Get the best bang for your buck by vetting vendors with these queries.

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2019.

There are some questions you should be asking all of your potential vendors: whether they’re available for your date, how much they charge and what’s included in the price, for starters. But some vendors, like your videographer, require specialized info-gathering. We asked Julie Hedrick, owner of Blue Skies HD Video, to share the five most important questions every couple should ask a wedding videographer before booking.

What is your professional experience?
“How many years have they been in business? How many weddings have they professionally shot? We have shot over 1,000, for example,” Hedrick suggests asking. “This can help you find a higher-quality, more experienced videographer.”

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Do your pricing, availability and service offerings match my needs and budget?
“Ask about price, payment and service details, style, customization options—and most importantly, availability. We typically book Saturdays around 12 to 18 months in advance. Most wedding vendors are going to require a deposit paid up front to book the date and may require more along the line,” Hedrick explains. There’s more to consider, however. Hedrick recommends asking if the package includes the entire day’s footage—something she notices mothers asking for—or just a short highlight reel for social media, and how many hours of coverage are included.

Can you tell me about your team?
If your package includes a second videographer, it’s vital to know where that staffing comes from. “A lot of photographers just find assistants on Craigslist, but we like highly motivated, experienced assistants who could almost shoot the wedding solo,” Hedrick says. “An assistant holds, sets up and moves gear, but if an assistant is [also qualified as] a second shooter, we can cover important, simultaneous moments.”

What cameras and gear will you use?
Not all cameras are created equal. “There are different definitions of HD, all the way up to 4k-plus, so learn what resolution they shoot in and tools, like drones, they’ll use,” Hedrick says, adding that the low-light cameras Blue Skies uses means their videographers won’t need potentially distracting lighting gear.

What are the turnaround and delivery details?
Delivery methods can include web download, SD disc, Blu-ray and more; turnaround time should be roughly six weeks, Hedrick says, though she’s heard of companies that can take more than a year. “Find out if you’ll be allowed to make any suggestions or changes to music, editing or ‘final’ product and how that process works,” she adds.