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


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Old March 22nd, 2008, 07:45 AM   #1
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Low low prices

I'm starting off with weddings this year. I've done plenty of other work, just not weddings. So, as I start off I wanted to get a few under my belt with nothing to show.
What I'd like to charge for the weddings is from $1200 to $2500, maybe a bit more with add on packages. But, I was thinking to start at half price.

Basically $600 to show up and document the wedding, up to $1250 for doing the full love story, montage thing and have some other simple things to add like setting up a "congratulation's cam" (haven't worked out a good name for it, just a place set up at the reception for people to say a few words).

I don't like the whole pricing by cameras available scheme. I have 3 and will use 3. Cover my butt shots are good to have.

Seem reasonable?
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 10:44 PM   #2
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We all had to start somewhere!

Samuel, to do this right and to be fair to our industry, you need to make sure that the your potential client understands that your prices are introductory for a limited time and assure them that you are a competent shooter with experience. At the same time you need to explain to them that you are building a wedding portfolio.

Once you are faced with the pressure of the day I assure you, you will make mistakes as you find out how hard it actually is to shoot weddings, let alone multi-cam by your self, so it is imperative that clients are aware that your current prices are to help you build a portfolio.

I did my first two events for free, for the 3'rd I charged $500 and after that it was standard industry prices for the level of work I was producing.

As far as your prices go you will have to look at what your colleagues are charging in your area and set your prices commensurate with the quality of work you are producing.

Welcome & good luck!!

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Old March 23rd, 2008, 09:19 PM   #3
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Yeah, that's how I figured it.

I won't be all alone with 3 cameras. I'll man the MAIN camera as I know I can get it done myself. 2nd Camera will be manned by another person who I have about 90% confidence in (he's done some rather poor and shaky pans before, but I think that should be worked out by now). The 3rd will be a stationary camera with as wide an angle as I can possibly get.

I'm looking at this the same as any other live event, such as a music band.

I've booked two so far, and they seemed understanding enough after seeing that I had done video work before. 3 is the magic number though.

The cold feet is starting a bit, which is the real reason I posted. Just looking for someone to tell me it'll be ok.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 01:26 AM   #4
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He he, you'll be fine mate! Just make sure you get good shots & audio of the vows & ring exchange. The thing that makes a wedding day so stressful for us videographers is that there is so much riding on getting these one-off moments. It only takes a photographer to do a jack-in-the-box in front of your camera and you've lost the kiss or the rings or other such moment, especially if there is more than one official photographer covering the event.

I used to shoot live bands and music docos in the early 90's and I can tell you none of that ever matched the level of stress shooting weddings.

My strongest advice for anyone starting out in weddings is to keep your equipment setup & operation as idiot proof and simple as possible. On the day when you are under stress and pressured by time, your brain will not be thinking rationally if something goes wrong (i.e; interference in the wireless audio or a camera starts acting up). As you do more and more weddings you will learn a base routine and then you can start to add more enhancements to the day ie; more wireless mics, Irivers and cameras. Also by keeping it simple you have less chance of accidentally leaving equipment behind.

Use quality equipment and keep your setup simple.

Good luck!
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Old March 24th, 2008, 08:38 AM   #5
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Be this guy

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=117529
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Old March 24th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #6
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Hi Greg, for some reason the message thread is not accessible.

JT
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Old March 24th, 2008, 03:19 PM   #7
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That's strange, it was up about 5 minutes ago. It was the "Wow, is this serious" thread about the guy that charges amazingly little and delivers everything in HD. I thought his FAQ's were awesome. :) I'd never use them, but they made me laugh. Looks like the thread has been removed, not sure why though.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 03:44 PM   #8
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Was it a troll?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Oveson View Post
That's strange, it was up about 5 minutes ago. It was the "Wow, is this serious" thread about the guy that charges amazingly little and delivers everything in HD. I thought his FAQ's were awesome. :) I'd never use them, but they made me laugh. Looks like the thread has been removed, not sure why though.
Could it have been a troll? No ideas.

AS for how I started.... pretty standard. I did weddings for friends for free. After a few I charged a pittance $200. Then $500. ANd now that I have nearly a dozen under my belt I'm up to location & demand supported prices. Some times I'm too expensive for people. But I don't cut my price to get the gig (well I don't cut much, may be $100-200 if the client has a great location I want to shoot for demo reel material).
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Old March 24th, 2008, 03:49 PM   #9
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Hi Greg, for some reason the message thread is not accessible.
I have withdrawn it from public view. It was a rather mean-spirited discussion which is totally out of character for DV Info Net. I don't want this site used for the purpose of talking trash about others. I only wish I had caught it earlier. Thanks for understanding,
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Old March 24th, 2008, 03:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mike Oveson View Post
Looks like the thread has been removed, not sure why though.
Oops, guess I hadn't really read the thread part of it. I clicked on the link and read the guys FAQ's and thought he was awesome. I didn't realize that the thread was demeaning anyone. Certainly appropriate to take it down if it was.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #11
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Thanks.

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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
I have withdrawn it from public view. It was a rather mean-spirited discussion which is totally out of character for DV Info Net. I don't want this site used for the purpose of talking trash about others. I only wish I had caught it earlier. Thanks for understanding,
Especially if the thread was targeting specific people. Having had that directed towards me on another domain's forum, I am glad you (Chris) take some pride in the quality of postings here.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 05:28 PM   #12
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I completely understand because unfortunately it happens to me on a fairly regular basis. The difference between DV Info Net and other internet message boards is that you won't find any trash-talking here (or as in this case, if you do find it, it won't last very long).

If somebody feels that compelled to flame another person, they can put it on their *own* site / blog / whatever... but not this one.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 12:14 AM   #13
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Trash Talk...please read

I'll throw out that I actually know the guy that thread was speaking of, and consider him a friend. I've worked with him several times and he's sent some clients my way even. I'm glad that I caught the discussion too late to see the trash talk because it'd probably just have made me mad.

My view on things:
1. If you are mad that "he is taking business" because he charges crazy low...he only has so many weekends a month...the other brides have to go elsewhere.
2. There are different ways to run a business. One is to charge "for the experience of it" or "the name brand", and the other..to charge cheap to get as many clients as you can...sort of the Wal-mart way. The funny thing is that he puts out a better product than most people who charge an arm and a leg and tout "Full-HD wedding videos" but deliver on regular DVDs..at least he doesn't lie.
3. Everyone has to get their competitive advantage somewhere. Some lie (see above), for me it is charging a little less than most of the others and quick turn around. At first I tried touting 2 camera men as well...that didn't matter in this area so I saved the money and shoot by myself now. Claus found out that Blu-ray is something that people are interested in, even if they don't yet have a player. Why not offer it at cost to get a bunch of clients. When he has 2 clients every weekend for the rest of the year, that's his problem when he has to edit it all (IN 3-4 weeks might I add). Sometimes I wonder how he does it, but he STILL manages to turn around faster than the average video yahoo and have a full-time job.
Again when he is booked solid through 2009 so essentially can't raise his prices until 2010 bookings that is something that he has to weigh.
4. I saw a stat that 2000+ brides get married on an average weekend in Atlanta in the summer. Ok so if he were to take 2 of those that would leave the rest of the video yahoos in ATL 1998 brides to fight over...that comes out to 70 per every other company assuming all brides want video.

WHO YOU SHOULD HATE:
Don't hate on the Videographer that is doing things RIGHT. Hate the videographer that continually screws up and lies to clients and puts out a bad product. They are the ones that make the other 1998 brides go hmm maybe I shouldn't get video.
Hate the photographer who is charging $3000 just for the ceremony. She's the reason why I have to charge $700 and do more work..because Bride Sally called and said "I have a little money left and was wondering if you could fit in my budget."
Hate the fact that more often than not the video is an afterthought..that is something that my friend is trying to change...the more successful he is the better we all are. As long as he is making brides happy there is a friend of hers that is going...well maybe I WILL get video.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 03:47 AM   #14
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Hi Clayton,
FWIW, I didn't see any real trash talking, just some people marveling (OK, maybe it came across as grumbling) at how anyone could do the job at those prices!

I thought Claus's site was a hoot and an inspiration, although if he's booked 2 years out, I'd really recommend he raise his prices <wink>!

Thanks for popping in and giving a it more perspective. I actually may e-mail and ask how much for a demo disk - his style sounds simlar to mine (right down to the sarcastic wit), and I don't know that either of us would be driving far enough to "compete". I'm in an area that doesn't have big budgets, and so I have to look at what prices "work" - there's not much "competition", but not much market either!
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Old March 25th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #15
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Claus actually contacted me personally by email to discuss this matter. As an upfront disclaimer, I will try to keep this post as diplomatic as possible. With that said, let me share a few of his thoughts and mine on the subject.

Many of my thoughts run along with Clayton's. People are free to run a business however they like. Using the Wal-mart model as a comparison, people are free to charge whatever they want. Other businesses may not like it, but if a company can charge a price and stay in business for it then they are free to do so. I understand the point of other videographers that it "drags the industry down" but the video industry still isn't on its feet. It's making great progress, but we're not there yet. When we become an essential part of the majority of all weddings taking place then it might be different, but I doubt it.

Claus was rather angry with the way this was presented and discussed. He mentioned in his email that providing two Blu-Ray discs costs him an additional $20 (also mentioned on his site). Though some videographers may not like that and also want to factor in a lot of indirect costs associated with shooting and editing in HD, the only direct cost for Claus is the additional discs. Personally I think he's brilliant. If I had an HD cam I'd probably start doing the same thing based on the success of his model. But the main point is that he's free to run his business however he would like. None of us would like to be told how to do things. We do come to this forum to seek advice from our colleagues, but sometimes it's not quite advice that we receive.

I'll step down off whatever short soapbox I was getting up on. I wanted to try to represent Claus's thoughts and I hope I have done so. After this I'm dropping the matter. I don't think it needs to be beat to death. The more professional all of us (and professional does not equal higher prices) in our conduct to each other the more our industry will grow. Just remember that if you ever see someone "undercutting" you or doing the "impossible". None of us were forced into this industry, and we can be as successful as we want to be. Look at Patrick Moreau. It's all up to you, not what the next guy is doing. It never hurts to know what your competition is doing, but if it dictates your actions you might want to rethink how you're doing business.
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