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


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Old March 18th, 2010, 07:42 AM   #1
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Are you Full or Part Time in Videography?

I pose this question mainly because I am currently not running my Business full time. I work in a completely different industry driving tour coaches from Sydney (OZ). But so far have not been able to get into video full time. I actually make more doing weddings than my main job.

My primary Videography income is from Weddings with a handful of corporates too. Im seriously thinking about adding photography to my services in the hope that this will boost my earning potential to a point that I can go full time.

The Business is run from my home and I have about 70 jobs under my belt to date after about 3 years. I'd very much like a studio and have a property in mind that our family owns which I can use if eventually taking that step with great street frontage.

I'd like to know if others are full or part timers, what is the essentail ingredient in going full time?

I met a very successful video / photographer recently who told me he has never met a rich videographer, "you have to add photography to make any money", he told me. Is this true?

Like to know what you think.

Cheers, Dave Edwards - Drumroll Productions. Sydney.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 08:34 AM   #2
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Full time, Julie, my wife will be going full time in May to help drive the business forwards.

To go full time you need a little pot of cash to float you. Keep you going in bad times.

DONT wait for a full order book that can see you through, you will never get it working another full time job. You need to take the leap of faith and plough your energy into your business.

Business is afterall about taking risks normal folk dare not to.

Re no rich videographers. Possibly true. There are a few on the worldwide stage but certainly what we do is more effort than photography but with less reward. Its how it is and how it always shall be. We have a few clients who value what we do but the photographer is seen as an absolute, 100% must have essential and tends to be where most of the money goes.

That doesnt mean to say you cant make it work.

You do need to diversify. I dont think many people make a living off of wedding videos alone. The only ones I know about are those who do 2-3 a week for a silly low rate. No thanks!

This weekend were doing our first shoot for a new product and series we are doing. Just another thing we do to bring home the bacon.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 10:23 AM   #3
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Yes, I'm a full-time business owner. No, I'm not doing video full-time.

Video was the first reason I started this business, but I found out fairly soon that video alone would not feed my family. I diversified into other services that are complimented by video. That included web development, design services, etc.

I now have two full-time and two part-time employees and while we're doing more video than ever, it's still not even 1/3rd of our work. Web development has been the best for us: we've had several $20k-$50k web projects. The biggest video project we ever had was around $8k.

So you do need to have a diversity of services - whether it's video and photography, or video and web, or video and ?????.

Can you somehow work with your experience in the travel industry? Perhaps making travel videos while you continue to drive?
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Old March 18th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #4
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I'm a part timer and loving it... This is will be my busiest year yet and I'm a little nervous.
There's pro and cons for both. But I would have to say the biggest pro of being part time is the ability to chose my clients.
Obviously the biggest con would be managing a career and a demanding videography business.
Good luck if you go full time.

Steve
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Old March 18th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #5
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David, your posting raises more questions than answers; eg is your video work profitable - I mean really profitable in a business sense? I know no-one who's wealthy from weddings other than the companies that run wedding fairs.

And what constitutes rich in your book anyway?

I've been in video/communications for 30+ years. I've travelled most of the world and been paid to do it. I hold a pilot's licence and for several years shared ownership of a plane. I know a bunch of "celebrities" on first name terms and I'm permanently exempt from jury duty. But these are people who snore and go to the toilet like you and me. They just happen to work in a business other people think is glamorous.

If I drop dead tomorrow I shall be pissed off but I couldn't complain of the life I've had - and I don't mean I've made a great success of everything - just in the number of opportunities that I merely had to reach out and accept. I regard myself as the luckiest man you'll every know. My bank balance isn't huge, my pension will be pitiful, I still can't play my guitar as well as I want to, but every now and then someone says I made a difference to their life and that is rare privilege indeed.

But I've had a business go into administration and cut short careers of young people who were counting on me. That's a terrible responsibility even though I did nothing evil or illegal, it was just a bad patch. Indeed it took that down period when I had to work for someone else, a big, well-known company, to make me realise two things a) I knew my business, my craft, as well or better than most and b) I was absolutely lousy at running a business. That company showed me how.

Ever since I left the airline business (my first career) I've never had a blue Monday; even though I've been physically and emotionally drained I've never felt I was "working".

A pal of mine shared with me "student of the intake" in the airline. He remained in the airline business spending many years overseas where the biggest risk is alcoholism. He now has a large house in the South of England, a large pension and plays golf every weekday. He also has a pacemaker. I left the company after a few years and have nothing of his material benefits, but I think I'm the luckier of the two of us.

Sorry for the personal soul searching and indulgence but if you want to do it, do it. My only reservation might be that if you had to ask the question, maybe the answer's no. Why not prove me wrong?
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Old March 18th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Edwards View Post

I met a very successful video / photographer recently who told me he has never met a rich videographer, "you have to add photography to make any money", he told me. Is this true?

Like to know what you think.

Cheers, Dave Edwards - Drumroll Productions. Sydney.

Dave, there are videographers who you can consider rich the industry. I don't want to name names, we have a fellow DVIer who is making $ 350K a year doing wedding videography.

My dream is not to be rich but to have my wedding business be successful enough, that I can quit my job, be able to support my family, pay mortgage. Basically be my own boss.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 02:26 PM   #7
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I work full time, but so does my wife. I have over 25 weddings this year and do a one man shop. I'm working now my credentials to be a high school teacher teaching film and editing classes. This is tough!!! I'm only doing it so I can get the benefits and then do a few weddings a month during school and then do 4-5 weddings a month while school is out. I've set goals for my business for this year and next year and it's sooo fun to feel like I'm not really working, like Phillip said. That is the gold nugget of this whole business.

Soul searching is the first step!
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Old March 18th, 2010, 08:09 PM   #8
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Hi Dave

I think Philip has said it all!! Only a tiny part of it is about money..I know people with tons of money and they are miserable (not even counting the stress, potential heart attack or stroke of running a huge enterprise)

I run my business full time in Perth. Am I rich ...no??? Am I happy ?? OH YES!! As Philip as said, we don't have blue Mondays, we don't have worries and stress and we love what we do!! I make enough to be comfortable ..I could make more but I'm lazy also.. and I love it that way. I do a couple of shoots for a Realty Company during the week and then usually a wedding or two on the weekend.

Just by you mentioning commercial premises for a studio means that you will have to have staff, have to open up each day, so in my books, you are looking at having a 3 storey house overlooking Sydney Harbour and a Lamborgini in the garage and then photography will be essential along with the worries and stress that accompany it!! I work from a home office. I don't have to go to "work" and it's tax deductable!!! I work when I want to!!

I was in our local supermarket chatting to the owner's daughter (a budding photographer) and the owner remarked "Gosh you people have a fantastic job" .. That just about sums it up for me I guess.

Chris
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Old March 18th, 2010, 11:16 PM   #9
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I'm 25 years old and my business is a full time job with 60/hr weeks sometimes. I've never worked for "The Man". I'm very busy and blessed. But the most important thing is DIVERSIFICATION! I have 25 full weddings booked for this year alone, but I also shoot part-time for a local news station in NYC and I'm subcontracted by other studios when they need an extra shooter now and again.

Always make new connections and never be stagnant, and you'll be fine.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 07:07 AM   #10
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I've been self employed for almost 38 years. 12 years as a still photog and the rest of the time doing video. I have always worked out of my house. I've always made a good living but you gotta hustle. In the wedding biz, every client is a new one, very little repeat business although I have had a couple of weddings where it was the 2nd marriage for one of the party's and I had done thefirst wedding. I've actually done a couple of weddings for the children of a couple of the very first weddings I did many years ago. Corporate clients are different. I had 1 client for over 16 years, got to travel with them, do all sorts of work for them, made some awesome friends along with it and made some very good money while doing it.
Get rich? It's relative. Whats rich? In my area it's not 50 or 100 thousand a year. Not in Chicago but that doesn't mean you can't have a good lifestyle. My wife has always supported me and carries our insurance.
You have to be willing to work harder for yourself than if you worked for someone else.
I've never been able to work or play well with bosses so off I went to be a entrepreneur and that means you need to be willing to work 80 hours a week for yourself instead of 40 hours a week for someone else. Long live entrepreneur's!
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Old March 19th, 2010, 08:35 AM   #11
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Amen Don! You're preaching to a newer member of that choir.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 06:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Edwards View Post
I pose this question mainly because I am currently not running my Business full time. I work in a completely different industry driving tour coaches from Sydney (OZ). But so far have not been able to get into video full time. I actually make more doing weddings than my main job.

My primary Videography income is from Weddings with a handful of corporates too. Im seriously thinking about adding photography to my services in the hope that this will boost my earning potential to a point that I can go full time.

The Business is run from my home and I have about 70 jobs under my belt to date after about 3 years. I'd very much like a studio and have a property in mind that our family owns which I can use if eventually taking that step with great street frontage.

I'd like to know if others are full or part timers, what is the essentail ingredient in going full time?

I met a very successful video / photographer recently who told me he has never met a rich videographer, "you have to add photography to make any money", he told me. Is this true?

Like to know what you think.

Cheers, Dave Edwards - Drumroll Productions. Sydney.
Ditto for what Philip says & yes, you pose lots of questions
1. You earn more money doing weddings - will you? you may say that now but if you went full time, would you be earning more money by the time you factor all marketing, equipment, stock, running + personal expenses. I'm not saying you won't but I feel it's important to assess your situation - packages, income & divide it with living expenses. If you can do that and say yes, I can live off this...totally awesome

2. If you can add photography, that's great. Will you do this yourself or hire someone? Where will you find this person? I know that often I've had photographers say that clients have asked them for video and wanted me to join them - well, we have been more expensive than a few who asked us this... Source photogs out or do it yourself, then hire video guys/gals.

3. 70 jobs over 3 years is good, but how many would you need for a full time post. I know some of the guys up in Sydeny and know that some would do about 70 - 100 as a min per yr. Obviously they sub-contract but that's a reality of the number of jobs p/yr. Your studio that you would like to open sounds terrific - will you be able to sustain it by getting the business in?

4. I would agree that wedding video alone isn't sustainable, but as Philip said, it can be a combo of another field.

Dean & I have been in business for 5 yrs and this year, I quit my teaching job - now I'm full time. This was a tough choice but it's been the best one I've made. What we have done in a lead up to this, is build up our business. I've spent lots of time, money & energy with my branding & marketing. Still there is lots to do and we still run from home. Over the last month I've realised by not being around, I potentially may have missed enquiries, even with an answering machine.

So yes, you can go full time and photography is a great tool to compliment your business. Your website is slick...just be conscious of laying down the mechanisims to support your business. I've seen so many people who crumble b/c the pressure of full time work in this industry is beyond their ability to cope with running a business....

Hope that makes sense.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 05:18 PM   #13
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Wow! These are great advices! I myself is really new in wedding videography and I work full time as engineer. I have started investing on equipments already, and who knows, if it pays the bills, I might go full time on videography.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 07:56 PM   #14
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Dear Dave,

Do you drive tours? You have an bus full of people who would love to buy a DVD of their trip. Don't sit on the bus while they are having fun, get your camera and film them. Get their address and sell the DVD. Now they know a photographer and when their grandchild get married, your name pops up......

Ken who drove and drove.......
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Old March 25th, 2010, 05:01 AM   #15
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Dave, some excellent advice here. Ive been full-time video for around 3 years now and never looked back, left a senior management job which was paying 50k+ per year. I think sometimes you can wait forever for the right time to make the move and for me it was never really about the money, I just wasnt happy.

Running my business full-time has helped tremendously and is far more rewarding than working for someone. Many of the things Phillip said apply in that its the quality of life I enjoy now rather than material things.

Choose wisely!
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