Every wedding has its special moments, and each comes down to the little details, from the jokes told during a toast to the songs on the DJ’s playlist. While a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s impossible to capture all of these moments completely in photographs.
That’s where a videographer can make all the difference. By capturing your wedding on film in its entirety, a videographer helps keep the memories alive. Videography packages can include the raw footage as well as custom-edited highlights reels to share with family and friends.
We spoke with videographer Matt Shamloo of Mateo Val’e Productions in New York about some of the highlights of his career in filming weddings and how video can make the special moments of that day last a lifetime. He has filmed weddings of all kinds in locations as a far away as Oregon and Mexico as well as close to home. Matt’s style embraces building relationships with his clients and their loved ones and capturing the stories behind the bride and groom and their wedding guests.
How did you get started in your career filming weddings?
I started filming weddings in late 2016. Before that I went to school for journalism and media at St. Joseph’s College. I took my first video production class there. After that first class, my professor said to me, “I would really love if you took the next level class next semester.” From there, I fell in love with video production. After I graduated, I did an internship with a wedding company. I got to go to parties, eat great food, and interact with people. I didn’t know you could have fun while earning money. I’m now the sole owner of my own company.
What is your approach to filming a wedding?
From the second that the couple meets with me, I learn about them – how they met, their friends and family, all of that. I make them feel comfortable because at the wedding, I want to capture them being themselves. I don’t want them to feel awkward on camera.
I have examples to give them an idea of what the filming will be like, though each wedding video is unique. I do my research ahead of time to see what the weather is like, what the venue is like, and to prepare as much as I possibly can. If you don’t prepare well, it will suck. The fact that I know what could possibly happen the day of the wedding gives a sense of comfort to the client. They can trust you and be vulnerable with you. By the time the wedding is over, we’re good friends. We keep in touch. I’m not just a vendor to them.
What is the benefit of having a videographer film your wedding?
People should value video because it captures a lost memory. One of my friends has a photo of her dancing at her wedding. It’s a beautiful shot. The only thing is, she doesn’t remember the song she was dancing to or what kind of dance she was doing. With video you can relive that whole experience.
A lot of best men and maids of honor put a lot of effort into their toast. It’s nice to know you have that moment captured and how they delivered it as opposed to a photo. You can hear what’s said, their tone, and the reactions. A picture is worth a thousand words, but with a video you don’t need 1,000 words. It’s all there.
What are some of the most memorable weddings you’ve filmed?
In December 2017 I shot a wedding at Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. It was one of my favorite places I’ve traveled for a wedding because of the atmosphere, but also because of the people that were there. It was a big family and there were more than 200 people there. I initially shot one brother’s wedding. I ended up filming the weddings of seven different couples I met there. It was the first of many referrals and it was a real growth spurt for my business – my work got better and my name got out there to more people.
How do you approach capturing the bride’s jewelry on film?
One of the things I like to get as far as jewelry is the necklace. It’s one of those accessories that make a big difference. It gives a little bit more “oomph” to the look – it’s like going from standard to bold font. I like filming the necklaces best because it gives a tease of what the bride looks like. Bracelets are another one of those things. A beautiful bracelet can enhance everything else.
Do you have a preferred camera or any other favorite equipment you like to use?
As far as equipment, I’m not a huge proponent of expensive cameras. I’ve seen people with low-level cameras that have produced great work, and I’ve seen people with high-level cameras produce poor work. It’s not what you have, but how you use it. Lighting is more important that anything as it sets the mood and tone. That little crack of light might make someone look fantastic.
Audio is one of the things I cherish most about a wedding shoot, so I’m very big on audio equipment. Good audio equipment allows you to capture the words that are spoken during toasts and other important moments clearly.
What drives and inspires you during a shoot? What motivates your creative process?
I like to capture raw and unfiltered moments. I love when couples and their friends and family show their personalities. I have a lot of films where the craziest dancers happen to be my client’s boss. Everyone is going to be on their best behavior at a wedding but people will also be themselves – let loose and tell jokes – not in a cheesy way but in a way that’s genuine. I want someone to look back and say “this is who we were as people.”
What advice do you have for couples at their wedding?
I would always tell my couples, “Give yourself time for each other.” On a wedding day, from the second you wake up, there’s makeup to put on, a dress you have to get into, the limousine arriving, so many vendors and things you have to worry about – the details, table placements, the table cloth. Sometimes couples forget the reason this is all happening.
At the end of the day, one person asked to marry this person and that person said yes
The one person that matters the most is their significant other. No matter how stressful things might be or how late the DJ is, you always have to remember, at the end of the day, “This isn’t the best day of my life because of the DJ, it’s because the person I’ve been seeing asked me to spend the rest of my life with them.”
Wedding Film Maker
Mateo Val’e Productions