojournalism course back in 2012, where we traveled with a group to India and Kyrgyzstan. We hadn't really been able to connect or see each other since then, so it was to my surprise when she called me up recently asking to film her wedding! I was instantly excited because Jessie has this contagious joy for life that I knew would make her video really special. She gets so excited about the smallest and seemingly random things, you can't help but to smile with her. One of those things I remember from traveling with her was her crazy love for donuts. I've seriously never met anyone that gets more excited about them! A few weeks before her wedding I randomly found out that her wedding date fell on the same day as National Donut Day. I instantly thought that there was NO WAY this wasn't planned. So I texted her laughing about it, but she surprisingly had no idea! Her response was, "oh my God no way!!!! Hahahahahahahaha this is perfect! Best present ever!!".
     At one point when I was filming her wedding, she was smiling and beaming in her wedding dress and I had a little flash back to when we were in Kyrgyzstan. Mitch, Jessie, and I were walking back from a cafe when she brought up the topic of weddings. For the next five minutes or so we walked and talked about our future weddings. Fast forward 3.5 years later, Mitch and I are now dating and filming Jessie and her new hubs wedding together. I like to think God was smirking during that conversation thinking, "You all have no idea!" I stopped believing in coincidences a long time ago...some things are just meant to be, even something as small as sharing your wedding date with donuts ;)

Thanks again for having us film your wedding Jessie!

xo,

Sammie 

Family Films

Before I get started, let's take a second to talk about at how cute Willa is...I mean what a nugget! 

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There are a couple different reasons why I think having a "Family Film" is so priceless. First, It's so rare that you ever have video where the entire family is in the shot. Whether it's mom or dad..someone has to be behind the camera! This way you can look back and remember the memory as it was, without having a missing family member. The next reason I find pretty ironic. A few years back as a Christmas present for my parents, I had all of our family tapes transferred onto DVD's. We had gotten rid of our video camera years ago, and had no way of playing the tapes! Now we can just pop in a disk, and it's all there. The nice thing about a video camera is that no matter how many clips you have...it automatically puts all your footage back to back (with the occasional hour shot of inside the camera bag mixed in!). But still, it makes all the content easy to re-watch and readily available. However, the funny part is now that we have such advanced video capabilities on our phones/small cameras we don't bother to use video cameras. To me, this is actually a big issue. It's great we have small devices with such great quality, but all the clips then get saved separately and jumbled around on our phones or lost on our computers. When I want to look back on a video of a certain event...I find myself scrolling through my camera roll to find all the individual clips from that day. Not to mention when I need to make space on my phone, videos are usually the first to go! Unless you have the time to be super organized and put together all your footage, it's a giant mess.

Even the smallest video cameras are big to us now in comparison to our phones, so I know it's unrealistic to expect people to start carrying around camcorders everywhere they go like they used to. This is why I really LOVE the concept of making family films...it gives you a solid memory to look back on that's not separated into a bunch of random clips that get lost or deleted on your devices.

Below is the first of many "Family Films" I hope to make. Thank you Weaver fam for being such awesome and gorgeous models for me! 

Thanks for watching:)

xo, 

Sammie 

Love That Gives

A few weeks ago I made the big move from Hawaii to Carlsbad, CA with my boyfriend, Mitch. I know I have zero sympathy from my cold midwest friends!...but moving can be a really hard step especially when you are leaving friends and job stability behind. But in order to grow, sometimes you just need some risk and a change. My main hope in moving is to grow my wedding videography business, and now that I'm in California I've been putting a lot of focus on what my business model is going to look like. I started out learning video by making promotional material for small non-profits, which is something I still love to do. It's a tangible way I can give back, and it's also a gift that continues to give. I don't have a lot of money to donate to organizations that are helping others, but I can make a good video that promotes their cause and encourages others to give or volunteer! Plus I get the added bonus of working with and getting to know awesome people fighting a good cause. Because of my passion for this, I've decided that my business model for weddings needs to involve giving in some way as well. So as a way to connect my two passions, I'm going to donate a portion of the profits I make from wedding videos to whatever non-profit I decide to feature. What I'm hoping this will look like is when a small non-profit needs a short promotional video made they will partner with me. Then using the funds I've put aside from weddings I'll be able to create a free video for them! I'll feature each non-profit for however long it takes to raise the funds to create their video. 

So, with all that said...I'm excited to share that the first non-profit we are going to be partnering with is Coast to Coast Initiative!

C+C is located in Bali, Indonesia and was founded by my friend Caleb Vegh. Their focus is to build relationship with the community while working with orphanages and bringing relief to the poor. They are always working on new projects such as providing clean water solutions through their partnership with Waves for Water, and raising money and resources for the orphanages. The other unique thing about C+C is their Surf House. Caleb is an awesome surfer, and uses that passion to connect with locals and travelers all over the world. He uses his Surf House as a hub to connect those he meets on the beach to all the service projects he's working on. I admire Caleb so much for his hard work starting this organization all on his own, and can't wait to help him out in any way we can!  

Here are some pics from Coast to Coast down in Bali:) 

Caleb teaching locals how to use filters for clean water 

Caleb teaching locals how to use filters for clean water 

Clean versus dirty water...

Clean versus dirty water...

Passing out Christmas presents 

Passing out Christmas presents 

And just pure cuteness!....

And just pure cuteness!....