The Talent Behind Willow Tree Films Shares His Wedding Video Secrets
Watertown-based videographer Greg Fisher travels across New England and beyond to capture the greatest love stories on camera.
Greg Fisher’s days of fine-tuning tracks with local musicians led to an unexpected job opportunity: wedding videography. As a recording-studio owner and a guitar player for a pop-rock group, Fisher captured behind-the-scenes footage and released teasers for fans. So when his pals approached him about filming their big day in 2011, the Pennsylvania native jumped at the offer. Fisher bought a basic DSLR and “long story short, I had a blast,” he says. Now—with more than 400 weddings under his belt—shooting these celebrations is just as exciting as it was when he launched his business, Willow Tree Films, in 2012. “There’s a thrill knowing that it has to be done right because you’re not going to do it all over again,” he says.
Describe your videography style.
I take a story-driven, cinematic approach with somewhat of a documentary feel. I know that’s a loaded answer, but I try to keep the feeling natural [while] capturing those beautiful shots. I’m a detail-junkie so I take my time [shooting] ceremony and reception spaces, the shoes, and the dress for the day. But I’m also not afraid to use shots that don’t feel perfected. There’s beauty in the imperfections.
How much direction can a couple expect to receive from you?
We’ll give guidance on where the couple should be standing in a space to use light to our advantage. During portrait sessions, though, we love to follow the photographer’s lead and let the couple be themselves. We might give some tips here and there like, “slow dance in place,” but we don’t like to give direction to the point where the couple is so focused on what we’re saying that they lose sight of their time with one another. And we’re open to couples [giving us] specific shots that they’d like captured. We want to make sure they have everything they’ve dreamed of.
What’s the benefit of hiring a videographer in addition to a photographer?
I have an appreciation for both [since] I’m an amateur travel and landscape photographer. I see the benefits of having photos: You can mount them on your wall or flip through them on your phone. But one thing that I love about video is the moving pictures. You see those emotions develop from start to finish. [You] watch a smile develop, see joyful tears stream down faces, and hear laughter. I’ve had couples that wrote me months or years after the wedding to thank me for capturing the audio because they have a loved one that passed. For them, it meant the world to listen to their voices.
Your films feature beautiful scenery shots. Do you use drones to capture those?
Only when it’s allowed [by the venue]. Drones add a new dimension to films and show a different perspective on the day. The one thing I wouldn’t do unless specifically asked to is [fly] drones during the ceremony. The last thing you want to do is take attention away from a moment that’s personal and intimate. All the attention should be focused on the couple and not on what sounds like a swarm of bees.
What’s something new and fun that you’ve been doing with your films?
Instagram trailers have proven really popular. They’ve been an add-on to almost every one of my weddings this year. I send them over in the form of a text message that can be saved to the camera roll and then uploaded to Instagram. It’s fun to condense a full day into 59 seconds—I’ve always liked a challenge!
Elopements are a popular choice for couples whose weddings have been postponed due to coronavirus. How does shooting an elopement differ from a typical wedding?
Elopements tend to be more low-key. I filmed an elopement in Iceland, and it was just a gorgeous backdrop. What was important to the couple was not only the ceremony but being able to explore and get different photos in different places. There wasn’t a big reception or party to get back to, so we woke up early, did a first look, and then went to the ceremony. Then we went right back to taking more portraits. [We were able to] allow the couple to move at their own pace.
You recently got married. How did COVID-19 affect your plans, and what advice do you have for others?
My fiancée and I pivoted to a more intimate wedding with only 25 guests. The overall design plan remained the same for the most part, but we made some necessary cuts. We leaned on our planner Keri Ketterer Walter of Always Yours Events. She was on top of everything, informative, supportive, and did her best to make sure that we still had the wedding that we always envisioned. So, lean on your vendors. We are all in this together.
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