I was introduced to Anna Norman, of Pine Trail Films, back in January when we were shooting Emma & Daniel’s wedding at Foxhall Resort. Videographers and photographers spend wedding days basically climbing all over each other trying to get the shots they need, but for some reason, this day felt easy. It felt fun, relaxed and we were getting amazing stuff! I’ve mentioned before that Emma & Daniel’s wedding day was up until now, the smoothest running wedding day I have ever experienced and I attribute a lot of that to Anna.
Anna and I had a long discussion at dinner that night about what makes a photographer easy to work with from a videographer’s perspective. Keep reading to find out what we had to say about it. Anna, thank you so much for being a joy to work with and taking the time to chat with me. I will never stop singing your praises!
Q: How did you find your way to videography?
When I was a kid, I loved making little movies on Windows Movie Maker, so I guess you could say I’ve always had an interest in filmmaking. Throughout high school and college, I continued making videos for fun as well as for school, which then led to making videos to document my travels after college. One of my friends I was traveling with asked me to film her wedding, then another friend asked me to film hers, and from there one wedding just kept leading to another. That was when I realized that I could take something I loved doing and actually turn it into a business, and I have been doing what I love ever since!
Q: What is the hardest part about your job?
As with any creative job, I would say one of the biggest challenges is avoiding burnout. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut or in a video editor’s equivalent of writer’s block at times, but this is why I am always challenging myself to try new things and to tell everyone’s unique story in a different way that is fit just for them.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
There are so many things I love about my job! First of all, I love the people I get to work with. I get to film alongside my boyfriend, Antonio, which is the absolute best, and I get to work with the raddest couples and vendors. I also love being able to work for myself and constantly being able to work on and expand my business. But most of all, I love being able to produce something that our couples will cherish and be able to look back on for years to come. I love the idea that our couples will be able to look back on their wedding film fifty years down the road and relive their most beloved memories. Film has this amazing, magical quality to freeze time, and I think that is just the coolest thing.
Q: We discussed this at Emma’s wedding, but what makes a photographer easy to work with? What makes them challenging to work with?
The number one thing that makes a photographer easy to work with as a videographer is simply being a team player. When we can work together as a team to get the best shots rather than fighting for time, it gives the couple the best experience and the best products from everyone. I have unfortunately worked with photographers in the past who have almost acted mad that I am there because I am eating into their precious time in the schedule – and I totally get that to some degree. I understand that having a videographer present may inherently give you less time than you are used to when you have to share a portrait session. But you also have to understand that as a videographer, you are ALWAYS having to share your time with a photographer, and most of the time, you are getting the short end of the stick and fighting for the scraps. When you are having to constantly fight for any scrap of time to get a shot that you have in mind, it does not give the couple the best film that they deserve. I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is that the couple has made a large investment in both photography and videography and to think about how you can work together as a team to provide them with the best of both worlds.
Another thing that makes a photographer easy to work with is clear communication and checking in with each other to make sure everyone has what they need. Game-planning before a ceremony is an absolute must to make sure no one is in each other’s way, and of course, just being a fun person to hang out with makes the day so much smoother!
Q: In your opinion, what makes a good videographer?
Being a good videographer is so much more than just producing pretty images. A videographer should first and foremost be a storyteller. Throughout the day, I am constantly watching out and listening for the pieces of the puzzle that I am going to edit together to tell the couple’s story. I think that a successful wedding film is one where the couple can go back and watch it years later and really feel the emotions that they felt on that day, as well as one where strangers can watch it and really feel like they know the couple.
Q: What is in your camera bag?
My camera bag is constantly evolving and growing, but we currently shoot on the Sony a7iii and Sony a7sii, and I love my Tamron 28-75 and Rokinon cine prime lenses. You will see me on my Zhyihun Crane 3 Lab gimbal most of the day, and as far as audio, we use several Tascam DR-Ls and a Zoom H5. Antonio is our resident drone pilot, and he flies the Mavic 2 Pro. Of course, there are so many more things in a videographer’s bag (more like five bags/cases – haha) from tripods, to lights, to support gear and monitors, but I won’t bore you with all that!
Q: What is the best piece of advice you can give couples when selecting a videographer?
The biggest piece of advice I would give couples when searching for a videographer is to find someone whose style and personality you vibe with. First, how do their films make you feel? Do they really tell a story or are they just kind of some images slapped over music? Pay attention to the way they incorporate audio, color, light, etc. Second, would you want to spend a whole day hanging out with this person? You will ultimately spend most of your wedding day hanging out with both your photographer and videographer, so make sure they are someone you would enjoy being around.
Q: What are the next steps for you? How do you intend to keep growing?
We actually have some big moves coming up that we are excited to start implementing in our business! Moving forward, we will be focusing more on adventurous elopements! It’s funny, this small break from the world in the midst of social isolation has given us the opportunity to really refocus our goals, and we will be making big steps to make them happen. Be on the lookout for some announcements soon! We also have one more big change that we are considering, but you will just have to wait and see!
Q: If people want to contact you for more information about your services, how do they do that?
You can get information about our services by filling out our contact form at pinetrailfilms.com/contact. You can also reach out to us on Instagram @pinetrailfilms
April 17, 2020