So last month we introduced our latest Niche family member (more on the rest of the Niche team to come…) but in addition to who is on our team, I wanted to reach out to the talented team players we work alongside each weekend as well. Because, really, without each other the wedding day ship would sink faster than the Titanic. No one person can fill the shoes of every single vendor out there – as much as we try!
I also wanted to showcase that yes – we are real people behind all the prettiness that you see on Instagram! And finding vendors that not only suit your style, but your personalities, will just add even more depth and excitement for your big day.
First up, the art of videography! I had the lovely opportunity of sitting down with Shyah from Beautiful Life Studios to chat about what it’s like behind the camera and how he got into the wonderful world of weddings!
Q: Hi Shyah! Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Where to start…people are my caffeine, art keeps me curious, science fascinates me and ice cream makes me smile. I moved to Vancouver 4 years ago with my wife. Accompanied with our 2 best friends we took 8 days to drive the expansive 4000 km journey through hills, prairies and mountains.
I’m Persian, Jewish and have had a Jamaican step family for over 20 years. Needless to say, I like to dance.
Q: How did you personally find an interest in videography?
It all started in high school duringvolunteer trips to Kenya and Ecuador.I witnessed poverty first hand; played soccer with kids who didn’t own shoes nor had access to clean water. As a teen, I knew I had to make a positive impact on humanity, so I went to university to obtain a degree in International Development Studies. Around that time I was gifted my first camera, I think it was the Canon SX100. Within days I could operate entirely in manual mode – there was an innate understanding of principles of photography (and videography.)
As I made more videos I realized the power of a movie was exceptional: people pay $15 to watch a 90 minute video and leave inspired. I thought, “this is how I should positively affect my community – making videos!”
Q: How would you describe the difference between a videographer (corporate) and a wedding videographer?
Both jobs are stressful, but a wedding videographer needs to be a chameleon-eyed, bat-eared shooter who’s able to anticipate the next moment seconds before it happens.
I have worked on about 10 corporate projects (UNICEF, Nickelodeon, Sprott Shaw College) and have shot over 100 weddings. While the differences are numerous, it boils down to the significance of whatyou’re capturing. Corporate videos have extensive planning sessions for controlled shoots – this is not like weddings. We need to think on our feet and scan rooms to capture the best angle for fleeting moments that last less than 10 seconds.
Q: Were you always into the idea of shooting weddings?
I absolutely wasn’t into weddings at first. If you asked me if I wanted to continue after shooting my first two weddings you would have received an answer about how hard they are, or how little money they could bring in. I was dead set in pursuing work in the Corporate industry. I guess life has a way of taking you where you really need to be.
Q: What is the most common comment you get from people outside of this industry when you tell them you are a wedding videographer?
The most common thing I hear is “that must be fun!” And it is. Although I lose pretty much every weekend from May to September, I get to experience a ridiculous party during one of the most special moments of a couple’s life.
Q: What should clients out there look for in a wedding videographer?
Experience, connection and support.
Enough experience to know what can go wrong, and what a wedding video should look and feel like when everything goes right. For a connection that allows for genuine relationships between you, your guests and vendors. And then support: make sure the person who joins your wedding wants to be more than a camera operator – they should have your back when those sticky situations present themselves.
A perfect example comes from earlier this season: I was filming a groomsman as he signed the marriage certificate. There were tea candles on the table and he didn’t realize that the side of the paper had caught on fire. Upon noticing, I immediately stamped out the flame with my palm – it happened so quickly. I think my instincts kicked in before I was conscious of what was happening. If I didn’t take matters into my own hands (literally), the signing portion of the Ceremony may have gone up in smoke.
Q: What is your favorite part of the day to capture?
I could have worked a 10hr day but, when the dancefloor is packed, I can’t help but jump in the center. Expect a grand smile on my face and footage that makes your reception look like Drake’s latest music video.
Q: What is the biggest struggle you face on a wedding day?
The biggest struggle occurs when it’s just me shooting the ceremony or speeches: the stress comes when I first need to establish a clean audio feed with the DJ or officiant and then juggle two cameras on tripods. When it comes to speeches – particularly on weddings with no planner – I pray that the MC gives me the requested “heads-up” before the next speaker is introduced.
REAL, REAL TALK
Q: Would you say you are more of a morning person or night person?
I’m definitely a nightowl! I get up in the morning because I have to, and stay up because I want to. Maybe it’s the artist in me…
Q: Taking care of yourself is important – especially in peak season – we are not just wedding machines! How do you take care of yourself during these stressful times?
Destressing comes in the form of family get togethers and hosting friends. Hosting is work, yes, but my wife and I love to provide our community with a place to gather. If we’re not indoors, we’re out walking trails, enjoying local craft beer or road tripping.
AND A LITTLE SHOP TALK…
Q: When/how did you know BLS was the right fit for you/you were for them?
Shortly before completing the Digital Video Production program in Ontario, I decided to move out to Vancouver. I came across an ad from BLS, who was opening a studio out west. How could this be coincidence – I took this as a sign from the universe and applied!
I knew my journey with BLS would be an uphill climb: they were a small business and needed teammates – not employees – to grow with the company. 4 years later and I’m happy to say that I have established genuine connections through meaningful work.
Q: Can you walk me through your process of working with you? From inquiry to video delivery?
Couple’s first meet myself or our Director of Client Relations. We chat about the usual stuff, like guest count and the general wedding aesthetic, but we’re really interested in the couple’s story and establishing a real connection.
Our team likes to be involved in the planning stage, so expect a few skype calls to talk about your weekend and the latest wedding details. On the big day, expect guidance, humour and patience. For the editing process, we want to keep the lines of communication open until you’re happy with how your memories have come together.
Q: What kind of experience can couples expect from you?
On the big day, expect humour and support. A good metaphor comes from my good friend and officiant, Mitchell Clarke: we’re ducks on a pond. Calm on the surface, but paddling at full speed underneath.
When it comes to posing the couple or working with a wedding party, there will be laughs. I’ve developed a list of one-liners to evoke smiles. They can be awkward at times, but look at my videos and you will see genuine laughter that likely resulted from a comment about underwear. It’s not just about the Head Table though, I’ll befriend your parents, cousins and grandmother too. Everyone is an integral part of the day – I’m capturing these events for their memories too.
Q: Any last comments or remarks to our readers out there?
Make the daya reflection of you and your partner. Think outside of the box and host a party where you will have just as much fun as your guests. When it comes to vendors, ensure you get along with them. A wedding requires lots of moving parts and takes a lot of work in order to run properly.
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