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Wedding Filmmaking / June 15, 2022

The Top 20 Wedding Videography Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide To Camera Tricks, Tips, Angles


Operator techniques can be divided into two categories: basic and advanced. Of course, all cameramen, even beginners, should be able to work with the base. Because it is in the base that the most important principles of shooting in general are practiced. If there are no problems with basic shooting, it’s time to go on to work with something more interesting and to have a sneak peek at some tricks made by experts in their field. That’s what we’re going to do today-find out what makes up a cameraman’s base and talk about what techniques you can learn from film.

Basic Camerawork Techniques

Any film would be incomplete without what we call “tricks,” but many of them have become commonplace as technology and filmmaking techniques have become more advanced.These techniques are basic—without them, you simply won’t get a single frame. So, the first thing you need to do when picking up a camera is to learn this basic principle.

Static Shot

Static is filming with a still video camera on a tripod or handheld. The action in the frame takes place in a small area and falls completely into the lens without changing the position of the camera. It seems too simple-put the camera on a tripod, press the record button on the camera, and it’s done. Well, of course, it’s not. First of all, such filming by itself will not give dynamics and will not enhance the scripted action that is happening on the screen. Secondly, a static frame cannot be “brought to life” mechanically by making some kind of movement, so you have to work with what is in the frame.

Composition, light, color, and local contrasts are very important in a still image. And what is more, the longer we keep one shot on the screen, the more the viewer will look at it, which means that in such a shot, all the details and imperfections will be important.


With a tripod and handheld.

A technique that involves rotating the camera to the right or left in a horizontal plane. It seems like a fairly simple type of shooting that will help reveal more of the space outside the frame and visually communicate more detail to the viewer.

But to get it right when panning, it’s important to practice a few times before you take the “right” shot. Especially if you pan with your hands. In this case, it is better to use a stabilizer to avoid micro shake, and you’d better practice smoothness and accuracy of your own movements with the camera in your hands-then you will get exactly what you need.

Panning from a tripod is much easier. We get rid of possible jolts and get a smooth image, but it is still important to practice camera movement. Don’t make it so that you start moving the camera slowly in the beginning and speed up to the end.

Zooming In and Zooming Out

Zooming in and out makes the subject stand out from its surroundings with a smooth transition from the background to the middle and close-ups. When we make the transition back, it’s a move away.

Zooming in (and out) on the character is a familiar trick that is not mechanically complicated (you just need to practice smooth camera movement, for example, with a slider), but it is conceptually complicated.

Here we also can not forget about the work with the composition of the frame and light. Since the change of plans is done by moving the camera in the same space, it’s important to frame in such a way that even when you change the plan, you get the right composition and the right amount of light.

Long Shot

Long shots are a favorite technique of quite a few filmmakers. This operator’s technique will require the coordinated work of all members of the team. All movements and movements of the camera must be clearly spelled out and verified.

And most importantly, remember that if you make a small mistake, or you have a twitch of the camera, then all the action will have to start again.

Advanced Filmmaking Techniques

With the basic operator tricks we have solved. Now let us talk about what makes the cameraman’s work even more interesting and the final footage more elaborate and accentuated.

Dutch Angle

The same “sunken horizon,” but cinematically. This technique can be used in both static and moving shots. With the help of camera tilt, you can convey a huge range of emotions and states of an individual character, as well as the atmosphere of the scene as a whole. The steeper the tilt from zero to 90 degrees, the more expressive the picture becomes.

Unusual visions of the world: intoxication, morbidity, mental disorder, and simply put, abnormality, are perfectly portrayed by the Dutch angle. For instance, you can use this technique to shoot Halloween-style weddings. In this way, we show that the characters are used to being in such a twisted world and they naturally don’t notice it, while our brains don’t understand what this slant is. Unaccustomed, bring back the horizon! 🙂

Rack Focus from One Object to Another

Rack Focus

One of the most used tricks in modern filmmaking. We literally take and transfer the focus from one object in the frame to another, thus focusing the viewer’s attention on what’s important to the story right now.

And here, it is impossible not to remember the DOF (depth of field), which directly affects the degree of accentuation. And the DOF itself depends on several factors-sensor area, lens aperture, distance from the lens to the object.

The technique is not as easy to use as it may seem. The operator needs to feel very well first the distance and secondly the focus ring of the lens (or radio focus rings).

For instance, you can use rack focus at the wedding reception.

It might take you a long time to get accustomed to and feel the knobs, but if you don’t have time for that, you can mark the start and end points (just like on a timeline) on a piece of paper, and then you will know exactly where to focus to get exactly what you are aiming for. Or just memorize the values of the DOF scale on the first and second object (if, of course, your lens has such a scale).


A trick where you focus not only on the main subject in the frame but also on the worked-out background. You can use this technique to add richness and expressiveness to your shots and play with the viewer by placing objects important to the story in focus in the background.

Usually, focus on a certain object gives the viewer a direct guide as to what to focus on. The Panfocus is deliberately confusing, and it can be used to add a lot more detail to the frame that the viewer will glance at.

Rotating the camera around a character in the frame

This gimmick will allow you to show the scene on a larger and larger scale. But it’s also important to work on the background, not just use it for its own sake.

It’s important to show not only your cameraman skills but also how to inform the viewer and convey atmosphere. In combination with panfocus, this trick looks even more impressive. The main thing is not to mix it up with breaking the 180-degree rule.

Split Focus

A cameraman’s trick is often difficult to spot in a particular scene.

The effect is created by placing a special “zonal lens” on the lens, which allows you to keep in focus objects that are both in the foreground and background, creating a border of blur between them.

It can be used to focus the viewer’s attention on certain objects in the frame, thus eliminating the need to shift focus, which can be especially useful if the timing of a given scene is severely limited. And it just looks beautiful.

But do not forget that this technology limits us in the movement of the camera, because in this case, it begins to show optical defects in the form of lines and non-uniformity of the background.

You can use it during the ceremony.


Similar shots can be seen in movies (and not only) where the camera movement is synchronized with the movement of the character and only the background changes.It seems as if the camera is attached to the actor. And it really is attached to him!

It is mostly used to convey the emotional and physical state of the character (usually tense). For example, a state of alcohol and drug intoxication, or a difficult period in the life of the main character, or a stressful situation. If the style of the wedding suits this option, it will look spectacular.

Although Snorrikam is a complex technical construction, you can easily imitate its use with the help of improvised means. For example, you can hold a tripod with a camera attached, fixing it with belts or just holding it in your hands. And before you do it again, don’t forget that you will need to use wide-angle optics.

Dolly Zoom, Vertigo

This trick is obtained by combining two things: the distance from the camera to the subject and the focal length of the lens. It turns out that you need to rotate the focal ring and move the camera at the same time (preferably on a cart).

There are two variants of vertigo:

  • You bring the camera closer to the object and decrease the focal length. In this case, the object itself will remain constant in size, but the background behind it will move away in proportion to the increase in the angle of view of your lens. The space will also change, and distortions will appear. If the subject is a person’s face, it will gradually become more elongated.
  • You move the camera away from the subject and increase the focal length. In this case, the object also stays in place, but the background, on the contrary, gets closer to the character. The space (if it was distorted) starts to correct itself slowly and becomes more natural.

The trick is quite difficult to perform as it requires a lot of practice to get a feel for the focal length ring and to try to match it with your own movement speed (or, well, the speed of the cart).

Nevertheless, Vertigo is the most visually powerful camerawork technique that helps you achieve a very stylish in-camera effect without the need for editing and VFX.

If you want to know more about how you should edit a wedding video, we have this guide for you: How do you edit a wedding video? The Essential Guide.

Using shooting skills to express meaning

The work of the camera operator is not just the movement of the camera. A camera operator works with meanings, with the director’s vision, and helps him translate the director’s ideas onto the screen, finding visual solutions for them. So as a bonus, we’d like to share with you a few of the complex techniques that opera-posters use in film in one way or another.

Breaking the 4th Wall

The fourth wall is the very convention through which we clearly understand that cinema is pseudo-realistic. This barrier perfectly separates the viewer from what is happening on the screen.

But sometimes authors deliberately break down this wall in order to realize their artistic vision.

Naturally, this makes the viewer uncomfortable in the first place. Imagine sitting in a movie theater, watching a movie, and a character turns around and pokes you with his finger, or just stares at you. I agree, it’s not very nice:)

Often, this is used as a comic device, and it’s very appropriate when used in comedies.

But the destruction of the wall and the conversation between the main character and the viewer can also be the main leitmotif of the film. Think of House of Cards, a very intense series about Frank Underwood trying to become president. There’s not the slightest hint of comedy, but the sudden and frequent dialogue with the viewer (even in the middle of small talk in the White House) brings us very much closer to the main character, shedding light on his thoughts and emotions.

The same effect is achieved in “Deadpool,” despite the comicality of the film. Yes, he’s often just making fun of you by looking you in the eye, but still, thanks to these inserts, we get to know the character better.

Still, in most works, the fourth wall is only broken down episodically. It often happens in the most dramatic scenes of the film when the authors want to make us empathize with the emotions of the main characters.

In the case of horror films, it can make us feel fear and terror if the main villain drills us with his piercing gaze.

There are countless uses for it. And in order to use it, you do not, roughly speaking, need anything. The main thing is to make the actor’s intentional stare into the camera contextually justified.

POV (Point of View) Shot

The purpose of this technique is to create for the viewer the effect of maximum immersion in what is happening on the screen. There can be two ways of doing this: either filming from the first person, or from an outside observer.

In the first case, the use of the method is complicated by the fact that the operator has to be an actor at the same time (or vice versa), and this greatly limits the artistic potential of the scene. Also, the limiting factor is the lack of any ready-made structures on the market to mount professional cameras on the head. That is why engineers have to bust their asses every time and develop these structures, even at the preproduction stage.

Sometimes the creators compromise and give preference to action cameras like GoPro, thus losing the depth of field and dynamic range but gaining the advantage of mobility and ease of use. It can be mounted with a strap on the groom’s head. And separately shoot a POV take during his first meeting with the bride or during preparation, etc.

In the second option (shooting from the observer’s point of view), everything is much easier. There is no need to mount any equipment on the actor, and the operator only has to keep the camera at eye level and create a slight jolt (as if from footsteps) when moving. That’s it. The immersion effect is in your pocket! By the way, a mechanical steadicam, for example, is great for such tasks.

Reflections in Cinematography

This trick hasn’t surprised anyone for a long time, yet directors and cinematographers return to it again and again.

Reflections can be used for completely different purposes.

First, it’s the easiest way to complicate the composition of a shot. By shooting the mirror at an angle, we can achieve, for example, that the camera itself captures just the shoulder of the character, while the reflection shows us his face.

Secondly, the scenes where the characters do some actions or just look at themselves through the mirror are very natural and can show us the emotional state of the characters, in particular their doubts and fears (the most common variant).

Reflections are also often used to mystify what is going on. For example, we can often see a character talking to a mirror in the context of actually talking to a fictional character.

Finally, reflections can facilitate the filming process and subsequent editing. It’s a bit of a trick. For example, we could just switch the focus from the driver’s face to the rear view mirror, instead of shooting these scenes separately (the driver’s face and shooting through the rear window with the camera rotated 180 degrees).

Don’t forget that shooting reflective surfaces requires us to take a more serious technical approach. As a minimum, do not “shine” the camera itself in the reflection.

Also make sure that the surfaces themselves are perfectly clean if we want to achieve good image quality.

Watch out for glare in reflections, and close the aperture more closely in order to achieve the most realistic effect.

Emotions Through Close-Ups

Undoubtedly, the strongest weapon of any cameraman shooting a work of art is the close-up.

It is this closeness that helps to show the viewer the full range of the character’s emotions-anger, regret, fear, doubt, incomprehension, compassion, and love-in the most vivid way possible.

When you use the close-up, everything behind the face goes into the background and gets blurred, even with the aperture closed (here’s a working tip for dark lens wearers who want to make bokeh).

You can’t make the entire scene with just a close-up shot — you have to alternate close-ups anyway.

And you shouldn’t overdo it either. There is no sense in giving close-ups when there is not a single emotion on the character’s face.


Glare can perform different tasks-to add dynamics, to create atmosphere, to hide the shortcomings of computer graphics, as well as to be used as a kind of “trainspotting”.

There are several kinds of glare:

-Natural flare, appearing due to a counter light source pointing toward the lens. Such flares look the neatest and most natural, and they themselves move around the frame relative to the movements of the camera and the light sources themselves.

stock highlights shot against a black background. When using them, you need to change the blending mode in your editing software to Screen so that the background is gone and only the “flare” itself remains. The difficulty is that you need to animate such highlights to make them look natural.

The flares are created by the built-in generators in the program. For example, in DaVinci Resolve, this generator is called “Lens Reflections.” They do not need to be animated, but it is definitely worth playing with the settings of brightness, blur, and saturation, as well as geometric parameters.

Of course, it’s best to use natural highlights. Anamorphic optics, for example, have very nice ones.

Still, in most works, the fourth wall is only broken down episodically. It often happens in the most dramatic scenes of the film when the authors want to make us empathize with the emotions of the main characters.

In the case of horror films, it can make us feel fear and terror if the main villain drills us with his piercing gaze.

There are countless uses for it. And in order to use it, you do not, roughly speaking, need anything. The main thing is to make the actor’s intentional stare into the camera contextually justified.

Bokeh and Blurred Backgrounds

Chasing after a minimum depth of field has long been a mauvais ton among novice filmmakers. They say they made a fat bokeh and that’s it-the picture is ready, it became cinematic. But it’s not so.

Blurring the background is just one of the many tools the cameraman has that were originally designed to focus the viewer’s attention on the main character or object.

With a small DOF, we can hint very directly to the viewer where they need to look.

When we start to open the iris, the background starts to blur, and the “pattern” of this out-of-focus image strongly depends on the optics used.

The location around the character and the events in it begin to play a secondary role. And at this very moment, you need to think about whether you are cutting off things that are important to the narrative.

Silhouettes Shots in Wedding Films

A very popular and beloved technique by many creators that can serve absolutely different purposes.

Roughly speaking, a silhouette is the outline of a character or an object hidden in near-total darkness against a background that is, on the contrary, visible.

The first and most logical purpose of silhouettes is to focus the viewer’s attention not on the main character, but on the environment around him, on the events that take place in the scene, and on the characters with whom he interacts.

However, silhouettes can, on the other hand, emphasize the emotional state of the character—their detachment from the situation or their empathy. Or they can show the character as a curious outsider.

With this filming technique, you can add mystery to the first shots during the bride’s preparation, the newlyweds’ kisses, etc.

And, in the end, silhouettes often look very beautiful on their own.


All of these techniques have to be learned to work with. Some of them require amazing skill and craftsmanship. Certainly, the successful implementation of most of the cameraman techniques requires competent pre-production: a successful selection and preparation of locations; a thought-out plot and “picture”, and the preparation of a well-coordinated work crew. Don’t forget to prioritize quality pre-production in your projects.

We would be happy to be your wedding video editing company. We do our best to couple our editing skills with your footage to get an amazing wedding film. Let’s connect about it!

Write in the comments which of these techniques works best for you to create your wedding films!

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