So you had the perfect wedding. Now it’s time to finally relax and enjoy your honeymoon! You’ve been looking forward to this for your entire life, and now you want to capture the memories of your special getaway.
Thankfully, you really don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to shoot awesome videos. And with some free editing software, as long as your footage is good, you’ll be able to cut together a stunning record of your honeymoon that will make friends on social media jealous for decades.
Follow the five tips below to make your video look like you had a big budget videographer traveling with you for the entire honeymoon. To make this article as useful as possible for the greatest number of honeymooners, we focused on tips that you can apply regardless of the type of camera you are using – it could be just a smartphone, a GoPro, a DSLR camera or even a drone.
So let’s get started!
Pick a Style
First and foremost, you want to plan ahead to figure out what theme, visually and otherwise, your honeymoon video will take. Think about the style and feeling you are after. Are you going for something fun and quirky, or sentimental and serious? A silly, carefree approach might result in an upbeat, funny, energetic video with fast transitions and a lot going on. But a sentimental, emotional video may use slower cuts, more dramatic angles, and more cinematic camera movements. Maybe you want to edit in vlog types of clips to address the audience directly or do “interview” segments, like they have on reality TV shows.
Either way, you need to decide on the general feeling and themes you want before you start shooting. Then all your shoots should match that theme. Let me give you a couple of examples so you get a better idea of what I’m talking about.
Let’s say you have a selfie stick and a GoPro, and you want to get one of those 360 degree shots of the two of you and whatever it is in the background, spinning around your GoPro. You can do this in different locations, with different people and you can end up with a great compilation video reel that sums up your travel experience really nicely. This will probably be a pretty fast paced, upbeat video.
Now imagine you want to create something a little bit more emotional or romantic. You would use slower editing, slower movement, and more shots with really shallow depth of field. You might use a little bit of slow-motion, with slow or dramatic background music.
That’s a completely different style when compared to the GoPro 360 video.
Not picking your style ahead of time will cause you to end up with a jambo of different video styles which is probably not going to be coherent. Your video can be any style you want – it all depends on your personality as a couple, so get creative with it, and be consistent when shooting.
Don't Film Everything
A common mistake is giving into the urge to capture so much that you try to film literally everything. Remember to plan ahead by coming up with a theme or style, then only film the scenes that will go well with your chosen theme. Aside from that, filming non-stop is going to take you away from the actual honeymoon you should be enjoying!
This means you will have to leave out a lot of things, people, and eve places, but trust me, being choosy will make your final honeymoon video look much better.
Going back to our example above, let’s say you decided you want to go with the fun, funky GoPro 360 style, and you notice this stunning-yet-haunting shipwreck on the beach with the sunset in the background that would look beautiful on camera. That scene would definitely not fit your honeymoon video style.
This is probably one of the biggest disadvantages of sticking with a theme – you will probably need to leave out a lot of cool shoots. Of course, you can still take pictures and to capture those gorgeous moment, it just not be a great fit for your honeymoon video.
So, think twice before you start shooting. Will this scene fit my style? Will it look good on camera? Putting just a little bit of thought in each shoot is going to make a tremendous difference in you final video. On top of that, by selecting what you want to shoot you will end up with a more manageable amount of footage which you can then edit yourself or have a video editing company handle for you.
Use Low Angles
A common thing you see in almost all amateur shoots is that everything is filmed at eye level. Most people’s first instinct is to hold the camera up to their face, press record, and hope for the best.
However, a quick trick that massively improves the look of your videos is to film from the level of your waist. What this does is that it puts a constant low angle shoot on the places around you. Essentially it makes the world look bigger, more epic and a more exciting place because you are literally seeing from a child’s point of view.
I bet you’ve seen professional videographer shooting from this angle all the time. Ever wonder why they do it? Well, it simply makes the video look better. You can also vary your shots in other ways by shooting from above, experimenting with a variety of close-ups and far shots, and trying out unique perspectives.
Just try taking your camera or phone, and see how it changes the video when you use a low angle at waist level, keeping the camera close to your body. You will get much more epic shots!
Hold it Steady
Most of the time you will be shooting handheld, which can result in shaky footage. This will kill the quality of the video. Even though most cameras nowadays come with built-in stabilization, this feature will not solve the issue and has drawbacks.
So whenever you want to start filming, take your time and don’t rush through it. Try to move steadily by keeping both hands on your camera or smartphone. A simple trick you can do is to keep your hands very close your body. This stabilizes your hands by causing less arm movement, reducing camera shakiness. From there, you will be able to minimize shakiness even more in editing by using an image stabilization option.
This tip is extra important if you are shooting using an iPhone or any other smartphone, because these are significantly lighter than DSLR cameras and make it easier to end up with shaky looking footage.
Pay Attention to Movement
You can move it side to side, forwards, backwards or maybe up and down. Just don’t do that thing where you are just walking around and you are pointing the camera randomly at stuff around you. Well, in fact that might work if you are after that vlog kind of look, but that’s it. It will probably not look good on any other style of video.
What you want to do instead is to look around and observe, then pick your shoot after you plan your camera movements. That will help you move the camera in a way that looks cinematic and intentional, rather than random. You want your honeymoon footage to look like it came from a big budget Hollywood movie, not a home video!
Alternatively, you can also have shots where you don’t move the camera at all. You can just set it on a tripod and hit record. In this case however, there should be some movement within the frame, whether it’s a group of birds taking flight or a street performer dancing their pants off.
You can also set the camera up on a tripod and film the two of you as you walk on a beach at sunset, on a country road, or in whatever setting you choose. That way you have shots containing both you and your other half experiencing your honeymoon, rather than merely footage of the things you saw.
As for zooming, keep it to a minimum if you do it at all! Digital zoom reduces the picture quality, and zooming usually makes videos look more amateurish.
Bonus Tip: Use the Golden Hour
If you are into videography or filmmaking as hobbies, you probably heard of the “golden hour”. That’s the ideal time to shoot your videos. Golden hours generally refers to either dusk or dawn. These are the absolute best times to film. The way the natural light is cast at sunset and sunrise will simply increase the visual “wow factor” on every shot you take without you doing anything extra.
So there you have it. Enjoy your honeymoon, take that camera out, start implementing these tips and I can guarantee you will be impressing your friends and family with your honeymoon video. But more importantly, you end up with a stunning honeymoon video you and the love of your life can watch any time you want –even sitting down to watch it with your future children, if you decide to have them. Any tips of your own for stunning honeymoon videos? Share them with our readers in the comments below!
Cristian Baratiak is a freelance videographer, founder of VeedYou.com – an online company offering video editing services to customers all over the world. When he is not busy in post-production editing videos, he likes to travel and shoot drone footage.