A talented wedding videographer, gifted storyteller and sharp WPPI speaker, Sarah Pendergraft actually began her career almost by accident.  " />

Member of the Month June 2014: Sarah Pendergraft

by Hillary Becker

June 17, 2014 — There are just some wedding videos that so perfectly capture the love between a couple that they can make you feel like an intimate member of their inner circle.

While sorting through video entries for this past 16x20 Print, Album and Filmmaking Competition, I had the opportunity to watch a few submissions from PenWeddings, a wedding video business made up of husband and wife duo Rick and Sarah Pendergraft. Their work immediately grabbed my attention, as well as those of the WPPI judges, winning third place in the Wedding and Engagement Short Film division. Now a talented wedding videographer, gifted storyteller and sharp WPPI speaker, Pendergraft actually began her career almost by accident.

Whitney + Brian | McCall, Idaho wedding film from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

“Whitney and Brian are such a sweet couple.  We knew emotions would run high at their wedding, but we still weren't prepared for how much we got choked up ourselves.”

When selecting a videographer for her own wedding, Sarah admits she and Rick were clueless. “We both have a media/journalism background and were working in local news,” she says. “We booked an industry friend (who had a small production company) to shoot our wedding video without even seeing his work because we honestly had no expectations.” After receiving the friend’s highlights reel, the Pendergrafts were pleasantly surprised and realized that shooting wedding films was something they would enjoy doing together.

While Sarah pulls inspiration from the movies she watches, she also pays close attention to music. “Growing up, I would fall asleep at night to the music of the composer John Williams,” she remembers. “I would make up new movies in my head to these beautiful and powerful scores.”

Rebecca + Travis | Texas wedding film from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

“Rebecca and Travis have one of our favorite love stories ever.  We nicknamed their highlight the Story of Love and Dirt.”

Her films seem like they are pulled off effortlessly, but Sarah still runs into the occasional project that pushes her work to a new level. While shooting an intimate beach destination wedding, Sarah and her team ran into more challenges than they could have ever anticipated.

“We had a very small group (around 25 total, including the wedding party and guests) but were at a super busy resort,” she explains. “What we thought would be a rather easy ceremony shoot ended up being perhaps our most difficult yet because we did not have a clearly defined ceremony setup—no chairs, no defined space; just an arbor. We were always having to try to keep other resort guests, hotel staff, excursion boats, Sea-Doos and four-wheelers out of our shots—and they were everywhere! One time I had to run across the beach to adjust an unmanned camera when I realized it was blocked. Running in the loose sand made me feel like I was moving in slow motion. It was beautiful, but a learning experience for sure.”

Halie + Andrew | Southern Hills Country Club wedding from Sarah Pendergraft on Vimeo.

“This may be the most giddy group of people we have ever been around.  Their happiness was practically contagious, and we could have partied all night with them.”

There’s good news for those who would love a chance to learn a few techniques from Sarah: She has an upcoming, one-day workshop in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 22 at Ross Bridge Resort—keep an eye on PenWedding’s Facebook page for the EventBrite link soon!

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