How a Photographer Can Foster a Fruitful Relationship with a Wedding Videographer

January 18, 2019

By Katelyn James

ALL PhotoS © Katelyn James

After photographing weddings for over a decade, I have been thinking back on the transition when I started to work with slightly higher-paying clients and more professional vendors. When you first start off, you are often shooting low-budget weddings— the mom is acting as planner and the bride’s cousin is filming everything on their iPhone. But eventually, you enter a point where there is an actual team of vendors that your couple has hired to manage their day.

This should be an improvement to how your wedding days are executed, but we—my husband and business partner, Michael, and I—have realized that isn’t always the case. Learning to work alongside vendors who have different thoughts and ideas about how the day should go can be challenging and frustrating if you don’t know how to approach them. And the most common vendor that most wedding photographers struggle to work with are videographers.

Thankfully, because of the way we approach this specific vendor relationship, we consistently have great experiences with a lot of videographers, though we have also had our fair share of shocking experiences, too.

Here’s one example: Michael and I were photographing a wedding where the videographer stood directly in front of the bride and groom for the entire ceremony while his assistant stood behind the pastor, pushing his camera between the groom and the pastor’s shoulder in order to get a close-up of the rings. It was so intrusive that the mother of the bride had to stand up, tap the videographer on his shoulder and ask him to step to the side. All the while, Michael and I were scurrying around the sides of the ceremony trying desperately to capture the bride and groom without the videographer blocking half of their bodies. It was a nightmare.

And sadly, this happens all of the time in our industry. It can be a serious struggle, and your client’s experience can suffer because of it. So, how can you make sure that you have a great videographer experience at every wedding that you capture?

To this day, we encounter a little bit of a struggle but for the most part, we’ve found ways to avoid disastrous encounters by doing four easy but vital things.


We make it a point to shake hands, introduce ourselves, ask where they are from and offer to link their website or sneak peek to our blog post if they are interested. That’s their first interaction with us. Even if they are rude, they can’t be mean to us when we’re offering to do something for them. What does this cost us? Absolutely nothing.


Think about this: Your brides have no idea how important it is for their photographer and videographer to work in a similar style. When we’re talking with brides via email and they ask us about a videographer that we recommend, we are always quick to explain that it’s very important that they pick a videographer who will not be in the background of their photos and who respects their ceremony by not being a distraction. Brides don’t naturally think like this. Find the opportunity to explain how video and photo should work together and what the risks are with just hiring someone who is the cheapest they can find off of Craigslist.


This may sound strange, but if you really have a great experience with a videographer, the chances are your client did too. They are good company to keep around! If you meet a videographer who respects your needs, checks in with you about what you’re getting, asks if they can help you, double-checks with you before stepping in front of you during the ceremony—you need to make friends.

We love working with the Herrintons. Tyler and Ashley are a husband-and-wife video team local to Virginia, where we’re based. Once we realized how much we were drawn to their personalities and how they worked hard to be on the same team as us, we started brainstorming how we could work together more often.

When you find the perfect fit in a videographer, you might offer to take them to dinner, refer them to your couples before you refer anyone else, or even incentivize your clients to book them because you know how smooth the day will be.

We don’t have a set incentive program with the Herrintons, but we are constantly chatting back and forth about certain couples who are inquiring with both of us. Recently, a dream couple with an amazing venue booked Michael and I for a 2019 wedding. We knew that we wanted to work with the Herrintons for that occasion, so we emailed the couple and offered to deduct a few hundred dollars in order to entice them to book the complete dream team. It’s worth it to us to lose a bit to constantly be the number one photographers that the Herrintons refer and to ensure that this wedding will be a breeze.


The reading of the letters, the toasts, the audio from the first look and the vows are top priorities for videographers. If you simply recognize and mention that you know that these moments are more important for them than for yourself as the photographer, you are immediately making a positive impact on your relationship.

When the bride or groom is reading their letter, I snap a picture only during a tear falling or during an audio pause so that it’s easy for Tyler to cut out the sound of my shutter in his final video. I take tons of photos during the toasts, but I make sure that the videographers have the angle that they need first and then I work around them.

When you operate like this, it allows them to give you the opportunity to have first dibs on other parts of the day as well. For example, Tyler knows that I need to be in control of most of portrait time, but I also know that he needs movement, so I always try to incorporate that into my posing instruction for his sake.

If this seems overwhelming, just make it a point on a wedding day to check in with your new videographer friends and ask them if they are getting what they need.

Doing the hard work of forming great relationships with videographers will only help you and your business. Time and time again, we have seen videographers fall in love with working with us to the point of referring all of their clients to us. Most videographers have had negative experiences with photographers. Change their minds. I challenge you to approach your next videographer experience with grace, respect and patience. It’s hard to swallow your pride in the moment, but this is a decision that will allow you to grow. Like most things in business, it’s all about perspective.

Now, what if the videographer you’re working with isn’t gracious in return? This has happened to us many times. You can’t always expect that killing someone with kindness is going to warrant the response you desire in every situation. However, it never hurts to attempt the tips I shared above and then do your best to serve your clients well throughout the remainder of the day. If you’re in a situation where you’ve attempted to be kind, gracious and thoughtful, and the videographer that you’re working with has no intention of returning the favor to you, here are some things to remember:


One of the best ways I have found that I gain respect from hard-to-love videographers is wowing them by my posing ability. When I’m posing, my instruction is full of constant interaction and I create a ton of variety. A lot of times, when I start a wedding day with a hard-to-love videographer, they magically—after seeing me confidently execute portraits and bridal party shots in a professional manner—start wanting to chat with me like we’re friends. It’s almost like they doubted my abilities, and then once they saw me in action, they respected me. That isn’t how it should be, but, unfortunately, sometimes we have to remain confident and do our thing in order to gain respect.


If you find yourself in a situation where a videographer is seemingly “taking over” the day and dominating decisions, you’re going to have to stand up for yourself for the sake of your client and what they are paying you to capture. It’s totally acceptable to tell a videographer that you need a wide shot of the ceremony without his tripod in the middle of the aisle. He probably has two or three cameras, and it’s not a huge inconvenience to ask him to slide it to the side for two seconds so that you can have a wide shot. Your clients are paying you for your best work, and if a videographer is hindering certain shots, I would kindly make him or her aware that you need something to change. In my experience, I would normally say something like “Hey there, I’m so sorry, but I really need to capture _____. Do you mind doing ____ to make that possible? I’ll work as fast as possible so that it’s not a huge inconvenience to you.”


This is so hard for me sometimes. When a videographer isn’t playing nice and is really hard to work with, everything in me wants my clients to know what’s going on. But think about that from your couple’s perspective. They can’t do anything about the fact that they hired a bad vendor on the day-of. That will only add stress to their day and you will automatically be lumped into the issue if you’re the one showing frustration. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my couples remembering that I seemed frustrated and annoyed when they think back on their wedding day!


The issue isn’t always that a videographer is rude or inconsiderate. Sometimes, the issue is that they are so unprofessional that it’s painful to watch the kind of client experience they are providing for your shared couple. I’ve been in situations where the videographer put the couple in one pose and the couple had to hold that one pose for what seemed like forever. I’m standing back and cringing because I can tell that they feel so uncomfortable. If I feel that it would be helpful, I will vocally instruct the couple to share a light kiss and smile afterwards, staying nice and close….and then go right back into the pose the videographer had them in. Normally, a very sweet, emotional and genuine action like this is great for videographers, but they just don’t know what to say to get their clients to do it. If you’re in a situation where the awkwardness is just painful and the silence is killing you, consider helping your videographer with some posing to fill the silence. Try not to shoot and take over—just fill in verbally so they know that you’re trying to help. And the perk of this is that your couple will view you as the vendor who once again made them feel more at ease.

Katelyn James and her husband, Michael, are a photography team based in Virginia. While they photograph all kinds of weddings, their timeless style especially thrives while photographing vineyard, plantation and estate weddings in Charlottesville and Richmond, where they met the video team Tyler and Ashley Herrinton in 2013. They’ve been working together since. The Herrintons specialize in story-driven wedding films, brand films for creatives and education for emerging filmmakers.

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