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Old November 11th, 2008, 07:44 PM   #1
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Professional "First" - Being Most Expensive Vendor

I had a slightly awkward meeting with the FOB for my wedding this weekend. Rewind a bit......

It was a destination wedding, and the bride shopped around. She hit up (from what I understand) most of the usual suspects in the videography industry in my town and I got the job, so I know she liked my prices. She asked me to give here a ballpark for where I thought my prices were compared to the rest, and I correctly responded probably a bit lower than average (I'm still shooting SD, all used cameras, desperate for work, etc).

When I met the FOB, he said something to the effect that he got word of my price and was surprised at how much it was. During the ceremony, the FOB, MOB, FOG, MoG all had a part where they said something (it was a very laid back event). The FOB's comment went something like "So that you all know what goes into a wedding, here is the list: $500 for the reception, over a thousand for the videography, and the photographer was the best deal well below that...."

Of course, he was paying for me, my wife, and a 150mile one way drive with two cameras, a UHF wireless system, and unlimited day of coverage that went from 11am till midnight, and a 45 minute final movie, so he got a dang good deal for his ~$1700.

But at the reception, the MOB was fawning over me and my wife and how hard we worked. She said, and I quote "I've never seen someone work so hard all day for a wedding! I'm very impressed."

The reason I bring this up is because I finally found a client that valued video above EVERYTHING else. Flowers? minimal. DJ? Start-up guy looking to break into the market (heck of a nice guy too). Catering? simple salads, meats, and cheese (though there was free Fat Tire which I availed myself of a few pints once the event was closing down). Photographer? One photographer that was mostly local (nothing is really local in this town except river rafting, bars, and hotels). So the wedding was not lavish, but I was the only vendor brought in from Boise for the 3hr drive north to the middle of no where. All the others were either local, or from a nearby larger town.

So it felt good to be appreciated. Is this a "turning of the tide" moment? I don't think so. I still think the average B&G place more priority on stills and food.... but this was a relatively young (approaching 30s I think) and definitely hip couple. May be this is a sign of the YouTube generation's tastes in media.

Anyone else had one of those "I have arrived!" moments when you had a client that clearly put you as a priority? Feels good, doesn't it.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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That's cool you were the "top dollar" vendor .. which "usually" means more respect and generally more expectations.

I thought it was funny that the FoB felt the photography was the best "deal" because it cost less than you. Where was the wedding?
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Old November 12th, 2008, 03:58 AM   #3
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love the post Jason! and it's always handy to impress the MoB!

i have definitely had customers that insist I get the best treatment and the best positions at their wedding, and that is such a nice feeling - and they are the ones that book even 1-3 years in advance and say 'we HAVE to have you at our wedding'. I think it is these people that see just how much creative hard work we put into filming and editing.

and i'd imagine that videography is being given more respect now than ever before - the editing and filming techniques available to us now are just so impressive! e.g. within the last few weeks i've bought a letus extreme and a vest upgrade for the glidecam rig. can't wait to use those in my next few weddings!
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Old November 12th, 2008, 04:33 AM   #4
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You got the vest at last, good choice.

We always have people say how hard we work, especially during the evening when were running around to get the best shots rather than standing still with a tripod.

Its not until after that people realise how much value a video can add. On our testimonials on our blog is one from a lady called Lorraine who has been all over the confetti forums raving about us and how a video is worth 10 times what you pay.

But people dont feel like that until after the day and no matter how hard you try you will never convince people before that they need you.

As you say, they think the food is more important even though its gone and down the pan by the end of the night.

Of course the photos are the best value, generally because its one person with a camera who is there for around 4 hours. As you say, its physcially demanding our job because theres so much more gear.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 05:15 AM   #5
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Very positive story. I have had comments where people were surprised how many hours I'd worked. I have had almost every couple surprised of my product on how good it was but that's an after thought of realsing how valuable a video really is. The hard part of selling to a new couple, so this is a very encouraging story to read.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 05:36 AM   #6
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Don't get used to it. Every week is different. Nothing has changed Jason. You had a good experience with a single client. The next one will be different, they always are. The fact is it is not about you (or me). It is all about them. This is one of the great truths of video. Especially wedding video.

The first time I was treated like gold by a customer I really felt I had arrived. Unfortunately that great feeling didn't last.

There are tens of thousands of us running around the United States with video cameras imagining we are special. Don't believe it for a minute.

The iconic Neil Young said recently that he only realized late in life that his music, as important as he thought it was at the time he made it, really changed nothing. The same is true about wedding video. It is fru-fru. It is nonsense oftentimes.

Today I heard from my client of a week ago who, while on her honeymoon, drew a heart in the sand and in the middle she wrote out "We love Jeff Harper" and they posed next to it and then posted the photo on her website with a full paragraph about how "wonderful Jeff is" and posted a link on the Knot. It was very sweet. http://roxann.westover.googlepages.com/vendorreviews

Ten minutes later a soon-to-be-bride called me to cancel service for this weekend. Said I could keep her deposit, because she couldn't afford video after all. This was going to leave me with no work for this weekend. So after thinking about it, I then offered to go ahead and do the video for HALF PRICE. She said no, that the video wasn't a big deal to her family anyway. This is the reality of the video business. Did she get a relative to do it? Who knows. (Please don't lecture me about my having offered to do the work cheaply. I immediatley felt devalued after I made the offer. I felt even worse about myself when she declined.)

The experience you had in reality had little to do with you, you were simply there. It is all in the customer's perception of things. I've been praised during the reception also, and at other times treated as a necessary evil. Once or twice I've been treated badly.

Video is more important to some than others. What always makes me smile is when I am complimented profusely on the "good job" I've done while onsite. This is obviously ridiculous, because what determines whether I've done a good job has much more to do with what is on the tape than how professional I appear.

The wedding/event/video business is a wonderful thing on some levels. On the other hand it is absolutely among the most frivolous of endeavors.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; November 12th, 2008 at 02:08 PM.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 06:14 AM   #7
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Jeff: extremely valid points

and wow, what a difference between the uplifting heart-in-sand story, to the degrading half-price story!
my 'happy' bubble has been burst a couple of times by clients...some people are very unpredictable shall we say!
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Old November 12th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #8
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Jeff, I have to agree with you. Video is always on the top of "budget cut" list.

Customer that value our work comes rare (especially value our work over other vendor)...which made them very very special.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 01:08 PM   #9
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I second that SiChung I spoke with a Wedding Planner just last week, after paying off the photographer, DJ, reception, etc, etc. her client is left with $ 500 for the wedding video. She asked me what I can give the couple for $ 500, I told her I'll shoot the Church & part of the reception and burn her an un-edited version of the video. I guess they forgot to pay the chocolate fountain guy as she never called me back.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 02:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Szilveszter View Post
I have had almost every couple surprised of my product on how good it was but that's an after thought of realizing how valuable a video really is.
My experience often matches yours Peter. I also find that the parents are often the most surprised as they usually have no idea how far wedding videos have come since the "old days".

BTW, here's the link to the photo from my client mentioned in the previous post. http://roxann.westover.googlepages.com/vendorreviews
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Old November 14th, 2008, 08:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
That's cool you were the "top dollar" vendor .. which "usually" means more respect and generally more expectations.

I thought it was funny that the FoB felt the photography was the best "deal" because it cost less than you. Where was the wedding?
Drive 3hr north and the only town is Riggins! It was drizzly all Saturday and the wedding was going to be outside, so they moved it inside (good because my cams & mics aren't going out in that!) But the temperatures were lovely for those of us running around or wearing tuxes.
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Old November 15th, 2008, 06:32 PM   #12
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Wow, Riggins. That IS out of the way. Funny thing is that I was contacted for that wedding, I returned the contact immediately (like within the hour) and never heard back from them. Very odd.

Glad it all worked out for you. I'm just waiting for that day when it rains and the couple still wants to get married outside ...
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Old November 16th, 2008, 06:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
Anyone else had one of those "I have arrived!" moments when you had a client that clearly put you as a priority? Feels good, doesn't it.

I once had a bride schedule her wedding around a what date I had available. That was nice!
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