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


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Old August 5th, 2005, 07:07 PM   #46
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Old August 7th, 2005, 11:13 AM   #47
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Brides are not dumb.

If you have a quality product you can charge for it. We started at $1600 for a standard wedding package and now get $2000. We won't get hired by the deal hunters, they go for the $500 dude. Fine, I don't want that work anyway. I want to work for people that appreciate quality and know the difference.

My point? Know your target. If you want to capture the budget crowd, charge $500. If you want to go after the higher end crowd, charge accordingly but make sure you have a product that backs it up. People WILL pay more if they value quality. Just not all people. Choose your clients.

Mike
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Old August 8th, 2005, 03:58 AM   #48
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Professionalism

Dear all,
Let me take an outsider point of view to this pricing issue. To me wedding videography is a very new industry, comparing with engineering, medical, law... I am sure that all these old industries faced the same "new kids lower the price (and standard, may be)" before they were crowned "professional". What the old guys in these industries did to solve the problem was to set up standards and so-called professional groups to protect their own interests (and may be the consumers' interests).

I can see that the wedding video industry is also trying to establish such standards and "professional" groups (like the WEVA). However, I believe that ultimately it would be up to the general public to decide whether to respect these new standards/groups/reputation. The professionalism concept works very well in engineering, medical, etc as people think that standard is IMPORTANT, it's about life & death. However, for industries like culinary, photography and may be wedding videography, I think the consumers consider the pricing according to the "artist's" work and services, much more than on the "artist's" experience or which organisation he/she belongs to.

So, I would say don't worry about how the new kids price their services. Videographers should worry about how to educate the consumers. If the consumers are "dumb", do not value the high standard services delivered by the experienced videographers and they give jobs to the new kids, then that's life, that's free market economy.

All this BS I said is nothing new. I am a professional engineer and have been involved in the local operation of an international professional engineering institution. I would hate to see the wedding videography industry following the same old professionalism route. Professionalism often means protectionism. In the engineering industry, they keep raising the bar for new comers in a way to protect the benefits of those already in the circle. Of course, I am new to the videography industry and speaking as an outsider (consumer).

I need to add this last line. Reading the posts in this forum is already a very good way to raise the standard of all people in this industry.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 10:31 PM   #49
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"So, I would say don't worry about how the new kids price their services. Videographers should worry about how to educate the consumers. If the consumers are "dumb", do not value the high standard services delivered by the experienced videographers and they give jobs to the new kids, then that's life, that's free market economy."

THANK YOU..

now THAT makes sense.. Education is the key, but i see how standards, or lack of are a key element here... ill get to that in a minute..
Now most brides will love their wedding presentation.. even if WE see it as being crappy.. the reason they love it is not for its technical and artistic content, but the fact that its THEIRS

We might look at afew shots and think them to be unacceptable (In teh past, before i shot for myself, i used to edit.. which I had done on numerous occasions and have spent copious amounts of time in the edit fixing) but in the end, even though i hated it and would never use that material as a demo... but the guys i edtied for DID... so what i think is crap, other might think is incredible.. then again im a picky prick..
With regard to standards, there ARE standards for DVD and Audio delivery which can be taken onboard your business if that suits you. I carry licensed for a variety of different process and delivery options.
BUT when i see my clients, i SHOW THEM the documents to verify that our goods meet and exceed commercial DVD Standards... as opposed to a "bridal service" standard which was put together by a clever guy wanting to make some money who offers fancy logos for business to bolt onto their websites..
Associations mean nothing.. from what i have seen, they have done NOTHING to increase traffic or improve the public outlook on the Industry in general.
Yes, strong words, but why are we still struggling while the photographer works half a day and makes twice as much $$.. thats my point..

Also software manufacturers are marketing video as being easy to edit.. yes it IS technically easy to edit, but how easy is it to be artist? How easy is it to run a business? How easy is it to compete with th eopposition, how easy is it to make sales pitch, how easy is it to adapt to a different situation and client each day, how easy is it to pay the bills...
If you see your work as a form of art, as a TRUE business and not a hobby, then maybe the industry itself would change the colour of light we are under.. i cant say, "Im a hobbyist Dr so yes, i can cure you, but i only do it on weekends, so you need to get back to me then... " life and death.. ok, well how important are peoples memories? What if youre a hobbyist and your out on a shoot, youve charged the couple 500 bux for your pocket money but your camera shits itself on the day of shooting? What do you do? Its a hobby, so would yo be carryin a back up camera? Hell i know professional outfits that dont even use backups... and thats jsut my point.

These half hearted efforts damage the industry as in worst case scenarios, if something goes wrong, your f*cked. Not only that, but the experience will be heard on every bridal forum and negative comments will be made which, even though bare no weight on all of us, it will still damage your money making hobby and the industry as a whole.

If you want standards, there are options open to you for that. If you want to stand out by being one of the few who are standardised on a commercial level, that option is there also.
Dolby, DTS and the DVDForum all offer levels of standards which you can apply for.
Dont tell me there are no standards, there ARE. These are TRUE standards, and every DVD on the shelf must meet them.
These TRUE standards, are not some half cocked idea from a bunch of guys sitting around sharing a beer and coming up with an idea to make afew extra bux....
Like i said, associations are a waste of time, some even only market the bride (like the ones here in Aus ABS and ABIA <ABIA being the awards association, which is a joke considering i can buy voting forms for myself and get my friends to vote for me.. lol), and yes, some may assist with sales, but in the end, it really carries no weight on the product's workmanship considering these associations will take on anyone with afew bux to spare...

Go and get standardised and then youll see the difference in workmanship.. over half the members of these associations wouldnt even make it past the review stage... and the other quarter would be too scared to be scrutinised... youll see business fold and go under as they cant meet the mark, and youll see backyard dodginess come to the fore as the industry goes underground... in the end though, if every registered video production company required standardisation, then there wouldnt as much competition, prices would reflect the workmanship, therd be no ammunition for one company to badmouth another, and in the end, the final producs will be worthy of watching

is that a good thing or a bad thing? you tell me..
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Old August 9th, 2005, 12:58 PM   #50
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Peter is on the money (no pun intended)

I just finished my third wedding of which I got $2200. I paid my assistant $200 and pocketed most of the rest. It is not impossible to get 2k-5k when you are starting out. I am definitely a newbie but from past experiences understand what it takes to market myself. I live eat and breath video techniques and have watched most of the demos listed on this forum 20 times. I don't market myself as a newbie. I market myself as energetic, creative, personable, fresh... If anyone wants to learn how not to go through the typical price issues associated with starting, read "Spin Selling" . I don't ever read this sort of propaganda but this book will change the way you value and market yourself and product. I intend to be the highest priced company in my area within the year.

Peter,

Please rant on. I am new and agree with your rational and hope I am helping veterans like you to continue to stay profitable.

Peace,

Dan
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Old August 9th, 2005, 09:01 PM   #51
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After reading through these posts something struck me as an outsider to the wedding game, but with one (cheaply) paid wedding under my belt.

The reason photogs make more seems simple. People care about their pictures more than the video. The video doesn't sit on the mantle for the life of the marriage (a concession there to the divorce stats), the picture does. The grandparents don't have the video on their mantle either. The affluent couple I shot for had the best photographer in the area, but the video was added as an afterthought. I talked with the photog about video and he figured going in that direction for him (as a pro) was just crazy...and I agreed. So for that mantle shot, folks are willing to pay a lot more. I'm not convinced that any level of education or marketing would change the hallowed status of the wedding poster print.

So in a sense, you're stuck. The product that takes more time, hardware, and sweat, is valued less...and may always be. I wouldn't suggest that this is always the case, just my observation.

Be gentle :-)
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Old August 9th, 2005, 10:29 PM   #52
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Thanks Dan~! I really hope that you're telling us the true story. :)
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Old August 9th, 2005, 10:53 PM   #53
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Young,

Amedio Wedding - Free
Auman Wedding - $1700
Lane Wedding - $2200

I have no reason to puff or artificially inflate anything.

Case in point guys. Some of you all can't even believe that kind of fee is possible for a newbie let alone for yourself. Y'all got to change the way you think.

Get 'um Peter!
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Old August 9th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #54
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PS I shoot with 2 PD170's and 1 GL2 with all Sennheiser evolution wireless and I-river's with GS mic's

I am worth every penny.
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Old August 10th, 2005, 01:23 AM   #55
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Sorry; this post is fairly long and covers quite a few topics, I wouldn't be offended if you skip it. I wrote it fairly late so I appologize for the stream of conciousness, but this has been on my mind for quite some time.

I think one of the greatest problems that prevails in all of these debates is the lack of understanding between parties, Over the many threads on this topic I have seen people living and working on Manhattan island debate people living in modest largely blue collar rural regions as to why their prices are wrong. I have seen seasoned industry professionals tell beginners why their modest documentary style one camera shoot is undercutting their 3-5 camera highly polished Hollywood FX style video.

Many people are in different positions and offering different things, yet for some reason these discussions are approached as if we are comparing apples to apples. Some people seem to worry that if anyone is cheaper than them (possibly considerably cheaper) they are “stealing” their clientel, that new people with a camcorder and no knowledge of presentation artistic shooting and editing or feel for the job are taking their clients.

The problem, if you can call it that, is with the cost of equipment every family probably has access to an uncle bob who shoots all the kids basketball games and authors DVDs for the parents of the team, probably does a pretty good job as well. Most extended families probably have access to a techno-geek nephew and aspiring indie-filmmaker who has excellent equipment. But if you really view that as a problem and you really think that an inexperienced person with little knowledge of wedding videography is easily and reliably taking your clientel then obviously the problem lies squarely with you, Uncle bob will never go away, the number of indie-filmmaker cousins are only going to multiply as costs plummet, so the cost to a bride for an unprofessional video can always be near free if they really want to sacrifice quality, Its your job not to price fix the service, because you simply cant; its your job to sell your services, to have the demo, and prove to them why you can command such a price; If they really see inexperience and poor video as being worth the savings you didn't sufficiently prove to them why they needed you and why you are worth it.

Though it does go the other way, Some people seem to get hung up providing an extra polish they go the extra mile (Some I would say run a whole extra marathon) and pull all the stops, they do a ton of work and expect just compensation for their work and thusly very high prices. The problem is; and I'm sure we all have experienced it, as videographers we look at video from a completely different perspective. Half the stuff we do is completely transparent or actually of no consequence to a laymen, When we look at other videographer's work we greatly admire and respect these beautifully crafted wedding videos, but I think there are some things we need to face, the fade timing with a slow blur and delayed audio fade out that you spent 5 minutes on, Might as well been the premier default; The minor audio glitch you took 2 minutes smoothing out; probably wouldn't have been noticed by your clients, but we fix this stuff, and in the end they never notice half of what we do. (Yes, I realize our goal is transparency) The real problem is when you go above and beyond and provide near perfection; While there is certainly some market for “The Best Wedding Video Ever”TM The average bride has only a certain level of perfection that they expect, a certain budget they must stay in, and also only a certain level of perfection that they are capable of seeing; I would venture a guess that most everyone here produces videos at a much greater quality than any of the recently popular bridal reality TV shows on today; and the brides would never notice a difference. While we hear poor audio, they hear “fine” while we see too tight of a zoom, they see “Fine” while we see poor cutting, they see “fine” Any work we do above and beyond that threshold is deffinately going to experience diminishing returns.

I'm in no way saying we should aspire to mediocrity, infact I suffer from this perfectionism pretty badly and time management is something I'm working on. Though I assure you I in no way produce videos near some of the crap local individuals produce involving a VHC Camcorder stuck in the back of the church, and I greatly admire the regional big shots that produce those videos other videographers envy. But really, this isn't an auction, this is a job interview. Its up to us to prove why we deserve our prices, and also provide our services economically and within the budgets of our clients, not why other people's prices are wrong.
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Old August 10th, 2005, 02:46 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Josh Hibbard
If they really see inexperience and poor video as being worth the savings you didn't sufficiently prove to them why they needed you and why you are worth it.
....
But really, this isn't an auction, this is a job interview. Its up to us to prove why we deserve our prices, and also provide our services economically and within the budgets of our clients, not why other people's prices are wrong.
You are right on the point. If we cannot drive the market, we better flow with the market (as you pointed out, more precisely, the local market).
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Old August 10th, 2005, 09:10 AM   #57
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Josh, you hit the nail in the head mate, even though i still feel that hobbyists shouldnt undercharge, this is simply coz theyre selling themsleves, and their peers short.
Specifically the comment about brides having a certain level of "acceptance" where you and i might think a cut or a shot could have been tighter, or cleaner, they WONT see what we see.. they DONT see the technicalities behind what we do, which is why education is key..
Once they understand how much work is involved, then yes.. you can not only justify the cost, but you can also justify delivery time frames and anything else pertaining to your business.. which is what this is.. irrespective of your gear, or workstation.. if ur making a buck out of this, youre in business..
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Old August 12th, 2005, 08:43 PM   #58
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The thing that seems to keep getting overlooked in all this is that it's ultimately up to consumers what they expect and are willing to pay for from a wedding video. No matter what standards we set for each other and what price we think should be paid to get that level of quality, you'll never stop potential customers from shopping around and picking what they think makes the most sense based on their budget. If we agree a proper wedding video should cost at least $2-3K to produce but most couples are only prepared to pay half that amount, that either means a lot of people won't get any video or some of them will opt to accept what they can get for what they're willing to spend.

You don't have to like how this affects the industry, but it's simply inevitable unless you either engage in widespread price-fixing or pass some law which makes it difficult to produce inexpensive videos. Since neither of those is likely, these discussions are pointless in a free market economy because the market is working as it should right now. If people buying discount videos like what they get and people buying expensive videos like them even more than everyone's happy; if not the situation will eventually correct itself one way or another. Again, you don't have to like what this means, but you can't stop it. I'd say the current situation is fine.

P.S. I can see how setting some standards for membership in a professional association could be a good thing, but that wouldn't ultimately change market forces any. If passing those tests weeded out videographers who happen to charge less than some certain amount, then customers unwilling to spend that amount of money will simply hire people who don't belong to the association. No matter what you do from our end, what happens in the market is ultimately in the hands of the consumers.

Last edited by Kevin Shaw; August 12th, 2005 at 09:54 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2005, 07:31 AM   #59
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hmm..

okies, we al repeat ourselves using different phrases and the like to get our points across...

i just came from a bridal forum where the brides were more than happy to fork out anythign between 3grand and 5 grand for decent photos..
this is AUD, so your looking at 2 to 4 grand US...

okies.. well what makes THEM so special??
Is it the picture on the mantle?? strange you might ask that, considering ive given pictures to clients from DV and stills weve taken with an MX500 (no shit), which the client has put up on the wall, as oppsed to what their photographer has provided... so does that mean i can charge 3grand now?
I wish....
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Old August 14th, 2005, 09:54 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Chandler-Gick
Let's see...
Go ahead, stay in the basement. Keep the industry in the toilet.

I'm sorry, but I cannot respect anyone who doesn't respect themselves enough to strive for more, not less.
I like this guy... very well done I'm just about starting up, and his advice helps a lot.
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