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


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Old July 13th, 2008, 06:22 AM   #1
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How long is your day?

I've been shooting weddings for about 7 years on and off. Mostly, I've been shooting for another company and just a year ago I launched by own company. Anyway... the company I shoot for books unlimited coverage. It's cool, because he pay well and he finds it's a little something extra that may give him the edge in booking a client.

But, after reading Dana's comments in the earplug thread, it got me wondering how long everyone else usually stays at the reception. Most still photographers take off one or two hours before the end of the night. Is staying there all night worth it? I mean, how much dancing do clients want to see?
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Old July 13th, 2008, 08:03 AM   #2
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good question...i suppose though that the majority will say it depends on the package chosen, or time limits

for our main package, i state that I stay 10 hours max from 'Getting Ready' to 'Evening Entertainment'

but in the last few months, we now generally say we leave 2 or 3 'audience' dances after the 1st dance. after that, it's ALL the same (unless there genuinly is something exciting happening, like fireworks, choreographed dancing, singing...)

pretty much 90% of the stills photographers (UK) i've met leave before the 1st dance..they admit, they can't be done with the waiting around and the lighting issues (plus so many of the guests will take photos of the first dance anyway)...lame?...no, actually i'm jealous :)
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Old July 13th, 2008, 01:21 PM   #3
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We shoot very long days, usually. 14-16 hours is typical from showing up at the groom's house in the morning, to leaving at midnight or 1am from the reception.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 03:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Smyth View Post

... it got me wondering how long everyone else usually stays at the reception. Most still photographers take off one or two hours before the end of the night. Is staying there all night worth it? I mean, how much dancing do clients want to see?
It paritially depends on your market and local customs. In some markets the reception only lasts 3 hours. In some markets the reception send off is a really big deal and in other markets the reception ends with the last person dancing and no really big send off.

Our market is mixed. Some have a big send off with an old classic car and fireworks and others dance until 1:00 AM and don't have a formal exit. If there is not a big send off, the Bride usually doesn't book us till the end. Dancing at 11:00PM usually looks the same as dancing at 1:00AM, except the dancers have usually had more to drink.

The longer the coverage time, the more our price goes up. Over the years we have had a handfull that booked 10-12 hours, but the average is around 6 hours.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 04:25 PM   #5
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I once shot a wedding and reception in Rosanke, Texas, and then drove immediately to Austin to shoot a rave. My day started about 2pm and ended at 8am the next morning. But I was in my twenties then and anything was possible. These days... not so much.

When I did weddings, I'd stay until the B&G left the reception. Ah, those long hours...!
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Old July 13th, 2008, 05:16 PM   #6
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Our wedding yesterday, we left home at just before 9am and arrived home a few minutes before midnight. We were photographing and videoing this one. If we photograph only we usually leave after the first dance, unless like has been previously mentioned there are fireworks.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 09:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
It paritially depends on your market and local customs. In some markets the reception only lasts 3 hours. In some markets the reception send off is a really big deal and in other markets the reception ends with the last person dancing and no really big send off.

Our market is mixed. Some have a big send off with an old classic car and fireworks and others dance until 1:00 AM and don't have a formal exit. If there is not a big send off, the Bride usually doesn't book us till the end. Dancing at 11:00PM usually looks the same as dancing at 1:00AM, except the dancers have usually had more to drink.

The longer the coverage time, the more our price goes up. Over the years we have had a handfull that booked 10-12 hours, but the average is around 6 hours.
In our market, the reception is usually 4-5 hours and ends anywhere from 10pm to 12am. Some brides have a last dance with a big send off, but I'm noticing that to be less and less. If they want to book us for a limited number of hours, I try to encourage the brides to have us start earlier and end earlier. I think it's better to get more "getting ready" shots rather than a bunch of dancing that they'll never really watch again.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #8
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12 hours from showing up at the grooms house until I leave the reception, unless there is something significant to capture that hasn't happened yet (i.e. bouquet and garter).

I, too, am jealous of the photographers that take off after the first dance :)
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Old July 14th, 2008, 04:26 PM   #9
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Up through this season I've always just done unlimited hours. Starting next year I'm having a 10-hour cap, with additional hours possible for a premium fee. I shoot my butt off on a wedding day, and doing that for 14 hours is just really demanding.
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