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


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Old August 31st, 2008, 08:29 AM   #1
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Who does this full time?

I am a full time photographer and doing quite well. I have an extensive business background so the business part was easy, and my good day job provided the income to purchase my equipment with out loans until I went full time. I have started adding video for a few reasons, the first I LOVE it, and am inspired by many of you. I have always been a tech type of person and love the audio/video combination. I also feel it adds some security to what I do, lets face it with the cheap digital SLR's many MANY people try and jump into the wedding photography business for less than $1000.00, Video is not so easy to jump into and after the first edit attempt. many get right back out.

Right now I offer a combination of video / photography for my highest package. It is clear that the video they get is straight edit with professional audio. I do use 2 cameras (XH-A1's) but for my own footage and practice. I have to say this has a HUGE learning curve but a challenge and will eliminate many wan a be video people. The only person in this area offering video shoots with ONE sony handicam and his final product is un edited and quality is poor.

I am curious to how many are able to do video full time.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 08:56 AM   #2
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For 25 years, but I was a still photog for 12 years before that. Always a freelancer who has worked very hard over the years to maintain my independence. I do not work or play well with bosses and being an independent contractor I get to talk to the 'boss' everyday. A nice conversation in the mirror before starting my work day just so the 'boss' knows who's the 'boss ;-)
Some years better than others but it all averages out in the wash so o speak.

Don
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Old August 31st, 2008, 09:00 AM   #3
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I am full time. Actually my first "job" is a stay-at-home mom, then I do this full time on the side!? I jumped into this in 2005 and although its scary sometimes, it has worked out great... even better than I had hoped! Now you are talking about something completely different I think. Offering both services full time is going to be tricky, but I don't see it impossible. I know a lot of people around here ask if I do both in our initial meeting. If you can find a way to give them the amazing photos as well as a excellent video, cheers to you! The few people I have seen offer both, always lets the video slide in at 2nd rate (at best). G/L!
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:21 AM   #4
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I do it full time both photo and video. I started with photography doing weddings since 93 and got into video 4 years ago. At first, I only offered video with photography, now I offer it separately as well. I have two associates who work for me regularly (one video, one still) and a few others on reserve.

To Dawn's comment, "If you can find a way to give them the amazing photos as well as a excellent video, cheers to you! The few people I have seen offer both, always lets the video slide in at 2nd rate (at best)." You're right - I don't think one person can do a good job alone. I know I couldn't. The way we work is I bring dedicated shooters of each, I flip back-and-forth between photo/video and act as an overall director. It seems to work pretty well but, I have to give my crew a lot of the credit as they are very talented and we work well as a team.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 11:35 AM   #5
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By no means did I mean I do it myself, We are a husband and wife team, both have our strengths and weakness. The great thing is I am very good with the tech stuff, my wife very creative. Because I have been doing photography so long, it has become possible to add video. I use 3 people when doing both, and have found a workflow that works.

I was asking who does video full time, not necessarily doing both.
I am offering video only now, and love the change of pace sometimes, not that one is easier than the other, just that its different.

I love providing for myself, wife and 4 children and like said above, being my own boss, although I work much harder now than I ever did working for someone else.

I feel video will have its place for a long time to come, and I hope for it to be a part of my business as well.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 11:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Josh Laronge View Post
The way we work is I bring dedicated shooters of each, I flip back-and-forth between photo/video and act as an overall director. It seems to work pretty well but, I have to give my crew a lot of the credit as they are very talented and we work well as a team.
--JL
This is exactly what I do, if the settings are set on cams, and its the pull back shot, an assistant can manage that. I do the formals (photography) and can manage a video camera and still camera for most of the receptions as long as I have another person running each a still and a video camera. This seems to work well and as long as I dont ask anyone but me to do both seem to be working out well.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 12:13 PM   #7
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I do video full time as well and my wife does the photo's. We always work alone and on a rare occasion with a second videographer but that doesn't happen much. I find working alone as a videographer often stressfull but very rewarding every time I manage to pull it off again. :)
I have a photog backgroundand my feeling is that this has helped me a lot when doing video. Not from technical point of view but from creative point of view. Working alone also requires you to be much more versatile and on your toes but it keeps me from falling asleep in front of my tv. For me every shot counts so I just have to be more creative then others who have the luxury of working with 2 or 3.
You might ask yourself why I don't work with another videographer, Belgium is a very though market for weddings and working with 2 or 3 will require raising my prizes considerably which will result in a lot less bookings, that's why i also do eventvideo and some other video- but not wedding related stuff. You have a lot of wannabees here with full time other jobs who are not registered and charging low prizes, they have a camera and think they can film. Last week I was with a another photog who was in the business for years and she never saw other videographers attach wireless mics like I do on the groom. That says enough I think.

Last edited by Noa Put; August 31st, 2008 at 03:55 PM.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 12:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Denny Kyser View Post
I am a full time photographer and doing quite well. I have an extensive business background so the business part was easy, and my good day job provided the income to purchase my equipment with out loans until I went full time. I have started adding video for a few reasons, the first I LOVE it...

...I have to say this has a HUGE learning curve but a challenge and will eliminate many wan a be video people. The only person in this area offering video shoots with ONE sony handicam and his final product is un edited and quality is poor.

I am curious to how many are able to do video full time.
Hi Denny,

Because of your photography background, both in business and the foundational basics, you have a very good head start.

The love of video is a common reason that many start producing wedding videos. It is a wonderful medium and offers several advantages over photography to the client, that is when done well.

The biggest challenge is making enough money in video to do it full time. Many simply do not charge enough to make a living with video. That's the sad part because I know many who do wonderful work, but back away from it because they don't make enough money in video.

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.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 01:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
Many simply do not charge enough to make a living with video.
Here I could say; many clients don't want to pay enough for the work that we put in it which is actually the same but a result for the too low prizes we have to charge just to get a booking.
If I count all the hours I invest in video and compare that to everyone involved with weddings like the DJ, the limodriver etc I am actually the worst paid of all. You really have to love video to keep doing this. :)
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Old September 1st, 2008, 01:45 PM   #10
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Here I could say; many clients don't want to pay enough for the work that we put in it which is actually the same but a result for the too low prizes we have to charge just to get a booking.
If I count all the hours I invest in video and compare that to everyone involved with weddings like the DJ, the limodriver etc I am actually the worst paid of all. You really have to love video to keep doing this. :)
Hi Noa,

You bring up a very valid point. I don't know how much things cost in your country, but when you are shooting a wedding with a photographer that is similar in quality as you, are you getting paid the same as the photographer, or does the photographer make more than you? If the photographer is charging more than you is he charging 50% more, 200% more or even more?

I don't ask this to be controversial, but to understand your market. If my question is inappropriate, please disregard my question.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 02:41 PM   #11
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Hi Noa,

You bring up a very valid point. I don't know how much things cost in your country, but when you are shooting a wedding with a photographer that is similar in quality as you, are you getting paid the same as the photographer, or does the photographer make more than you? If the photographer is charging more than you is he charging 50% more, 200% more or even more?

I don't ask this to be controversial, but to understand your market. If my question is inappropriate, please disregard my question.

I am not Noa, but I can say I get paid better for photography, but there is more expense in the final project. I am now getting paid pretty well for video for what I offer. I deliver more than I offer, meaning I offer straight edit, and do the multi cam edited version for my own practice and of coarse deliver that, but what I am responsible to deliver is basic straight edit. I clearly explain this that what so and so got was the bennefit of me learning and things worked out good, if I do that for them its my choice, and no charge to them, but what I am getting paid for is this. I see no other way to learn and get paid at the same time.

Mark, your DVD's have helped so much and I know getting to see you Live will may a world of difference.

Denny
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Old September 1st, 2008, 02:47 PM   #12
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It's not inappropriate at all Mark, I'm not going to calculate exchange rates between dollar and euro but just for comparison purposes lets say I charge 800 euro for a full day coverage (I work alone) the average prizes that videographers ask in Belgium would be between 600 and 1200 euro.
Photogos here would ask prizes that vary between 500 and 2500 euro. 500 euro are shoot and deliver photogs, no album, just raw material with minor corrections on a dvd so the client can print themselves.. 2500 euro photogs often have a shop with photo equipment, use hasselblads as their main camera and have a lot of exclusive albums and other options.

In the eastern part of Belgium clients would consider 600 euro a reasonable amount to pay, in the center part around 1000 euro for video. That's the main reason why 80 percent of my bookings comes from the centre part because I'm cheaper then what they are used to.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 04:35 PM   #13
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I am also now full time with this and doing very well. I started out working at a full time job out of college as I built up the business and 2 years later went full time with it...I'll never look back! I've been full time now for 1.5 years and it's been great. The second you do it full time, the business can easily double and you have so much more time to put into what you do and make it better. My wife currently works full time and helps me on weekends. For the last year, she's been working building up the photography end which she really enjoys. We're not even offering it yet, but want to build a solid foundation for it before we do. The plan is for her to go full time by march of next year and hit the ground running just as I did with video. We'll then each be in charge of our respective skills and should have an awesome business.
To answer your question a little more directly, even without her working a full time job and her benefits, I would easily be able to maintain the lifestyle I want with what I'm making by doing this full time....it just takes a lot of work, but I love it!

Matt
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Old September 1st, 2008, 04:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Denny Kyser View Post
The only person in this area offering video shoots with ONE sony handicam and his final product is un edited and quality is poor.
Denny,

Sounds like you recognized a great opportunity and jumped on it!

I've been doing this full time for 7 years. Low cost of living, no kids, and no student loans has helped!

jones
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Old September 1st, 2008, 06:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post

FROM AN EARLIER POST

Here I could say; many clients don't want to pay enough for the work that we put in it which is actually the same but a result for the too low prizes we have to charge just to get a booking.

AND MOST RECENTLY

It's not inappropriate at all Mark, I'm not going to calculate exchange rates between dollar and euro but just for comparison purposes lets say I charge 800 euro for a full day coverage (I work alone) the average prizes that videographers ask in Belgium would be between 600 and 1200 euro.
Photogos here would ask prizes that vary between 500 and 2500 euro. 500 euro are shoot and deliver photogs, no album, just raw material with minor corrections on a dvd so the client can print themselves.. 2500 euro photogs often have a shop with photo equipment, use hasselblads as their main camera and have a lot of exclusive albums and other options.

In the eastern part of Belgium clients would consider 600 euro a reasonable amount to pay, in the center part around 1000 euro for video. That's the main reason why 80 percent of my bookings comes from the centre part because I'm cheaper then what they are used to.
Hi Noa,

Thanks for giving me some insight into your market. I believe videographers should be charging as much if not more than photographers of a similar skill set.

From the earlier post you mentioned that clients don't want to pay enough and that we have to charge too low of a price just to get a booking. Then you said for comparison purposes that you are charging 800, but other videographers are charging as much as 1200 and that you are able to book from the center part because they expect to pay 1000.

My question is this. If they are willing to pay as much as 1200 and expect to pay 1000, why are you only charging 800? By my calculations, you are taking 200-400 out of your pocket on every wedding.

I do not say this to be critical but to be helpful. I am speaking from my own experience.

Several years ago when we were first starting out I noticed that photographers we charging as much as $7000 American Dollars but videographers in our local market were in the $600-1200 average, American Dollars. We knew we could not make a living at those prices. We made our product better and started charging more. Over time our yearly average per wedding slowly and steadily went from $1500...$2500...$3500...$4500 American Dollars. The highest we have charged is $9200. In all of this time, our local videographers are still charging an average of $600-1500. They could be charging more, if they would just ask for it. Why don't ask for it? Because they are afraid people will say no.

I said all of this to make a point from my own experience. If you want to build a premium wedding video business you cannot let your competition set your prices.

Again, I hope to be helpful and not critical.
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