Planning your wedding has untold mysteries and quandaries to handle: the cake, the dress, the venue, the budget! The happiest day of your life can be a vortex of decisions and debates, and one of the most pressing questions for brides today is whether to hire a videographer. And if so, who? For today’s post, we are putting the spotlight on Statesboro’s most talented and dynamic videographer, Justin Peay. We met with Justin to ask him questions that brides need to know about hiring a videographer and to get some insight on who he is as the most sought-after artist in the area. For further information on Justin Peay Productions, be sure to follow the link below after the interview!
“The main purpose of the videographer is to capture the story, because it matters.”
WB: Justin, you have worked long enough with weddings and families to now know some secrets and some helpful insights. We would like to give brides an idea of why they might want to hire a videographer for their big day and how to choose the right one! What do you consider to be the top three things a bride should know before hiring a videographer?
JP: It is so important to remember to be yourself! Forget the feeling that you have to perform, because you want to relive this day remembering everything you were thinking and feeling, instead of remembering the pressure of trying to act.
Another significant tip is to call attention to a specific shot or moment that you want captured. If you assume that we will automatically know what moments are most important to you and your story, but we are unaware, we may miss them. We want to capture your story, but please make sure to communicate those moments that are most significant to you.
Lastly, and this may sound odd, but be sure to hire a good photographer. If you plan to hire both a photographer and a videographer, make sure to notify them and discuss if they’re comfortable working together. Much of our work as videographers is dependent on the photographer because, whereas I will plan to be there all day, many photographers have a set schedule and itinerary that they have to stick to. It helps to know how to work together to get the client the best products we each can. Some of the best photographers I’ve worked with are Rachel Smith, the Paper Lily team, Shauna Veasey, and Jason Hurst. Each of them is talented and capable of working well with a videographer.
Bonus tip: Hire a good planner! As the videographer, I don’t create the whole theme and schedule of the day. The venue, the decorations, and those unique moments written into the schedule are all organized by your wedding planner, and whatever is produced for the day is what I will be capturing. So if you want a seamless, organized, and beautiful day, I recommend hiring a solid wedding planner.
WB: Aside from those top three recommendations, what are the basic requirements specific to a videographer? What should the bride and groom have in mind as they search for the right person to film their day?
JP: The main purpose of the videographer is to capture the story, because it matters. Look for someone who can capture the highlights of the day in a way that captures it wholly and artistically, who balances the artistic shots along with telling the story. They need a good balance of those two. And look at their work ahead of time to get an idea of how they capture the story. And I say that it needs to tell a story, just because that’s what I do, that’s my perspective. But when video is set to music and music alone, it doesn’t give the viewer a chance to connect with the bride and groom. If the audience can connect to them, then I think that’s what makes it a successful video.
WB: Is there anything that the bride and groom need to know about making your job easier?
JP: Providing food and time are crucial. I don’t offer my services on an hourly basis because that wouldn’t allow for capturing the whole story; I could potentially miss those important moments. Since I plan to be there all day, having sustenance available is essential. In addition, allowing for enough time is crucial. If you have certain moments you definitely want captured, discuss it with your wedding planner to schedule it so that my team and I will definitely get them in.
WB: Clients obviously want to be a little familiar with the artists and videographers they hire. Is there anything you like to know about your clients ahead of time, before the big day?
JP: Because I love to capture the story, it’s good to know ahead of time anything out of the ordinary from a normal wedding itinerary or something that would affect the normal traditions. If you’ve planned a unique way to express yourselves, if you’re dedicating something to a lost loved one, or anything else that is unique and distinct to your wedding day, knowing that ahead of time ensures that I can highlight and weave those things into your film.
WB: What makes you distinct? What do you do that makes you set apart from the other talented film makers?
JP: That’s tough. As much as I’d like to say I don’t, I do compare myself to others. But I’ve been doing this long enough to have created my own style. Not that there aren’t others who use some of the same techniques, but I feel that I have figured out what works best for my style. I observed how others executed their business: how did they provide their product to clients, how long the videos are, etc. And a lot of these videographers were giving their clients these forty minute long films, which is fine for the bride and groom, if they are the only ones watching it. You know, I’d love to watch forty minutes of just me and my wife, but would I want to watch forty minutes of a friend or relative? So I decided I wanted to create the Director’s Cut, which is the most popular film that I create. It’s a six to eight minute film of their entire day that allows the viewer to watch it, and especially if they weren’t able to attend the wedding, hopefully this will make them feel like they were, and they didn’t miss out on the significant moments. I don’t know many videographers that do it the way that I do it. Some will do one to two minute trailers, but it’s video clips with music that isn’t much to connect to, and you’ll have to watch that forty minute film to get the story. So that idea of a Director’s Cut that I’ve developed over the years is a significant difference that sets my style apart.
WB: I’ve noticed that as well just researching your work and as I watched some of your Director’s Cuts, I found myself struggling to stop after watching one or two! You do a great job of getting that connection. For instance, your video about the Australian groom and Southern bride, Liam and Jessica, was particularly captivating! These people are strangers to me, and I felt like I connected to them. I can’t imagine how much the people who do know and love them enjoy the video because it captures that story; it captures the moments that they remember being part of or the moments that they didn’t witness but are able to engage in by watching the film. And I think a bride and a groom would love to have that even if they can’t envision ahead of time what their film will be like or how the day will come together. They can have that video to relive the day as both participants or “stars” of the film and also as the audience later -what a priceless gift!
“I hope that when a bride and groom watches their film 30 years from now, they feel just as connected with that day as they were on their honeymoon.” ~ Justin Peay
WB: What have you learned since you started?
JP: Different scenarios have built a confidence in me that there won’t be a curve ball you can throw at me. But two of my most valuable assets are my second shooters, Jon Irvan and Ryan Callahan. I trust my life with these guys. I can send them to film something like the groom getting ready and I trust them so much. If that side of it doesn’t get filmed, then it’s pretty much ruined, but I can trust them. We’ve been together so long that we know each others’ nuances. I know what their strengths and weaknesses are and they know mine, so I put them in positions to highlight their strengths and we work together to create the best film.
WB: What is your goal with your work? What do you hope to accomplish in telling the story?
JP: I hope that when a bride and groom watches their film 30 years from now, they feel just as connected with that day as they were on their honeymoon. I want to capture those moments that they never want to forget and remember those things on every anniversary.
WB: What inspires your style?
JP: Occasionally, the night before a wedding, I will watch other wedding videos. Even though I have a certain style, things are always changing and the only way to know how they’re changing is to watch other people’s work. So if there is something that another videographer is doing well, I will go on Vimeo and just watch the lastest to keep up with it. And I would absolutely say that where I am now is because of tutorials online. I’ve never taken a class and I didn’t go to college for this; this is all what I have picked up from other people. That’s what’s different about the creative world – someone can produce something that floors me but is entirely different from what I do. And that doesn’t devalue what I do, but it’s a different way to create a film that caters to a different crowd or demographic. And I wish someone told me when I was learning to definitely look at other people’s work when you’re starting out because you can learn from them. Don’t steal or copy it, but once you film long enough, you’re going to create your own style that will provide for a demographic that those other videographers aren’t.
WB: Why did you choose wedding videography? Why do you do what you do?
JP: I started because of a need for money. My wife Alaina’s health was declining, and we didn’t know at the time that she would need a kidney transplant, but I was looking for something to pay our already existing medical bills. My first film was for my now second shooter, Jon Irvan’s wedding. That’s when I realized the need, the opportunity to do what I do. I knew the local talent out there, and I didn’t want to detract from them. But shooting that first wedding made me realize the opportunity for creating my style, and even though I was just looking for something to pay the bills, I became really passionate about it, and it was a way to make a living as well. Any kind of film-making that has a story is my passion, and weddings are all different. They all have stories.
WB: How can we follow you on social media?
JP: I have accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Vimeo. My accounts aren’t separate from my business and my personal life. I want people to know who they’re hiring, not just based solely on my work. You can see parts of my life, the things that I value like my relationship with Christ, and my wife and my son, and that gives you an idea of who I am and how and why I do what I do.
As mentioned in the article, Justin’s wife Alaina was in need of a kidney transplant two years ago, and the story of their perfect match is an inspiring message of the kind of love that we are called to in life and in marriage. Be sure to check out the About section of his website to learn more!
There you have it! Justin, thank you again for your time and for the opportunity to highlight the gift you have for capturing people’s stories and making them matter. And dear reader, I hope that this information alleviates your wedding planning stress and that you will be able to enjoy your wedding day both on the actual date and for many anniversaries to come!
~ A note from the author, Sydney: This has been my favorite blog post yet because I love helping people find the resources that they need and helping those business resources find the people to whom they want to offer their services! It’s a win-win situation, and in this case you can be certain that the man in the spotlight isn’t merely talented; he is a man of integrity who will provide you with his best work to help you look back on your day and the precious memories you made. And his genuine and fun personality will put you at ease so that he will feel like part of your family or another friend who just wants to celebrate with you. I hope you enjoyed this week’s post and check back with us next week for another insightful article!