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


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Old September 1st, 2008, 06:42 PM   #16
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Just to touch on what mark just said.......About a year ago, I personally talked to Mark about what he just mentioned here. I was in the boat with the average videographer not making what I felt I was worth...and not even close to the photographers in the area. I do still believe a big part of that has to do with what market you're in, but he's right! If photographers are making that much..why can't we. Video is growing rapidly, and at least in my area, it's becoming number #1 must have over photography when people start planning of weddings. There are still those that don't want it, but the ones that do, want to get it booked immediately and want the best. It wasn't like that 2 years ago but I believe that getting a solid and fresh product out there has helped to bring more attention and excitement to it. I am now charging almost double what I was a year or so ago and as far as I know, one of the most expensive within 200-300 miles. And now for the crazy part...it won't slow down. I'm still very busy and getting many calls that I just have to turn down. I'm booking all that I can possibly manage to shoot and edit comfortably. I was very hesitant about this as Mark mentioned, most people are, but I went for it and have a product that I feel supports the price I'm asking and it works.

Matt
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Old September 1st, 2008, 06:58 PM   #17
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Yes I know Mark, charging more might seem easy money but it will result in less bookings so in the worst case I might end up earning even less at the end of the year. The guys asking 1200 do all types of video for companies as well because they can't survive on weddings alone, they also work with 2 videographers on each job and I work alone.

I read a quite popular forum for weddingcouples were they ask for all kinds of tips for their weddings and I only read the questions about videographers, most of them ask for videographers in the 600 and lower region.

I also make eventvideo's and I also work together with a supplier of "chatboxes" (unmanned camera's with a microphone that record the guests wishes) and those are very popular around these parts.
It's with these extra things I do I manage to keep my business running, weddings is an important part but not THE most important part anymore, I found that approach to be much safer.

I'm always looking for extra ways to get cash coming in and eventhough I specialize in weddings I'm slowly expanding as well, like I just started doing event video's for a event coordinator this year and they really liked my work so they provide me work on a regular base and an based on hour rate. That gives me a much better security then weddings alone.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:38 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Matt Bishop View Post
Video is growing rapidly, and at least in my area, it's becoming number #1 must have over photography when people start planning of weddings.
I think that's the main difference between your area and mine, here it isn't and if it is it's occupied by cheap videographers that are not registered or have a business. Those kind of wannabees that have a camera, are a member of a videoclub, have regular full time jobs and think they are spielberg. They don't pay any taxes or don't have to hire a bookkeeper.
In the area were clients do want to pay more there are too many videographers each looking for a piece of the cake and the cake aint that big. :)
Belgium is not such a video country for wedding couples, just to give you an idea, I have seen some of your work Matt and think it's really great and I think most of your clients contact you because they liked the emotion and storytelling in those trailers. I also try to make my trailers on my site in that way but a response I got from a client last time was that she was afraid the whole movie would look like that and wanted to know if I shoot in a documentary style. You know, just plain point and shoot.
There are just a few clients that appreciate the artsy stuff and willing to pay for it.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 10:43 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
My wife and I are in video full time with no additional outside income. I'm not knocking anyone who has a spouse that adds to the monthly income or adds insurance benefits, but the rubber really hits the road when you both do video full time.
I so wish I could get me wife interested in working with me!
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 12:51 PM   #20
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I so wish I could get me wife interested in working with me!
Hi Joel,

I don't know how I could do it. I guess I would have found a way, but I would not have the training branch of our business, that's for sure.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 01:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Yes I know Mark, charging more might seem easy money but it will result in less bookings so in the worst case I might end up earning even less at the end of the year. The guys asking 1200 do all types of video for companies as well because they can't survive on weddings alone, they also work with 2 videographers on each job and I work alone.

I read a quite popular forum for weddingcouples were they ask for all kinds of tips for their weddings and I only read the questions about videographers, most of them ask for videographers in the 600 and lower region.

I also make eventvideo's and I also work together with a supplier of "chatboxes" (unmanned camera's with a microphone that record the guests wishes) and those are very popular around these parts.
It's with these extra things I do I manage to keep my business running, weddings is an important part but not THE most important part anymore, I found that approach to be much safer.

I'm always looking for extra ways to get cash coming in and eventhough I specialize in weddings I'm slowly expanding as well, like I just started doing event video's for a event coordinator this year and they really liked my work so they provide me work on a regular base and an based on hour rate. That gives me a much better security then weddings alone.
Hi Noa,

I understand if the 1200 guy is using two cameras and you are not. I also know videographers here in the US that shoot with just one camera that charge a lot more than guys using 3 or more cameras.

Charging more is not easy. You cannot use the same marketing techniques as you currently are. You have to change your whole approach to the business and think like the clients that you want to reach. There is a lot more that goes into it than that, but is not just as easy as raising your prices and expecting the same Brides to pay significantly more.

There is risk involved with raising your prices. Our goal was to have a business that did not require us to be shooting a wedding every weekend and is what we have done.

Thank you for exchanging ideas with me and I want to leave you with a quote from Robert Shuller.

"What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?"
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 01:04 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Matt Bishop View Post
Just to touch on what mark just said.......About a year ago, I personally talked to Mark about what he just mentioned here. I was in the boat with the average videographer not making what I felt I was worth...and not even close to the photographers in the area. I do still believe a big part of that has to do with what market you're in, but he's right! If photographers are making that much..why can't we...


...I am now charging almost double what I was a year or so ago and as far as I know, one of the most expensive within 200-300 miles. And now for the crazy part...it won't slow down. I'm still very busy and getting many calls that I just have to turn down. I'm booking all that I can possibly manage to shoot and edit comfortably. I was very hesitant about this as Mark mentioned, most people are, but I went for it and have a product that I feel supports the price I'm asking and it works.

Matt
Hi Matt,

I'm glad to hear that business is going so well for you. Congratulations!
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
I so wish I could get me wife interested in working with me!
Same here. Actually she tried it but found that the long days were too hard on her feet.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 06:36 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the responses. I have had some photography friends ask why I am adding video with my business going so well, and I have booked a few video weddings, and later had photography customers want the same date, but we were already booked.

Well I really like having my eggs spread out a little, and there is a very slow time for photographers from Jan-March and hoping to find some video work to do in that period to give me a little more mad money.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 06:54 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Denny Kyser View Post
Thanks for all the responses. I have had some photography friends ask why I am adding video with my business going so well, and I have booked a few video weddings, and later had photography customers want the same date, but we were already booked.

Well I really like having my eggs spread out a little, and there is a very slow time for photographers from Jan-March and hoping to find some video work to do in that period to give me a little more mad money.
photographers tends to say nothing positive about people who do both videos & photos because they are afraid of losing their market share.

I'm sure they will be very friendly with you but when talking to their potential customers and mention your name doing both ... i don't know.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 07:54 PM   #26
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Well I really like having my eggs spread out a little, and there is a very slow time for photographers from Jan-March and hoping to find some video work to do in that period to give me a little more mad money.
You're very smart to do this even if it isn't for the money. With the technology that's coming down the pipe, be it the Nikon D90 or the quality, resolution and low light ability of the RED, it's only a matter of time before the two are so intertwined and brides start assuming both. Getting a start now learning about motion images and all that goes into making good ones will give you a huge advantage in the future. It's never to hard to learn a new piece of equipment if you know the foundations of what you're doing.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 10:27 PM   #27
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With the democratization of video via the internet, it's going to be come more and more expected.

Judging from the cameras I'm already using (SR11 and CX12), the ability to shoot at least decent resolution for moderately sized pictures simultaneously with video is here RIGHT NOW.

Still not sure entirely what to do with it, but it's here... with limitations no doubt, and you still need to have a good DSLR or other still camera for formals and anything you want to have for a large format enlargement, but it's rapidly becoming a question of the skill of the "camera operator" to frame, position, compose and shoot raw material that can be enhanced in post for the desired result.

The next few years will no doubt see a blurring of the "line" as technology continues to evolve and improve... Perhaps there will be the need for a new "job description"?
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 08:21 PM   #28
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I haven't made the jump to full time I just feel more comfortable with a regular job with benefits. In addition, I've discovered pricing freelance and the amount of time you put in can be tricky to balance. Clients can take advantage of you if you don't know how to properly charge for your services.

I've done video and photography. I find that photography to be not as dynamic as video, not knocking it just after a while its the same thing. Both are challenging, with photography its knowing where to be to get that shot and its pressure not to miss the crucial shots.

The difficulty I find with video is the latitude of what is good enough or how much do you provide for the money. In my opinion there is a lot more involved in making a quality video, multiple cameras with operators (who know what they're doing), wireless mics, steady cams, lights, and all that time to make a quality edit. The cost of all the equipment including the editing station and software, and the expertise to use it. I agree that we often don't get properly compensated for the amount of time and money invested.

Since I don't do this as a full time gig I under price my services or have clients who can't afford the level of quality I'm providing. Of course if I didn't derive satisfaction from doing video I'd do something else. But this is what I come back to with the latitude of quality, I once was shocked when I viewed the work of a colleague who I had taught with. Almost all his work was one camera with very little editing. I wasn't not impressed at all but he commanded a high amount of money and yet he had no shortage of customers. I on the other hand would have put in twice the amount of work but would the client know the difference?

As for doing both photo and video, for the most part I've learned to say no. I'd rather do one thing well than two things mediocre. For dance recitals I'll shoot photos at the dress rehearsal then video the performance, but never both at the same time, they both require your undivided attention.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; September 3rd, 2008 at 10:22 PM.
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Old September 4th, 2008, 08:09 AM   #29
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I've been full-time doing video production for about 2.5 years - mostly corporate work and TV commercials over that time. My wife has been running her own photography business specialising in child and maternity photography for about 1.5 years. Neither of us has a 'day job' - nothing like knowing that there's no 'Plan B' to get you motivated :)

In June we started our new business, Shadowplay Photography and Video, so that we could work together on weddings. Over time my goal is to do less corporate work and more wedding related work.

Regarding pricing, I've got a few thoughts:

- A lot of videographers are afraid to charge more than photographers

- Wedding photography offers a much more tangible end-product - i.e. albums, prints, canvases etc ... so it is easier for clients to spend the money on something that they can touch and feel. The end-product of wedding videography is a printable DVD with a bunch of 1's and 0's on it. The actual disc is worth less than $1 but the real value is the data on the disc. The time spent by the videographer (aside from the actual wedding day) is mostly invisible to the client. This is why educating our clients about the time we spend and charging appropriately for it is so important

- A lot of wedding videographers (and photographers for that matter) are not charging what their time and talent is actually worth. Many have not even done a simple expense analysis to calculate how much their business actually costs to run

- Many photographers and videographers start out with low pricing and find it difficult to transition to a higher price bracket. They then become dependant on the income and face the risk of losing work and their livelihood if they raise their prices.

I had lots of other thoughts in my head but it's a bit late and my brain is getting ready for bed :)

Mark - Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. As I'm someone in the early days of building a premium business I appreciate your advice and insight.

Cheers,

Matthew.
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Old September 4th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #30
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Regarding pricing, I've got a few thoughts:...
Matthew summed it up pretty well. I've had clients who wanted to make the editing decisions so I said fine come over and I'll charge you my hourly rate. They are always surprised how much time and work it is to go through all that footage and make all those editing decisions. As a result, I get paid for my time, they scale back their expectations, and are more appreciative of what I do. If you can think of another way to educate your customer that would be good too.
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