Thursday, June 02, 2011

What To Say, What To Ask, and What To Shoot – Creating Compelling Engaged Couples Videos

Good Morning Everybody,

Posts  are going up a little later than usual for the next week because of the 3 hour time change while here in Arizona – no daylight savings time available here.  The morning sky was bright by 4:30 a.m. this morning!  Nevertheless we landed safe and sound in Phoenix yesterday, got settled in, and scoped out the location for my wedding tomorrow. The Royal Palms Resort and Spa is just beautiful.  The hotel grounds are really beautiful ands should provide some amazing locations to capture some great images.

Royal PalmsWe're going to have a few of those locations a try out when we catch up with our engaged couple later today.  The plan is to round out an engagement slide show I'm showing this evening at the rehearsal dinner. 

I'm running the slide show out of my laptop's HDMI output right into their large screen TV.  The couple has selected a few songs that I downloaded from Amazon which will play in the background using Windows Media Player as the show runs continuously in Lightroom 3.  It's a simple setup but should work just fine for our needs his evening.  We’ll convert it into a playable DVD in iMovie and iDVD when we return to the studio.

Tomorrow I'm planning to shoot directly into my iPad during the wedding day shoot and then presenting the slide show via iPad to the couple and families tomorrow evening.  Don't you just love technology?

And speaking of weddings and engagement shoots, I've got a great post for you today on how to expand your engagement shoot to include video.  Let's get right to it.

What To Say, What To Ask, and What To Shoot – Creating Compelling Engaged Couples Videos

Today's video equipped DSLRs have really given today's digital photographer some wonderful opportunities to create some really exciting products for their clients.  One such product is an engagement shoot with video snippets of the couple sharing their feelings with other and the video camera.

Video LogoPresenting the still images complete with the video clips is a very exciting way for the couple to share how they feel about each other and with their guests at the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception.  A DVD of this presentation is a very compelling product which you can offer your clients, too.

The question is how do make it happen easily and efficiently when you're involved in you engagement session?  In my Kelby Training video we shot last week, we included how we pull it off.  I want to give you a brief peek today on how I organized the video part of the shooting session.

First Things First

Canon 7D video buttonThe first thing is to get yourself comfortable with the video features of your video enabled DSLRS. I've had a Canon 5D Mk II and two 7D's for a few years and I'm still getting comfortable with the features and functionality.  I prefer the 7D better when it comes to shooting video.  Why? Because you don't have to go through so many "finger gymnastics" to get the video rolling.

Anyway, that's the easy part.  The part where most photographers come up short is in planning and preparing for the video segments.  The still shooting goes just fine but two many of us are still uncomfortable with the video side of our photography sessions.  Today I want to make the video part very easy for you.

Next, what do we want to capture on our video? 

Soft KissIMG_7728The quick answer is the authentic feelings of the couple in love.  So how do we do that?  It's really easy - I've created a list of questions to ask the couple that when answered should really bring out how they feel about each other.

Here's my list of 7 questions:

  1. How did you first meet?
  2. What are your favorite dating memories?
  3. What's special about him/her?
  4. Explain your most embarrassing, most fun, exciting dating situation?
  5. When did you know you were in love?
  6. How did you feel when you proposed/were proposed too?
  7. Your thoughts looking to the future.

6 Tips on asking these questions

  1. Find a comfortable spot after you still shoot with the couple where you can conduct an intimate interview.
  2. Review with the couple the intent of these questions and how exciting the final video will be.
  3. Prepare the couple to answer the questions in about 5-10 seconds - think "elevator" interview.
  4. Use a tripod.
  5. Ask the couple the questions to each one individually.
  6. Ask the questions in an easy, gentle tone of voice.

Stop the video recording after each question is answered - remember, we only want short video snippets.

8 Additional Video Clips To Cover

  1. Soft GazeIMG_7467Holding hands
  2. Toasting wine/Champaign/beer glasses
  3. Soft kiss
  4. Easy gazes
  5. Walking - away and towards the camera 
  6. Twirling
  7. Snuggling with each other
  8. Playing (in the leaves/snow, etc.)

Anyway, can you see what I'm trying to accomplish? I want a set of great images that I can blend together with some very compelling video clips so that in the end, I can show the presentation at the rehearsal dinner or at the wedding reception, and offer them a copy of the show on DVD which they can enjoy any time.

I’ll keep you posted as soon as I get the show together from last week’s shoot

Got some ideas you want to add to my list - feel free to do so in the comments section below.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. We've got to get ready for our couples shoot and tie up a few more loose ends about the wedding photography.  All is good.

See ya' tomorrow,  David


  1. David,
    Great idea! I'm def going to try that on my next shoot;
    what do you use for audio when you shoot those clips? the built in or an external unit ?

  2. What I great Idea!

    Now, if I only had clients...