Your big day has come and gone; a beautiful whirlwind that flew by way too fast. You find yourself pouring over your photographs from the best night of your life. They're beautiful. They capture all the little details - how the golden candelabras you went to three different antique boutiques to find fit perfectly on each guest's table, the way your bridesmaid's sequin dresses sparkled on the dance floor, the way the flowers you spent hours deciding on complimented the venue perfectly - and you smile knowing you have these seconds frozen in time. But what was it, exactly, you said during your vows again? What was the joke your husband's best man told during his speech that had everyone clutching their sides? What did your first dance with the love of your life look like as he whirled you around the dance floor? Those moments, the moments that truly made your wedding what it was, are lost now to memory only.
We can appreciate how expensive a wedding is. But what we don't want is for couples to spend all of that money, and not be able to look back on all the little things that were said, all the moments that made your night amazing, for the sake of saving just a bit more. Hiring a cinematographer to capture each special minute of the best day of your lives might just be the best investment you can make for your wedding.
We decided to chat with one of our favorite and extremely talented cinematographers, Will Talamelli Films to see just what it is about having your wedding documented through film that is so important. Hint - it's proof of your love story, it's the telling of YOUR story, that you and your partner can cherish forever. Check out my interview with Will, below!
DANI :: Hey, Will! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! To start, could you explain what a cinematographer does?
WTF :: In general a cinematographer is “the shot.” The person that frames the shot, operates the camera, lights it and helps the director tell the story with imagery is the cinematographer. A lot can be said with imagery opposed to just dialogue, where things are in frame, positions of people, how subjects enter or exit frame, camera movement etc. All these actions are very effective story telling tools that cinematographers utilize to enhance the overall production. In reference to the wedding world, we utilize these same techniques to help tell the couple's story of how they came to this day. A quick example of how I use imagery to tell a story is my use of the environment, directions of motion and clocks/watches. I use A LOT of motion in my work. 90% of my shots are moving shots and if they aren’t, something is moving in the frame. This is symbolic of progression and constant evolution, much like the relationship I’m documenting. Clocks are a kind of obvious nod to change and I like using the atmosphere because it’s another constantly evolving, always changing life form much like humans and love.
DANI :: You mentioned in your first answer that you like to use motion as well as clocks in your work, but would you say you have a specific style you tend to use, or does it depend on the wedding?
WTF :: I'm not sure if style is what I'd call it more so techniques and limitations to keep me thinking. For example in the bride preps I use one lens the entire time, I never change it. By setting these limitations it forces me to think more and act more creatively by utilizing the environment to keep the shots interesting. Also I don't watch wedding videos for inspiration, that feels like copying, I watch movies. I see the way my idols tell stories with imagery and I get inspired.
DANI :: Why wedding cinematography, as you do editorial and commercial work as well, correct? Do you find there are differences between the two industries?
WTF :: I'll answer the second part first since I do both! I do a series of mini documentaries every year for Goodwill, I have a bunch of commercial clients, I do some fun profile pieces for people and their passions. Also, at the risk of sounding like a naive dreamer I'm working on writing a project with my assistant Megan that we are trying to shoot a pilot for. Comparing this to weddings I think at the root of all of it, is following people and capturing emotion so while the commercial imagery is different and obviously the behind the scenes stuff (proposals, quotes, deliverables, payment etc.) is very different it's still all storytelling. I can confidently say that wedding work has made me better anticipate human emotion which has made my commercial and documentary work much stronger. Why weddings? They're fun, I just like doing them and making couples happy.
DANI :: Why is it important for couples to have a cinematographer at their weddings?
WTF :: It’s a really fun way to re-live their special day. We’re like ninjas - you don’t even know where we are but we capture everything and are there for all the moments that a couple may have missed and the ones that they just want to see again and again. I feel I’m coming off super serious in my last two answers, so I would like to emphasize it's really fun. Couples love seeing themselves in slow-mo or looking dashing walking through a garden, etc. Also the audio aspect - if a couple writes amazing vows, it's really great to hear them again, hear the crowd or see how it affected their partner. As a married man who wrote his own vows I can tell you I don’t remember a damn thing. It was a blur up there, I know I said some things, my wife looked beautiful, I cried a bunch and that was it.
DANI :: Why do you think a couple will sometimes opt out of having a cinematographer at their wedding?
WTF :: I just think it took a while to wash off the stigma of wedding videos being really lame. There was definitely a cheese factor that needed some years to die out but I think people have been doing the wedding film thing seriously for long enough that it has a much better reputation and I can see that in my clientele. It is a priority to hire a cinematographer these days and I feel like one with my clients. But like I said, that bad reputation is still around, especially with the older generations and if they are fronting the cash for the wedding sometimes it’s a hard sell. I’m going to mention this later but looking around for a good fit is important to. If there is a wedding video you don’t like, don’t dismiss the entire concept. Keep looking until you find a style that you can associate with.
DANI :: How do the cinematographer and photographer work together cohesively?
WTF :: Communication, respect and lack of ego. That’s it. I know they have a job to do, I know the couple paid good money for them to be there and I always respect that and I just ask the same. The day is about the couple - not me and not the photographer. I can honestly say that I haven't ever not gotten along with a photographer at a wedding. Most of them either are or become good friends!
DANI :: If you had one piece of advice for couples on their big day in regards to cinematography, what would it be?
WTF :: Hire me! Just kidding... look around. We’re not all the same. If you don’t like a wedding video you see online, keep looking and find someone that suits your style. Don’t just look at one video - check out an entire portfolio. Watch three of four videos to see if you can really connect with the style. This also goes for all media couples may potentially hire; meet with them in person. They are hanging out with you all day on your wedding...you should like their company.
DANI :: Where do you see cinematography’s future in the wedding industry?
WTF :: I don’t know, but where ever it goes I hope there are less drones. I use them but man, people go nuts with those things. I’ve even seen it during a ceremony - do you know how loud they are?!?!
If this didn't convince you of the importance of having a cinematographer at your wedding, I don't know what "Will"...get it? Alright bad joke, sorry. But really, Will's passion for film and for telling each and every couple's love story in a unique and authentic way is truly remarkable. I think we all need to live life and to follow our dreams with the same kind of passion!
So whenever you start your wedding day planning...make sure to look through a collection of cinematographer's work, find a film style that really speaks to you, and make sure to capture you and your loved one's journey in a way you will truly never forget!
Check out an original #WTF wedding below with Event Design + Planning by our friends Slainte Event Planning + Design!
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