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


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Old August 28th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #1
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Client can't afford wedding.

Wedding videography is not my full time job, however I've been taping weddings for about 5 years now. Probably like some others out there, jobs aren't coming in as much this summer as years past. Although my prices are lower than most in town, I've begun receiving more feedback that the B&G's budget doesn't allow for a wedding video. What are your thoughts on counter-offering with a lower price, or extending a promotional discount for these cases? If you're doing that already, do you have the promo price across the board, indefinitely until the economy picks back up, for a certain amount of time, or how do you handle that? I hate to drop my prices, but right now any jobs are definitely appreciated!
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Old August 28th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #2
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if your price is lower than others already, then there is no good reason to lower your price.

get a really nice demo and post it on your website. post it on your facebook. get people to see it and comment on it. send them to your friends and family ask them to forward it to their friends and family. drop some on venue places.. special offer for limited time only kinda stuff e.g. free slideshow free prewedding interview etc etc..

just stuff that came up on top of my head but you get the idea..

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Old August 28th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #3
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I'd keep your prices where they are unless you're in real trouble of not generating enough income to continue in the business.

I don't see a problem with adjusting your price a little for a client who seems like they really can't afford you IF you really need the work. If you weren't in a tough spot with bookings I'd say just let the client go, someone else will take their place especially if the date is more than 6 months out, but given your situation why not? 20% less that what you usually make is better than nothing.

While you have some down time how about going out and trying to drum up some non-wedding work? If weddings in your area are down a bit it might be more helpful to spend some time exploring other types of business rather than continuing to pump the same dried up well.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #4
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That's really a decision for you to make. On the one hand it may help drum up business & referrals, but on the other hand you'll be doing the same amount of work, same lengthy hours, for less pay. It may burn you out & you may think the business isn't all that worth your while because your profits have basically been shaved down.

Just be sure if/when you give the discounts to ask they don't mention specific $$'s amounts when speaking with friends & family. You wouldn't want a referral to call you later saying "But you charged them this much for it".


Just mho.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 10:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Clark View Post
Wedding videography is not my full time job, however I've been taping weddings for about 5 years now. Probably like some others out there, jobs aren't coming in as much this summer as years past. Although my prices are lower than most in town, I've begun receiving more feedback that the B&G's budget doesn't allow for a wedding video. What are your thoughts on counter-offering with a lower price, or extending a promotional discount for these cases? If you're doing that already, do you have the promo price across the board, indefinitely until the economy picks back up, for a certain amount of time, or how do you handle that? I hate to drop my prices, but right now any jobs are definitely appreciated!
Michael,

If you've been doing this for 5 years, then you should be pretty decent at it. Assuming you are like most of us who have many thousands invested in gear.

You should get a lot of feedback on this topic.

I shoot others things as well and Weddings by far and away pay the least for the amount of work and gear required. I'm a little bit different in that while I've been shooting for years, I only recently started shooting weddings seriously in the past year. In fact, I previously went way out of my way to avoid them. Now I have embraced them and love the challenge.

I think that by undercutting yourself, you will only hurt yourself. That being said, if you really need the cash, and there are no other shooting jobs around, then you may have to.

I recently did a wedding for considerably less than I'd normally charge because I didn't cover the reception, so I was only on site for 4 hours, but still it was a lot of work. But they couldn't afford more - Why? because they'd already booked a photog for 3k. They were a very nice couple and I now have some more demo reel footage. My point is, there's money out there, it's just not spilling out of peoples pockets like it was in the last few years. Videography is not at the top of priority lists for most couples.

It's our job as a professional group to continue to produce high quality work to raise the level of the art form.

I believe there is still a negative stigma to 'wedding videography', that many in this forum have been breaking for awhile now. It's this continued work that will eventually raise 'wedding cinematography' above photography. It's after seeing a lot of this excellent work that drove me to embrace the challenge of producing 'Love stories on film'.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #6
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I've begun receiving more feedback that the B&G's budget doesn't allow for a wedding video.
There are some people who seem to have something stamped on their forehead that invite people to try this line on them. If you radiate something that comes across to people that you are too eager / desperate or too young / naive, people are going to foist the "poor boy" pitch on you. If this is consistently happening to you, you may not want to blame it on the economy but on your sales style or lack of it. You may want to consider investing in a good sales technique book and study and apply some selling approaches that counter the "I don't have enough money" tactic.

It's important not only for you but all of us because every time some joker with a camera drops his price, it tends to set a price "standard" for those that follow.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 11:45 AM   #7
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I'm both a father and a videographer. I've had one kid get married and another getting married this January. There's no way we could afford to budget in a videographer. I suppose if the kids wanted to they could pay for it themselves, but as the father of the bride, it just wouldn't happen.

Fortunately, I have all the gear and a few camera operators that owe me favors. So they will shoot the wedding and I'll edit later (much later - I'm still sitting on the tapes from the first wedding 2.5 years ago!)
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Old August 28th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #8
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I'm both a father and a videographer. I've had one kid get married and another getting married this January. There's no way we could afford to budget in a videographer. I suppose if the kids wanted to they could pay for it themselves, but as the father of the bride, it just wouldn't happen.

Fortunately, I have all the gear and a few camera operators that owe me favors. So they will shoot the wedding and I'll edit later (much later - I'm still sitting on the tapes from the first wedding 2.5 years ago!)
You are still paying for it because the favors that you are calling have value. Your equipment and time have value as well. This is quite different from someone dropping their price because someone isn't willing to pay a reasonable amount. If you are negotiating to buy something and want a lower price, one tactic is to say you don't have the money rather than you don't want to pay it. This works better because it is more absolute. If you convince someone who is trying to sell you something that you only have $X, and let the silence weigh heavy, they will be motivated to accept it because they want the sale. But if one recognizes the tactic for what it is, there are some effective sales tactics to counter this that can be learned. There is more to the BUSINESS than the camera techno-blather.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the feedback so far.

A friend suggested perhaps instead of offering a 3-camera package, counter-offer with a 1 or 2 camera package for a lower amount. I would personally only feel comfortable filming a 1 camera ceremony if I still had a B camera at a tripod at the least, and maybe just use this footage to fill in any cracks.

My base package currently only offers a 3 camera package, so perhaps this is a limitation of my business-side of things. But this offer would allow me to decrease the price while also decreasing the amount of work. Seems like that might be a fair trade off.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #10
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A couple observations -

First, how far out are these weddings? I wouldn't drop rates too much now for something a few months out, things change and you don't want to book dates you may be able to book later at full rates. Conversely, if it's "short notice" and cash on the barrelhead on a day you're not booked, a sale is a sale.

Some couples don't plan ahead too much, and often times seem to realize they want a specific service/vendor after they've hit the budget wall, but STILL want to see if they can make it happen... You take a risk working with them as they may not be able to come up with even a reduced rate, or you may need a "payment plan", but again, a sale is a sale and making something is better than watching the grass grow. Just get enough up front to cover your hard costs and time, wait to edit until the remaining $ show up.

It's rediculous to ignore the economy, and while I'm sure there are those who haven't seen as much of a business downturn, you can't turn the TV on or read a magazine or newspaper and say things haven't changed - your customers are feeling the pinch, and are probably well aware you are too. While not everything is available at a discount, there's a lot of "dealing" going on out there to keep commerce from coming to a dead halt. This is not a time when anyone expects to pay full price for ANYTHING...

I think you have a good idea with cutting one camera from your low package, "1 camera" to me means a MINIMUM of one manned cam and one tripod as a safety. This is a case of 1+1=1... You can always set up the other (3rd) camera as a "bonus" even if you never use it in final edit, for peace of mind - an extra tape is cheap. By reducing the perceived "service" rather than just discounting, you avoid undercutting yourself both now and down the road.

You already describe yourself as "lower than most" rate wise, don't think it's a good idea to shoot for the bottom of the heap, aiming low is hard on the toes... better to re-evaluate your packages, and if needed offer a "last minute shopper bargain package", only if the date's available type deal - hotels and airlines do this all the time, to fill seats and rooms.

It's a bit different for a "one man band" as you have to balance making a "healthy" return vs. making something vs. not working at all. You can only work one wedding at a time, and if you book it for less, you should have a very good reason for doing so, and ramp up your marketing so you don't have to do it too often... whatever the economy.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #11
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Michael... I'm one of those guys who is in your shoes....

I just recently had a Bride contact me with interest in having me film the wedding. She said that I came recommended and liked my work. But she didn't have the budget for a wedding video.
I wrote her back with a good discount off of my normal price. She was very grateful and said that she would have to talk about it with her fiance.
After a few days she wrote back and said that they just couldn't do it and that she would still recommend me to her friends.
I googled her email address and read some post on some forum boards that she wrote and saw that her story was genuine.
I contacted her back and we agreed on a price that others would laugh at. But the truth is that money is does not motivate me (at least not now). The opportunity to film a beautiful day and to please is a bigger pleasure then the check it self.
Of course it didn't hurt that she had planed a wedding that happened to be what I was waiting for. A beautiful old church with a vintage theme surrounding the days events.
So... what motivates you should be the answer to your problems.

Steve
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Old August 28th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #12
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boggles my mind that majority of couples are willing to pay $3000 -$5000 for photographers (and still having to buy your own pictures) and not consider even half of that for a wedding film....video is the first to be cut in a tight budget and last to be considered even with a budget...any theories? They always think Uncle this and cousin that can film the wedding.. so sometimes i just advise them to maybe consider just getting a relative to photograph the wedding and save lots of money !! they always have that look of "what are you talking about" hahahaha !!
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Old August 28th, 2009, 03:54 PM   #13
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I have a somewhat unique perspective on what's being discussed here, since I am both a seasoned pro and a newbie. I have been doing corporate and broadcast video for years as an employee - and now am just learning with wedding videography. I will (and yes, I'm embarrassed to) say that I was very ignorant of the wedding videography business that exists now before I started researching it. I had no idea of the kind of production value that is now being offered. I was very surprised, and really, really excited as a result of finding out.

I think this industry does suffer from a lack of awareness from the general public about what we do, and how high the bar has been raised. Most people still think it's Uncle Joe in the corner with his camcorder. I had a bit of that prejudice myself before I got a clue, and I do video for a living - so I can't imagine most average people know much more. Even just two years ago my daughter hired a photog/videographer combo to do her wedding and they were horrible, and the video was very much the stereotypical bad wedding video. People like that don't do this business any favors. Also, the photographer market is very mature - and it's not only accepted for weddings, it's considered mandatory. I think this industry will eventually get there too - it's just going to take time.

It's also going to take the public time to flush the old image of cheesy 80's & 90's wedding videos and horrible graphics and transitions from the collective consciousness and realize that most videographers now are very committed to providing a very high-quality product that rivals most broadcast quality work. The public has to see the value in what we do, and they will. Every time any of us do a great shoot/edit for a satisfied B&G you are sowing seeds and they will grow.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 04:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bill Vincent View Post
I have a somewhat unique perspective on what's being discussed here, since I am both a seasoned pro and a newbie. I have been doing corporate and broadcast video for years as an employee - and now am just learning with wedding videography. I will (and yes, I'm embarrassed to) say that I was very ignorant of the wedding videography business that exists now before I started researching it. I had no idea of the kind of production value that is now being offered. I was very surprised, and really, really excited as a result of finding out.

I think this industry does suffer from a lack of awareness from the general public about what we do, and how high the bar has been raised. Most people still think it's Uncle Joe in the corner with his camcorder. I had a bit of that prejudice myself before I got a clue, and I do video for a living - so I can't imagine most average people know much more. Even just two years ago my daughter hired a photog/videographer combo to do her wedding and they were horrible, and the video was very much the stereotypical bad wedding video. People like that don't do this business any favors. Also, the photographer market is very mature - and it's not only accepted for weddings, it's considered mandatory. I think this industry will eventually get there too - it's just going to take time.

It's also going to take the public time to flush the old image of cheesy 80's & 90's wedding videos and horrible graphics and transitions from the collective consciousness and realize that most videographers now are very committed to providing a very high-quality product that rivals most broadcast quality work. The public has to see the value in what we do, and they will. Every time any of us do a great shoot/edit for a satisfied B&G you are sowing seeds and they will grow.

You hit the nail right on the head... I wish bridal magazines and others like it would notice the work that comes from the members on this board. I think the public would be blown away.... That way they wouldn't have to write so many articles about how its best to skip the video to save money.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #15
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Bill, I also agree with your observation. I believe when you sort out what an individual can do to deal with the lack of understanding that many have, the best way to educate on the one to one level (you and your prospective client) is to have a REALLY good demo DVD to hand out. Nothing beats seeing a good example of your craft. People will instantly recognize the difference between a really professional piece and an "Uncle Charlie" video. In the grand scheme of things, really good wedding videos are a recent thing. Photography has been around for a long time and people have a better understanding about what to expect.
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