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Old August 26th, 2013, 08:47 AM   #1
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How to get business from ALL weddings?

Here's a topic for discussion folks ...

What I'm referring to are weddings from all backgrounds and cultures.

Does your website or your work only look like you do a specific market? i.e. traditional english church weddings only?

How does one with out any experience in other weddings like Asian, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Greek, Gay weddings etc get in to that market ???

I've personally done a couple of asian weddings now on top of my normal traditional english church weddings so feel quite experienced in taking on asian weddings, but i've never done a greek, jewish or gay wedding ... I was wondering how I could venture out to cover all of those.

I'm a solo shooter by the way.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 08:50 AM   #2
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

I should mention, with Asian weddings due to the sheer volume of guests that some of them have, I started out as a 3rd shooter, then once I had a trailer to show I was being asked directly by couples and since then I done 3 weddings on my own, but smaller in size to the ones I assisted at.

I could may be approach a jewish wedding the same way as they tend to be very big weddings?
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Old August 26th, 2013, 09:12 AM   #3
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

Hey James

I'm very specific on my website and say :

Please note that all our wedding packages are filmed, based and priced on Western style wedding ceremonies and receptions. Contact us if you require special coverage for culturally different ceremonies and receptions.

That covers my right to modify the price if the wedding is going to start at 7am and run thru to 1am the next morning without offending the couple or appearing to discriminate against non- traditional weddings.

If you don't have a price list or offer "Weddings from 990 GBP" then you could more than likely get away with it but often ethnic weddings can involve multiple venues, many complex ceremonies and long hours. I have fixed price packages and they are based on Western styles so they can easily not apply to ethnic ceremonies and receptions.

I have been told that Jewish weddings are HUGE and quite often they want everything recorded from start to finish ... there was a guy here doing only Jewish weddings and he had 2 shooters with him, cranes and a camera running the entire reception with operators taking shifts. In the UK it might be different ..Ask Nigel?? he had done a Jewish wedding ..over here it's a closed shop and you have to be Jewish to get any work from the community.


Chris
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Old August 26th, 2013, 09:16 AM   #4
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
II could may be approach a jewish wedding the same way as they tend to be very big weddings?
That's how we started with Jewish weddings I shot a couple with a friend & we also did some editing for him so then we had some clips for our portfolio. Subsequently we have been taking our own bookings for Jewish weddings where our friend has been my second shooter & I second shoot at his Jewish weddings. I always check with him before putting a proposal together for a Jewish wedding to ensure that we are not competing for the same wedding (it's not happened yet:-)
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Old August 26th, 2013, 09:45 AM   #5
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

I don't have this in our area, so I'm just asking out loud:

Would it be best to create separate areas on your website for when an expected style is just that different? Or maybe it's own website instead? To me it sounds almost like the difference between wedding and corporate work. Separating them would seem to help.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 09:54 AM   #6
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

I've never specialized in one type of wedding or another. I'm Jewish and honestly shoot very few Jewish weddings but I've shot so many Catholic weddings I almost feel like I could do the service. ;-)

Other than Asian and East Asian weddings which I feel take more than I feel I can give anymore (longer days than I care to do) to me a wedding is a wedding is a wedding.

Of course I don't do Mitzvahs anymore either...too many young kids and I have no patience any more.

I've never really Jewish weddings to be any more demanding than any other but maybe it's just me.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 03:43 PM   #7
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

I've shot a high volume of weddings over many years as a stills shooter and I do have galleries illustrating just about every variation.

However I would say that the default mindset of most people who perceive themselves as being in a minority is to choose vendors from within their own community. If a booking is made for an Asian, Hindu, Chinese etc wedding more often than not one of the couple is highly "westernised" or has a lot of contact with western culture through their work or one of the couple may be anglo-saxon British marrying into an Asian family.

So the real world market starts to look very small when measured against the numbers that you've got any chance of booking.

Likewise I've shot my share of gay and lesbian weddings and again you're up against operators whose USP is that they work within the pink community.

Its really just another manifestation of the wider mindset that means many couples prefer to give priority to vendors who have worked at their particular venue before. The couple just feel more comfortable with it. As do some who want a female operator or who want someone they perceive as young and hip.

They don't see that extreme prejudice underlays it ..... but thats what it is.

If you are a member of a minority community thats not afraid to spend decent money then go to town on it, but otherwise I'd say its not worth putting a lot of time and resources into developing it.

There are the odd exceptions that prove the rule. I've been editing a Greek Orthodox one today. I get the occasional Chinese. I used to get Muslim but not any more. Can't imagine why :- ) I've probably had one Jewish enquiry in 10 years and they didn't book. Jewish photographer colleagues have explained to me that it is indeed very prevelant for these couples to book on recommendation from within their own community. They've also said that its hard to get fees as high as those in the traditional British wedding sector plus the hours are much longer.

Many Southern Irish used to have a very bad attitude to all things English but that seems to have passed now and I've done loads with Irish connections and they've invariably been brilliant. I guess the gay sector may go that way as well in the longer term as being gay no longer holds the stigma and sense of persecution that it once did.

Pete
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Old August 26th, 2013, 04:05 PM   #8
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

Thanks for the input Pete.

I can relate to most of the points you've made and completely agree with people instantly going on recommendation / people within their own communities.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
How does one with out any experience in other weddings like Asian, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Greek, Gay weddings etc get in to that market ???
I'm awful at business, so take this with several handfuls of salt, but if I were seriously trying to crack any particular market (I'm not), I'd do one or two jobs at a discount, just so you've got something to show and have started to build some connections.

"Ethnic" weddings are definitely not as much of a closed shop as they used to be. You know -- children of children of migrants being more assimilated into mainstream culture, etc.

Lots of potential pitfalls, though. I guess this is a tangent. But anyway... Pitfalls include: (1) inadvertently offending someone whose culture you're not used to or breaking some taboo; (2) getting into a disagreement with someone whose language you don't speak (has happened to me before); (3) simply not knowing what's happening on the day, so that rituals take you by surprise.

At a certain level, a wedding is a wedding -- this is true. But unfamiliar rituals can easily take you by surprise or complicate things.

I actually think Jewish weddings can be very complicated, depending on how many extra rituals are involved. A simple thing like signing the certificate at back of synagogue, doing bedekin at front, then couple walks into the synagogue for the ceremony itself means you have to think about how you're going to be in place for all three events, how you're going to cover walking in between, how you're going to get good sound in all three places, etc.

Just one more thought: some videographers rely on speeches more than others to drive their films. I guess it's mainly a "cinematic" thing. But if you don't speak the language of the culture you're filming, how can you use speeches?

Last edited by Adrian Tan; August 26th, 2013 at 11:00 PM. Reason: typo
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Old August 26th, 2013, 10:54 PM   #10
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

Hi Adrian

I agree here totally as kids born to ethnic parents in a Western country tend to become more Westernised anyway. I seem to find a fair amount of Burmese weddings.. the first one was scary but for some reason they liked me and referrals came thick and fast! Their weddings are quite close to traditional although the entire ceremony is done in Chin so you have no idea what's coming up next... after the first I realised that it was just a normal wedding with no real surprises as long as you go thru the ceremony order with the pastor .. I nearly missed a complex candle ceremony once!!

James ?? If you are attempting to attract many different ethnic weddings maybe (if you brave enough) have a different webpage for different groups (you would of course need to enlist the help of previous couple to make the page attractive to each group and appear dedicated to each too.

If the majority of the area you are targeting does have a large ethnic population then it would make marketing sense to make your website cater towards them. A website with wedding links to various groups would more than likely make you quite popular but just make sure you can handle them if you haven't done them before.

Chris
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Old August 26th, 2013, 11:12 PM   #11
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

Hey Chris, I've never filmed a Burmese or Nepalese wedding, but would like to. One thing you're reminding me of -- part of what I enjoy about weddings is filming a lot of different cultures. And Sydney's such a multicultural place that it's never really occurred to me what it must be like for people who film just one type of culture.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 12:18 AM   #12
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Re: How to get business from ALL weddings?

Apart from the ceremony being in Chin as well as the speeches, they are pretty easy to do and really nice people to shoot for. There is nothing that will catch you by surprise as long as the priest goes thru the order of service with you at the rehearsal.

The family do stand at the entrance and greet all the guests at the Church though so I always get a bit of that. Just be prepared for very large receptions !! They tend to invite the entire Burmese community not just family so they have a big venue and 500 guests are quite normal!

If you do one make sure that they give you a comprehensive running sheet for the reception as spelling of names is something you just cannot guess. Receptions however are very well organised and I have found the MC is overly helpful.

Chris
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