This is one of the most important reception moments.
As a videographer, you’ve shot first wedding dances multiple times and you know that each one necessitates a specific approach. The nature of the wedding venue, the available space, the light and the music all determine the manner in which you’ll have to shoot the first wedding dance.
On top of paying attention to the technical and environmental essentials, you can also test out various creative techniques to get a beautiful outcome.
Have a Chat with the Bride and Groom
Coaching the bride and the groom before the beginning of the reception will enable you to capture some of the best dance shots. Tell both the bride and the groom they should hold each other without blocking the face of their partner during the dance. You should also give them a clear idea about your position and where to look.
Keep the instructions simple and limited. If you overwhelm the couple, the shots will look way too stiff and staged.
While it’s important for the bride and groom to look at the camera, they should also enjoy the first wedding dance. Tell them that it’s ok to look at each other, have fun and connect during that very special moment. This kind of connection is the one thing that will boost the emotional appeal of the shots.
There’s one final thing you’ll need to touch upon.
Many couples worry that their first wedding dance is going to be mediocre because they’re not particularly skilled on the dancefloor. Let them know that dance skills don’t really matter. The first wedding dance is about the emotion and about having fun. If the bride and groom manage to let go of the worries, chances are that the footage will look spectacular.
Ensure Quality Light
Even if you know how to use the most advanced video editing techniques, the outcome will look grim and blurry in the absence of sufficient lighting.
Most wedding receptions occur in the evening. Hence, the light will be limited to candles and lanterns. While these create a very romantic atmosphere, they could prevent a videographer from capturing all the beautiful details of the first wedding dance.
Visit the wedding venue in advance. If you know where the stage is and where the first wedding dance is going to take place, you can use external flashes to illuminate the bride and the groom. These are easy to turn off once your job is done so that the romantic atmosphere is uninterrupted.
For the best results, place your lights high and aiming down at the bride and the groom. If you have to, think about ISO adjustments, as well. When the image remains somewhat dark regardless of the additional lights, you’ll have to increase the ISO manually. Depending on the camera quality, start with an ISO of 800 to 1,000 and make additional adjustments upon necessity.
Experiment with Shooting Angles
A static camera in the beginning is a good choice because you will create some quality wide footage. You will capture the dancing couple and some of the surroundings to recreate the party atmosphere in the wedding clip. It’s also a good idea, however, to experiment with some more interesting shots.
A few face close-ups will capture the depth of emotion. Create some footage of the groom’s hand placed gently on the bride’s waist, of her shoes on the dancefloor or the floral arrangements surrounding the stage. Show the faces of the guests, the parents, the best man and the bridesmaids. Look around – don’t be focused exclusively on the couple (a tip that sounds somewhat counterintuitive but that can add great details to the shots).
You can also experiment with shooting angles and perspectives to make the footage a bit more dynamic. Take the camera low and point it up to make the first dance footage more intriguing. Alternatively, climb on a chair and point the camera down towards the dancing couple.
You can even experiment getting behind a lit candle or a table centerpiece to frame the shot and add a bit of context to it. Such experiments are best undertaken when you have a second videographer at the venue. Make your colleague capture the wedding dance in its entirety while you get a bit more creative.
Use the Right Video Editing Techniques
You have one more chance to get really creative with the first wedding dance footage. The editing process is as important as capturing those special moments during the ceremony. Using the right video editing techniques will highlight the most beautiful aspects of the shots.
It’s ok to use some special effects like slow motion or animation. The rule with special effects is that less is always more. Choose one special effect and understand the manner in which it’s going to affect the footage. If you have no reason to utilize the effect at that very moment, you should probably keep things simple.
Slow motion, for example, could be a good choice while the bride is spinning around. It will show the beauty of her gown, the fine lace that is twirling around her body.
Working with a wedding video editing team is also a good idea if you don’t know how to eliminate imperfections and make the footage extra-special. Outsourcing the post production will give you more time to focus on the things that you do best and to still get a beautiful outcome in the end.
Trust your instincts when shooting the first wedding dance. Have some fun with it. Stiff footage isn’t going to cut it, especially if you want to show just how special the moment is.
Have a plan but maintain a bit of flexibility while shooting the dance. Look around, find the cute and special details and capture those to recreate the very nature of the ceremony in your film.
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