Interview: Wedding videographer Emma Wilson on how to tell the perfect story

Interview: Wedding videographer Emma Wilson on how to tell the perfect story
(Image credit: Emma Wilson)

Wedding videography is a big business – and it's only growing larger. With the growing demand for wedding films, many photographers might end up pondering whether it would be worth picking up some audio equipment and a gimbal and giving videography a go. 

Emma Wilson has been working as a wedding filmmaker for ten years, having previously spent 20 years at the BBC as a newsreader and video journalist. As a qualified videographer, trainer and mentor, she's well-versed in not only capturing incredible wedding films for her clients, but training others on how to do the same.

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Emma Wilson is part of 22 women who are partnered with the Women Who Photo & Film campaign, which was originally launched by The Photography Show & The Video Show in 2018. This year, Emma and the other Women Who Photo & Film ambassadors will be hosting an informal networking session on Sunday 20 September from 17:00 BST onwards. 

Emma will also be hosting two sessions: 'How to set up multiple cameras and audio devices for a wedding ceremony' and 'Elevating your work with great audio'. These will be on 21 September at 11:20 and 13:40 respectively. 

We caught up with Emma to ask her more about her career so far and to see what we can expect from her The Photography Show & The Video Show Virtual Festival sessions.

01. How did your career in videography begin?

I previously worked at the BBC (and other news organizations) for two decades, working on programs such as Working Lunch, Short Change and Breakfast News as a reporter. I ended up working as a news reader and video journalist for BBC Look North in Hull. I'm very passionate about training and I was back then too, so I worked for the BBC College of Journalism as a TV newsroom mentor. 

When I resigned from the BBC I had already established myself as a wedding videographer with Story of Your Day, where I film high-end luxury weddings all over the world. I then shortly afterwards set up a corporate branding studio called The Story Creatives. Both have now been running for ten years now. 

02. Do you think being a woman has given you an edge as a wedding videographer?

It depends. I find men mostly book male videographers and woman tend to book female videographers. I think men find it easier to sell themselves and their services as they have more confidence. However, once I'm commissioned I think it's all down to building a rapport with my clients. As a woman I think I'm good at that. I'm very relaxed, but I've also been told that I'm quite bossy as well, as I know what I want.

I think female videographers can often offer a more romantic edge to their work, but for me it's all about the story. If my clients are romantic, then the film will reflect that. If they're not, then it simply represents them, their wedding and their story.

03. It's an exciting time for creative filmmakers. Do you think that video kit has become more accessible?

Yes, I do think so. However, it's not about the kit you have but how you use it. There's a lot of pressure in the wedding industry to have all of the latest gear as there seems to be a misunderstanding that it will help your work and your films. However, I believe that you should learn to get the best out of the equipment you have before trying to learn something new just because it's the latest bit of kit.

My clients are very discerning, but I've never been asked what cameras or audio gear I use. Videographers should work on their ability, their style and their training first and foremost. I've filmed a corporate film with my iPhone 11 (with the Filmic Pro App), a Go Pro and an Osmo Pocket. Yes, it was an off-piste film for my local ski school, but no one is any the wiser! 

I think more photographers are getting into videography and that's why I've recently launched a new online course called 'Evolve Your Photography Expertise into The Art of Filmmaking'. I've made it very accessible for photographers to move into videography – they know their way around a camera, but learning audio, sound design and storytelling is another level that they can often struggle with.

04. Have you got any fun stories from your destination weddings?

On one last-minute commission I wasn't able to do the required amount of planning for my journey that I usually do. I ended up at the wrong chateau with the same name as the one I was filming at and it was an other eight hours of traveling to get to the right destination!

Last year I filmed three weddings back-to-back. It involved traveling from Switzerland to Los, Greece, back to Switzerland and then to Malibu, USA in just seven days. I almost didn't get off Los due to the high winds, so I could have missed the second two weddings. Lesson learned – never book back-to-back weddings!

05. Who or what inspires you and your work?

My clients inspire me. There's no point in watching other videographers' work, as it can only make you feel insecure. I have my style and my niche – 'a woman with a camera telling your story' – so that's exactly what I do and what I focus on.

06. What will we learn from your two sessions at The Photography Show & The Video Show Virtual Festival?

My first session is all about setting up your cameras and audio devices for a wedding ceremony. As a solo shooter, I set up three cameras and multiple audio recorders, but I know from my training experience that a lot of videographers hate this part of the day. A wedding is a live event and there are only a few parts of the day that you can plan for (the ceremony and the speeches), so you need to make sure you nail these elements on the day. 

This webinar will be 'on-location' in my local church here in Wengen, Switzerland. It will detail how to get set up, the planning, my thought processes and how to manage both your own and your clients' expectations. It's all about being well-prepared to ensure you're calm during those potentially stressful situations and that you get the best out of these moments.

My second session is all about audio and sound design. I'll be talking about the importance of audio for filmmaking and storytelling. We'll be covering where to find it, how to capture it and how to edit it so that your films will stand out with impeccable audio.

Register FREE for The Photography Show & The Video Show Virtual Festival

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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine and  Digital Photographer. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.