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


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Old April 5th, 2010, 01:53 PM   #1
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Slow Period for New Leads

Hi Everyone,

Since I'm relatively new to the wedding videography scene, I thought I would ask this question of the forum's more experienced people.

As with every business, I know there are slow and down times, and busy tmes. Weddings get a little less frequent in the Winter as opposed to Summer, referrals pick up in the beginning of the year because of couples getting engaged over the holidays, etc.

Right now, I am experiencing a drop in new referrals and I'm wondering if this is early Spring slowdown that I should be expecting or maybe something else is going on. I'm hoping as Summer gets closer, my Fall will begin to fill out a little more. I'm pretty full right through mid-September, and I have some weddings scheduled, spottily in October and November. But overall, I need to get some more Fall/Winter gigs lined up.

Thanks for any insight you can share.
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Old April 6th, 2010, 12:28 AM   #2
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I agree, back in january I was meeting 3 clients a week. It has been very slow since early Feb. They all trickle in now. I'm booked solid till Sept and have only one in Oct. You will def get last minute gigs too.
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Old April 6th, 2010, 06:43 AM   #3
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Hi Mike

Of course I'm opposite to you as far as seasons go but taking stats over the last 3 seasons, we tend to get very early bookings for Spring/Summer weddings and then very last minute bookings for Fall/Winter weddings!!

What I have always done is run a "Winter Special" in June and July here (that's our Winter) and I find that a LOT of brides will book for the Summer then to take advantage of the savings. If I do get a slowing down over our cold wet months (usual except 2009 went crazy with Winter weddings!) then at least I have an income generator over the cold and wet season in the form of booking deposits. For me, Winter is a great time to service/upgrade/replace gear too! My quietest month is June for weddings but busy for bookings.

Chris
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Old April 8th, 2010, 11:57 AM   #4
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In January and early February I had about 3 appointments a week, and now it's maybe one or two. I always try to remember this..... "When I'm not shooting, I'm booking but when I'm not booking, I'm shooting". If you're not shooting or booking, then there's a problem.

Winter - Booking, Spring - Shooting, Summer - Booking, Fall - Shooting.
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Old April 8th, 2010, 02:02 PM   #5
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It just started picking up for me this last week. I even put on my site that my 1 camera package is "sold out for 2010" people are eating up my 2 cam ceremony and 1 cam reception.
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Old April 8th, 2010, 06:13 PM   #6
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Hi Kelly

I think people need a time restraint to entice booking and yours works!! I had a great ebook about web marketing and it always said that you need to apply a time limit to your deals!! "This special price is only available until 30th April 2010" or with yours "our 1 cam package is sold out for 2010" ...people will be encouraged to book because they hate to lose out!!!

I like that marketing method!! it creates a "If I don't book now, I will miss out" scenario!!

I have been crazy this week...yesterday I booked 3 weddings in one day so the work is out there, we just need to hone our marketing skills. It always worth seeing what other video companies are doing if your bookings suddenly drop off...they might be using a killer technique that you need to counter!!

Chris
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Old April 9th, 2010, 07:25 AM   #7
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I'm fully booked for this year and bookings are coming in for 2011.
I also had on my website : "Only a few places left for 2010" and then suddenly a lot of people mailed to book. So then it got full very fast.
Maybe I should mention now on the website : "Only a few places left till 2020 ... book now !"
hehe :p
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Old April 10th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #8
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its been DEAD. like I am out of business dead. Not good. the ones who call want over the moon for $1000. I just can't provide service for that kind of budget.
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Old April 10th, 2010, 09:07 AM   #9
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Hi Scott

It also will depend on what competition you have in the area and if your price range is within the bride's budget in your target market!! If brides are going to your site expecting to see prices at rock bottom it usually means that they have found a median price which is way under your prices. Here, if I get asked for really low prices then that usually means that a couple of students in their first year of a video production course have decided to set up shop and are charging way below market prices!!

However they soon find out that two people working a wedding for 12 hours for a few hundred bucks isn't worth the effort and they usually fade away as quickly as they have arrived and everything gets back to normal. I must admit I have some weeks that are absolutely dead!!! That's the way things go and the following week you will get 3 bookings!!

Just be patient, unless you are charging way over the top prices to a community that just cannot afford it, things will improve quicker than you realise!!

Chris
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Old April 19th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #10
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Page views for our website is highest during January/February. They slowed down during March and are very slow so far in April, yet I've booked 3 weddings in the past 2 weeks. That's good, as I'm not full time. It's definitely helped me to look at the year as a whole, figure out when my high web traffic comes in, and focus my marketing accordingly.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 04:20 PM   #11
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Shop around and make sure you are at a great price point. You need to also have solid demos and have a variety of them, not just highlight vids and most importantly your site has to look fresh and attractive.

Chris, the "sold out" idea has been working wonders. I now am booking my 2cam ceremony and 2cam reception a lot too. I label my best videos underneath as "2 camera shoots" so people see why it's important to have to videographers all day.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 07:11 PM   #12
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Finding video business as a whole here has slowed to a crawl. Hearing concern from other videographers I know.

I have had one client cancel becasue the the Just the cermony package "Is really worth it but we just can't afford a videographer any more".

So much for the recession being over.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 06:29 AM   #13
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Hi Kelly

Good for you!! When I have a "special" I run a little bit of javascript which does a countdown on the site "only 10 days left until our special ends" ..that seems to give a sense of "buy before we lose out" urgency to the deal and works well.

Denny, I think it also depends on what market you are serving too!! I do budget weddings (sorta $1200 variety) and there is still business...I would have thought that maybe the "middle class" bride would be the one hardest hit during the recession (the super rich that want an $8K video wouldn't be affected..they could always sell a couple of Lamborginis to pay for the wedding)

It might be worth your while to see if changing your packages will help...don't compromise your work, just offer the same quality but less time. I have found this year that a lot of my brides are opting for "ceremony and reception up to the first dance" and foregoing the bridal prep and staying till the end to keep within budget. Maybe offer a shorter time package (my budget package has me on site for 6 hours max!!)

Chris
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Old April 20th, 2010, 07:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Hayes View Post
its been DEAD. like I am out of business dead. Not good. the ones who call want over the moon for $1000. I just can't provide service for that kind of budget.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
...It also will depend on what competition you have in the area and if your price range is within the bride's budget in your target market...Just be patient, unless you are charging way over the top prices to a community that just cannot afford it, things will improve quicker than you realise!
As a fellow shooter in Scott's market I will concur that the wedding market here is very slow. One local venue (church) that books 45-80 weddings a year admitted to me recently that they are on track for 25 this year. 2 wedding photogs I know are almost ready to close their doors. The market here is not good for sure.

We are doing fine for now but only because I heavily diversify into other venues and my corporate sector has been quite strong. Hopefully, I will have something soon needing additional camera ops so i can hire Scott again, he is a great sub-contractor if anyone needs an extra shooter...

The best advise I would recommend to any of you is to use slow times to increase marketing and diversify your market segment to ride the rough weather.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #15
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Hi Brian

Good advice!! I also do Property Condition Reports for a local realtor which involves filming a rental home before the tenant moves in and noting the defects (I just use a lav clipped on the camera) The owner gets a DVD and the tenant gets one. Not exactly glamour work but it takes around an hour and gets me $200 and I do a couple each week when I'm not doing weddings anyway!!

Chris
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