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Old September 25th, 2013, 06:22 AM   #16
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Re: Second shooters - how do you justify less profit?

I agree Nigel

However the important thing that is posed by the original post is "How do you justify less profit" ..Dunno about others but if a second shooter is required then the bride must pay for the extra OR if you shoot with a second/third shooter anyway it must be covered in your pricing surely??

My wedding last weekend had the bride request limo shots departing from the prep venue and shots of the limo arriving 10 minutes later ..I obviously needed to set up at the Church 30 minutes ahead so my 2nd shooter stayed with the bride BUT she did pay extra for having 2 people for that short time.

It's pointless costing a wedding for one shooter and then deciding to have two more and killing your profit ..that wouldn't make any business sense

Chris
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Old September 25th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #17
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Re: Second shooters - how do you justify less profit?

A couple of points on this.

a) Judging by the business I get on my current rate, I very much doubt i would get much interest from people to pay 300 more for a two shooter package. I'm not sure how others manage to sell that!

b) If you use two shooters as standard, and realise that most couple don't care about the fact their is tow of you? Isn't the temptation there to lose the second guy and keep the prices the same.

In 30 bookings, I've had just one enquiry asking if its a solo package. And when I said yes, she went ahead and booked anyway.
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Old September 25th, 2013, 02:15 PM   #18
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Re: Second shooters - how do you justify less profit?

In a city (Los Angeles) where there's often 3, 4 or 5 shooters at some of these weddings, I don't regret in the least using two shooters for every Wedding. We actually probably wouldn't appeal to the higher end Weddings without multiple shooters because that's what they expect. While I realize small town Weddings may be a bit different, I find the cost of a 2nd shooter worth every dime. I think it comes down to how much detail you want covered. Plus, couples love hearing things like "when we go off and take family and couple's photos/video, my 2nd camera op will be getting shots of your cocktail hour and reception detail so you guys won't miss a thing." Every time I say that I see a look on their face that says "phew! I won't worry now about having to miss my entire cocktail hour, etc." Sold.

My camera op moves all our equipment (7 bags), sets up lights if needed, checks focus at various focal distances, white balances the cameras in the Reception room (sometimes its very, um, colorful in there) and taps in for audio all before I walk in. Then when the camera rolls I can have more interesting tight shots because they can follow the action rather than staying wide and boring all the time. Also, when things run behind as you all know they do, most of the time I don't worry cuz my 2nd has things all set and ready. When you start to work higher end jobs charging more and more, you won't even think about the extra "cost" of a 2nd camera op. It's not extra, its just part of their deal. I guess it all depends on what market you are targeting.

Sure, I can do a Wedding by myself and I did for the first couple years in this business, but the extra angles, details, and overall coverage in addition to the help I get all day long is well worth it in my opinion.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 01:55 AM   #19
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Re: Second shooters - how do you justify less profit?

Hey Clive, would there be any disadvantage to your offering two shooters as a package alongside your usual packages?

I used to work for a company that offered both solo and two-shooter packages -- and the majority of brides did go for the two-shooter package, though it was either $300 or $500 more expensive (depending on hours of shooting). I did sort of push this package though. Said to them things like: it's better to get two close-ups during the vows rather than just one; it's safer, to make sure things are not missed, in case one camera has problems; you have the option of doing a split when covering prep in the morning; you can get shots during the reception speeches not only of the speaker, but also the B&G and whoever's being talked about, etc.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 02:15 AM   #20
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Re: Second shooters - how do you justify less profit?

Hi Adrian

What would be the advantages from the bride's point of view between a solo person running 3 cameras on their own to someone with a 2nd shooter?? I know technically a 2nd shooter is better but from the brides side I'm not sure they could be totally convinced that a bunch of locked off cameras is a lot inferior to having an actual 2nd shooter. Being solo always at ceremonies I have one cam on a tripod in the aisle, one either on the balcony or high up on a stand and then one on my shoulder so I have 2 fixed POV's plus a variable one that can go anywhere. That gives her a 3 cam shoot and virtually nothing missed so how would you convince her that having 2 camera people is a better option, despite the extra cost.

Chris
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Old September 26th, 2013, 02:59 AM   #21
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Re: Second shooters - how do you justify less profit?

Hey Chris, to be honest, I think in the couple's mind a camera operator = one camera. They don't think to themselves about unmanned cameras, or one person operating multiple cameras. So maybe that's part of why I could talk people into two-person packages so easily.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 05:03 AM   #22
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Re: Second shooters - how do you justify less profit?

In my experience, if the question is asked at all it is usually ' How many cameras do you use?" not ' How many operators do you use?'. I do agree with Chris that it is difficult to justify extra personnel cost to many couples if you are already offering multi camera shoots. If I use a locked off opposite angle camera, I always have it set to the highest possible resolution, so that I can add zoom crops at the editing stage. Most couples take it all for granted anyway in the final edit, but I have on occasion been asked how I managed to get a gentle zoom on the vows from two angles with only one cameraman.

There are occasions when two operators are useful, but experience, confidence and planning makes it unnecessary in most cases.

On a side note, I was at a wedding show recently and there was unusually another wedding company exhibiting. We got on well enough, but I was interested when talking about the number of operators, that they were horrified that my wife and I both film as solo shooters. Apparently, they film each wedding with 3 shooters, each with 2 cameras! Looking at their video, I wouldn't have been happy with the filming if I filmed it solo, so I presume they lack the confidence and feel that more shooters gives safety in numbers. I would bet that they use students or family members for free though, as there was nothing showing to justify it.

Roger
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Old September 26th, 2013, 07:37 AM   #23
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Re: Second shooters - how do you justify less profit?

Thanks Roger and Adrian

I must admit that brides never ask me "how many operators" (the only time one did actually ask was so she could plan for meals) Then again I do stipulate that the ceremony is a three camera shoot (more for peace of mind for both me and the bride too) My top mount camera has got me out of many sticky situations where the ample rear end of the MOB has blocked a camera and whether there was an operator on it or not, it wouldn't have been different. My principle is simply ..my main aisle camera gets the important stuff like the actual vows. My roving camera captures whatever I want it to capture and my high mounted camera provides me a fresh angle (or gets me out of trouble)

I used to let my second shooter stay for the ceremony in the old days after we did a dual prep but then she had the shoulder mount cam and ran around shooting the interesting stuff and I was stuck watching the main cam which was boring!!

Admittedly I have never advertised "two camera persons or three camera persons" so I honestly cannot say whether brides would rather book a videographer with "multi-operators" or not at a higher price. I would certainly like to be able to attract higher prices but it would have to be a lot more than just extra money to cover the operators ... there would have to be a fat profit in it for me as well otherwise having extra ops seems pointless apart from having a partner or two to chat with or fetch and carry.

As a comparison in a different industry, my daughter is a musician and found it was hard to get gigs with a two piece so she also went solo and does very well and the clients still love the music. Remember, like video, the end user is not as fussy as we think and we tend to go over the top with technical perfection anyway.

Guess we all work in different ways.

Chris
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