Tips for Brides and Grooms on their Wedding Day

wedding video tin bird

These are some notes I give to my clients before their wedding day. These will help you get the most out of me for your video, but overall the best thing a client can do for me is to be happy in the moment and enjoy their day. I love candid shots and when I get genuine happiness and emotion caught on camera, they are always my favourite clips (as well as my clients).

Enjoy!! -Lian

(Feel free to pass these notes along to your parents, MOH and Best Man as they will be your right-hand people on your wedding)

Less is more for locations. It’s best for me to have about 3-4 locations that are relatively close to each other. Sometimes couples want to go to numerous places for a quick shot or two, this doesn’t really work well for setting up video so if you want the most out of me, try to keep it under 3 locations.

Try to have rooms where you will be getting ready clutter-free and relatively clean. Wedding weeks can be hectic and usually friends/family are visiting so it can be tough to do this. Most rooms that have space and good natural lighting will work.

No chewing gum on the day of please.

Ignore the video camera and try not to look at it. Just act like yourself and have fun!

Brides: Try not to store handkerchiefs or anything in your bust area, it can be distracting if caught on camera 🙂

Please ask at the ceremony that nobody take photos/video. It is very easy to ruin a special photo/video of your ceremony by someone jumping in front of the camera or even just having someone in the background with a device lit up. There are cute signs on Pinterest that are cheap and easy to make that say “we want to see your smiles, not your camera/phones” and other variations of these. If you are afraid of sounding like a bridezilla or a groomzilla by asking this from your guests, feel free to tell them it was by request of the videographer (me)!

Close the church doors. It looks great when the doors are closed after the maid of honour reaches the front of the church/ceremony, reopened to reveal the bride, then closed as she comes down the aisle.
Ask your bridal party and close family members to keep cell phone/camera/ipad usage to a minimum and to just enjoy the day as it happens. Sometimes we have family members and bridal party members that are often taking photos or texting and it is hard to get natural shots of them. We’ll make sure you get great footage!

Plan food for your bridal party after the ceremony. They often get hungry then or during the photo outing and you don’t want to have to take time out of your photo session to feed them. Pre-made sandwiches are great and can be eaten anywhere.

Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Do what you can to prepare for unexpected hiccups. Have a emergency wedding day kit just in case (sewing kit, tide to go, pepto bismol etc.) If anything goes wrong on the day of though, just roll with it. At the end of the day you will be getting married surrounded by your friends and family and nothing compares to that so don’t sweat the small stuff 🙂

Working with Animals on Film Sets and in Weddings

dog wedding

I have worked with animals on film sets, promotional videos, television and weddings. It is often said that children and animals are the hardest to work with in film and I can definitely see that. They have a mind of their own especially with a lot of new people around in a fast-paced environment.

When I worked as a 2nd assistant director on Save My Pet, we had animals ranging from ferrets to cats and dogs. The day would be about what you would expect but we had excellent animal wranglers who seemed to do the impossible when it came to over-excited fur babies. The one thing that most wranglers seem to do is limit the attention to the animals by crew members. You can’t have 30 different people coming up to a dog and playing with it while you are trying to calm it down for a scene where it is supposed to be calmly sitting by its owner. Also, the animal was only ever on set when it needed to be. When shots were being set up, the animal was put back in his/her quiet place so they wouldn’t get scared from all the noise/commotion of changing lights/camera setups.

animals wedding

For weddings, I usually don’t even attempt at getting a shot of a dog or cat until the novelty of me arriving has worn off but I always have my camera ready just in case. This is because animals move around so much when they are excited and it is near impossible to get a focused shot of them.

Dogs and cats love to sniff every piece of equipment so I usually let them do that then try to get them in a nicer background without equipment in it. It is great to get a shot of them acting normal in their own environment but I will be completely honest, what I often end up have to do is going to a room alone with them and dangling a treat behind the camera as they stare at it then I get a good shot before they start drooling. This is the “magic” of working with pets haha. They just get super excited when new people are around so if you get a chance to work with them before everyone arrives then that should work well for you. Most dogs are very hyper with all the wedding commotion but not all, so you kind of just need to play it by ear. Having the bride and/or groom around for a shot can be really cute too so I recommend getting them in the shot if you/they have the time.

dog animal

Now for cats. I absolutely love cats but they are much harder to get a good shot of at weddings. Cats and dogs were not domesticated the same way so they have very different personalities and they interact with their owners in a much different way. Dogs were domesticated by humans for work and companionship, they are naturally people pleasers and are devoted to their owners.

Cats are not quite the same. Humans did not domesticate cats, they domesticated themselves. Cats started hanging around humans because of the rodents that followed humans around. It was an opportunity to get food. Humans benefitted from having cats around so they eventually began to take them in as pets in their communities and homes.

This is not to say cats don’t love humans, they just love them in a different way. Like dogs, cats have individual personalities. I had one myself that had the personality of a dog and followed me everywhere and would never scratch anybody no matter what you did with him. His name was Sir Francis Poe Hufflepuff, see his handsome picture below, he was as soft as he looks :). I have also been around cats that will allow you to pet them but then out of nowhere will take a good swipe at you with their claws out because they felt like their petting time was sufficient (thanks Meowth).

wedding cat

My favourite cat in the whole world, Sir Francis Poe Hufflepuff. Photo by Rock Island Images. ❤

I definitely find that cats take time when you are trying to shoot them on video. Unlike dogs, cats very rarely get happy excited around people because their environment is being upset so they will tend to hide. You really just need to take your time with them and also use treats when possible. I would suggest also going into a separate room with them and let them rub their scent on your equipment so they feel more empowered (it works I swear). I also find that it works better with cats if you stay in one place and just point your camera at them versus chasing them around the room. If all else fails, just get one of the owners to work his/her magic and pick up the cat so you can get a shot of it being still in his/her arms. I love the shots of owners and their pets so this is one I will usually try to get anyway but it’s also nice to have a shot of the pet on their own just in case.

That’s it so far for my advice on shooting animals on film sets and in weddings. I am sure I will come across some more tips, so I will update this blog when the time comes!