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


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Old February 26th, 2005, 08:51 AM   #16
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Also what business do you represent (I'm curious) :) -->>>

Hi Josh,

First of all I have to agree with Patrick. It's nice to have a lot of bookings, but the down side is that if you book to far in advance, you may find that your skill level has gone up, but you'll still working at a "beginners" rate. May I ask...are you doing weddings full time?

When LWProductions became a business, we kept the pricing on the lower side, then gradually increased the prices. We made the decision not to book to far out either. We do have a couple of weddings this year at the lower pricing, and we don't mind, since it's only two weddings and we really like the bridal couples.

We wish you the best of luck with your business!
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Old February 26th, 2005, 10:26 AM   #17
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Josh,
Nice site, I'd be homeless LITERALLY at your prices. Of course I'm in NYC and rent on a two Bedroom Apt. (one is used as an office) is between $2200-$3000 a month, near but outside of Manhattan.

Linda,
Last year my rates were lower and I was heavily booked. We were working ourselves to death and just barely made ends meet. I do other video work though. I'm getting many more inqueries this year and hardly any bookings. I still think my rates are low for my market ($900 for 6 hours, 1 camera, raw video but fully authored DVD / $1400 for fully edited editing takes about 40 hours). I think way too many brides in my market are looking for fully edited weddings at $1000 or less. I wouldn't have believed it but I jointed WedPlan.net and 90% of the requests in 100 mile radius are for $1000 or less!

Unless I were a kid living with mom or a college kid living in a 4 person share, there's no way anyone can afford the costs of running a wedding business at 4 weddings a month at $1000 a wedding.

My experience is that bargain hunting dominates more so than every before and, unfortunately, there are lots of kids willing to do fully edited weddings at $500.
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Old February 26th, 2005, 11:45 AM   #18
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The way I see it is if I book into 2006; I get half the money as a deposit now, That money can be used, invested into my business, saved, or put into equipment, and the more my equipment grows, the better my videos look, the better my demos look, the more people I book for higher prices.

Sure when I raise my prices it will seem like the wedding is a cheap one, but it was also part of what will allow me to afford an additional camera or other equipment, which will allow me to have greater returns on other luxury packages.

My prices are sure to go up at 2006, and should continue to yearly until I hit ďthe sweet spotĒ wherever that might be.

I am trying to turn this into a lucrative fulltime venture; any way I can,



Craig: Yes I would say prices are a bit different between Wisconsin and New York, My apartment is 500 a month for a 2 bedroom two good sized living rooms, and enclosed patio etc. So one wedding and I already put a roof over my head; Of course you probably hit a higher end clientele where you are. Here I have found a lot of people who just wont spend that much on their wedding; those are who Iím aiming for right now, so I donít think Iím undercutting my competition, as much as taking uncle bob out of the picture.

And those that book with me, see my demo, and see that they are not getting the same finished edited product as a 2000 dollar video, but are getting to see their wedding day as it happened and apparently thatís what they wanted.

I guess I just sort of see myself as a Cavalier in a sea of Ferraris right now.

But its still my first year, I really want to move up the ladder eventualy.
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Old February 26th, 2005, 12:54 PM   #19
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Wow, $500 a month for not one but "two" bedrooms? I think your "everyday low price" strategy is working because of that.

I'm thinking of starting my own production company, Wal-Mart Wedding Productions. (Or Young's Club Productions) ;) I'll drive out all the mom-and-pop wedding business and become #1 in the world. Just kidding. ;)
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Old February 26th, 2005, 01:31 PM   #20
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Iím not trying to run mom and pops out of business; Iím simply trying to break in to the business by hitting a lower end market that typically wouldnít get a video anyways; and hopefully make up for it in volume. (heh; maybe more like Samís club.)

If someone wants two or more cameras, a highly and beautifully edited video and all the frills, I give them the phone numbers and price sheets of my competition. Iím honest with what I offer, and what I offer currently is substantially less than the competition I admire and hope to one day become.
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Old February 26th, 2005, 03:51 PM   #21
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<<<-- Originally posted by Josh Hibbard : Iím not trying to run mom and pops out of business; Iím simply trying to break in to the business by hitting a lower end market that typically wouldnít get a video anyways; and hopefully make up for it in volume. (heh; maybe more like Samís club.)

If someone wants two or more cameras, a highly and beautifully edited video and all the frills, I give them the phone numbers and price sheets of my competition. Iím honest with what I offer, and what I offer currently is substantially less than the competition I admire and hope to one day become. -->>>

Josh,

You're doing the right thing by hitting the lower end of the market to begin with, that's what I did too. But now, my skill level has increased a great deal and I'm able to provide a much higher quality video....will all the frills. But when I raised my prices...and got out of the lower end bracket, I knew that it would be more difficult to book weddings at the higher prices. I have talked with other wedding videographers and they have said not to worry to much. Be patient and eventually my reputation will get around and the bookings will be there. I sure hope they are right!!

In the mean time, I'm searching for other events to video until the weddings start coming in.
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Old February 26th, 2005, 04:25 PM   #22
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Linda-

Wait a second... did you say that others in the business told you to basically sit back and wait for referal to roll in? That's exactly what I tell my competition as well... and they do that, while I'm out hustling business.

Seriously though, I do understand what you mean by "growing your rates". The funny part for me was when I started to get referals who would look at my new rates and say "why has the price doubled since my friend used you 6 months ago?". Normally, this would just become an opportunity to explain the higher quality of service at which point they would normally agree with me that me services were worth the higher fees, and that I could still probably charge more.

Go figure
Patrick
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Old March 3rd, 2005, 09:45 PM   #23
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Trade Show and pricing

There are approximately 200+ weddings in my area, every weekend. I am sure it's that way in most major cities. Most people don't even think about hiring a videographer. Which is crazy in my opinion. Although, you can't hang your DVD on the wall to show friends but photography shows hardly any emotion.

I have only done two trade shows to date. The first trade show was $600 for one day. The second was $900 for two days. I think that it was money well spent.

1st trade show - 25 phone calls, we booked 7 from that show during the next 8 months. I think we would have booked more that year but when we told people this was our first year on our own, they got nervous, I guess.

2nd trade show, in Feb 2005 - We have booked 4 so far and I have 3 appointments to potentially book clients this coming week.
If I am not mistaken, our current bookings for this year are about 36. We would like to make it to 50. That is enough work for us.
No more clients, I promise.. Well maybe one more LOL Hard to turn one down.

We also advertise in wedding publications, which is great for business. As well as advertising on the web with both Google and Overture. I booked over 20 weddings last year from my website, great tool if you set it up right. I can't tell you how many videography business have a poor website, not that mine is the best but it doesn't look like I had a elementry school kid set it up.

I use to shoot for someone else for years and years but now a few of us ventured out on our own. We had 54 weddings our first year, of those 54 we did the first 5 for free, for friends and family members. Of those 5 we did for free, we had 15 referrals for bookings in the same year. Most of the 15 had not even thought about a videographer until they watched their friends and said "I have to have that!" I love referrals, easy sell and they have usually already watched your demo(their friends actual wedding) and are ready to sign up. :)

I agree that word of mouth is the best, since it's free and it works the best out of any type of advertising you can do. Although, unless you are a very established name and have 1,000's of clients you still need to advertise. The largest videography company in our area has done over 1200 weddings in, I think, 14 years.. don't qoute me on that one. That's 1200 people referring him to everyone they know. Not to mention all the vendors he has met along the way that are also referring him. Even with that referral base, he advertises all over!!! An example, McDonalds, everyone knows MC'D's but they still advertise like crazy.. it just the nature of the beast. Choose what advertising works best for you.

I have to hand it to the guy, he started all by himself and now has about 20 employees. He is also respected by all the other local videography companies. That's great!

It sure is different having to do all of the business versus just going and shooting a wedding and handing over the tapes. From meeting with each bride, selling your services, the competition(From those who are better than you to those who undercut anyone to get a job), many many hours of editing and finally saving all those receipts and doing your taxes(happy happy joy joy, it's tax time).


Now, to your raising the prices... Thats a tough one. Their is a whole overall quality to price thing. I just charge what I think that I am worth and will not do it for less. Time is money and time isn't free.

Thats enough rambling for me.. Good luck.

PS.

Mark Von Lanken's and Glen Elliott's stuff is my favorite by far. I can only hope to catch up. Great job guys.

Jon
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Old March 3rd, 2005, 09:59 PM   #24
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I forgot this one. We also do recitals, peewee football, plays and corp training videos. Another great way to pay the bills, weddings are just one of the things you can offer.

Let's say you do a dance recital, there are 100 sets parents who are not allowed to bring their personal video cameras, do to a deal you have with the dance company. Which is do to parents standing in front of other parents and disrupting the performance to get suzie's footage. We capture it, edit it and put it on DVD. We then, lets say charge $20 each. The dance company adds $5 and the parents have a professional version with great audio versus a shakey with hardly any poor audio. Not only that but they were able to watch the live performance without having to worry about, did I get it all on tape and what did I miss?


I think its really cool when the peewee league dvd looks like a pro
football game show. We take all the little guys and green screen them and make it look really cool.

Jon
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Old March 6th, 2005, 05:28 AM   #25
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Linda,
Last year at our local major bridal show, I was the lowest priced videographer (my demo for the show was just "ok") and I got allot of bookings from that event. However, after doing some serious number crunching, I realized that I was "giving" away my work. For this year, I was the highest priced videographer (had a dynamite demo rolling) and so far 0 bookings from two shows...which confirms my suspicision that many bridal show participants are price shopping. Time will tell....good luck Linda
Mark
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Old March 6th, 2005, 11:04 AM   #26
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mark A. Foley : Linda,
Last year at our local major bridal show, I was the lowest priced videographer (my demo for the show was just "ok") and I got allot of bookings from that event. However, after doing some serious number crunching, I realized that I was "giving" away my work. For this year, I was the highest priced videographer (had a dynamite demo rolling) and so far 0 bookings from two shows...which confirms my suspicision that many bridal show participants are price shopping. Time will tell....good luck Linda
Mark -->>>

Hi Mark,

Looks like we're in the same boat. We were able to obtain a list of brides that attended the show, and to date, I've sent out 80 emails. That was a couple of days ago, and have not received any feedback. I do have many more emails to send out, so will do that.

I'm seriously considering creating a webside. Julian from Custom Video said that brides must be able to find you. We thought a website would be a good way to go. We'll continue to look for ways to market our beautiful videos!

We'll keep you posted to our success, and hope you will do the same. Good luck Mark!
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Old March 6th, 2005, 01:43 PM   #27
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Hi Linda

Just did my last bridal show last week, so thats 2 in 2weeks,
and the 1st one there was plenty of interest and the last one was just about a waste of time (numbers were well down on last years) and up to now no bookings

I also got a list of all the brides that had registered at both shows and was suprised how many there was! my priceing is not to high compared to others but still no bookings.

As for the ones that requested a demo dvd i asked them to let me know eitheir way as soon as possible as someone else might want that day! but as yet nothing, ITS BLOODY PAINFULL but i suppose will have to live in hope.
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 10:23 AM   #28
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Looking at an empty calendar...

Hi all.

Linda.

Have you thought of doing a bit of reverse engeneering? Meaning:

Take a step back. Do a promotion. Offer a simpler package with the "old" price and a better one with more editing at the "new" price. Maybe the new price scared them off a bit. Since it seems to me that you still do not have yet enough brand name to get top bookings, advertise a lower rate so people start phoning, then, you can show them what they can get if they pay you more.

I truly understand your pains. B/Gs often do not apreciate the effort and time we put into their wedding videos. They only see the money you are trying to get.

I was very fortunate. I stumbled across a still photographer who is the top in his area, does'nt do video, and was fedup with the fellow doing video for him. I showed him my work, he liked it, and gave me a wedding to test me. He liked it even more. So now in the beginning of the season, all I have to do is wait for his call to give me dates. A real blessing. And he dumped the other guy :)

The best of luck to you,
Arnaldo
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Old March 26th, 2005, 05:21 AM   #29
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Hi

This must be a global thing. Everywhere (the last couple of years) the marketing of digital video is high. Young guys and girls start video as a hobby and because the same companies that sell "tell" them that they will get rich in a year they buy them selves a camera and they start weddings with $500.00.
This was not happening 10 years ago: less marketing, and no digital.
I do not mind about this situation, besides I got my self back in videography because of digital.
But young guys sell (no matter if their job is good or bad) cheap.
This makes ,,problems for the rest that make a living out of video for years.
At least if there was a video organization it could find a way to check who pays taxes and who does not. Who is legal and who is not. Since this organization does not exist (I am sorry but my belief is that WEVA is a business ) then things will be the same and get worst.
I still believe that the good guys will survive:)

Anthony
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Old March 26th, 2005, 08:18 AM   #30
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Hi Anthony,

Problem today is that many people buy the gear but have NO long term business understanding. I live in a market in which the typical 2 bedroom apt. rents for around $2000 a month. Add utilities, cost of gear, food, a car to go to the weddings, etc. and one understands that one can barely cover costs at $1000 a wedding a week, let alone "make a living."

People buy the gear and under price themselves. Eventually they "go under." You see them listing their gear as "rentals" on places like craigslist or selling their gear on ebay. In the mean time a steady stream of people buy gear and go through the same process. It seems to be an endless cycle. End result is that prices stay VERY DEPRESSED.

My own mistake
I got into the wedding market with very low rates. I have over 20 years experience in "high end" post production. I also shoot/edit corporate videos, local cable spots etc.

I made the big mistake in judging how I long it would take me to edit a wedding. I figured one day for input and one day to edit and set my price accordingly. I got a ton of work (2-6 weddings a month). I found it can take a full 40 hour work weed or longer to edit a wedding. It began to impact my other video work.

Of course my first batch of wedding client gave me good recommendation at various wedding/bridal web forums. BUT I raised my rates . . . still low in my opinion . . . but what I used to charge for an edited wedding I now charge for a raw video DVD set with menus and chapter markers. That's a day of inputing and a day of encoding with menu and chapter markers. That leaves me time to do my other video work unless the wedding client pays for editing.

So I get a slew of inquiries based on those past recommendations but very few bookings. I do the same good work so it isn't a "quality" issue. Price shopping has become dominant. On "WedPlan" I'd say 90% of the brides want to pay only $750-$1000 in THIS market (see above for cost of living!).

Of course a "young guy or girl" can certainly work at that price if they're living at home or doing an apartment share with 3 others. I suspect these are the folks who are getting these jobs.

DV has created a low cost of entry. I too have no problem with that. That's how I've been able to go from "high end post staffer" to lower end production/post producion on our own (my wife and I - she actually "owns" the business). This underpricing has become rampant all over the video industry but it's the worst in the wedding biz. Probably because the "kids" don't jump into cable spots or corporate videos . . . they see weddings as an easy entry point.

I also see the bridal mags and web sites as fault. Saw one mag that claimed it can take "up to 20 hours" to edit a wedding (implying a higher priced multi camera shoot no less!). They simply misinform brides about the time and value of a wedding videography. Hey all you have to do is compare wedding videography prices to wedding photography to see the myth perpetuated in the market place.

One thing we videographers should look at is how to educate the bridal mags/forums. Alas, if you're in the biz any writing you do is seen as "marketing" rather than an honest expose on the costs of doing business.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who's noticed this stuff. I do hope it's possible to collectively change the market.
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