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


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Old October 27th, 2010, 01:55 PM   #1
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Your Family + This Career

Hi everyone!

I'm wondering how your job/career/profession as a WEDDING videographer affects your family life. Are you married and have kids? How do you juggle this line of work while being away on the weekends for wedding shoots? Do you find yourself turning down jobs in order to do things with your family (I imagine that would be difficult because your jobs are booked so far in advance). Is your spouse supportive? Do you find that there is more freedom or flexibility in your schedule during the week for which you can attend to your family's needs?

I'm really only interested in hearing from those who are in wedding videography, as that is the direction I may take, or from those who maybe don't currently do that but once did.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond...it's very much appreciated!

Rose
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Old October 27th, 2010, 03:04 PM   #2
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I'm a part time wedding vid and have full time job which pays the bills and I can tell you that it is hard for the family to put up with my schedule. The good thing is that I work with my wife, so we get to spend weekend together anyway. She doesn't work during the week, so she takes care of the kids - on the weekends my parents are helping us with the kids. We've been doing this way for at least 5 years and I've learned that I need to have some vacation time in the summer - so I can take the kids away for real vacation. I always end up scheduling 2 weekends off for myself, and I do this way before any customer calls to book for that time. There is nothing more important then my family and NO money will change that.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #3
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Hi Rose

It's a very good point!! Wedding videography essentially ruins your normal social life unless you were lucky enough to marry a videographer too!!! My wife has no interest in what I do (she came to one wedding and said "never again") It's tough for the spouse/partner if they don't participate in your interest and that usually means that while you are shooting on a Saturday evening they are at home alone having to look after the kids!!!

More often than not, you are invited over for BBQ's, dinner, socialising with friends as a couple/family on weekends and that's when we work!!!

However, I have great flexibility for getting stuff done as I'm free during the week so I can do stuff when all the other husbands are at work!!! It you consider that most bridal consultations are during evenings (as they work too!) you normally have very easy-going and free week days. For me it's a big plus...!!

Funnily, most people I know say that I have the best "job" they know so the flexibility of not having to get up early and fight the traffic and have a mundane 9 - 5 job is a big plus. However it's still tough on partners unless you convince them to join you!!

Chris
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Old October 27th, 2010, 06:41 PM   #4
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Hi Rose,

What a great question and a very challenging one at that, unfortunately there is no easy answer to this one. I am married with a 1 year old daughter, and I find trying to spend quality time with my family hard. I've been filming weddings now for 4 years. In fact, it was my own wedding which we started off with. The whole idea of filming weddings was down to my wife. I started off part-time to get the experience, and at some of these weddings my wife would operate the 2nd camera. She didn't necessarily enjoy filming, it was just great that we could spend the time together and work together. I knew this was want I wanted to do, but working two jobs meant less time with my wife and no social time. I was going to go full time earlier, but then the recession hit and we put that idea on hold to ensure stability. Pressure built up from working all the long hours.

When our daughter was born, a new set of issues arose. Lack of sleep and editing are a bad combination. Backlog built up because I couldn't focus well. This led to longer trying to edit, which led to less time with fam = not happy campers.

I took the decision to go full time with filming weddings and ditch the day job. We just about had enough weddings to see us through and it meant I could see my family once again. Weekends were out, but Manchester is so less crowded on a weekday, you can get things done in half the time. Now, I ensure 1 day a week is reserved to my family. and each day of the week I start and finish at certain times. The added bonus for me is that it gives me a break too. When I was tired from editing, I would push myself to finish as much as I could. with a good nights sleep, I was 50% more efficient.

None of this could be achieved without the support of my wife. I owe so much to her and every wedding we film, part of it is to do the best I can for my family.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 06:43 PM   #5
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Thank you Lukas and Chris...

Yes, my husband is not at all interested in joining me should I head in this direction. He really likes his mundane, 9-5 job but I need something with a little more excitement and variety. And, his job pays the bills so we are not about to change that. But the realities of how it would affect my family & social life are what I need to know before undergoing anything.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 06:48 PM   #6
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When our daughter was born, a new set of issues arose. Lack of sleep and editing are a bad combination.
Aaron, thanks for the reply. Mine are 2 and 6. I am doing my "research" into this career well in advance thinking that maybe I could do this when the younger one is in kindergarten (and her sleeping habits are well-established!).
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Old October 27th, 2010, 07:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rose Master View Post
Thank you Lukas and Chris...

Yes, my husband is not at all interested in joining me should I head in this direction. He really likes his mundane, 9-5 job but I need something with a little more excitement and variety. And, his job pays the bills so we are not about to change that. But the realities of how it would affect my family & social life are what I need to know before undergoing anything.
Since you are not forced to do this full-time, you can make this venture more of a hobby with financial bonuses. Do it for fun and experience at your terms and in the time schedule working for you. Nobody said you have to do weddings every weekend. You and your family will have a chance to taste a bit of this job and decide if it is worth continuing.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 07:16 PM   #8
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I started as a freelance photographer in 1971-weddings, news, sports, PR shots whatever came along and you can imagine I spent a lot of weekends working. In 1983 I went to the "dark side" ;-) of video and since then I have worked more weekends than not. Not just weddings either. Anyway my wife was and still is supportive of my ventures as she knows I would not make a good employee since I have never worked or played well with bosses. I raised 3 children (well my wife did most of the raising but I was around during the week-well some of the time). Did I (we) miss family events, friends parties, other social engagements and things like that? Sure did. Am I worse off for it. I doubt it but then I have a very different mental attitude towards things like that. Maybe it was the 3 years in the army and almost 2 years overseas that trained me for it but regardless, in this industry one has choices to make. It is a relatively short season for most of us and there is time off in theoff season, you can decide to only work 3 weekends in a month instead of 4, maybe only book 25 weddings a year instead of 50 or 60, not do any other kind of work except weddings. It's all relative to your income. Since I was fulltime in the business I didn't have a choice. I pretty much took anything that came along. Of course I learned who paid, who didn't, what was "good" work, what wasn't, all the things that go along with being self employed.
Can it be done? Of course. Is it fun and happy all the time? Nope. Only you can determine if you have the attitude to cope and make it work (it being family and work since even part-time in this business is really more than that) but it's all relative and up to you.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 07:49 PM   #9
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Rose, I think your question needs to embrace the question of profitability of the wedding video business also. I'm lucky because I'm married to a girl who was with me in our corporate/broadcast business 20 years ago. Weddings were for us something of an end-of-career activity whereas it sounds as if you are at the start of yours. That makes a big difference. We brought 30 years investment in gear into ours and our lives would be very different if we were in your shoes.

Running any business is a challenge when you have young children. States and large companies these days tend to be relatively lenient towards employees/parents looking after children when they're ill; you own business may not be as liberal to you as an employee was well as the boss.

I think you have a lot to think about.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 10:28 PM   #10
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This is the number one reason I quit shooting weddings. I spent 15 years as a wedding dance DJ, which requires less time (about six hours a night vs. ten hours a day for the videographer) but that still drove my wife crazy. When I started shooting weddings, it just got worse. I told my wife I'd take Mondays off but that never worked out. It was just too much time away from my wife and kids. I read an article some time ago that mentioned how wedding vendors have a higher than average incidence of divorce!

Life is much better now that I shoot only business videos and events.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 07:59 AM   #11
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Being a "senior" now I really never thought about the kids problem!! When I was fully into weddings once VHS cameras became portable, I was already 44 years old so I didn't have the issue of baby-sitters and losing quality time with children in their prime years. Now of course, they are grown up and married so my only "selfish" act is leaving my wife at home on a Saturday night.

Rose??? maybe it's worth looking at doing shoots that would suit your lifestyle better ...sorta kids school performances and such and sprinkle with the odd wedding here and there??? Otherwise see if you can switch to more commercial work doing stuff like web video advertising shoots...there is a very active company in the USA that handles the ads for companies called "turnhere" that might suit you better having better hours and during the week!!

I actually shoot Realty video during the week (mainly rental property condition videos) and it's very flexible for me and still leaves wekkend free if I don't want to book a wedding.

Chris
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Old October 28th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose Master View Post
Hi everyone!

I'm wondering how your job/career/profession as a WEDDING videographer affects your family life. Are you married and have kids? How do you juggle this line of work while being away on the weekends for wedding shoots? Do you find yourself turning down jobs in order to do things with your family (I imagine that would be difficult because your jobs are booked so far in advance). Is your spouse supportive? Do you find that there is more freedom or flexibility in your schedule during the week for which you can attend to your family's needs?

I'm really only interested in hearing from those who are in wedding videography, as that is the direction I may take, or from those who maybe don't currently do that but once did.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond...it's very much appreciated!

Rose
Hi Rose.

I think these are questions that can be directed to any person looking to start and run a business. I think for many who frequent the forum and this sector in particular, the wedding production side of the business (I do not like the term videographer) is something they have morphed into either from broadcast or from other media linked industries.

I am well over 55 years old (well over) and started my broadcast career as a trainee VT editor (quad two-inch) at a large UK independent network broadcaster (1974) ending as a Prod & Dir in every way which having done just about every techie job there was in broadcast (it was called multi-skilling).

If it were not for the fact my husband who "retired" three years ago but is now busier than ever in related work, I would not have started my business in weddings and events - using past and existing skills. It works for us.

But in summary to your question, I think it depends upon your own personal circumstance.

All business start ups and beyond are stressful, demanding and put pressure on any cracks in personal and family relationships, especially if your next meal and mortgage repayment might depend upon getting the next job. Also that moment when you are reviewing your keyshots - is it in focus (damn HD) because it looked okay on the day.

The path we have chosen is one demanding a large capital investment - an additional stress factor. Interesting to see many have recruited family members to their team to seemingly ease the pain.

:)
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Old October 29th, 2010, 07:24 AM   #13
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Many thanks. You've all given me a lot to think about.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #14
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We have three boys. 11, 4 and 1 years old. This past two seasons, and especially last, I've cut way back in weddings cause it's just too hard on my wife. We have long shoots here, so she's essentially alone day and night Saturday, and Sunday I'm toast so I'm not the greatest help.

I decided it's just not fair to her, so I've done my best to pick up more corporate and doc work during the week. It's worked out great and we're much happier for it.

I'll probably shoot very few weddings in the future. Perhaps 4-5 a year.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 11:22 PM   #15
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Rose, one thing that seems common within this thread is the support we get from our other halves if they work with us or, the same characteristic in reverse, the consideration we have to pay to our other halves if they're not in the business because of its nature. I'm additionally fortunate in that my wife is also much younger than me so on the days when I'm toast (love that analogy Vito) she's somewhat less so.

Although there's probably not much profit in developing it, it would be interesting to know if there's a corresponding segment of people who've dropped out of the business to save their relationships when the conflict couldn't be resolved or, again the other side of the coin, who've had their relationships messed up by their business.

Perhaps the key is to make sure you both have strong interests away from video and both give time to them regardless of the pressure.
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