Here are the top 10 questions to ask a videographer before you book your shoot.

1. What is your videography style?

There are many styles of videography. There are the artsy videos with all the fancy camera moves to add transitional opportunities before hitting the edit room. Cinematic videos with deeper colors, higher contrast, film grain, dolly/crane pans with a drone, etc. The point and shoot video with a basic or non-existent edit. Make sure you have a clear idea of the look and tonality you wish to portray in your video, and make sure that videographer offers that style.

2. How do you choose the music for the film?

Depending on the mood you wish to set for your video, music can greatly impact that mood, for the good or bad. If you wish to set a happy childlike tone to your video, but the videographer throws on let’s say something more set for an action movie, it’s going to throw everything off. So, make sure you are clear with this decision as well. Sometimes though, you can leave it up to the discretion of the videographer. But always make sure the music they are using in your video has the correct legal usage rights to go along with it, the last thing you want is to view your video on a site and have it be silent because of a copyright infringement placed on the video.

3. If you’re hiring a videographer for a wedding: Have you worked with my photographer before?

It goes without saying that the last thing you want to have happen is the videographer and photographer stepping in front of each other’s shots. It doesn’t have to be that they have worked with each other before, but they should at least have the common knowledge to know how to work around each other on the day of the event. I would even suggest that if they have not worked with one another, make sure they communicate between themselves to be clear about where and when each will be during the scheduled time frames throughout the day.

4. When will I receive my video?

Most people are unaware that editing can take quite some time depending on the nature of the project. Some automatically assume that a 30 second video ad will only take a few minutes to edit. But break that 30 second video down to the amount of footage captured. A good videographer will get enough coverage and takes to make absolutely sure they don’t need to get additional shots. For a 30 second video ad about a small restaurant, for example, you might walk away with 30-45 minutes or more of footage. From there the editor will most likely go through nearly every minute of footage, to look for any subtle camera jerks or unwanted movements, exposure, focus, etc. They are also looking for the best shots to use, dependent on how the storyboard has it laid out. So, the short answer to this question would be to talk with your videographer about your specific project, because it will be different for each one and how busy the videographer is with other projects.

5. How long have you been filming?

How long has your videographer been in the industry? Do they have any sort of education or training? When it comes to this industry, as with nearly anything else in life, you get what you pay for. But at the same time, you want to be careful that some fly by night kid whose parents just bought him a new iPhone, hasn’t just up and decided, “Hey, I’m tired of flipping burgers at McDonalds, I have this new phone, I’m gonna start shooting videos for $2,000 a pop.” Because I’m sorry to say it, but in that type of instance you’re most likely going to get a $2,000 piece of virtual sh*t.

The art of professional videography takes a lot of time, effort and energy to learn, learn, learn, learn. It’s almost a never-ending process. With the speed at which technology continues to change, it’s sometimes tough to stay up to date with everything going on. But even before that, learning the art of composition, focus distance, proper exposure and white balance, professional sounding audio, etc. can play a huge role in the end result of your video.

6. What equipment will you be using?

There are always new pieces of technology and many many ways to go about using them, so it is a good idea to make sure your videographer is up to date with the equipment. At the same time I’m also a big fan of, “If it aint broke don’t fix it.”. For some things I feel like jumping right into something just because it’s brand new, isn’t always going to make a big difference. For example, a small production company shooting weddings and real estate tours, doesn’t necessarily need to make the expensive jump from a 4K professional quality camera to something that shoots 8K, just because it can shoot 8K.

7. Have you shot at any of my locations before?

If you already have a location of venue picked out, it can be good to know if the videographer has already shot at that location before for multiple reasons. For starters they may already know who to contact about getting the correct permissions to shoot there, or if they have to possess the proper insurance before even stepping foot on property. If they’ve shot there before they may already know the best set up for lighting, audio and where best to move around to while shooting the footage.

8. What is your editing process?

Editing is a very fine-tuned craft. There are many ways to edit a video down how you want it. There are also many different ways to tell the same story with a different look and feel overall. Knowing beforehand how your videographer tackles the editing process can help tell you a little bit about what kind of video you might get in the end result. Also make sure to check out their portfolio for examples of end results.

9. What packages do you offer?

Especially for weddings, packages are one of the most common ways to offer services to perspective clients. But even with other genres of videography, packages can be a great starting point for what is offered. Most packages can be a bit flexible in order to accommodate for additional services or to remove specific parts of the package that you may not need.

10. Do you have a second shooter?

Depending on the project you require, having a second shooter can help with the final editing process greatly. For weddings it can help make sure that there are no missed parts of the day, for a music video or commercial it can help add a second camera angle in one shot, without having to cut and set up the camera again multiple times. It’s also a good sign that the business is doing at least well enough to compensate for an additional body being paid.

Have any other questions you think would be a good fit for this article? Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to reply! Your comment might even be featured on a future blog.

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