I recognize that in addition to photography, videography is for many couples an important consideration of their wedding day coverage. This is especially true during the current uncertain times and possible gathering restrictions caused by COVID 19 regulations.
Although my only focus at Everglow Photography is capturing authentic moments and emotions using still images, I work with a number of talented videographers to bring your wedding day coverage to life.
One of my very favourite videographers in Toronto is Kismet Creative.
The company features Mark and Danielle, a husband a wife wedding cinematography team who create authentic, character driven wedding films. They are inspired by classic cinematic techniques and infuse a strong sense of narrative into the stories they tell. Their final product isn’t simply a wedding video but more of a film about unique and fascinating people.
I find many similarities in my work and between their style, the final product and their approach to process. Recently I was lucky enough to grab some time with Mark Relf the Owner and Creative Director of Kismet Creative to ask a few questions about videography and their work. I hope you will find Mark’s answers as interesting, insightful and useful as I did.
1. What first attracted you to Wedding Videography? Has that changed? If so, what draws you to it now?
I have to be honest, Wedding Videography was very much a side hustle to begin with, but things changed massively once we realized how much meaning this work gave to our lives, and those of our clients.
I used to work for the BBC in London and had free access to a bunch of cameras and audio equipment, so my friend and I would go and film weddings and music videos on the weekends. When I moved to Vancouver I worked as a writer/director/editor making video game trailers and kept up the weddings as a side hustle. At the time, wedding videography wasn’t nearly as creative as it is now. I saw it purely as something that allowed me to save some extra cash, develop my filming skills and purchase new cameras!
Things completely changed for me in 2013 when we got married. Going through that experience really changed my perspective and I realized the importance of capturing moments that were life changing. I’d been working on all these cool commercial projects for companies like Disney and Warner Bros, but all of a sudden, I felt like they just didn’t really matter any more. I realized that I got so much more of a kick from the personal interactions with couples than feedback from a marketing agency.
I always say that filming weddings feels like an “honest trade”. It’s just us and the couple. There’s no middlemen or agency polluting the relationship. The work we do has real meaning for our clients, and that gives us meaning, on a professional and personal level. I love that I can remember every single couple we’ve worked with. We have all these emails, cards and gifts that show how our relationships go beyond an exchange of goods or services.
We work really hard. Really really hard! But we also get to play too, because a lot of the time this doesn’t feel like a job. Wedding videography has grown exponentially in the last few years, not just in popularity, but in quality too. I love being part of communities where we get to see what other videographers are doing. It really pushes us to do better. I feel like we live in this permanent state of being proud of what we’ve achieved whilst at the same time being driven to be better tomorrow.
This industry is addictive, probably because there’s good feeling all around. We get to work with people we really like, explore new places, get creative, develop and produce something that we know will truly give value to our clients for decades to come.
2. I know that most couples book a photographer first and that videography is something considered as an additional option. What would you say to couples who are on the fence on whether or not they should book a videographer? Any advice or insights that you can share?
I actually feel like this is changing pretty quickly. The standard of videography has come so far, especially in the last 5 years, that the value of good cinematography is finally being recognized. More and more we find ourselves talking with clients and finding out that we’re the first vendor (after the venue) to be booked. Some are even asking if they need photography, which is super surprising (we think photography is really important by the way). And of course, it’s widely recognized that a big regret of couples is not having video. We hear that a lot.
I remember when we got married – the first thing I did the morning after our wedding was to look at my camera for any snippets of video I could see. The wedding day went so fast and all I wanted to do was begin reliving it straight away. I know I might be biased, but I skipped right past the pictures and went straight to the videos! When couples wake up the morning after their wedding, how do they think they’ll want to relive the experience?
I think couples who are on the fence should really think about how they document life changing or important events. Think about all those huge sporting events or concerts where you see people holding up their phone. They’re filming it, because that’s the best way they can relive that experience. I read a good quote recently actually – “Do you want to watch the Super Bowl in an album or on TV.”
I think a huge reason for that is with video, you’re also able to capture sound. I think that’s a really important point to make – we’re not just videographers, we’re also sound recordists. Sound really is 50% of the experience. I lost my mom last year to cancer, and I really feel like it’s the sound of her voice that takes me back to moments with her. Films are so powerful because they’re made up of sequences and stories. You see the before, middle and end. It’s not just a shot of someone laughing, but you might see why they’re laughing and how that moment played out. You also get to hear that laugh.
Ultimately, photos and videos are all we’ll have at the end of the experience. We always tell clients that the our wedding photos are incredibly important to us. Those are what we print out, put in frames, stick in cards, and constantly message each other. Images are forever present in our lives and a snapshot that can take us back to a moment in time. Videos require a little more time investment to look at, but they reward you with a completely different experience. Video is the only thing you’ll have that will allow you to watch and hear those moments. It’s simply the best way to relive a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
3. Throughout our work together on many weddings now, you have always been so cooperative and considerate of my work as photographer. Can you please share a little bit about your approach or method to working with photographers on the wedding day?
That’s very kind of you to say! And we absolutely feel the same way about you. I like to think of those important “C” words; “collaboration, co-operation and communication”. We think it’s really important to recognize that we’re all on the same team and that if we work together, we’re going to do better for ourselves and for our clients. We’re really fortunate to have worked with amazing photographers over the years, and we often feel like we learn a little something from each of them. We especially love working with smaller companies like yourself, because we know that you’re also working for the client, and not for your boss. Honestly, it really is very easy to have a good working relationship with photographers. A simple phone call or message prior to the shoot helps set the tone for a friendly relationship. Then throughout the day, it’s a matter of being fun, helpful and communicative. We check in with each other at important moments, understand what you need, let you know what we need, and do what we can to create a laid back vibe for the couple to enjoy!
4. I know, from seeing first hand, that you do some remarkable same-day-edit videos. What should couples keep in mind when they request a same-day-edit from a videographer?
Thank you so much! We love Same Day Edits. It’s the only time we really get to see a live reaction from people watching the film, which always leaves us feeling really pumped. I guess my main note to give to couples is that a Same Day Edit is not a substitute for a properly made wedding film. It should be seen as amazing entertainment that will boost the energy of your wedding reception. Of course, it’s also something you get to take away the night of your wedding.
Our “Cinematic” films (the ones you see on our site) have been worked on for a lot longer than a same day edit. They also include speeches and more shots of the reception, which would never make it into a Same Day Edit. They’re just in another league when it comes to overall quality and we personally think they are a much better keep sake. A truly good wedding film is something you’ll be watching for decades.
So if couples are considering a Same Day Edit, our advise would be to make it an add-on, or to at least combine it with another film (such as a Feature Film) so that you get to see more from the day.
5. As photographer I often find that our couples, as most people, have reservations and insecurities about how they appear on an image. Do you find the same with your filmed couples, and if so how do you overcome such insecurities with the couples you work with?
I think we’re in a much easier position than photographers, in regards to reservations and insecurities. We might have one or two couples a year who ask us to swap out a shot or two, but honestly, it’s very rare.
With photos, people will stop, stare and dissect an image. Any imperfections are there in that image forever. With video, we’re recording 24 images per second, and we move on from imperfect images very quickly! We’re lucky that we’re judged more for the whole video, rather than a single image that someone might want to print and put on a wall.
I think what we deal with more, is couples wanting to look like they’re acting in an authentic way in their film. They don’t want to look like they’re in a situation that looks staged or unnatural. I would hate for a couple to watch through a their wedding film and cringe at a moment that they know isn’t “them”. For much of the day, we operate very discretely, so that we can capture genuine emotions and reactions.
During the prep time and portrait session, it’s a little hard to hide away, so we do our best to create an environment that makes our clients feel comfortable. That means being friendly and also confident, so that they can feel like we’re really happy with what we’re capturing. We keep any direction very simple, playful and also use prompts to bring about candid behaviour. We tell our clients that the photoshoot is a time to be together, not just a time for pretty pictures. So be together, be in the moment, filter out the rest of the world for a few minutes and we’ll likely get our best images.
6. What has been the biggest shift you have noticed over the years in the wedding video industry? As a followup – what business, creative or technological changes or trends do you see happening right now in the industry which engaged couples should consider or be aware of?
As I mentioned, I think video has seen a huge shift. It’s more popular than ever and some of the work that I see is just off the charts in terms of creativity. Technology has played a huge part in that – just look at the use of drones. It’s just crazy that we can now fit a couple of 6K cameras, a drone, lights, support equipment and lenses into a single backpack, creating films that look like actual films. We’re part of a growing and expanding part of the wedding industry, and it’s very exciting to be a part of it.
I also feel like there’s a good community between videographers. In Toronto, we’ve experienced a lot of good will, with vendors recommending second shooters and lending gear. There’s some great facebook groups too, and the general feeling seems to be that there’s so much potential, that we’re better off helping each other grow, rather than competing. We want the entire wedding industry to give greater recognition to videography.
I think the biggest trend for now and the future is going to be streaming services, to help people deal with the pandemic. Wedding videographers are probably the best vendors to be able to come up with solutions that preserve a sense of involvement between couples and their guests who can’t attend.
We already offer Same Day Edits, but we’re going to be offering a whole range of new products, such as streaming, fast turn around ceremony/speech edits and instagram content to help with this. I think there is potential for videography to go from a “nice to have” to an absolutely essential part of wedding planning.
7. What final advice would you give to couples who have just started looking for a wedding videographer to capture their day?
I always believe that our wedding films are a combination of personalities; ours and our clients. Every couple provides their unique wedding, story and personalities. We put it all together in a way that only we can. So I think it’s really important that couples spend the time looking for videographers who’s work they genuinely connect with.
When we talk to prospective clients they often tell us that they’ve looked at so many videographers and that we stood out. This is obviously a HUGE compliment! But I also know that there are many other couples having the same conversation with other amazing videographers, who have a different take on how they present their work. It’s great because we get to work with like-minded people who want to invest in “us”, not just a product. It’s good for everyone.
Once a couple finds a videographer they like, it’s a good idea to spend a little time sharing some information about themselves and also why they’re interested in learning more. I always get a flutter of excitement when I see an inquiry email pop up, only to be disheartened when I see a generic “how much do you cost” message. We’re in this for personal reasons, not financial. We’re honestly raring to put our all into working with a couple, and that energy is going to get lit up a lot more quickly when we feel like you are inquiring with intention.
Finally, I’d like to recommend that couples don’t “ghost” us when we reply to their inquiry. We’ve booked a few clients where it turns out we weren’t actually that far apart on budget and we were able to make it work. In cases where we’re too far apart, we still love to give value by recommending other good videographers we know. You never know what you might get out of a conversation, so it makes no sense to shut it down before it’s even begun.
Thank you Mark for taking the time to share so much useful and inspiring information with me and my blog readers. To find out more about Kismet Creative and the great work they do, please link to the below: