How To Shoot a Wedding For Free (Almost)

You are invited to the wedding of a relative or friend. Why not contribute to this joyous event by filming it? In today’s world it could not be easier. Eight steps to success: 

Use a smart phone, point and shoot, or a DSLR camera

It is amazing how good the video from new cameras can be. All will record video, audio, and stills.

Take plenty of ‘B’ roll

‘B’ roll describes the stills / video that support your story line, but are not essential: the building; the wedding cake; candid portraits, etc. These shots add background touches to your main video.

Sit up front on the isle

An isle seat gives you access to all the action. Sitting up front allows you to unobtrusively shoot the ceremony. I always worry that my camera will interfere with others’ view or enjoyment. 

Be inconspicuous

During the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, and the reception, you want to keep a low profile.

Use an external mic

All the cameras I’ve mentioned have built-in mics that work at close range of, say, three feet, but beyond that, the audio is very weak. Adding an inexpensive external mic to your camera can make a huge difference. For more detail, go to:

Don’t worry about quality

As a friend or relative with a nice camera you are not a professional. Your video will reflect that. Images, lighting, sound will look unprofessional. Don’t worry. Remember, the professional photographer will get the terrific shots the family will treasure for generations. Your video, though, will give the family a quick shot of visual adrenalin. 

Respect the professional wedding photographer

Don’t get in the way of the pro. Just be “old, well-meaning uncle Rick with an expensive camera.” 

Post Production

Transfer files from your SD card into your computer. iPhoto allows you to do triage – which clips to keep and which to dump. Then transfer the “keepers” into iMovie. Here you can blend video with stills and add music. 

Save the iMovie as a Quick Time movie for export. I use Vimeo which is much better than YouTube for my purposes. Then you send the link to all your friends and relatives who want to relive the moment. They will send you wonderful notes of thanks. 

McGlynn wedding I shot last weekend: 

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