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


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Old March 9th, 2013, 01:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
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Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

Hello guys!

I just recently joined this industry on mid January.

I'm wondering how you guys get clients when you started out? And after doing this for a while, is it mostly word of mouth?

Right now my pricing rate is in the middle in my industry and I'm struggling to finds clients.

-I go to bridal forums and kijiji daily to find clients, but they're usually looking for videographers that offer a much much lower price.

-Exhibiting in Wedding shows, I went to one and will be going to another one this month.

Anything will be helpful, thanks guys!
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Old March 9th, 2013, 01:52 PM   #2
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

Lots of business cards, lots of talking to EVERYONE to let them know who you are and what you do, lots of shows to get the name out there, and did I mention keep talking to everyone?
There is no easy answer nor is ther 1 set way to do it. Word of mouth is of course the best but you have to have mouths to pass the word from first. Keep in mind this is one business where there is little if any repeat business so every client is a new one. If you're serios about doing weddings and events you need to network with other vendors, DJs, photogs, banquet venues, planners even churches. You're not looking to be their guy, just someone that they'll perhaps recommend, or at least mention your name to their clients. For the most part video is one of the last things to be hired so the clients go thru a lot of other vendors before they get to you so if you can get a few of the others to mention your name then it might start to sink into the clients head and they'll hopefully call.
Remember, if people don't know who you are and what you do they can't hire you. Did I already say to talk to everyone?
Good Luck!
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Old March 9th, 2013, 05:08 PM   #3
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

Derek, imo you might need to do a couple of lower priced weddings if only to get samples and refs you can quote.
Look outside the Toronto area in smaller towns, drop cards at their local bridal shops.

And eventually you'll need a website and don't rush it. Study what's available in your area and get creative. Yep good luck.

Cheers.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 05:40 PM   #4
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

Agreed with Allan. As a new guy, you'll need to be priced below market to generate interest.

If you haven't already, you may even need to volunteer your services once to get a reel. You'll have to have something to show people if you want them to pay.

The combination of word of mouth and good web presence will do you good.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 07:53 PM   #5
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

Derek has already done a wedding and a good one too! Clip is in this forum at the top.

Don has the right idea...people will only book you if they know about you so tell everyboy what you do..it's easy to work it into converstaion ... Everyone you meet must know you are a wedding videographer/film maker ..yep, even the drug store, butcher and local gas station staff when you visit them! Your main jobs will always be referrals as bride's friends are all highly likely to be "eligible" ... Have a website with prices and sample footage so you have somewhere to send people and also have a wedding page on facebook...brides love FaceBook so if you can spread your name around there it will help a lot!!

I advertise on just one wedding directory ....it's all you need to pull in extra clients ..just make sure it links to your website/facebook page too. Check out the competition prices that are similar to yours and come in just a fraction under them... Simply make your costing accurate and your services affordable and good value for money.

Chris
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Old March 9th, 2013, 08:01 PM   #6
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

"Right now my pricing rate is in the middle in my industry and I'm struggling to finds clients.
I go to bridal forums and kijiji daily to find clients, but they're usually looking for videographers that offer a much much lower price."

By now it appears you have some experience to go from about your local wedding market. These people you are running into who wish a lower priced video are telling you one of two things:

One possibility could be they are all just cheapskates and want everything for nothing.
The second possibility is they are telling you your market is GROSSLY UNDERSERVED by vendors willing to cater to their budget's price point.

Now, from here in my chair, hearing you say you have people wanting to hire you but at a lower price point and no one wants to hire you in the mid range price point you are at, I am going to take a stab at:

Your current price point is SATURATED with vendors already offering the same product resulting in too few opportunities available for another, much less new, vendor entering that market.

One way to figure it out is to begin also offering a lower price point more minimalistic wedding video. If that starts popping for your customers, you will know what we are guessing at now.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 09:51 PM   #7
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

Chip is quite correct here and I find where we are there is definately a sweet spot for pricing and also a totally blank spot that budget brides feel are too high for their budget but higher end market brides see as "too cheap so he must be no good"

First of all do some accurate costing and see how much it actually costs you to do a wedding then add your "worth" as an hourly rate and see what sort of price you come up with.

It's no good trying to flog the market with a product that appeals to the general bride population but is excessively expensive...it's also crazy to go out and shoot weddings and make no profit either..I would rather spend my Saturday's watching TV and relaxing rather that work at a rate where I would make more money flipping burgers.

You can get a rough estimate of wedding costing by settling on a "fair price" for your time (and your assistant/partner too) as an houry rate ... Also think about if you REALLY need a partner/ assistant and do they actually put in their money's worth or are they with you for company/moral support ...if so their hourly rate should be down-costing a bit!!

It's really simple ..I cost out at $75.00 an hour and then figure consulation/delivery hours, actual wedding day shoot hours and then edit hours and total travel time too. That gives me a fair price that I should be charging the bride to make a decent profit. You also need to look at your edit time ... you may be a perfectionist and take 3 weeks to edit a wedding which equates to 120 hours of editing ... based on non-realistic edit times that would make my edit costs over $9000!! Great money but no bride here would pay $10K for a wedding DVD!!! You also have to be practical with edit time as you are working as a business !

What price are you advertising weddings for ?? How does that compare to your desired rate per hour and the number of hours you are spending on the job?

I tried lifting my prices one year and the enquiries simply dried up over night!! I dropped the prices back to normal and the enquiries came flooding back in so there are definately price areas that are out of bounds and considered as taboo by brides... this needs careful consideration!!

Let us know what times you spend and what you are charging (just roughly) and then others can help

Chris
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Old March 10th, 2013, 12:23 AM   #8
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

Hey Derek, I'm from Toronto too. Feel free to PM me if you have questions or need help.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 10:48 AM   #9
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

I think everyone here has some pretty good ideas. You absolutely must have a site for people to visit to view samples, testimonials, etc. It's up to you if you wanna put pricing up there. Some do, some don't. I do, but that's your call. I'm not sure what bridal sites are popular up there in Canada but there are a few main ones here in Los Angeles that we get 90% of our business through. Now that might mean having to "invest" a bit into going beyond a free listing so you stand out more but for us its been really worth it as we pull in about 30 weddings a year from that.

Asking other Videographers in your area where they advertise might also help. Sure, some won't respond, but usually you'll get through to a few of the nicer ones and they'll be upfront and helpful. We found one that gave us the courage a few years back to join a site and it paid off big time. In turn, we've referred them out to tons of couples when we're already booked out on a date. Regarding pricing, that's always a difficult one, so be prepared to struggle with that for some time. I'd say for that for me the first couple years were more about getting experience and figuring out my style which was not the norm and then figuring out which sites brought in the most business. We charged way less than what I felt we were worth given the amount of time we put into each edit (usually 60-70 hours). Its hard because those couples usually refer you to their friends who are also in similar price levels so you feel like you'll never really "break out". But eventually, we inched our way up to a mid-upper level pricing for our area that is a lot more comfortable but it's never easy to respond to the probably 20-30 brides that we turn down each year who really love our work but have a budget that's much less. In those cases I'm happy to refer them on to other videographers (and photographers) in the area that are less and whose work I personally like. They may not offer all that we do, but I'm sure the couple is happy to not be left with no where to turn. Also, I figure what comes around goes around. Just ideas. Good luck! ...oh, and one last thing...be aware that for most areas, this business has a slow time of year. Just keep telling yourself, "it's okay, It's not you, its the time of year." :)
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Old March 10th, 2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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Re: Suggestions or tips for people starting out?

Hi Derek

I had a look at your website and it's very neat BUT take a look at it from a bride's point of view? What does it offer the bride ?? You have very little informatiom for new brides and apart from making wedding films you tell them very little else.

You need you website to focus more on what you can provide to them ...give them a lot more information on what you cover and at least provide some sort of budgeting cost for them ..At the moment brides have absolutely no idea whether you will charge them $500 or $10,000 ...All but a few have a budget to work with so at least let them know your prices are in their budget range.

Chris
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