It has been nearly three years since I shifted my career being an accountant to being a wedding videographer/photographer, making videos for couples wanting to show their kids how they fell in love, what happened at their wedding, and how young and beautiful their love was. I am grateful to be there on such an amazing day when two people devote themselves to each other, committing to be a family together, and carry on the another branch in a family tree just as their ancestors did. I understand the magnitude of the situation as I film that day. I understand who is going to be watching this video, and how important the story of how their family is created is going to be. I know all of us struggle to envision our future selves and how important watching these videos will be with our children. Imagine watching your wedding videos with your daughter when you are helping her plan her wedding. Everyone at weddings seems to be at their best. Everyone there is happy to celebrate two families coming together to start a new one. Which is why wedding videos are so beautiful, they capture friends and family while they are glowing with that joy. Which is why I decided to share some of the videos I have helped couples make this year today with you.

One of my favorite things to do is record live music during a wedding and use it in one of the highlight videos I create for the couple. During the wedding reception, the Bride’s niece stepped onto the dance floor alone with a microphone, and expressed her desire to give the bride and groom a meaningful gift from the heart, something more than just a thing. After dedicating her gift to her aunt, she opened her heart in front of everyone. She sang from a place that gave everyone listening goose bumps, as the DJ played an instrumental version of the song “At Last”. Now this was a great experience for everyone there, but as a videographer, I can tell you right at that moment when she began this amazing gift, I thought “Thank God, Sight and Sound” is the DJ. I knew I was recording their audio and it would sound amazing for their video.  

One of the downsides of planning an outdoor wedding is that you never know exactly what to expect weather-wise. That is a risk, but there is a high reward that comes as well. Can you really beat the atmosphere that the outdoors provides? And from a photographer’s perspective, visually, you can’t beat it. This couple had their ceremony outdoors behind the Farm and Ranch Museum. Full view of the Organ Mountains and all. They spent months in advance preparing their own separate vows, to surprise each other on their wedding day, with their own personal commitment thoroughly outlined composing their promises in exchange for their lives of solitude. You could tell they did not take this marriage lightly, as they spared no expense in detail of their willingness to commit. The time had come, the rings nearby in a trusted pocket, the microphone was passed from the reverend to the bride, and she began to read her carefully written and scrutinized thoughts she had worked so hard on to show her soon to be husband how important he was to her, and what she was willing to sacrifice for him if only to spend the rest of time together. The wind had picked up slightly and the microphone cut out every now and then. Words heard by the groom that weren’t heard by the guests. It was fine, we could fill in the blanks. Their love was still felt. And so it went during his vows to her. The risk of the outdoor wedding found one small way to manifest itself, in the form of a slight technical distraction. That’s alright I had a back-up mic on the groom, “No big deal” I thought. Only they were so close to a running fountain of water, the noise overwhelmed that audio. When I was working on their videos and found that out, I contacted the couple. I visited them at their new home, and we recorded their vows again. This time, there weren’t any blanks to fill in. Their vows became the voice over of one of their highlight videos. Now they can hold each other to their vows at their convenience, making it difficult not to think twice before getting in an argument. But even better, they can inspire their children to find the person that comes along in their lives that holds the same passion towards them.

After a year of planning and working with talented and experienced vendors to ensure that your wedding lines up with your vision of what your wedding day should be, you are set and ready to relax on the day itself, and just enjoy each other in wedding bliss. And that is exactly what this couple did. This was the most elaborately decorated wedding we photographed this year, but you would never know it from looking at the photographs. The day started as any wedding day would have, family and friends getting ready, expressing their love and pride of the bride and groom, everyone smiling so much you knew their faces were hurting before even getting to the Church. The ceremony is beautiful and everything is going great, and then the Priest says out of nowhere “Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans”. And then as if inspired, he repeats it again. Not quite what a newly married couple who just spent the last year planning this marriage wants to hear. But in fact, he was right, especially for that day. At the reception venue, lights were hung, decorations were set, and live musicians where gracing the cocktail hour as a strong wind blew in. One look at the mountains, and you could see half of the sky covered in darkness. Elise and I were about to photograph the wedding cake when the wind nearly blew it over, if not for Elise and the Bride’s uncle literally catching it. In came a nasty windstorm, down went all of the wedding décor. A few decorations smashed by the wind, a few guests wet by rain, and several wedding plans destroyed, changed without notice or aspiration. But it didn’t stop the celebration or the lovebirds’ commitment. The expressions on the faces of attendees was only bleak for a moment, compared to the evening of laughter, reminiscence, and excitement for these two and their journey through life together, through both the good times and the bad. They proved that day, they will uplift each other come what may.

We are so grateful for these couples including us in their wedding, inviting us to be there and witness one of the longest and simultaneously the shortest days of their lives. It is with great gratitude that we continue our photography business thanks to great clients like these. We cherish the time we spend together, and the creativity they inspire. No two wedding stories are alike, and so we tell none of them the same through our photography and videography. That is the true essence of storytelling isn’t it? It isn’t the individual moments, staged for the camera, posed for that particular flash in time. It is the combination of several moments, a beginning, a middle, and an end. We always end stories with a happily ever after, not because that is the end of their story, but that is the beginning of another that they start together.  

Videography Interview for the Las Cruces Bulletin's Perfect Southwest Weddings

Today the Las Cruces Bulletin released their 2017-2018 Perfect Southwest Weddings magazine, and once again I am honored to have been interviewed for one of the many articles found within. I think writer Adam Palomino did a great job curating three interviews, between myself and two other local vendors, into an easy to read article so if you haven’t seen that yet be sure to check it out. It is on page 20, titled “Treasured Moments: Photography, Videography Packages Preserve Precious Memories”. This time, due to scheduling difficulties, I was interviewed via email rather than in person. Fortunately, that means I have a copy of the questions and my answers behind the scenes. So without further ado, here are the questions I was asked accompanied by my full responses.

1. What’s trending in wedding videography?

Wedding videography in Las Cruces is kind of like chalk paint. Chalk paint started trending in other parts of the country about three years before it was even available in Las Cruces. I feel like Las Cruces is finally starting to come around on wedding videography. Brides are really starting to see the value in having a motion picture as opposed to just still photographs. Same day edits, super 8mm film videography, and 4k are trending in other parts of the country right now, but in Las Cruces the value just isn’t there yet. I had one groom ask me “Why don’t you shoot in 4k?” I asked back “Oh, do you have a player that can play 4k video?” To which he bowed his head almost in shame and said “No”. I would love to shoot a wedding with a super 8mm film camera, it would give an organic vintage film look that digital videographers do their best to mimic, but it just never quite looks the same. But convincing a bride to want a 3 minute un-editable highlight video with no audio is a hard sale in Las Cruces. It’s sad really because anything on film will outlive digital data.    

2. What options are offered locally?

Locally, couples are starting to see their friend’s wedding videos on Facebook and Instagram, and that sparks an interest in having a highlight video from their wedding day as well.

Highlight videos, full length edits, and I have even heard that some videographers in town offer the raw video files. The last option is insane to me. I would never hand raw video files over to one of my clients and essentially say “Here you go, good luck!” I don’t expect my clients to have the software or experience I have with color grading, cutting, and audio editing, to make a full video that would be enjoyable to watch as opposed to short video clips they would have to open one at a time to view.

In my public accounting days, I had a co-worker show me videos from her daughter’s Quinceañera. She popped a DVD in her PC and showed me the highlight video. Her face lit up as she remembered the event. After it ended, she said “Then they gave me all the video files too”, with a disgusted smirk on her face. She opened up one so I could see, and yeah it was awful. There is a reason why not all of the videos shot that day didn’t make the highlight video. Videographers include their best video clips in the highlight video. Don’t talk yourself into thinking there is more value in having the files that didn’t make the cut.

3. What are the different types of packages one could get; engagement + photo session only? Photo + Videography? And what are the price ranges for packages, generally?

Taylor’d Photography is a family business, husband and wife photography and videography team. My wife is the lead photographer, and I am the lead videographer, and I use two of my brother-in-laws to second shoot video for me at weddings, who I trained personally. So we do offer both photography and videography to our clients. And we give a discount for booking us for both. Ultimately, we are trying to help our couples tell the story of how and why they decided to start a family together.

Pricing and packages are something we discuss with our clients when we initially meet them.

4. Digital only or prints? What other options, if any?

We deliver wedding videos to our clients on DVDs, Blu-Rays, USBs, and also make them available for digital download and viewing online. We also post sneak peek previews on YouTube at our client’s discretion.

5. What’s the process like? How early would you recommend a couple meet with the videographer? What considerations are there when deciding what’s right for a client? When and how often do the couples meet with the videographer to discuss plans/themes/pricing, etc.?

The first thing couples should do when looking for a videographer is watch videos from different videographers in town and determine which style they can relate to. The one that feels right to them is the one they should book for their wedding.

As far as timing, once you have decided which videographer you like best, book them as soon as you possibly can. We met with a couple that was getting married in 9 months. After meeting us they said they would let us know in a week whether or not they were going to book us. That same week another couple contacted us for the same date. They ended up booking us for their wedding, putting down a retainer to reserve the date. A couple weeks later, the first couple called us and wanted to book us. Sadly, we weren’t available for their wedding date anymore. With that said, if possible, couples should try to book their videographer six to twelve months out. I know for us (Taylor’d Photography), August, September, and October tend to fill up fast.

Since we do charge a nonrefundable retainer fee, it is better to lock in a venue or venues if different locations are going to be used for the ceremony and reception, before locking in a videographer/photographer.

Since we are a family business, we like to meet our clients, and get to know them before we just show up on one of the most memorable days of their lives. So the first we thing we require of our potential clients is to meet us to see what we offer and ultimately to see if we are the right fit. After they have booked us, we hash out more details of their wedding, help them with their timeline for the most photogenic experience possible, and keep in touch up to and after the wedding. We want our clients to feel that we are approachable, and we end up becoming good friends throughout the process.

6. How do couples help the videographer shape the narrative of their wedding video?

When a couple gets married they are really starting a family. Our approach centers on what that family is going to want to see. We tell the story of the wedding day for someone who wasn’t there, but wishes they could have been. And the best way we could tell that story is by knowing the couple. When I edit wedding videos I am thinking about what I would want to see if it were my parents’ wedding. I want to see the younger version of my Dad with the same mannerisms, looking at my Mom the way he still does with that beam of light in his eyes. And I want to see the younger version of my Mom shine like she did at their golden anniversary. I want to capture the bride and groom’s personality for their posterity.   

August 2015 Published Videos Update

Every month I post a list with links of the videos I published and share my motivation/inspiration behind each video. 

Taylor'd Photography

I use this YouTube channel for professional projects using professional DSLR cameras.

Engagement Slideshow: Ben & Dom

This is a slideshow Elise and I made for a couple of lovebirds this last month. This is a combination of still photos with a few short video clips. For certain Photography and Videography combination packages, I tag along for the engagement shoot. Although, we like to think of engagement sessions as more of a date night rather than a photoshoot. And what more of a romantic setting can you get besides the Whites Sands National Monument at sunset. I couldn’t resist filming the symbolism as the sun goes down representing the end of “I” in their relationship as two single strangers in love, and the sun will soon come up representing the beginning of “we” for the rest of their happily married lives. Of course, only one half is recorded and shown in the slideshow. I am excited to film the other half in a month.         

Melody's Dad Videos

 I use this channel as an outlet for my personal videos using point and shoot cameras (even my cell phone)

The Last Nap and S6 SloMo Video 

This video was just a tribute to my late phone, my Samsung Galaxy S6 which drowned in a swimming pool last month. The last video I shot on it, all shot at 60 FPS (frames per second). I wanted to see how a cell phone could handle slow motion. So in the video I was going to Melody’s room to borrow pennies during her nap time, but she was awake and goofing off. She has reached the age where naps are out of the question. Realizing that, I borrowed the pennies from her and went to the desert. I set the phone a few inches away from a few pennies, and shot the pennies with gun. In post-production I slowed the footage way down, and reversed it a couple of times as well. Needless to say, 60 FPS is not fast enough to catch a bullet, but from a nerd’s perspective, the footage still looked pretty cool.

Melody’s First VLOG 

This video was entirely shot by Melody. I made the video using my favorite clips. I want to clarify one of the videos she made that I used several clips from. She had a ten minute rant that started with the words: "My Dad is really scary, I don't like him". Then she proceeds to talk about people turning into monsters. Let me clarify and alleviate some of the many horrible thoughts you had about me when you saw that clip by telling you the back story. That afternoon, while Skye was taking a nap, Melody and I perused Netflix for a movie to watch. We came across one that sounded pretty exciting and had a kid friendly rating. It was called Spy Kids 1. Melody and I were getting pretty far into the movie when Skye woke up. I went and changed Skye's diaper and we were leaving her room when Melody comes running up saying "I don't like that movie, it’s scary". She then went into her room and apparently recorded this video. That night while the kids were in bed, I told Elise what happened and how I had to see the rest of the movie, 1 to see what scared her so much, and 2 to let her know it had a happy ending. It turns out, that in the movie the Dad of the "Spy Kids" gets turned into a monster by the evil villain. Less than 5 minutes later in the movie, the Dad gets turned back into a human, but Melody didn't make it that far. Moral of the story, if everyone gets turned into monsters, Melody wouldn't like it.

I publish videos regularly to both YouTube Channels (Taylor’d Photography and Melody’s Dad Videos). Subscribe to, comment on, and share both.

It's Not About the Camera

This last month I went a little nuts to beef up my personal YouTube channel. In one week I filmed and published 10 videos. As a result, I have been asked what the theme of my YouTube channel is. The purpose of my personal YouTube channel is to show my clients three things: 1 – It doesn’t take great equipment to make a great video, 2 – You don’t always need to hire a videographer to make a good video, and 3 – The main reason you want to hire a videographer is for editing.

It’s not all about the camera

Just because I don’t use my cell phone to make client productions, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. All of the movies on the channel were shot with point and shoot cameras except for two and new videos are mainly shot on my cell phone. The equipment may help with the quality of the video, but the story is what engages viewers. A good video leaves the viewer thinking about the story, not wondering about the equipment used to make the video. On Melody’s Dad Videos, my record for the most views on a single video in one day is 10,000. That video was shot using a camera that can only shoot 720p. Another video I shot entirely on my cell phone just aired on German TV on RTL, the equivalent of ABC in Germany, and I have never been asked what I shot the video with.

You can make good enough videos

I am not saying you should never hire a videographer, there are going to be times you are going to want a professional video. Hire a videographer for the important projects or life events. For a business, this would be product/service and core business promo videos. For families, this would be weddings, new family members, and golden anniversaries. Businesses need to understand it doesn’t take a videographer to make relatable content for your audience, just as families need to know the difference between a home video and a professional family production.

Post production is the difference

I originally created Melody’s Dad Videos as a place to store home videos that my family could watch on demand anytime. Now I have repurposed this channel to be an example to my clients. The point of the channel is to show that anyone can make good video content without investing thousands of dollars on videography equipment or even hiring me. The difference is all in the editing. My record video I mentioned earlier that received 10,000 views in one day all shot on a 720p point and shoot camera could have been extremely boring. After I finished shooting the video I had 5.5GB, over an hour in 720p, worth of footage. In post-production I edited the video down to a 250MB 1 minute video. The reason why it engages viewers is because it is short, thorough, and doesn’t waste the viewer’s time with redundant or duplicate information.

The moral of the story is this, don’t hire a videographer for their equipment. Anyone can point a camera and capture a moment, the difficult part is taking that footage and turning it into a larger message. When you want to have a deeper response from a video, the art is in the editing that happens in post-production. Shooting the video with post production in mind is the difference between a professional and a bi-stander with a cell phone. Hire a videographer when you want to tell those important meaningful stories, and choose the videographer right for you based on how well they can tell a story.

June 2015 Published Videos Update

Every month I post a list of the videos I published and share my motivation/inspiration behind each video. 

Taylor'd Photography

I use this YouTube channel for professional projects using professional DSLR cameras (mostly). 

Adrian & Justine

Lovebirds. My favorite people to work with. I wanted to tell the story of how they overcame opposition together, how they made the best of bad situations, and how they have decided to continue choosing to be happy together. They tell their story so well, I decided to let them tell it themselves. I just tried my best to get out of the way with this one.

Melody's Dad Videos

I use this channel as an outlet for my personal videos. All videos are shot with point and shoot cameras to show you can make good videos without having great equipment.

Father’s Day Week Vlogs

During the week of Father’s day I made 6 Vlogs with my kids. From going to the mall, working in a lettuce greenhouse, testing out the video camera on a new cell phone, taking family pictures, going to the pool, to doing a service project. All kids have so much personality, I am glad I have my little girls to entertain me and keep me on my toes. We had a fun week and have the Vlogs to help us remember. These are the type of home videos I wish I had growing up. I know my kids will enjoy them as much as I do.  

The last Vlog, Maddy’s Mighty Minions, was played on the German RTL (basically the ABC of Germany) TV Show Best of. I was contacted and asked if they could use it which in full support to the family of #MaddyTheMighty I undoubtedly said yes.  

Why I hate Chik-fil-A

My favorite fast food restaurant by a landslide is Chik-fil-A. But how do you convince your five year-old to go to one fast food place over another when it doesn’t have a playground? When I was working for KPMG, I bumped into a Chik-fil-A big wig in Houston, TX. I asked him when they were going to open up another location in Las Cruces with a playground and a drive through, to which he stared up at the ceiling a moment and replied, we just opened one off of Mesa. I quickly shot back saying “yeah, that’s in El Paso, and is an hour away”. Needless to say, we are not getting another one in Las Cruces anytime soon. I should thank them for that really, they are saving me a bunch of money by not providing an easy air-conditioned option for our afternoons.

How to tie a tie (simple double Windsor mirror follow along)

There comes a time in every guy’s life when you have to tie a tie. Surprisingly, I know people that hadn’t ever needed to know how to tie a tie until they were interviewing out of college. This video I made simply to help those in the situation of needing to learn how to tie a tie. If it were me, I would want to lean my phone against a mirror and play a video where I could pause and play as needed every step of the way until I ended up with the knot in my tie I needed. This video does just that. It shows the exact same mirror image you would see and doesn’t show more or less than what someone would need to follow along the steps. There are plenty of similar type videos on YouTube, but I wanted to provide a short 1 minute video for those out there that learn like I do, by doing.

Are Pelican cases watertight?

I made this for my fellow photographers. Elise and I bought a Pelican case a while back to easily transport some of our photography equipment around in without it getting damaged in transit. When we purchased the case I remember reading somewhere that the case was waterproof and would float. My thought was as soon as it was summer, I was going to verify that in a pool for myself. The family and I took the case for a swim and made a quick video to show the results.

This video was featured in a PetaPixel blog post written by Michael Zhang.

Art projects for kids: Custom wall art

Melody draws all the time. She is great at it. Always wanting to support her at anything she is interested in I suggested to her she cover an open wall in her room with art she makes. We bought some canvases and let her go to town. I made this video to help other parents out there who are getting desperate for activities for their kids this summer.  

 I publish videos regularly to both YouTube Channels (Taylor'd Photography and Melody's Dad Videos). Subscribe to, comment on, and share both.