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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 6th, 2008, 08:21 PM   #1
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Wedding Vid Website, Name, and Packages.

Hello everyone, I'm about to finally put up my own website, I found someone who is going to design and host a website for me for a great deal, and he says all I have to do is choose a domain and he'll take care of the rest.

Now that it's coming down to it, I feel a bit overwhelmed.

Should I put prices on the website? I've heard alot of people say yes and alot say no. One is because you'll get lots of emails or phone calls asking about prices if they are not posted, and by posting them people will know off the bat whether or not they can afford you. My prices are subject to change, and to be honest I'm clueless as to what I should charge. I know it will be in the $800-$1300 range.

I am very weary about posting a two camera package, however, because I have only one camera, and as of now, do not know anyone who could freelance for me. My fear is that if I advertise that I can do 2 camera weddings, but then cannot come up with a 2nd camera or camera-man, then I'd have to turn the job down. But I also feel that I shouldn't just advertise that I can only do One-Camera weddings, because I may not get any business. I know some of you will tell me to rent, I can honestly say I have NO idea where to rent a camera from, especially not around here, I'd have to drive at least an hour.

In the case that I rent a camera, wouldn't I have to rent it for 3 days. (The pick up day, the day of the shoot, and then the 3rd day to bring it back)??

It won't be for a while until the website actually goes up, but I feel as if I need to tackle these issues before then.

And lastly, I'm trying to go about choosing an official name of my business for my domain. I have been going by Jayro Studios. (which makes no sense because I am not a studio, but hey, it had a nice ring to it) but I feel as if it isn't a good name for a Wedding Videography business (although i do other things such as music videos, slideshows, etc) So feel free to throw out your opinions on the name. I'm considering abrv. it to J.Rose Productions, but found that it's taken as a .com.. but available as a .net.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! thanks!
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Old January 6th, 2008, 08:52 PM   #2
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Jenna,
First take a deep breath and relax. There, feel better now? Good.
Lets tackle 'em one at a time (in no particualr order)

First-a name: well go with something that you feel comfortable with. Even back in the early 70's (thats 1970s not 1870s as some people think ;-)
I used my name as my business name. for me it made sense and today I still do that. I know a lot of folks however that come up with some very cool names for their business-I guess I'm not that creative or smart but the point is it might be and hopefully will be a name you'll have on your business for a very long time. As for .com or .net most people are familar with .com but I did have a site a few years back that was a .net and I don't believe it hurt my business.

As for pricing or not on your site, I tried both and frankly got very tired of answering calls from people that were looking for someone that was a lot less than I was offering pricewise so I put my prices back on the site and am happy about it. I think by publishing your prices you'll eliminate some nonsense and nusance calls BUT by putting your prices out there some people wont call and then you don't get the chance to talk to them and "sell" them on the fact that you are affordable. Flip a coin I guess. BTW there are a lot of weddings I do that get custom pricing-IOW, they want certain coverage or it's multi day or OOT or whatever so I price it out accordingingly.
If you feel uncomfortable with offering a 2 camera or 2 camera operator package then DON'T. Don't offer anything that you're not comfortable offering because sure enough, Murphys law will apply. if some CAN go wrong, it WILL!
As for renting it depends-I rent some gear from one place here that I pickup on Friday afternoon after 3pm-return to their lockbox on Sunday morning and only get charged for 1 day but every place is different. I also don't know of any places in your area to rent so perhaps you can google that but if you can't get the gear then don't offer the package.
I guess what it boils down to is offer what you can with the gear and experience you have but be fair to them and you price wise (I think you are in the range you mentioned) and get really really really good at that. You'd be surprised at how many people will go for someone who is really good at what they do for a fair price instead of the person who promises more than they can deliver or offers this big package and it just isn't as good as someone elses small or standard package because THAT person has worked hard to be excellant at it instead of dependng on lots of cameras. PLEASE I'm not saying that 2 or 3 cameras isn't good but sometime we ALL get so dependent on the 2nd or 3rd camera we forget that the #1 camera is the one we need to be striving to use better.
Read some of my posts about years ago when all many of us could afford was 1 camera and we had to learn how to make really nice videos from 1 camera. Can you imagine? Just 1 camera. Again I'm not saying that a 2nd or 3rd isn't a great thing to have and use but I wouldn't worry about offering something that you don't feel good about offering until you do feel good about offering it.
I hope that makes sense-it's late (well not really but I've been editing most of the day and I am tired-it happens when you get old like me)
Anyway good luck and don't sweat it all at once-one thing at a time
Don
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Old January 7th, 2008, 03:01 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response Don. I actually went to godaddy to see if the .com was available that I had in mind, and of course it isn't, I actually was going to go with my name. Jayro is actually a play on my name, Jenna-Rose, and if you all remember the "Jennifer Lopez" being call "J-Lo" thing, then you'll see how I got the nickname Jayro, its what my father called me, so I named the business in honor of him, but now I feel it's impractical. I was going to go by J.Rose Productions, which is a bit more simple. But it's taken. There is a .net available so if anyone else has any two-cents to throw in about a .com or .net.. feel free.

As for the packages, I suppose I could start off with one camera, and really try to appeal to the people who don't have alot of money to spend on a videographer. That way I can get some money, gain more experience, and eventually work my way up. I'm just so afraid of missing something very important, and losing that moment forever all because someone's Uncle Bob, was standing in my shot.

For those of you who have done one camera weddings, did you have many bad experiences?
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Old January 7th, 2008, 06:47 AM   #4
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Theres nothing wrong with shooting a wedding with one cam, in fact over 90% of producers only use one cam... i.e., no backup, and no secondary cutaway cam.

The trick however is to understand what your limited in doing within the production. During the ceremony, you wont be able to move around or get any fancy shots, so you use this fact as a selling point instead of a negative.

The second thing is to ensure that whoever your working with and for, understands your restrictions. Being that you wont be able to stop recording, and you wont be able to move.
With one cam your safest option is to shoot form the aisle, as this gives you the same perspective in which the congregation will see the actual wedding.
So the selling point to that is you see what the guests see.

There are many variables to consider but these are a good start.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 06:57 AM   #5
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is it impractical because of the name or someother reason? I actually like the Jayrovideo.xxx but thats me ;-)

I think your approach is being practical. Start with what you got then move up. As for missing something well here's what I do about that. first, yes, it's aggravating when and if uncle Bob gets in the way but I tap him on the shoulder and tell him to move. 2nd if that doesn't work I look for a way around him and if need be [I have done this in the past-my younger and angrier days ;-(] where I simply 'moved' the person myself. Some of this came from shooting news and sports freelance and being only 5'6" tall I had to get the 'better' shooting spot than others that were taller so I 'moved ' people ;-O
However, today I do take a more sedate approach. My service agreement states that I can not guarantee that all events will be covered nor would they necessarily be covered in their entirety, nor would they be covered without interupption from outside sources. Meaning if uncle Bob stands in the middle of my shot while doing the first dance-that's not my problem. A bit extreme I know but still it COULD happen. Ofcourse all of my tapes might disentagrate in my pocket or my head could fall off my shoulders. There are just somethings that aren't worth worrying about.
Go ahead. Make you day. Get you webname set put together some pricing get some clients and shoot video-make a good quality product and the rest will take care of itself.
Don
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Old January 7th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #6
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I'd use "Klingensmith" as a company name and website name, it's a name that rings like a bell. :D
In fact, choosing a company name is more important then you think, beside of a logo and such you need something so people recognize you easier when they browse the web or see your name on your car (if you would place your companylogo and name on it)

"Klingensmith", now that a name that stands out, or just add "video" behind that like: "Klingensmith video" but don't take Jayro Studios or J.Rose Productions especially because the domain name has been taken and because it sounds to "plain".

Klingensmith sounds a bit german actually and you know Germans are known for their efficiency and quality. :) (and beer, but that's another story)

You should consider yourself lucky with such a name, my second name is "Put" which also means a "waterwell" in my language, with a company name like this nobody would take me seriously. :)
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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #7
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If I recall correctly, if your actual last name is the business name, you do not need to get a DBA. If you use any other name, you will at least need a DBA.
for my business, I feel my last name gives an inappropriate connotation, I always make up a name and use a DBA or LLC.
I vote for Jayro
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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:21 AM   #8
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DBA? LLC? Can U pls expl?
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Old January 7th, 2008, 03:30 PM   #9
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I would use my last name, but actually in my town Klingensmith is a bad name, meaning there are some bad people (drug dealers etc) that share my last name but are in no relation to me, but I always have people ask me if I am related to these people. Also, people have alot of trouble pronouncing my last name. I get alot of "king ing smith" .. There is also a health care company with the name Klingensmith and a video rental place and i'm sure I would get confused with that.

I actually thought about it and I think I'm going to go with Jayrose Productions. It's available and it's very similar to Jayro.. The difference is, it'll be alot easier for me to create a logo (something incorporating roses) whereas with Jayro, it would be difficult.

DBA "Doing Business As" an official registration of your business name. I know it costs some money, but at what point do I need to do something like this? I really haven't done any work under my business name in which I got paid..

I read somewhere that you could run a hobby as a business for up to a year or more before you have to file taxes and file your business name, Not sure where I read it, but has anyone ever heard of this?
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Old January 7th, 2008, 03:44 PM   #10
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Jenna -
One happy word for you... "DEDUCTIONS"!!

The sooner you operate as a business, the sooner you get to buy new toys and write them off against any "profits" you may make.

Lets say you book a "big $" gig, but need that second cam... you can buy it and offset it against the money you made at least in part, if not completely.

It's not like it's hard to set up as a sole proprietor - get some basic accounting software (Quicken home and business even), keep track of what you make and what you spend. If you don't make money right away, you might get some back on your taxes if you show a loss on the "biz" side, and paid in at your "day job"!

The sooner you get used to accounting for your new biz, the easier it will be when it takes off!
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Old January 7th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
DBA? LLC? Can U pls expl?
those are abbreviations for united states types of business
DBA= Doing Business As (sole proprietership)
LLC= Limited Liability Corporation
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Old January 7th, 2008, 06:31 PM   #12
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I wish I understood deductions.

To me the word "taxes" is just scary, the thought of the government taking money away from my business even if I'm barely making anything at all. Can someone actually explain to me what deductions means. To me, it sounds like, they just take less money from you then they would have otherwise, and it still doesn't sound like a good deal on my part.

I hear the term deductions all the time, but without truely understanding it, it just goes right over my head. I've heard you can take deductions from your mortgage if you have your editing suite at home, I've heard you can do "depreciation" on your equipment, and I understand that means the value of your equipment goes down, but what does that mean in the long run? So are most of you run under a Sole Proprietorship?
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Old January 7th, 2008, 06:39 PM   #13
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Don't think of it as "taxes".

Think of it as legalized extortion.

Jeff
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Old January 7th, 2008, 06:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
I wish I understood deductions.

To me the word "taxes" is just scary, the thought of the government taking money away from my business even if I'm barely making anything at all. Can someone actually explain to me what deductions means. To me, it sounds like, they just take less money from you then they would have otherwise, and it still doesn't sound like a good deal on my part.

I hear the term deductions all the time, but without truely understanding it, it just goes right over my head. I've heard you can take deductions from your mortgage if you have your editing suite at home, I've heard you can do "depreciation" on your equipment, and I understand that means the value of your equipment goes down, but what does that mean in the long run? So are most of you run under a Sole Proprietorship?
your earnings are the money left over after expenses. expenses are things such as cameras, lights, tripods, websites, hiring someone to build a website, blank tapes, business cards, etc. you keep track of all the money earned, remove the deductions, what is left is what your taxed on. the trick is to spend more on new toys than you earn :)
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Old January 7th, 2008, 08:26 PM   #15
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Jenna,
All good information here but PLEASE-do yourself a big big favor. See a CPA.
I know they cost money but it will be money well spend-AAMOF you might be able to go to the local Jr. college and talk to one of the instructors in the accounting department (the department that teaches accounting) or find one that will give you a short course in this area for a nomial fee. Perhaps the local CPA association can help. This area has broken many businesses not just videographers but ALL types of small businesses because they didn't understand the absolute importance of money in, money out. Some people think that if they charge say $1000 for a job they made $1000. HUH?
What about your expenses and overhead. Well I work from home so there is no overhead. HUH? Listen, I've been working from my home for over 35 years and have ALWAYS taken a deduction for a portion of the mortgage, electric, heat, my phone (before cell phones) and lot lots more. All legitimate. And this was well before the government really recognized home office and home business deductions. I can not tell you the hassels it USED to be. Not so much anymore since about 35% of the population of this country work from a home office or run their business from their homes. AAMOF do the same thing with an attorney. Check the bar association and find one that can help you out with a service agreement (contract) and other legalities. Get sued once and you're pretty much done without a fiesty and good attorney. Alan Shore from Boston Legal is my kind of guy ;-) (as a lawyer that is).
there is an old saying (actually there are a lot of them that pertain to starting a business) but better to spend a little up front than a lot later on!
Don't be scared of it though, for over 35 years I've been self employed. good years not so good years. Great clients and those I wish I had never heard of but through out it all I make a lousy employee. I do not work or play well with bosses! Be persistant and drive forward-keep your head up and your eyes open and be a business person first then a videographer. I know a lot of great videographers that are working for other people now because they were lousy businesspeople.
feel free to ask anything but think logically, would I go to my hair stylist for an operation? NO! I'd go to a good doctor. Same thing. Ask all the veideo questions here but ask a CPA and a lawyer all the stuff about business.
No offense meant to ANYONE here and I hope none is taken as I know there are some wonderful business people here but Jenna needs to get to professionals in the area she needs help in. CPA and JD!
Don
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