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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:52 PM   #1
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Sworn off wedding Videographers

Went to a friend's party last night, the topic of wedding vids came up and i started hearing horror stories and how it caused almost everyone at the party to blow off hiring videogs for their weddings....

-2 couples, after paying full, still hadn't heard from their videogs after 1 year.
-Another couple paid a guy $800 and was so dissappointed with the result they started telling everyone tthat videography is a waste of money...
-Another couple was so upset that the videog was 20 minutes late for the ceremony and the final product was unwatchable and skips in parts..the reason the videog gave them? All the footage was put in one DVD that is why its skipping//

I had to do some damage control and explain that not all videogs are like that...you really get what you pay for..i actually met with some of the people there to go with us for their video but they wanted to go with the cheapest videog in the area..however im still ticked that these videogs are ruining it for everyone else...
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Old January 10th, 2010, 02:02 PM   #2
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hmm...
#1 - do they have a phone or e-mail, make contact, a year is too long to check up on things and not have any progress...
#2 - you get what you pay for... buy a Yugo and complain it fell apart, you have to look in the mirror... a responsible videographer at a reasonable price point a) would have done it right the first time or b) addressed the issues
#3 - inexcusable being 20 minutes late... and there's obvious incompetence working here, same answers as #2.

FWIW, I've heard plenty of horror stories about bad photogs too, and there's always other nightmares with other vendors - had one wedding that practically EVERYTHING went wrong, vendors were late or didn't show... nice couple, poor planning...

Not saying the "vidiots" involved don't bear the responsibility here, but sometimes the consumer needs to be responsible and professional too, in purchasing decisions, expectations, and communication...

Unfortunately craftsmanship, integrity, and pride in one's work is a lacking commodity nowadays, and the economy in general shows it.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 03:27 PM   #3
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I've been told by couples that they weren't going to get a videographer until they saw their friend's video.

If we keep putting out good work, eventually more people will be saying good things about their videographers.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 06:06 PM   #4
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I hear you Dave..i really wanted to tell them that you pay get what you pay for... we try to advise clients and they still pick the cheapest and then complain later...

@Carla - welcome to the forum Carla! nice to see a colleague here from Winterpeg.. I hear you too..
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Old January 11th, 2010, 06:12 PM   #5
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Hi All

We had a Nationally broadcast TV doc late last year about wedding videographers/photogs who were visiting brides and collecting cash deposits and never showing for the event. It was a big scam targeting vulnerable brides with promises that were never kept and it probably hurt the industry quite a bit too!!
I run from a home office so I'm automatically labelled as dubious so I make sure that my website reflects that I'm a long established and registered business and that there is a written contract between us and the client too.

It's important to impress upon the client that you are a bona-fide business and things are done correctly to protect both parties. Often your first visit to a bride is in her home. She has never seen you before so in her eyes you could be a con-man!!!

It would be interesting to hear how others make sure that the client knows that you are a reputable business and are not a fraudster!!!

Chris
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Old January 11th, 2010, 10:14 PM   #6
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Wow, Chris, that's got to put a kink in the marketing - that's not the sort of "advertising" one wants to hear about.

I suppose with the economy there are scams of all sorts, just seems mighty low to rip off a bride on her day... I'm surprised there haven't been "mysterious disappearances" of these sorts of scumbags! I can't imagine they'd get a conviction if the "bridezilla" defense were used <wink>!
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Old January 12th, 2010, 12:01 AM   #7
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We've collected the remainder at the end of the night for a long time (the deposit initially secured the date). I think it put's the couple at ease that we're going to show up. A few couples have not had the check, which puts us out until they send it, but we always have their video as collateral. I think we may ease into collecting before the wedding but have that be flexible if there's any concern.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 12:41 AM   #8
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Hi Dave

It certainly doesn't help matters!! In fact I signed up a new bride last week and her "hubby to be" actually mentioned the TV program but when I presented them with the contract they were quite relieved!!

I like to do a two way trust regarding payment. They pay me 1/3rd on booking and then 1/3rd 2 weeks before the wedding...I collect the final 1/3rd when I deliver their DVD.

If you think hard about it it's still a risk for brides to pay anything in advance!!! However I do insist on meeting them personally before we even sign anything or they pay anything!!

I normally keep in touch with them and also send them a cheery email when their 2nd payment is due. I also phone the bride about 3 days before the big day which probably helps ease any concerns about the videographer now showing up!!

Chris
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:05 AM   #9
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Kren, while I understand your concern, your talking about people who are hiring at the lowest price level, always a dangerous place. In my circle of videographers here in the tri-state area, this subject rarely comes up...I am NOT high end, but I feel light years away from that low-level group of folks you mention, thankfully.

There are scammers in the DJ market, photography, etc., and the type of individuals you mention are not exclusive to videography. They are in virtually every business from mortgages to home improvement.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:09 AM   #10
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Maybe Bridal Shows help establish some credibility

This topic just got me thinking that maybe Bridal Shows have an added benefit of giving you a little more credibility. You're representing yourself/company in front of 100's of brides, after paying a significant fee just to be there - so you are far less likely to be a scammer.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:31 AM   #11
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I think that Chris nailed one of the issues on the head; contact the client a couple of days prior to the event. That personalised contact makes things easier all round.

An interesting sidebar is the client who does NOT know what they want. Or worse still, use excuses to get out of paying.

A case in point is a local ad agency who hired me, then blew me off a day after product delivery saying, and I quote;
"We hated your pictures. We never looked at them, but they were crap".

The client actually liked the pictures, its just the Ad Agency was trying to get out of paying a bill.


Ben
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #12
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I heard of a vidiot who came to a shoot with a V8 Handycam, I know it is not the gear that counts but I could pretty much discern how the final product would look like. I also had the pleasure of working with a newbie photog. She was nice and everything but it seem she was at a lost and seemed overwhelmed. She even pulls out a piece of paper to see what to shoot next and was doing it in front of the Bride. I tried to help her with the shoot until her main camera malfunctioned (???) and she shot the entire ceremony/park/reception with her back-up point and shoot. Funny thing though is the Bride never complained and the photog offered no excuses either.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #13
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Marketing for wedding vids

I agree, you get what you pay for. (YGWYPF?)

I'm curious, though, for those who do weddings:
when meeting with the B&G, do you take along a portable DVD player with samples of your work and samples of what they can expect from a handycam/palmcorder? Or, samples of your work compared to a poorly done video of a friend/relative of the B&G?
Then get into why the pricing is so different.
I would think that would be an enormous selling point.

I don't do weddings, so I'm naive when it comes to marketing them. But, if I did, I'd try real hard to somehow work that in, if only to "show an example of my style to ensure that what I could produce matches what the B&G want". (My network of accomplices just isn't broad enough for weddings, and I won't do one alone...unless it's for a relative and I don't expect payment - or a deadline).

Just so happens our daughter is getting married this year, and I'm torn. She has said she doesn't want video. I'd like something to record the event, but I certainly don't need a Hollywood (or even Bollywood) production. I'm thinking of hiring someone to simply shoot it using my camera(s), and I'll edit later on. My interest seems higher than either my wife or daughter. Wedding's not til the fall, so I have time to think about it. (If nothing else, I could make a point/start a trend to strongly emphasize that the photog would be penalized in payment if he/she obstructed or otherwise hindered the vid).
Maybe that could start a trend...all fathers who shoot weddings take note: either the photog and the shooter play nice together, or they get less pay. lol.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #14
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Hi Denis

I normally get an enquiry, along with a request for a sample DVD which I send the bride. She will normally phone me a few days later and ask to book so she has see the samples and is happy. My personal visit to the couple is usually a booking visit as they have already decided to use me. I try to keep my samples updated so they always contain fairly recent weddings and I'll always make sure an outdoor civil ceremony and a church ceremony is included as well as a photoshoot/bride prep/reception events.

The way I look at it is that if they see current weddings and short menu-driven segments of most of the day's events they know exactly what they will be getting and neither of us will end up with any nasty surprises when the DVD is delivered. I would hate someone to say "But we thought that .........."

I cannot see the point of showing footage you shot in 1992 to a bride, just because it was your "best" wedding!! I also use maybe 3 or 4 difference weddings in the samples so there is a good chance that one will sorta compare with what they are planning!!

Chris
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Old January 12th, 2010, 06:13 PM   #15
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Denis, have you shown your wife/daughter the quality of some of the work out there? They (along with many other brides), may think of cheesy 90's wedding videos - complete with shaky camera work and 25 cent transitions - when they think of wedding videos.

Show them some of the good stuff and see if they still feel that way. Now, I'm not saying that you can afford the hi-end, but there are some guys on this board in your area who could do some very nice stuff for a reasonable price.
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