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Here at York Place we’re hugely passionate about both wedding photography & videography, but what are the differences and do you really need both?

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Wedding photography & videography - do I need both?

One of the most important things to remember in choosing either wedding photography or videography is that our imagery is not designed to replace your memories, it is merely there to spark them.

We want our photographs and films to take you back to that place, whether that be through a familiar voice recounting a line or two of the speeches or the briefest fraction-of-a-second photo snapshot that somehow reveals the full story of a scene. Our documentary approach is akin to providing you with a guest’s perspective of your wedding – showing you not only the big moments but also the small ones. The relationships between people, the moment a loved one let their guard down and showed us just for a second who they really are. These are the moments that hopefully take you back to your wedding day, that capture how it felt to be there. Ultimately this is our aim whether we’re photographing or filming a wedding and there are huge similarities between the two art-forms. But there are also some big differences that are important to remember too and that might help you to consider whether you want to have a photographer, a videographer or both for your big day.

One of the reasons couples often give for not wanting to have both photographers and videographers at their wedding is simply being somewhat camera shy, and that’s a very understandable concern. We firmly believe that for the type of extensive coverage that we capture and the complexity of the imagery we create it’s impossible for one person to switch between photography and videography on a wedding day and so having both photo & video does of course mean having one or two more cameras around you.

That, however, is where our discrete documentary approach comes in. We’re always very aware of not overcrowding people (we’re always looking for different shots rather than all capturing the same thing!) and ultimately it’s extremely important to the style of imagery we’re trying to create that we’re not overly noticed. Consequently, whilst we don’t claim to be invisible, as much as is humanly possible we try to blend in with the guests on a wedding day and not draw too much attention to ourselves. Most of our couples do in fact claim to be camera shy but as we capture everything right there in the moment, don’t use distracting lights or flash, capture both photo and film on tiny handheld cameras and don’t ask our couples to do anything for us we generally find that people stop noticing what we’re up to very quickly. It’s also one of the reasons that we like to arrive early on a wedding day – just so the wedding party have a chance to quickly get used to us and how we work and just as quickly forget about us.

But even if you’re not going to notice all the cameras on your wedding day, do you really need both photography AND videography?

Well our perhaps somewhat surprising answer is:

It depends.

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Wedding photography and videography share a great many similarities (and being a family team with a shared documentary approach and similar influences the similarities are for us perhaps greater than many), but the two mediums are in other ways fundamentally different. We’re hugely passionate about both but whilst there are very good reasons why photography has traditionally been considered an absolute wedding essential with video often much further down the list, recent changes in technology are starting to even the balance. Video can after all give advantages such as sound recording which adds a whole new wave of memories to your day. Imagine being able to not only see but hear your dad say those wonderful things about you whenever you’d like. Imagine hearing the celebrant say those 7 little words “I now declare you husband and wife”. Not only can you relive the big moments but experience the rich tapestry of sounds from your day that help to trigger your memories, and that can be very powerful indeed.

Photography, on the other hand, offers the eternity of the printed image: a lasting, physical keepsake that can be made into an album and passed from generation to generation. It can even be collated and compared with the wedding photographs of previous generations and photographs tend to be looked at all the time. You can carry a photograph with you or display it on your wall and see it every single day – be surrounded by memories every single day. Photographs are something that you can touch and feel and there’s real magic in that. They’re a perfect moment frozen in time and each frame is a piece of art. We hope that you’ll watch your wedding video over and over and over again (and our short films are designed especially with that idea in mind) but even your favourite film in all the world is probably not playing on permanent loop in your home, whereas for most couples at least some of your wedding photographs are likely to be on permanent display, perhaps not only in your own home but in your family members’ homes too.

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So those are some of the more obvious differences but there are many others too. The same scene can be captured equally creatively in both photo & video but the experience of viewing it will be very different. In photography we can capture that ‘decisive moment’ – the perfect fraction of a second where everything comes together from the expressions on everyone’s faces to the story all just coming together. Perhaps the moments before and after that photograph don’t need to be seen – perhaps it’s the element of mystery as to what sparked that reaction that makes the image what it was, or maybe it’s as simple as someone was pulling a less than flattering expression right up until that moment. In sparking perfect memories sometimes a fraction of a second is more powerful than seeing the scene through from start to finish.

On the other hand sometimes it’s the movement of the scene that’s important to the story. Sometimes you need to see how the moment unfurled in order to get the joke, sometimes a scene is just crying out for movement and a motion picture is the only way to truly capture it.

Whilst it’s difficult to describe exactly what it is that makes a scene work in either photo or film it’s something that we as the photographers and filmmakers instantly recognise and take into account in the scenes that we each choose to focus upon amongst a sea of potential opportunities. It’s why even if at times we’re looking to capture the same scene you’ll rarely see our photographers and videographers approach it from exactly the same angle unless it’s absolutely necessary to do so – a different composition will present different opportunities to exploit either movement or stillness and enable us to control the environment through our cameras to capture what we each need.

“In sparking perfect memories sometimes a fraction of a second is more powerful than seeing the scene through from start to finish. On the other hand sometimes it’s the movement of the scene that’s important to the story.”

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In a video we need to both capture but also have a sense of control over the movement – we have to pick a composition and stick with it for several seconds so we need to account for people walking in and out of the scene and try to turn that to our advantage. For a photograph meanwhile we lack the potential advantage of that movement but have the opportunity to keep moving and recomposing our framing of the image as a scene unfolds which can be an equally significant advantage. It can even offer us as photographers the opportunity to create our own story by the way that we compose the image where perhaps a video of the moment might sometimes (but not always) be a little more literal.

Photos and films present us with different opportunities and it’s those opportunities that we look to exploit – the feel of our work is similar but the experience of looking through your photos and films will never be the same. Both should be powerful but different and to us that’s a wonderful thing. Whilst we naturally recommend it, the truth is that not everyone necessarily needs both a wedding film and wedding photographs – it’s very much a personal choice. But it’s important to recognise that the two are in no way the same. A photographic record of your day takes a different approach, includes different scenes tells different stories and presents a different viewing experience to your wedding video, and so it should. Each is a unique art form and equally creative process and only you can choose which is right for you and your wedding memories.

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