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Old January 25th, 2008, 08:26 PM   #1
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video/photo package miscalculation

Last fall I started a thread asking for advice on whether to attempt simultaneous video and photography for weddings.
I got some real good advice and feedback, but there is one drawback that I miscalculated and wanted to post in case there are others who are also interested in this endeavor.
The problem is, ticking off the photographers!
At a recent bridal show I approached a photographer and asked if he still had any of my brochures in case he wanted to refer me to do video. He told me point blank that if I was offering video/photography that he could not refer me, period.
I would never dream of stealing a job from a photographer ( I was only going to offer photography to people who were going to have a relative do it), but convincing the photographers of this is not easy.
I am in a real bind now, and have to figure out if the income from an occasional video/photo wedding will make up for the work I will lose from photographer referals.
Any advice on how to repair strained relationships with photographers would be greatly appreciated!

thanks
Mark G
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Old January 25th, 2008, 09:36 PM   #2
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First thing I would do is contact photographers and explain your position. Clarify by stating you won't offer photo services to any referrals you receive from them. Point out your photo services are aimed at jobs they probably wouldn't take. You can't work all of the weddings in your area any more than they can. That is one approach. There are others, and I'm sure you will receive a wide variety of opinions.
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Old January 26th, 2008, 07:15 PM   #3
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For the record, we offer both photography and videography. If we offered only photography, I certainly wouldn't refer anyone to someone that offered the same services. As a photographer (and videographer) we work hard to distinguish our work. You could try to explain to me that the clients you are looking to book wouldn't book me anyway (assuming because of price) and then I would wonder why I would want to send any of my clients your way since price seems to be your main consideration.

If it were me, I would work on increasing the demand for a single product and continue to raise your rate on that product. No one stays in either business very long dealing with the $1,000 brides.

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Old January 26th, 2008, 08:51 PM   #4
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Doing both seems to be one of those jack of all trades master of none scenarios, but maybe you can pull it off. In which case learn to survive without photographer referrals and build your relationships with the other vendors - florists, pastry shops, caterers, hotel event planners, bridal shops, etc. Do you exchange leads with these other vendors? Do you contact the leads?
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 11:57 PM   #5
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Mark,
We do both, and haven't felt any backlash at all from photogs. We have never really relied on them for refferrals, but do get referrals form time to time. Now keep in mind, my wife does the photog part of the business and would be doing it whether or not we offered video, but we each pursue our own discipline as professionals. It makes a difference if people sense that this is your career and not just an "experiment" No noffense I hope, I have no idea what your level of interest or involvement in photography is, but photographers are very sensitive about newbies nowadays with the prevelance of cheap DSLRs etc.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 03:29 AM   #6
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MARK /

My personal opinion : The driving force behind your decision should be based
on your passion for either video or stills.

If it's VIDEO ; develop it to it's fullest potetial . If you channel the same time and effort spent on the development of your additional "service" , back to
your initial passion and talent , you will have sucsess.

I have never met a sucsessfull video/stills COMBO man in Africa that delivers "prestine" results combining the two subjects.

Last edited by Herman Van Deventer; February 3rd, 2008 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 07:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Ganglfinger View Post
...He told me point blank that if I was offering video/photography that he could not refer me, period.
I would never dream of stealing a job from a photographer ( I was only going to offer photography to people who were going to have a relative do it), but convincing the photographers of this is not easy.
I face a similar quandary...

I'm still young in the video business and am starting out with legal and event work, though I don't do weddings. (I know many folks here consider legal as "boring" or non-creative, e.g. only a short script, no storyboard or shot list, and it doesn't require a crew, but I don't have tons of experience in other work and legal seems to require the least, so I'm confident I could do a good job at it). Breaking-in to legal is difficult...like the typcial college grad who "can't get a job without experience, but then, where do you get experience w/out a job"? Seems no legal vid will refer another or hire another who doesn't have lots of experience.

While I've picked up occasional event work and some construction site work, and recently got a toehold in my first involvement in an indie film, I devoted considerable time to study and practice the legal end. I finally found someone already established in the business who said he was willing to work with me to learn his way of doing things...until he learned that I would also be pursuing work on my own, effectively "competing" with him for clients. Unfortunately, he was looking for a new member to his "stable" dedicated to being "saddled" only when he had more work than he could handle. (I guess in the meantime I was supposed to sit on my hands...and equipment...until he needed me). Once he was aware that we might be competing against each other, he dropped me like leper.

I suppose I could have strung him along/lied to him, taking advantage of his "tutelage" until I made some contacts on my own and had "broken-in" to the field, but I try to be more above-board/ethical than that. In this case, being up-front about my intentions hurt me...can one be "too honest"?

I find the situation curious, because just as one would hope to get referrals from another, referrals are a 2-way street. If you had two booking opportunities for work on the same day, would you refer one to someone else, or just drop the client cold and leave them to their own devices? Is such behavior shortsighted or "cutting off one's nose to spite their face"? Meanwhile, I'm forging ahead on my own.

I know I'm simply commiserating, and I don't know the answer, but if you find one, please let others here know.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 11:35 AM   #8
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Around here most of the videographers feel we are all on the same side.
There are only so many saturdays in a summer. The advantages of being in touch with each other far outweigh the disadvantages.
Even if its just to provide backup to each other for various pieces of equipment that would be a good enough reason to be friends.
On the other topic I suppose one needs to weigh up how much of their work is coming from photographers recommendaitons.
I recently was offering frame grabs from my video footage until I was reminded that it could possibly leave a sour taste in the mouths of some photogrpahers who may or may not recommend me at some stage. So felt it probably wouldn't be worth it.
Denis being honest in any business pays off in the long term and being dishonest nearly always comes back to bite one in the rear end. But you can be honest while not revealing all of your personal plans.
IMO.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 12:24 PM   #9
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Mark:

If this is the business model you want then stay focused on YOUR plan and don't worry about other entities in the business. Of course you will need to be cordial but if this is something that you believe in, it will show and you can work around the issue. Easier said than done, I know. But work to create your brand and your work. People will come to regardless of referral. We have had some photographers refer other videographers but we have had clients say they just didn't like the others work so they came to us. The point being is that stay focused on your craft and your business model and a little creative marketing and you will be fine.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 02:44 AM   #10
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It's tempting to offer both. We've attracted several couples who are willing to go with pro-video and uncle-photo. This week we had a bride whose mother was going to do the photography. That's not the MOB role in a wedding, so we told her that we could take some *amature* shots and provide a CD. We've done amature wedding photography in the past, but I'm concerned that our inequity of photography vs videography might hurt our reputation. Like Mike said, it's the higher end couples that will keep us in business.

I do like the concept of my wife shooting while I film. Even during the ceremony there are a lot of opportunities to shoot with the video cam frozen on the tripod.

In the end, I believe in videography to the point that I think having us film along with amature photography is better than no video and pro photo. We will never advertize video/photo, BUT our arm MIGHT be twisted in a special circumstance.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #11
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In the end, I believe in videography to the point that I think having us film along with amature photography is better than no video and pro photo. We will never advertize video/photo, BUT our arm MIGHT be twisted in a special circumstance.
In my opinion, either do it full throttle and offer a professional product or get out of photography! As professional videographers how often do we complain about uncle down the street getting into the industry for beer money and undercutting out services/prices! Why is it okay to turn around and do the same to the photographers?

On top of that, bad move on your part. Frankly you're going to get yourself into trouble offering "amature" photography with "professional" video. Your clients are unlikely to understand the difference or pay attention to your explanation. And trust me photogs have as many problems with clients complaining that they don't like the results as we do. A judge isn't going to see a distinction between your photography and your video services, he's going to call you a professional on both because you charge for both. Or do you think a bride happy with your video but pissed at your photos is going to give any referrals? No you are going to loose both because the bad taste is what she will remember most.

Be proud of the work your company offers! If you offer both then put the best of both out, period. It is more than possible to do so, and in my opinion videographers should learn about photography, it'd improve our services. If you can't find a way to offer quality on both, then stick with what you know and don't try to slum it in the other industry.
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Old February 9th, 2008, 01:14 AM   #12
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Mark,
We do both, and haven't felt any backlash at all from photogs. We have never really relied on them for refferrals, but do get referrals form time to time. Now keep in mind, my wife does the photog part of the business and would be doing it whether or not we offered video, but we each pursue our own discipline as professionals. It makes a difference if people sense that this is your career and not just an "experiment" No noffense I hope, I have no idea what your level of interest or involvement in photography is, but photographers are very sensitive about newbies nowadays with the prevelance of cheap DSLRs etc.
Bill
We also do both, been doing the photography several years, just added the video this year and marketed it as such. We explain we are new to this part but there is no local videographer so picking up some extra weddings.

We explain that when hired to do both, we are photographers first, and get them a good quality video, better than uncle Joes.

I do have passion for both, and real passion, one I am good at, one I am learning. I would love to do 50/50 photography, video, but not together, but until I get really good at video that is not an option.

Some think that the photography is easier, and maybe for an ameature, but not for a pro carrying 3 cameras, 4 lenses and all his lighting equipment and shooting and processing 1000 raw wedding images, then building albums and slide shows. I would say its pretty even if you do both professionally. The mix of doing half photography weddings and the other half videography weddings I think would keep you fresh and break up the workflow. Thats my opinion anyways.
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Old February 9th, 2008, 08:36 PM   #13
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As far as Photography being easier than Video goes, I am truly scared to death of photography!
On my first real (as in well paid!) wedding, 10 years ago, I went in completely confident that I could pull it off and I did ( based on very happy clients, and 8 referals from that one job).
I am very nervous however about selling myself as a real photographer.
As a video guy I could step back and let the photographer take charge, and then I would take advantage of his nicely composed shots. I know photography fairly well, but being the "guy in charge" is a little intimidating!
I am currently tossing around how to make sure the client knows what they are getting. My wife (who has many years in the wedding industry under her belt) has warned me that no matter what you say, or how many samples you show them, that some people will still find fault and expect perfection.

By the way, thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. You have all been very helpful.

Mark G.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 08:47 AM   #14
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In my area we have a large photography studio that charges top dollar for their work. Some say too much. I have no problem with charging what you are worth I do the same thing. Here is the rub they also offer a video with their package for a measly $250 undercutting the pro videographer by many hundreds of dollars. The problem is the quality of the work is poor at best and often so bad it is not worth watching. I have had many clients go to them because of the price only to be very disappointed in the DVD.

I spend around forty hours on a wedding movie and to shoot and deliver my work for any thing close to that price would put me out of business.

Their feeling is that the video is not that important the photos are what matters.

Well I feel differently. I have been tempted to offer photography with my movie for $250 shot with a digital camera and delivered on cd just to compete with them. Maybe I will throw it in for free with my video package. I have won awards for my amateur photography and many people have touted how professional my pictures look. I am a videographer first but I could offer a low ball alternative to pro photography.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 03:33 PM   #15
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Ron -
turnabout is fair play, as they say! This really depends a lot on your "local situation"!
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