Photography vs Videography – a debate

Natural wedding photography samples - moments captured naturally

A good friend of mine, Hannah of Pistachio Blush, has just written a very thought provoking post on her blog about Photography vs Videography.

It’s a dilemma that faces quite a lot of wedding couples, and for the majority of people probably sadly results in them being forced to pick one of the two rather than both due to budget constraints.

So, is one more important than the other?  Or is one expendable or not necessary if you have the other angle covered?

Is Photography a ‘Must’?

Hannah’s piece delved into the cons for both, and looked at what both aspects bring to a wedding day.

I do agree with her that photography is probably seen as a ‘must’ have item purely due to tradition playing it’s part that a wedding should be documented, and traditionally photography had been the only viable medium available to couples until more recently when videography started to become more accessible.

I don’t for one minute suggest that this should still be the case, and I certainly don’t think that all couples should ‘have’ photography over videography, and or even vice-versa – at the end of the day everyone has different tastes, ideas and preferences in how they would like their big day immortalised.  Some might favour stills photography as they might be more comfortable looking at photos of themselves rather than watching footage or cringing at hearing the sound of their own voice, whilst many may well prefer the opposite and love to watch the whole re-enactment frame-to-frame with absolutely everything captured in full sequence.

There is no right or wrong in the choice between the two, every couple will have their own preferences, and will make their choice accordingly.

I thoroughly recommend anyone to have a read of Hannah’s post yourselves, as there are some brilliant gems of advice in there for all to digest and consider.

Additional Photography plus points

After personally reading Hannah’s article, I thought about things and realised that there are a couple of points that are missing for the ‘pro’ photography summary that I would like to add for arguments sake that are worth taking on board too as they’re important considerations to be fair in photography’s defence:

• Formal photography – a good photographer knows how to pose and light people to showcase them in their most flattering form. This isn’t always achievable purely through a photojournalistic approach to either stills or video.

Coverage – we too, like videographers, document the whole day from bride getting ready through to first dance, and also capture photos of all the events in a natural documentary style 🙂

Emotive – stills can also be very emotive to the viewer, whilst I know Hannah suggests that she doesn’t think that a still can beat the emotion of a clip of footage, I would slightly argue that isn’t a closed case and have had many clients tell me that they cried looking back over their photographs, or more so their video slideshow that I produce which strings a sequence of photos together with music… This is where I truly believe that the real emotion kicks in, when you view either a still or moving footage fused with a powerful piece of music or song.  Music stirs a lot of emotions and taps into our hearts – add that to a visual and that is where the real power lies, and where Hannah’s point is echoed.

I also personally think that in some cases there is an argument that a strong photograph can possess a huge amount of power over footage purely down to the fact that a freeze-frame of a split second can sometimes overpower a sequence of footage.  Not because it’s better technically, but because it makes your brain work – it gets it to revisualise, to re-live, remember and or to pre-empt something as it gives it a snapshot and let’s it put it back together itself from memory in your mind’s eye.  Less is sometimes more as they say, and making the brain work adds to the viewing experience rather than watching the whole sequence of say a 5-10 second clip.  I much liken it to the old saying that a picture says more than a thousand words… this sums up my point that you can describe something as much as you like, just as you could quite possibly watch a sequence of footage from say 20 different angles (totally exaggerating the point here!), but that one perfect freeze frame will probably seem more powerful emotively than the multiple angles of footage describing and covering that moment in each and every detail possible.

Another point that I’d like to add is the end product of both – stills get framed and put in albums, videos put on disc/hard drive/media consoles.  What do you think get’s viewed more over 20-30 years – the frames, or the video footage?  Also in 30 years time will that video file format still work on future players – but you’ll still have your trusty printed albums and frames 😉

The Future

Whilst at the present there is life for both the photographer and videographer to work harmoniously together, the future on the other hand could well point to a different outcome.

The reason I say this is that technology is advancing all the time, and a lot of videographers now use DSLR’s as their filming cameras.

That alone is not really a reason to foresee a change in the landscape, but the fact that these DSLRs and film cameras are growing in advancement and quality each year on year suggests that they are now at the capabilities with such 4k cameras to pull high quality frames from footage that could then be reproduced and printed at a large scale.

Gone could be the days of the knack of a stills photographer having to perfectly time their trigger finger to capture those natural and poignant moments – when you could then just cherry-pick a single and the most perfect frame from a sequence of hundreds taken within a second… you’d never again have to worry about catching someone blinking!

This very well be a reality for us photographers, possibly forcing us to evolve and embrace video ourselves to survive and very much blurring the lines of the two mediums, meaning ultimately that couples may NOT have to choose between the two and that one person/team will be expected to provide both!

Yes this is something that will fear photographers more than videographers, but at the same time it could well mean that videographers then have to embrace certain elements like the formal side of photography to take on that responsibility as many couples will still want that side of things captured.

Certainly food for thought, and something that is definitely a strong possibility.


The conclusion of the whole debate is that at least for now, Photography and Videography don’t need to compete together, they are totally different, and they are here to supplement each other.

One is not better than the other, it boils down to your personal preference and opinion – both of these mediums are forms of art and so are totally subjective; beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say!

I’d be absolutely intrigued to know what most of you all think about the debate, and what your own personal opinions are on the two mediums as a preference?

Please feel free to answer a couple of questions in the multiple choice survey here below:



References of good Videographers that I’ve worked alongside and recommend:

John Harris Videography

MD Flix Productions

Irene Piera Films

Films in Bloom

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