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


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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:40 PM   #1
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Customer Guide...

Hi guys.

Quick question...

Do any of you provide either a printed / PDF guide for your customers to explain some of the processes, what to expect, what you'll need at the venue etc?

Long Question...

If such a guide were to be produced, what should it contain? how much information etc?

Thanks in advance :)

Chris
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: Customer Guide...

Dont bother!!! to much information for the couple, leaving yourself wide open!! steve
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: Customer Guide...

I see your point, but actually the whole basis for me thinking about this is to manage the expectations of customers.

There's a few threads already knocking about on here, where customers have had issues - they mostly seem to centre around the fact they got something slightly different to what they expected.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: Customer Guide...

Chris keep everything dead simple, this game leaves you wide open for all sorts, just explain your story to them, film, produce, and thats it, get paid 30 days before the date, various bride & grooms expectations are totally different in everyway, each couples you meet have there own way of what they want, if allowed they will take over and produce? zilch..........they will always want more if you allow them to want more!! steve
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #5
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Re: Customer Guide...

I definitely don't want the customers to take over...

basically my thinking is that a guide would be some sort of 'advanced' terms and conditions, pretty much laying out how things are going to be...
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Old May 16th, 2011, 08:18 PM   #6
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Re: Customer Guide...

I think Steve and I have different business models =)

We send a "Top 10 Tips" email (via ShootQ) a week and then one day before the wedding.

Most of it is pretty basic, and helpful tips. Things like "suggest to your best man/MoH to limit their speech to 5 minutes", "turn down the radio when you're getting ready", "don't chew gum", and "deliver your vows from the heart...speak slowly and clearly".

If one of the ten we suggest is used, it was worth making the list. I've noticed changes since we started sending these!
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Old May 17th, 2011, 02:40 AM   #7
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Re: Customer Guide...

Hi Chris

It's always worth telling the bride and groom a few hints but just keep them short..the last thing they need is a manual as they have another million things on their mind!!!

I usually tell them at the interview and rehearsal but don't actually send anything ...main points with me are let the guests(and cameras) see your ring being put on and like Aaron I ask them to make sure the speeches are 6 -8 minutes...I had a FOB that did a 37 minute speech once!!! so they always get that "request"

Bear in mind that they will probably forget everything anyway on the day but you gave it a shot and with some luck they MIGHT just remember one or two points!!

Chris
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Old May 17th, 2011, 03:11 AM   #8
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Re: Customer Guide...

Chris, in my view it depends on the couple; some are best left amazed by what Steve Bleasdale does, others help Chris Harding by doing some of what he recommends.

More important in my view is finding out what they want and for that purpose we have a 17 page questionnaire which we ask them to fill in three months before their wedding and collect from them a month before. We believe it's the reason that despite our generous terms about changes over 80% of our programmes are approved at first showing ie require no changes.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 03:52 AM   #9
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Re: Customer Guide...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
.... we have a 17 page questionnaire which we ask them to fill in three months before their wedding....
Tell me you are kidding???
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Old May 17th, 2011, 03:58 AM   #10
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Re: Customer Guide...

John, I won't tell you that because I can't. Nor have I ever had a refusal.

And it means if I have a particularly drawn out edit schedule because (as happened recently) the couple moved away and then the groom had an extended tour of duty overseas, it means I can instantly remind myself of the couple's wishes/preferences over the detail of the day.

Maybe you have a better memory than me?
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Old May 17th, 2011, 04:32 AM   #11
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Re: Customer Guide...

I have a description on my site that outlines my approach to the day and my style of shooting and editing and what I present as an end product (about 300 words, just a bit longer than this post), so that even before people contact me they know what I offer.
That information also goes as part of my sample/enquiry/demonstration DVD; it forms the liner to the DVD cover, so it's not too much; about an A4 sheet.

When it comes to meeting/planning/booking I have a detailed discussion either in person or by phone and then immediately, or at least by next day, send an email itemising the discussion and agreed key points. The key points are on the booking form, as is a space for them to add any additional or special requests. It also shows the full cost and payment schedule and expected completion date, The reverse of the agreement form includes my terms and conditions. It outlines what they can expect from me, what they can do if I don't meet those expectations plus my exclusions and liability limits as well as cancellation policy.

If we are all in agreement the booking agreement form is signed, booking fee taken and the day booked, after that it is all in my hands.

I'll just add though that this is not foolproof; I refer you to another running thread that I contributed to recently.

I never give tips on make-up, dress styles, smiling, speeches or dancing. I believe it's their day to do what they want and anyway there are plenty of others out there better qualified than me to give that advice. I just suggest they relax and enjoy the day, If they've engaged the best people on their day let them do all the work.

Last edited by George Kilroy; May 17th, 2011 at 01:40 PM. Reason: spotted a couple of fat finger errors.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 04:45 AM   #12
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Re: Customer Guide...

Hey Chris,

Totally depends on how you engage with your couples. We currently always meet them before they book, show them a full film. Talk a bit about how we work and the end result is they love what they see and totally trust us.

We then meet again before the wedding to find out whats happening when and ask one crucial question "What is the most important thing you get to see when you watch this back". Simple question. They then say grandparents, car, shoes or whatever. This is us managing their expectations.

What we make clear is that they can trust us and they need to. If they seem like they may be the type who micro manage everything then we simply tell them were not the right fit.

Now rewind a couple of years when we were charging very little. The budget brides will always want to totally control the whole movie, they dont trust you. We also used to ask them too many questions and the whole production ended up being a confusing mess where we included everything, they had nothing to complain about but it just never made sense. It was like one massive braindump.

Anyone ever watched that episode of the Simpsons where Homer found his long lost brother Herb. Herb asked homer to design a car. It had a seperate bubble for the kids and all sorts of other cool feature. It sounded great. But the end result was a mashed up mess of crazyness. Thats what happens when brides govern every aspect of a production. It looks nice, it has nothing to complain about but somehow just doesnt feel right.

On the subject of a guide for them. We thought about it. Used to have pages we went over but they forget before theyve finished talking to you and they forget on the day so we now keep it simple. No chewing gum and turn your phone off OFF, not silent off. Thats the one thing that can ruin a good shot :) anything else we need we just deal with on the day as half your list may never arise.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #13
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Re: Customer Guide...

I don't have an actual questionaire like Philip but during the signup I do spend around a hour with the couple and have my own "spec sheet" so I can make not only notes but also offer suggestions. However if the bride is super-organised then all I do is confirm some timings to fit her already "perfected" schedule but quite often I have brides who say to me "we haven't done this before" (duhhh!!!) and ask for advice from other weddings I have been to and how other brides have organised their receptions.

Bear in mind that most of my brides will contact me "to book" so I don't have to convince them to hire me but they do like to pick my brains for ideas. When it comes to my "verbal questionaire" I just fill in the details as we are chatting.

Chris
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Old May 17th, 2011, 01:26 PM   #14
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Re: Customer Guide...

Wow, I wasn't expecting such a wide range of replies.

Thanks all...

I'm just starting out, but have experience of doing wedding photo's from 5/6 years ago, and I found the customers to be a nightmare - and looking over these forums it seems the same stupid complaints and expectations are still around.

Just trying to make life a little easier for myself :)
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Old May 17th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #15
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Re: Customer Guide...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
we have a 17 page questionnaire which we ask them to fill in three months before their wedding and collect from them a month before. We believe it's the reason that despite our generous terms about changes over 80% of our programmes are approved at first showing ie require no changes.
I'm all for different approaches in business, but wow, a 17-page questionnaire seems like total overkill to me. I know if I was a groom and a vendor sent me a 17-page questionnaire I'd be pretty annoyed. I'm pretty sure my wife would feel the same way. And you still sometimes have to make changes after your 'first showing'?

Not saying our way is the only way, but we don't send out a 17-page questionnaire and we've NEVER had to make a single change to ANY of our films over the past 8 years. In fact, we don't even do a 'first showing', which in my opinion sets up the couple to think they should make changes. We just deliver the final product with confidence and don't do a screening of any sort.
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