Little Black Book | Wagtail Productions

Here at Revelry Towers we're big fans of wedding videos, to be honest we don't think they always get a fair rep, often they're a last minute addition to the day or people think they're a bit cheesy. Now don't get us wrong, a certain level of cheese does exist in the videography world but we work with some brilliant suppliers who actively avoid this. 

We first met Ayla at a wedding fair a few years ago and then worked with her on a styled shoot to mark the launch of Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. Not only that we think she's so good she's doing Susie's wedding, that's right, you heard it hear first - Wagtail Productions is officially Wedding Planner approved, so let's meet the brains behind the operation.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, HOW DID YOU GET INTO WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY?

I started in photography. I have always been obsessed with taking photographs, even as a child. I studied art and photography at college and uni. Video started to creep into my work, subtly at first. For example, I made a sound track to accompany the viewing of one of my photography exhibitions in London.

I then worked in the film industry as a Camera Assistant. I worked my way up, starting on independent films, then music videos, TV drama, commercials and big budget features. I finally got to fulfil my dream of working on a Bond movie when I did Skyfall. It was, ironically, on that job I decided I needed to make a change. It's really thanks to my experience in the film industry and the wonderful people who trained me that Wagtail Productions is where it is now. There's not a single shoot where I haven't drawn on my experience. It was a truly fantastic time in my life, but the bigger the film, the bigger the crew, the more disconnected from the camera I felt. I wanted to go back to just me and my camera and be in control of my own projects.

I took a break travelling around Europe. I drove from London to Rome solo and spent the summer as an Au Pair for 3 incredible children in Venice. You can't be in Italy and not be inspired, and this is when the filming started. I was au pairing for the most beautiful family. Their lives moved me. I felt I needed to film their every day moments, the innocence and romance of a childhood by the Italian seaside. The family had such joy from the film I made them.  I must admit, it's the reactions that make what I do so addictive. Before I knew it, I was back in the UK making little films just for the love of it which lead to my first wedding booking.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FILM STYLE?

Wagtail Productions works with a huge range of styles. That super 8mm vintage look, classic cinema, stop motion animation, split screen fun, reportage, whatever suits the couple's day. We look at each project with fresh eyes and really get a sense for who the couple are during our pre-wedding chat. Everyone’s wedding has such a different feel, and we want to capture their essence and tell the story with those tiny real moments, such as a look or a touch.

WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHERS?

We are regularly told two things by our couples at the end of their wedding day: “we didn't even notice you filming” and “you feel like part of the family now”. Our approach is to be discreet on the day, but still get those cinematic shots. When the couple and guests are relaxed, the result is a natural and authentic film. We avoid cliches. You won't see sweeping shots of shoes on windowsills in our films haha.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT THE WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY INDUSTRY?

I love the willingness of other videographers to share tips and to help others improve.

AND, BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE BALANCED HERE, WHAT’S THE WORST?

Videography in the UK is way behind the USA when it comes to recognising the importance of having a wedding video and including it in the budget earlier on. You really do get what you pay for: it's that simple. Many couples who book us say they didn't think they wanted a video until they saw one of our films because they associated it with awkward cheesy shots. I hope it's not long before videography gets the kind of recognition that photography already has.

AND FINALLY SOME TOP TIPS, WHAT MAKES A GREAT WEDDING VIDEO?

Hire a videographer whose style you love, and trust them to do it. If you ask them to change the way they work too much then the result won't be like what attracted you to hire them in the first place.

Communication is key. Tell them what is important to you before the day and about all the details, such as readings and key family members. Then relax and have patience while they take care editing your beautiful film.

I have more tips for a great wedding video over on my website: http://www.wagtailproductions.co.uk/blog/2016/8/18/make-your-wedding-video-beautiful

Little Black Book | InstaWedding

This month we're showing off the amazing work of one of our favourite photographers and filmmakers Insta Wedding! Sarah and Mason are a husband and wife team bringing a fresh look to vintage and offering something pretty unique and badass for the modern bride and groom. Here are some gems from them!

insta wedding films

Sarah, how did you first get into wedding photography and videography?

So photography came first. I grew up with my Grandad’s love of photography and was greatly inspired by him. He never went out without a camera around his neck and had a very cool collection of cameras. I inherited his amazing photo albums as well as his passion for photography.  I started with travel photography and when I met Mason our mutual appreciation of photography exploded! As a designer and retoucher Mason had spent a lot of time working with some of the top fashion photographers in the world and began to take his own pics. 

Wedding photography started around 10 years ago when a friend of ours got married. She had paid 2.5k for a photographer and when his pics came she was really disappointed. Luckily Mason had taken lots as a guest and she loved them and created her wedding album from his pics instead. Then it went from there people asking to book him by word of mouth. We wanted to create a business out of it but there was never a “right time”. Then unfortunately I got really sick and had to leave my full time job in marketing and literally from my sick bed, our business grew! Now we have photographed over 50 weddings and filmed over 70!! 

How would you describe your film style?

Our films are super 8 / cinematic / vintage style with a modern twist. We wanted to create something like the old fashioned films but not using old equipment which can be really unreliable. We film in short bursts and the beauty of it is in the editing. Every film is unique to each couple and they are all very emotive - we have made a lot of people cry!!!!!!

Obviously I am very proud of what we do but it really is like nothing else out there. I struggle to recommend other videographers like us as our style really is unique.

What inspires you to create?

Our couples. We have ‘signature shots’ but they don’t always work for the couples personality so we think on our feet and find something that fits in with the couples style. 

Our passion for finding new and quirky shots and providing something unique in the wedding world. Working with fun, creative couples, making them laugh and cry and receiving amazing feedback. 

A very successful wedding photographer once told me her secret - that she never competes with anyone /compares herself to anyone, just does what she does best. And that has really helped as we do our own thing and want people to book us on that basis and for our own style. Not to create/imitate someone else’s work. 

Do you have any favourite people to work with in the wedding world?

We have been very lucky to work with some amazing people in the wedding world and who have supported us since day one. We adore Kat Williams of RocknRoll’ Bride - since planning our own wedding and it being featured on her blog we have been massive fans and seeing our own work published on her blog and magazine has been unreal. She has supported us since day 1 and when I met her recently I was so in awe but she is so down to earth and normal and I admire her for her honesty in her work and on a personal level. A lot of people have booked us from her forum and we particularly love working with Rocknroll’ brides. 

Another blog I love is London Bride and I got to work with Charley recently - she is sooooo lovely and brilliant at what she does.

Our favourite fair is the Most Curious Wedding Fair and we have exhibited there for the past two years, originally winning a spot for emerging talent. It’s the best fair in the UK and has the most creative suppliers under one roof. The girls who run it Becky and Cat are fab to work with and have also supported us since day 1.

We have also been lucky to work with the Meringue Girls (photographing and filming their book launch party) whose favours and wedding cakes are so cool!!!! and they are such nice girls. 

Some of our other favourite suppliers are Hey Style Hire, Bon Bon Balloons and of course Revelry Events ;-)

Flatterers! What stands out for you as one of your favourite wedding moments?

We shot an older couple’s wedding (in their 60s) and the whole day was so filled with love. It was a wedding from the heart and when they tangoed down the aisle that was one of the most beautiful moments we have been lucky enough to capture.

What, for you, makes a good wedding film great - is there any advice you would give to your couples when it comes to wedding videography?

Our style is very reportage and behind the scenes so we try to capture people when they can’t see us. So people being natural and not looking at the camera / directing us. And just being themselves and having fun. And being as silly as they want to be as once we edit we would never include anything that we wouldn’t want in there ourselves…

Go away right now (obviously, then come back later) and look at their fantastic website!

Wedding Planning Advice | Budgeting for Photo and Video

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR MY WEDDING PHOTOS AND VIDEO?

Setting out your wedding budget is one of the toughest parts of wedding planning by a long shot.

How are you supposed to know to divide up your well-earned cash the right way? How do you know how much to estimate for each part? This confusion often leads to many couples grossly underestimating how much certain wedding suppliers cost - which is where we come in.

One of the biggest areas of confusion is the cost of wedding photography and videography. Many brides assume this won't cost very much, end up going for budget options and being disappointed with the end result. Wedding photography and videography is a big outlay, but it is an incredibly worthwhile investment. It's important to set aside as much of your budget as you can to make sure you have the best memories of your day. In our opinion, when it comes to splurge vs save, wedding photos and video is in the splurge column.

Photo credit: Xander and Thea

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Brett Harkness

Brett Harkness

Let's start with photos. You could absolutely find a wedding photographer to fit within your budget, whatever it is, but the consideration is that the level of experience and very likely the quality will go down.

It baffles us to see that many wedding magazines and blogs are giving brides advice to spend approximately £750 on wedding photography. In our experience, this is nowhere near enough for good photography. [Disclaimer: We know there are always exceptions - uber-talented newbies, mid-week discounts, etc - but for the majority of cases it is not high enough]

In our experience, spend less than £1000 on wedding photography and you will get the basic coverage, capturing the moments as they happen, no frills, nothing fancy. Single shooter, minimal coverage.

£1500-2000 will get you some fabulous wedding blog-worthy wedding photography. This is the sweet spot, and where we would always recommend couples pitch their budget in this area. All day coverage with more than one shooter for some creative angles. A wonderful, experienced photographer to put you at ease. And more than likely, a free album and possibly an engagement shoot.

Spend £3000+ and you should be getting some pretty incredible photography - high-end, fine art photography with a high quality album, often a longer day for more coverage, and with a few extra 'togs to shoot details and prep. Guaranteed perfection.

So when you're putting your spreadsheets together and dividing it all up, £1500+ is a great starting point where you won't struggle to find incredible shooters, but it's always ALWAYS worth ploughing as much cash as you can afford into wedding photos (without going into debt).

WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY

For under £1000 you'd be getting a pretty basic highlights reel, coverage from bridal prep to the first dance, with a 2-3 minute montage at the end. At this price range you are paying your photographer or videographer below the national minimum wage so it is unlikely the quality will be very good.

Spend £1500 or more and you'll get a treasured, high-quality video - likely a beautifully edited highlights film to music, and an edited video of your ceremony and the speeches. You'll get a second shooter, possibly a third, and some extremely creative, cinematic shots with high-production quality. You are paying for filmmaking experience, quality of equipment and the time it takes to edit such a quality product to perfection.

Adam Rowley from Delirious Films - one of our favourite filmmakers to work with - gives some helpful tips, "Like buying wine in a restaurant – you’d never buy the cheapest and probably almost never buy the most expensive. But no moment should be missed and your film should be magnificent.  But beware budget videography. Something to look out for is if the videographer doesn't call their work a 'film', it could be an indication that they aren't that great."

Whatever your budget for film and photography, take care to establish the experience, and the quality of their work before you book. Don't be afraid to ask for references from past clients and more photos for reassurance. Regardless of the price tag, you want to be confident in your suppliers on your wedding day to give you the best.