Wedding Filmmaker portrait Simon Hargreaves Founder of Hargreaves Films

Why I Became a Wedding Filmmaker

Journey to Wedding Filmmaker

I guess everyone’s route into the world of wedding film making is different. At Wedding Breakfast Club I meet all sorts of people involved in weddings. Some young, some old, some experienced and some newer to the game. There’s really no set pattern to who ends up making their living from the wedding industry. 

 

If you told me 5 years ago that I’d be making wedding films for a living I’d probably have looked at you with some raised eyebrows. I was your typical young professional working a corporate job in London, living for the weekend. Something was wrong but I wasn’t sure what. I always felt like a square peg in a round hole. I could never really understand how people could sit in an office all day and not get restless. Something had to change, but I didn’t know what yet. 

My Journey to South Korea

I decided to shake things up a bit and uproot myself and went the TEFL(Teach English as a Foreign Language) route. Handing in my notice and moving to South Korea to teach English was my only plan. I just knew I needed to get out of the office and see the world a bit. After a few months planning, I made it over to South Korea and was happily teaching but I still had little idea what I was going to do long term. We’re still a long way from me shooting weddings here but stick with me. 

One Second Everyday and Getting the Filming Bug

Whilst in South Korea, I decided I wanted to document my trip somehow. I wasn’t the blogging type and vlogging (Video Logging) hadn’t even been invented yet. However, whilst watching a TED Talk, I did come across an app that turned out to be life-changing for me. It was called 1 Second Everyday. It was perfect for me!

 

Meeting my Wife (Hannah Green Photography)

So, armed with my new passion for filming things and a Go-Pro I started documenting our travels. 

The next thing that had to click into place was meeting my wife Hannah. She’s the gorgeous and talented girl behind the lens of Hannah Green Photography and my partner 4lyfe yo! We met in South Korea and started travelling together shortly afterwards.

We’ve been to Japan,  Indonesia, USA and Iceland (where we got married) together to name a few. 

The thing is with travelling with a photographer is, they want to take lots of pictures all the time. So what happens when they’re stopping all over the place to shoot people, plants, buildings… well, anything really. You get bored that’s what happens. Well, I refused! I wasn’t going to wait around doing nothing (double negative for the win), whilst she had all the fun.

So, armed with my new passion for filming things and a Go-Pro I started documenting our travels. 

Early Days

Progress was fast! It didn’t take me long to outgrow the Go Pro and my phone. Luckily Hannah had an old DSLR camera I could use. It didn’t take me long to outgrow that either! I had lots of questions. She became my guru. I’d ask her about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, composition, colour grading, everything really. I know for a fact she got annoyed with me at the time but it didn’t matter. I hadn’t been to Film School and I had to learn this stuff.
Before long she didn’t know the answers to all my questions and had to start teaching myself. 
There’s a lot of cross over between photography and film. But, before long I had to Fleetwood Mac and go my own way.
Once I got my footage into the computer and started editing I started to realise why I was drawn to film making. I have been a DJ since I was 14 years old. Sequencing things to ebb and flow in a pleasing way comes second nature to me. I’ve just always done it. I soon realised that’s what editing is; putting things in order until they sit right. Things were starting to click into place for me.

Needing more from my films

There’s only so many travel videos you can make before you notice that there’s more to making a film than just pretty images set to music. You need STORY. Now, we’re beginning to get to the heart of why I like to shoot weddings. At the heart of every wedding is a story. The story of the bride and groom, their friends and family. This is the thing that I place at the heart of every film I make. I try to find out what makes my couples unique and reflect that in the film I deliver for them. 

Meeting my Wife (Hannah Green Photography)

Everything I need/want to craft a compelling story is right there before me.

The reality of it is, I really enjoy making wedding films. Everything I need/want to craft a compelling story is right there before me. Each wedding has a beginning, a middle and an end like all good stories should. I can use the audio captured from speeches to build around. 
The industry has evolved in recent times, and there is a lot of scope available to someone like me to be creative. Sure, weddings can be stressful at times due to the perceived pressure. At the end of the day though, they’re just a great big party. Bride’s and grooms I work with understand this and just let me get on with things. If they didn’t understand this, I wouldn’t be working with them in the first place! I get offered lots of nice canapes, the odd drink and generally get to have a laugh whilst I’m “working”. What’s not to like?

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t interested in making other types of film. At the end of the day, I like being creative and making stuff. I’ve worked on film sets in recent months though and that brings its own challenges. Film crews are made up of dozens of people and everything (I mean everything) is planned out in meticulous detail. That’s a far cry from the weddings I’m used to shooting.

I don’t need a truck full of stuff to shoot a wedding. It’s all right there in my bag.

I don’t need a script and a storyboard. I just point the camera and let it all unfold in front of me. There is something liberating about that. 

The Best Feedback

I also derive great pleasure from feedback once I’ve delivered my wedding films to my couples. That one film will likely be the most important film in that bride (or grooms!) life. You can’t say the same about any other type of film you deliver to someone. Comments like this are obviously always great to receive:

I’ve been rabbiting on a little while now. But it was fun to think about this and why I enjoy doing what I do. At the end of the day, the day is not really about me. It’s about the couples I shoot and make films for. I pride myself on doing my best for every wedding and feel blessed to be doing this for a living. 

Where do I start AMAZING !!!!!!! We just watched the first video and cried and laugh throughout…You my dear friend nailed it … captured our special day …

Stuart

Contact