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


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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:18 PM   #31
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Re: Indian Wedding

I've only done one Sikh wedding before, but I found it a lot more interesting and easier than Hindu weddings. I think you'll be fine as long as you have someone to guide you as to what's happening, like your photographer friend.

I'd recommend: zoom lenses, not prime, so you're ready for whatever; and being prepared to mic up three priests and a groom at the ceremony.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 04:02 PM   #32
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Re: Indian Wedding

Thanks, matey!
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Old July 1st, 2013, 11:09 PM   #33
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Re: Indian Wedding

Random thought on Indian and Arabic weddings -- I get the feeling that many couples from these cultures put themselves into debt. There might be cultural pressures/expectations to: (a) invite everyone, hundreds of guests; (b) do a bunch of rituals -- have to have the horse carrying you to the ceremony; have to have days of festivities; and (c) put on a big show/outdo your friends.

For instance, I can recall one Indian groom who was a taxi driver, and another Indian groom who was an airline luggage handler. These guys must have been on low incomes. But the receptions -- amazing.

I suppose this shouldn't matter to vendors; you've still got to make the business viable. But I do think the debt they're putting themselves into is part of the motivation for such couples in looking for bargains, quite apart from the general expectation in these cultures that every price is negotiable anyway.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 01:43 AM   #34
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Re: Indian Wedding

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Random thought on Indian and Arabic weddings -- I get the feeling that many couples from these cultures put themselves into debt. There might be cultural pressures/expectations to: (a) invite everyone, hundreds of guests; (b) do a bunch of rituals -- have to have the horse carrying you to the ceremony; have to have days of festivities; and (c) put on a big show/outdo your friends.

For instance, I can recall one Indian groom who was a taxi driver, and another Indian groom who was an airline luggage handler. These guys must have been on low incomes. But the receptions -- amazing.

I suppose this shouldn't matter to vendors; you've still got to make the business viable. But I do think the debt they're putting themselves into is part of the motivation for such couples in looking for bargains, quite apart from the general expectation in these cultures that every price is negotiable anyway.
I have close friends that are Asian (pakistani/indian), having met and known them since my days at College and then University.

The way I see it and have actually been told by one of them is that the parent start saving up for a wedding way before it's even their childrens time. It's like a seperate mortgage for a home. The money goes in to a seperate pot just for the wedding, jewellery etc.

Yes some families may get in to debt, but the majority apparently pay for everything with money they actually have. The 500+ guests they invite all gift pretty well too (because what ever they give is generally returned at THEIR childrens wedding - value wise). The money raised in gifts may even pay upto 50% of the bills of the total cost of the wedding who knows?

And when's the last time you saw an Asian down your local pub every friday & saturday night? they don't really spend their money like we do. We'll go out and drink every weekend, there is a lot of money to be saved when you cut out things that are a necessity to most of us.

It's all a cultural thing. We would all be so boring and bland if we were all the same ...

If you look at India, Pakistan, Bangladesh ... every tom dick and harry is a entrepreneur in every street corner selling and bargaining to put food on their table! Haggling is just part of their culture. I mean Bengalis in the UK are known for the Indian restraunt trade. Then you have pakistanis well known for owning Chip shops and being taxi drivers. And again, Indians are known for having corner shops, clothes shops, jewellers etc. It's all changed now though with the new generation being bought up and educated here. But the parents who initially came here, were known to go in to those sectors of work and trade.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 07:06 AM   #35
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Re: Indian Wedding

The Quinceanera on the other side of the pond I believe is even more costly with families saving up to have this massive 15th birthday party for their daughters and spending a fortune! Maybe even two mortgage's worth at least with a huge amount of money spent and multiple live bands.

We don't have 'em here and I don't think the UK has a big enough South American population for them but they must be quite a thing to film! They supposedly spend more on these than a wedding so that must involve a fair bit of scrimping and saving to host.

Some events are more important to some cultures than others and that's what makes it so interesting.

I'm shooting a Somalian wedding reception on Saturday ... anyone ever done one of these before.

According to the couple they have about 160 guests ONLY the women (yes, you heard me right!) and the bride and bridemaids arrive and make their entrance about an hour after the festivities begin (yes, ONLY the bride and bridesmaids..no groom!) Towards the end about an hour before it ends, the poor Groom and Best Man make an entrance and the couple cake the cake, do a first dance and leave together

Chris
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 07:12 AM   #36
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Re: Indian Wedding

Sounds interesting.

I've heard of segragated weddings although i've never filmed one. But a female colleague has been asked to film just the women only at a muslim wedding (not all muslim weddings are like this though ...) even though at the end the bride and groom get together to cut the cake and everyone starts to mix!? makes no sense to me.

I got a feeling as time goes by, weddings will get more and more modified with traditions being thrown out the window.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 09:20 AM   #37
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Re: Indian Wedding

I have filmed many different cultures but no 2-3 day Indian wedding yet, but to be honest, I don't like doing them. If I take on a typical Belgian catholic wedding I never have a issue, I stick to my basic way of working, the client gets informed about that, they like what they get, pay and never complain again but I can say that at least 50% of non Belgian weddings there are discussions afterwards.

I have done a Indian wedding a few years back which only lasted one day and after I delivered the dvd I received a list of edit changes they wanted me to do for free, even though I told them when we first met that I don't do that, at least not for free. It was also mentioned in my contract but they didn't read that either. So then the parents got involved and it became a long unpleasant discussion. I told them what the extra cost would be, they refused to accept, eventually I lowered the price and they accepted. It's not the way I like to do business but it was draining too much energy and time and I just wanted it to stop.

I still do other cultures but I"m very careful when we first meet, I very clearly say what they can get for the price I charge and what they don't get. I also tell them that exceptions are possible but at a cost and I tell them what that cost is and then I mention this in the contract as well in the comments on the first page what is optional and at what price. If it comes to a discussion now I point to the contract which they signed, no negotiation anymore but clear agreements and prizes.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 05:56 PM   #38
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Re: Indian Wedding

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So then the parents got involved and it became a long unpleasant discussion. I told them what the extra cost would be, they refused to accept, eventually I lowered the price and they accepted.
Same experiences as Noa. I've worked out over the years that in cultural weddings the extended families (especially on the brides side) have a lot of financial and therefore creative input into decisions that get made, causing blurred communication lines when dealing with western vendors - who are used to the 'what the bride wants' rule.

Most noticeably are the young Malaysian and Singaporean couples. Multiple receptions are often planned to cater for extended relatives, and things like flowers, colors, family photo lists, speech orders are consistently being changed right up until the day because they hold far more significance than what we are used to.

Give me a white trash wedding any day! :)
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Old July 9th, 2013, 10:25 PM   #39
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Re: Indian Wedding

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I have done a Indian wedding a few years back which only lasted one day and after I delivered the dvd I received a list of edit changes they wanted me to do for free, even though I told them when we first met that I don't do that, at least not for free. It was also mentioned in my contract but they didn't read that either. So then the parents got involved and it became a long unpleasant discussion. I told them what the extra cost would be, they refused to accept, eventually I lowered the price and they accepted. It's not the way I like to do business but it was draining too much energy and time and I just wanted it to stop.
Posts like yours that I read around four years ago when I started out doing Wedding Videography are the reason we have made the decision not to do "cultural" weddings.

Life is too short and days too long to go through the kind of pain I have read associated with the expectations never seeming to be met and negotiated pricing and contracts seeming to mean nothing after the fact.

If a culture has as part of it this kind of mentality I will leave their wedding videogrphy to someone who shares those same values. Someone on this forum pretty much summed it up when they said that in Western culture business is done on a win-win basis where you negotiate what both parties feel is a fair and good agreement. Many Eastern cultures operate on a win-lose basis where they feel only one side can win in a transaction and it has to be them. One person on here had a good solution in that he starts with his stated price very high so that it can be negotiated down to the point the customer feels they won but he is really about where he wanted to be anyway. Of course that does not address all of the other issues involved like the customer being very hard to please with a final product.

We do traditional and redneck weddings here in Tennessee and out of probably two dozen weddings have never had a single customer ever ask for the finished product to be re-edited. Of course we make it clear in our contract that we have complete creative control and we point that out to them. They can see what we have done for other couples in their highlight reels and have confidence we know what we are doing and will deliver what they want. We also consult with them before the wedding about any special requests such as extra footage of an aging grandparent or great grandparent, etc.
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Old July 9th, 2013, 11:52 PM   #40
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Re: Indian Wedding

Hey DJ

I think one of those posters was me! I most definitely do a backwards pedal when it comes to ethnic weddings BUT I have done a couple that are "westernised" I did do a Somalian one last weekend as work is very quiet in July and I figured I might as well do it as the guys was very nice and very Westernised again. I did post some comments in Members Only on this but essentially no parents were involved and it wasn't really a wedding ceremony as such but just a bridal photoshoot followed by a girls night out for the women with a tiny bit of the couple at the end ..they prohibit guest photos and video so there was little to get into trouble with (from 2pm to midnight I amassed a mere 29 minutes of video!! Easy money but REALLY boring!

It probably makes sense to avoid (very nicely of course) ethnic full weddings unless it's part of your culture and you know what you are doing ... I don't blatantly refuse them on my site but I do state that all our packages are designed for Western weddings so talk to us first. If it looks like it's going to be a non-advisable venture I simply tell them sorry I'm not equipped to handle it.

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Old July 10th, 2013, 02:21 AM   #41
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Re: Indian Wedding

I was invited along to a pakistan meeting to give them a quote, they never told me the real story. I gave them a normal price then three days before the wedding they wanted me in London, then Stoke and another part of the England to really do three wedding shoots. They told me lies and kept things from me. I never turned up at all, no deposit no dvd no me!! Once bitten twice shy. Do not even attempt to give any quotes to weddings like that unless they come and see me tell me the story truthfully. Hence since then 7 years ago i have never had a successful meeting with the groups when asked to meet them. I no longer accept any form of contact with them now unless it is passed onto me by friends.
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Old July 10th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #42
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Re: Indian Wedding

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We do traditional and redneck weddings here in Tennessee.
That's gold! I'm changing my packages to read 'Choose from traditional or redneck style' LOL!
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Old July 10th, 2013, 05:18 AM   #43
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Re: Indian Wedding

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Originally Posted by Steve Bleasdale View Post
I was invited along to a pakistan meeting to give them a quote, they never told me the real story. I gave them a normal price then three days before the wedding they wanted me in London, then Stoke and another part of the England to really do three wedding shoots. They told me lies and kept things from me. I never turned up at all, no deposit no dvd no me!! Once bitten twice shy. Do not even attempt to give any quotes to weddings like that unless they come and see me tell me the story truthfully. Hence since then 7 years ago i have never had a successful meeting with the groups when asked to meet them. I no longer accept any form of contact with them now unless it is passed onto me by friends.
Sadly similar experiences for me too! I have completed a handfull of these weddings and every one, without fail, was mega problematic - I now politely decline
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Old July 10th, 2013, 05:55 PM   #44
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Re: Indian Wedding

I'm not going to even lie ...

Only reason I do them is because initially I gained my experience working as a 2nd shooter with an asian videographer.

On your own you'll find it a nightmare ... work with an asian guy that knows what he's doing there because it's his culture. It's like filming any other wedding.
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Old July 22nd, 2013, 08:17 PM   #45
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Re: Indian Wedding

Well, the wedding is "in the can!" It was a long day, but--all things considered--a pretty good day. The bride and groom couldn't have been more pleasant and accommodating and even the family showed a fair amount of respect for what I was doing. Here's a still that I pulled from PPro...I'll post a clip after I get back from another wedding this week in Fallbrook.
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