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

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Old December 11th, 2008, 03:51 PM   #1
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Acquaintences Wanting "Deals"

I've had more than my share of "why don't you come to our (enter event here) and bring your camera along" invites over the course of years, but lately, it's getting out of hand. I've been "invited" to anniversaries, weddings, dances, and other events where people would normally pay for a videographer. Unfortunately, my extensive array of acquaintences has them believing they are somehow entitled to me providing favors for them at my expense.

How do you handle this situation? Any comments would be appreciated.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 04:04 PM   #2
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Well I'm a bit of a gruff old man ;-( but when I get that type of "invitation" I always ask "Am I invited as a guest or a vendor?"
When they say "oh as a guest of course" I then reply "OK I'll be leaving my gear home then and I'll see you at the party".
After a couple of invies and RSVPS like that my friends and acquaintences have come to the conclusion that I am a PAID professional and my camera do not leave my house unless I'm getting some sort of compensation (unless it's personal work of course)
I've found that friends and such are purposely trying to take advantage they just have no idea of the amount of work that goes into a job.
3 years ago one of my nephews got married. They hired me to shoot the wedding and while my wife and children were there, I was WORKING so after I ate dinner with them I wnet back to WORK and they partied. Oh well, I'm not a dancer anyway:-)
That's the way I handle it but YMMV.

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Old December 12th, 2008, 02:20 AM   #3
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Ask if they want your quality work, or if they just want you to set a cam on a tripod and see what happens... if they REALLY want the event properly video'd, you owe it to them as a professional to ask. Friends and acquaintences should understand you don't want to give them a tape of junk, and to get good footage takes some skill and work. A key question you have to ask... "is there going to be anything worth shooting", and if so, do you want it done right? Having just attempted editing (salvaging) some footage shot by a relative... this is a painfully pertinent question!

As a practical matter I've almost always got at least a still camera within near immediate reach, and I'm becoming used to "packing" a CX12 just in case someone does something cute/stupid/memorable... or aliens land or something. Rest assured if anything interesting happens, my wife and I would be shooting it in stills or video... or both.

But most of the time I'm not expecting to document anything (may not even get the cam out!) or have incredible footage that is usable for anything "serious". THAT takes a more extensive kit... and planning! If I'm at an event that is being shot, even for a school play, I'll probably have 3 cameras running with different angles (I work for my kids for "free" <wink>, anyone else has to pay!).
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Old December 12th, 2008, 07:24 AM   #4
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I think that comes with the territory. I only shoot for free if it is a close relative getting married,etc,etc.

I feel I am being taken advantage of if friends invite me to an event and ask me to bring my video camera, I just go there grab my wife's DSLR and practice photography but no way am I taping the event for free. I might give them a 50% discount but no way I am doing it for free.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #5
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If the request is from a person close enough to me that they could donate a kidney to me without rejection, they get free video. Otherwise, they get a 10-15% courtesy/relative/friend discount and I make it clear I'm a vendor and at the event and I act like one.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 08:09 AM   #6
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I do pretty much the same thing as Noel. I'm a videographer by trade and if I get an invite to an event that I PROBABLY would have been invited to ANYWAY and I think they're expecting video I'll say "I'll even bring my D-SLR along and shoot a couple of photos for you so I can actually enjoy myself". If the discussion of "why don't you bring your video camera along as well" ever comes up I say "well, it's kinda big and bulky and I'm not sure where I'd leave it... besides, then I couldn't have any of the delicious cheesecake of yours because I'd get it all over the camera <chuckle>".

As mentioned previously, this is what I do for a living. Having said that, I do have one friend whom I accomodate with my video camera at family gatherings because I've had a "sleepover" with the Stanley Cup at his place and the Grey Cup (our Canadian football trophy) has attended his dad's birthday party (I have great photos of me with both cups and video to prove it!) Besides, he works for an airline and gets my friends and I taken care of on their flights. One CAN scratch the back of others as long as one gets scratched back...
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