Yesterday Clay Carroll of Carroll Production met me for lunch to catch up and talk about videography at Windwood. We have been lucky enough to work with him several times, most notably for Wynter&Rob’s wedding and Casey&Austin’s wedding. He was kind enough to share some stories of his early days in the business, and believe me he had me laughing pretty hard. Weddings can be pretty freaking funny y’all! During our lunch, we pretty much covered all topics. From the investment of a wedding to stories of dress disasters, Clay has seen it all.
Handley: So, how many years have you been in the wedding business?
Clay: This will be my fifth year—Wow!
H: How did you get into it?
C: I’ve always been a tech geek. It started off with my family, I was into photography and videography. I was always the one filming stuff. If I went on vacation with friends I would make highlight vacation videos just for fun. So I never went to school for it, I actually went to school for business. I then went into working in medical sales working all up and down the east coast and was gone from home all the time. After a while of doing that, I was in a phase in life where I decided to re-evaluate and decided to leave my job so I could be home with my kids more. During this transition period, my friend Wynter Ingram (a Windwood bride!) gave me the idea of getting into videography and Rob Ingram (her now husband) got me my first wedding job, and it just escalated from there. I did that first wedding for $200 just so I could have something to show people of my work. My first big wedding was a friend of a friend in Florida and that is where I got to know Molly Shook and that wedding alone has led to so many weddings—from the bridesmaids, friends, families everything. There hasn’t been one year where I haven’t had work that has spawned off from that Florida wedding.
H: That’s amazing that you’ve had such good business come from that one wedding! Why do you think brides should hire a videographer?
C: I’m a little biased, but the main reason is that this is the day that the bride has been dreaming of for her whole life. After all of the planning that goes into it, the only tangible thing that they have to take away are the photographs and the video. Everything else is just gone. Photos are great and I don’t think in any way that video takes the place of photos, but I think that there’s so much of the story that photos cant tell that you can only see with video. Like as far as the words that are spoken and things like that—video is the only way to get that. Videos are also so easy to share. With social media and everything, wedding videos can be shared with relatives that weren’t able to make it. And any bride will tell you, the day goes by in a flash and there is so much that day that they didn’t get to see. Video is a way for them to re-live the day over and over.
H: I definitely agree that photos and video are SO important. Now, what is your favorite part about wedding day?
C: I enjoy the whole setup of it honestly. If I had to pick, it would probably be the whole part leading up to the ceremony. Its fun because you get to experience a whole range of emotions when you’re videoing on camera, and if they have a first look—if you’re going to have nervous people its usually at that point. The bride is all nervous, the groom is sweating….And as long as its nothing that’s going to hinder the day, I love the drama. It makes for great video! Its fun because you aren’t bored and I’ve done it enough times to know that its going to work out and be fine.
H: Why do you love shooting at Windwood?
C: Just the environment. There’s really nothing like it in Birmingham, which is cool. I get tired of shooting in churches. Windwood is an experience—especially for guests—when someone drives through Windwood for the first time, you have time to take in the scenery. The way everything opens up is amazing. Its not far away, but when you get here you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s the best of both worlds. Just being down there and surrounded by the trees, especially on the Bridal Path in the fall, there’s nothing like that anywhere else. There’s so many different places and ways to shoot all within a close proximity. Everything is close and convenient on the property. Plus, you can’t beat the horses. Having the guests walk around and see the horses is such an awesome thing. When you go from the ceremony to the reception with the whole entrance of the barn is just amazing. The uniqueness of Windwood can’t be beat. Most importantly, you and William are so accommodating. Unlike some venues where it seems like the staff wants to make my job harder, y’all always do anything you can possibly do, and I always am taken care of.
Thank you so much to Clay for sharing his words of wisdom with us! For those of you who might have missed it, check out Clay’s video of Casey’s wedding day…