Photo: Agathe Bernard
Once you’ve decided to have a videographer for your wedding, you’ll spend a lot of time browsing highlight videos online. And you might find a few whose aesthetic really fits your vision. But finding the perfect videographer takes so much more than just viewing a highlight reel.
This person is going to be spending the entire day with you. Plus, they’ll likely interact regularly with you and your guests as you celebrate. They’ll also be capturing and editing footage that should reflect who you are as a couple on your special day. After all, it’s something you’ll want to look back on for years to come. It should transport you back into precious memories of your wedding day. So you’ll want to be sure that your videographer really “gets” you. And that they’ll be a blast to get to know and spend time with as you celebrate.
Many of us in the wedding industry made our way here accidentally. However, all of the very best vendors (which is what we’re all about representing here at RMWC) have one crucial thing in common: when it comes down to it, we’re hopeless romantics. And our latest vendor, the creative force behind Elora May Creative Studios, is no exception. Elora found her passion when she began working in videography. That passion only grew when she transitioned into creating wedding videos for couples in the Rocky Mountains.
Now, Elora May Creative Studios is joining the Rocky Mountain Wedding Collective! Since we’re so excited to welcome her to the collective, we spoke with Elora to share more about what she does and how she does it!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I like to say I make wedding films for wild hearts in love. Why? For one reason, I relate to couples who have a thirst for adventure, exploring new roads, feeling the wind in their hair, and making the most of days spent together.
This is who I am. I LOVE exploring in nature, traveling to new places, and coming home at the end of the day with that wild hair only a day in the outdoors can give.
While I never expected to be a wedding videographer, I am forever thankful this is what I do! I guess this was always exactly what I was supposed to do. Art, travel, and the mountains are my absolute passions. The privilege of being able to combine all three in my work with couples is truly a dream come true.
You can find me on any given day enjoying the outdoors in and around the Rockies and Golden. Since moving here I’ve learned how to ski and mountain bike, I’ll likely be out doing one of these things when I’m not shooting weddings. Sitting down at the end of the day at my local brewery and hitting up the taco truck after an adventure is my idea of a day well spent.
And the latest in my life is that I’m engaged too! My fiance and I are going through the same steps right now to plan our big day. That is why it’s exciting to talk to my clients as I’m going through the same steps as them.
Photo: Jena Lee Photography
How did Elora May Creative Studios get started?
I started in the most random way… heli skiing! My first job in Golden was working as the Marketing Director for Great Canadian Heli Skiing. I found myself taking photos and shooting videos from the helicopter, then, skiing and capturing the guests and editing all of that together as a highlight for them at the end of each day. I learned so much about using my camera. Editing a story together, and hey, heli-skiing was a pretty great perk too!
The lodge serves as a wedding destination in the summer. One day I was asked to edit a video for a couple that had just gotten married there. As soon as I delivered that first film, I knew I was hooked. Elora Braden Creative studios were born in 2017. Since then I’ve rebranded Elora May Creative Studios. May is my middle name, and what my parents called me all the time. I’ve been working as my own boss since 2018, and I haven’t looked back since!
What services/packages do you offer?
My wedding & elopement package will always start with a highlight edit between 3-5 minutes. That time is jam-packed with emotional moments. During the day, using audio and scenic shots and carefully selected music is chosen just for the couple. From there, I offer optional add-ons such as a 20-minute documentary edit, a full speech and ceremony edit, drone coverage, and raw footage.
Since I got my start as an adventure videographer, I encourage my couples to work with me on the day before or after their wedding to capture their adventures together. Trail running, mountain biking, skiing, hiking, whatever that is that brought them together. Then, choose a mountain wedding, I want to capture that part of their relationship!
Photo: Mason Neufeld
Where is your favourite spot to shoot wedding videos around Banff + Canmore?
I LOVE the Malcolm Hotel! I shot a winter wedding and couldn’t believe the views from right outside. The interior is incredibly rich and looks so cinematic. It’s a gem.
When I’m shooting around Golden, I love taking couples to places they never would know about and are a bit of a local secret. Ok, I’ll dish a few! For example, you can drive 15 km up a logging road and be at the top of Mount 7, a launch site for paragliders but also an incredible spot for a sunset. You can look down on all of the Columbia Valley and it’s incredible!
Alternatively, the shores of Blaeberry River where the water is so turquoise it’s like a dream. You can shoot at a waterfall and an open river valley in less than an hour. From Canmore to Golden is likely the most picturesque location in Canada. I am incredibly lucky to work here!
How would you describe your philosophy when it comes to shooting wedding videos and working with couples on the day?
I think the key to my success starts well before the wedding day. I get to know my couples and they get to know me. We video chat, or meet in person, if possible. We follow each other on social media, send each other jokes or share parts of the planning process.
This not only lets me make incredible life long friendships. It is also amazing to show up on the wedding day feeling like a trusted friend.
I know exactly what moments matter most to them, what they consider important to their relationship, their sense of humor, and a bit of their love language. I had a bride who baked her own wedding cake and cupcakes once. She is an incredible baker so I had to feature that in the film. Or a couple shared with me that they wanted to look back on their film in 10 years to see as many friends and family as they could. So I made sure each person made it into their edit. Things like that are just more meaningful to the couple – so they are important to me.
I will absolutely provide guidance and direction in times like a portrait session, but for the most part, I’m just there witnessing the day with my camera. Mostly, I let things unfold as they naturally happen, stay far enough out of the moment so everyone feels comfortable, but close enough to be there when the tears start streaming, or a surprise unfolds.
I think my acting background has helped me read emotions in people. I’m really great at telling what someone is feeling, and intuition is really helpful for my work.
Photo: Jena Lee Photography
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Cinematic with raw emotion. I want my couple to feel like the film is totally them. So, I do adjust my style slightly depending on what the day was, and who the couple is.
I like to shoot handheld as it lets me move quickly and I love the look it gives my films. It feels more like a real human view of the day and less like a Hollywood production. If a moment unfolds and the camera has some shake, that’s absolutely ok because the moment is what matters. I show epic scenery and the natural hues of nature and the landscape.
My aesthetic and style have been shaped and influenced by some amazing wedding filmmakers out of Europe. While attending a workshop in Barcelona, the way they shoot, capture, and edit their films are amazing. Their style inspires me, and that is one reason I bring that cinematic, timeless look into my work.
I also try to capture the couple doing something adventurous, or just at home doing something they enjoy together like cooking or a favourite walk. Who they are together when they are skiing down a mountain, hiking in their favourite spot, or just being themselves is part of the story of the wedding day I want to tell! This is a unique element of my work, and it’s why you will see a lot of adventure in my work.
Do wedding videography trends change over time? Are there certain shots, styles of music, or features that are more popular right now?
Oh, this is a fantastic question! We all know the dreaded 3-hour-long VHS wedding video that is collecting dust in a basement near you. Wedding videos are no longer shot with just a stationary (and giant) camera like in the ’90s and early 2000s.
The invention of high-quality and affordable consumer DSLR cameras has been revolutionary for the wedding film industry, and really made it what it is today. Suddenly filmmakers could afford a camera that could shoot high-definition footage, and didn’t weigh a ton! These days, my kit and gear are so lightweight and minimalist that people think I am a photographer.
Video trends are always coming and going. Every wedding videographer has their own flavour and style, so I’m not saying there is a right or wrong way, but I try to keep my shots and editing as timeless as possible. I want my couples to watch this ten years down the road and not feel outdated transitions, fonts, or editing styles.
Today’s wedding videographer is going to have their own style and flair. It’s impossible to categorize everyone into one style or assume all wedding videographers are the same. So I think it’s really important for couples to find a filmmaker that they love for their take on shooting and editing.
Photo: Jena Lee Photography
What are the most frequently asked questions you hear from couples?
Q: What is your style?
You won’t find me hiding behind a bush, but I tend to be a ninja throughout the day. I’m all about candid moments and will step in only when I think it’s going to make something awesome happen. I use audio both speaking and ambient sounds as well as music to remind you of the day’s sounds. With that, I weave in the footage with moments you probably don’t even realize happened, while capturing the big scenes that you have been planning for so long. My editing style is cinematic, telling the story but creating a film that is unique to you.
Q: Can we choose our own music?
I license my music from a variety of online sources and choosing music is one of my specialties. Because of strict music licensing laws, I will not be able to provide any song to my couple, but I will certainly take into account their musical preferences.
Q: My Fiancee(è) doesn’t see the need for professional video. Can you help convince him/her?
I sure think these films are worth it! But I understand it’s not an obvious priority for some. I can say that you will be much happier with a professional filmmaker rather than Uncle Larry and his Ipad. Wedding films have come a long way from when it meant the videographer had a giant clunky camera and tripod. See below for what equipment I work with, it’s minimal but effective.
I always think that a wedding or elopement film is a whole other way to remember your day, the people who came together for it, and the place it happened. It’s not just images, it’s moving sounds and footage that is a whole new sensory experience that will bring you back. I’m incredibly sentimental at heart, so having audio and clips of my parents, grandparents, and friends is something I cherish.
Photos are incredible keepsakes, but filming will allow you to relive your wedding in a way photos never could.
Photo: Tige Lussier
What is the most important advice you would give to couples when it comes to their wedding videos/choosing a wedding videographer?
You have to love their work and trust them. I think that signing up with any videographer will get you a wedding video that is good, but having a wedding videographer whose work makes you cry and laugh and who you will feel comfortable with on your wedding day is so important. This is your wedding day. It only happens once, so you have one shot to have someone capture it in a way that will be genuine to you. So my #1 piece of advice is to get to know your videographer! I wrote a blog with a list of questions to help you when you are interviewing your potential videographers.
When thinking back over your videography career, are there any particular moments that stand out?
I found myself in a backyard once, shooting a “bride” walking down the aisle to her furry future with her husband. It was a dog wedding! The owners wanted to breed the two, and the kids wanted them to make it official first. It was a beautiful strange day in my career!
This last summer there was a ceremony that just poured rain almost the entire time. It was 15 minutes before it starts. The bride, groom, photographer, and I were talking about pushing the timeline. The bride was like, “I just want to marry this man right now!” And so they started the ceremony on time, in the rain and by the end of the ceremony, it was bluebird skies and a freaking rainbow came out as they said their vows. I still get shivers at my weddings by nature’s timing. It’s amazing.
Photo: Agathe Bernard
Is there anything else we should know about Elora May Creative Studios?
When you work with me you are going to feel extra taken care of and informed at every step. Your wedding or elopement film will feel completely you and be one of your most special keepsakes for the rest of your lives. We will have A LOT of fun together, and make this so easy you will forget a camera is even there. When you receive your film you will cry and laugh and be able to show this to your friends, family, and future generations. And you will have a new friend. Can’t wait to meet you!
Photo: Tige Lussier
“Initially I was on the fence about booking a videographer for our wedding, but after working with Elora, I am so glad I did!! Elora is truly an artist, the videography was breathtaking and we are so incredibly happy with the finished products!
Both the teaser video and the final video are unbelievable, she totally understood and captured our vision. Elora’s music choices were on point and perfectly suited the videos. Even though I’ve watched the videos tens if not hundreds of times, they still bring a tear to my eye!
Elora made us feel so comfortable and most of all was super fun to work with! We received so many comments from our guests complimenting Elora on her professionalism and how wonderfully the videos turned out.
We also planned a day after session with Elora and our Photographer where they took us to some amazing local locations for some mountain biking shots. It was so much fun, we had a blast, and the biking segments in the videos were awesome!
We love our videos, they are so beautiful and even better than we could have imagined. We will treasure them always. I am so happy we decided to book with Elora May Creative Studios, the videos have been something really special to share with our friends and family who weren’t able to join us on our wedding day.
We can’t recommend Elora May Creative Studios highly enough. Thank you for documenting our beautiful day and for some super fun mountain biking! We can’t wait to come back and do some more biking in Golden! Thank you again!”
-ALANNA & KEVIN (2019)
If you want to chat with Elora May Creative Studios about your wedding video ideas or questions, you can get in touch with her here.