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How Do I Become a Wedding Cinematographer?

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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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In order to become a wedding cinematographer, you typically need to have an understanding of the technical aspects of operating film and editing equipment, along with a certain amount of artistic talent and an interest in weddings. Cinematography training is often available at many colleges and universities through programs that teach specific photography and videography skills to those with a general arts background. There are also film schools and arts academies that offer specialization in the field of video production. In general, someone can become a wedding cinematographer by undergoing training, building a portfolio, and then advertising his or her services and networking in order to get clients. He or she might work in partnership with others or start his or her own business.

More than just a wedding video or documentary piece, wedding cinematography normally involves a dramatic, movie-like final product. It also differs from videography in that it is not necessarily just a straightforward videotaping of a ceremony. It might be a video created from still photographs, for instance, to achieve a more dramatic effect. Given his or her presumed skills, a wedding photographer can easily become a wedding cinematographer, while others might choose to become wedding cinematographers after gaining considerable film production experience, whether it be in a field such as documentary film making or feature films.

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Since it usually helps to get as much wedding experience as possible, a person whose goal is to become a wedding cinematographer may best begin as an assistant. Some common duties might include helping with lighting and audio equipment, interviewing the couple or their guests, and editing the film after the event. Wedding cinematography often entails filming before and after the actual wedding ceremony in order to tell a more complete story. The material is then edited extensively, often with music and special effects added.

To become a wedding cinematographer, one typically needs to obtain certain audio and video equipment as well as some editing software. Knowledge of lighting and sound techniques is generally helpful, as is experience with editing. Basic business or financial skills are also frequently required; one might need to know how to obtain a loan to set up a business, for example. Another important business decision could be the question of whether to form a partnership with another professional, or to go into business for oneself.

A wedding cinematographer might work alone or with an assistant. In either case, he or she should also be able to work well with clients to ascertain their expectations and preferences regarding the final product. Someone hoping to become a wedding cinematographer also usually needs to network and advertise his or her services in order to find jobs. For example, it is a common practice to put together a portfolio of completed projects and to make contact with other wedding vendors to find potential clients.

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