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Old February 19th, 2014, 08:09 AM   #16
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Re: Over booked 2015

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Business theory dictates, in some people's minds, that if you are getting over booked or turning away a lot of weddings, you can look at raising prices.

When supply exceeds demand for a service then raising prices or expanding are both options.
looking into that Jeff!! Maybe good point
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Old February 19th, 2014, 08:43 AM   #17
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Re: Over booked 2015

I find I'm OK with the triple headers whilst I'm actually working them - its afterwards that it all catches up with me and knocks me out for a few days.

I do a lot of preparation before each day to reduce possible stress points. This includes simple things like looking at all the venue locations in detail on Streetview so I can recognise the area as I get close, more than one satnav and don't rely on satnav, discussing the timeline in great detail, attending rehearsals if its an unknown church etc.

Back at basecamp afterwards I like to think all my systems are streamlined. This includes using USB3 card readers and drives so that the initial download, backups, and checking can be accomplished as fast as possible to avoid late nights. I have extra card capacity to enable me to shoot the next day without using the previous days cards but I still like to download and check. Millions of batteries and chargers. And so on.

I don't like to turn work away because one thing I've learned over the years is that this can be a feast or famine business; there's no predicting it. Previously productive sources can dry up - especially venue recommendations, the centre of gravity can shift - like from Google to facebook, new competitors with decent work anxious to build their portfolios can undercut you short-term. A strata of friends and friends of friends can reach the point where all that are going to marry have married, etc.

I haven't found couples to be troubled by extended processing times in the high season. There is something to be said for getting tasters online very shortly after the wedding but once you've missed that window and the wedding day excitement has died down it doesn't seem to matter with most clients whether its 4 weeks or 4 months. For example I give clients full input into the design of their photo albums. Something thats not practical for video at present obviously, but bear with me. At the consultation stage everyone thinks they will get into it shortly after the honeymoon. But they never do. The last 4 albums I have recently delivered are from June 2011, April 2012, August 2012, and May 2013!

What are you guys finding to be the productive sources feeding you new enquiries these days? Wedding fairs? Venue recoms? Google on page SEO? Adwords? Facebook personal pages? Facebook business pages? Existing clients?

Facebook is a case in point where the changing rules can leave you high and dry. Wo betide you if they find you are using a personal page for business. And increasingly you have to pay more and more to reach even a fraction of a previous audience. You cannot even rely on their own advertising facilities to get yoy in front of the right clients despite all they say. Watch this alarming video!

http://neilvn.com/tangents/paying-for-facebook-likes/

Pete
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Old February 19th, 2014, 08:51 AM   #18
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Re: Over booked 2015

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Originally Posted by Steve Bleasdale View Post
What do you guys do when you are taking to many bookings for certain months in advance.
what do you mean 'too many' , someone else is booking your dates for you?
it's you who decides what's 'too many' , i am trying not to book more than two back to back, and if i feel it's too many i just say -"sorry, i am booked for the date"
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Old February 19th, 2014, 08:58 AM   #19
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Re: Over booked 2015

Hmmm a lot of good points here. I get 70% of my bookings through the website and a further 30% word of mouth. I filmed one wedding last year and have 3 bookings off it. The temptation is to book everything as soon as it comes in as def is a 'feast or famine' business, but over the last few years I've become confident that enough bookings will come in so I've relaxed a little - no more 3 in a row!

I get enough work without doing wedding fairs and have a facebook page that is getting increasingly popular - I post a 2 minute highlight for just about each wedding for the couple to share around (usually the week after the wedding) Not sure about how this converts to actual business so I see it as a 'brand awareness' exercise. My FB page is one created from my personal account but has settings for business so not sure where I stand regarding it's legitimacy.

Pete
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Old February 19th, 2014, 09:33 AM   #20
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Re: Over booked 2015

In seven years i have only ever booked one client through a trade show i stopped doing them years ago, i found also they are only looking to finalize things like flowers cards etc. The photo g booked ages ago, the video guy (ha ha) us video guys next. My bookings through word and mouth 70%, 20% through my wife's shop. 10% website
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Old February 19th, 2014, 01:21 PM   #21
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Re: Over booked 2015

This has happened several times to me, I'm sure it happened to you too:

Couple reserves a date with you and puts down their deposit, and all is good to go. Several months later, you talk to another couple that wants to book you for the same date, and what they want would have paid you 3 times more.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 01:45 PM   #22
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Re: Over booked 2015

Yep warren sure thing
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Old February 19th, 2014, 02:20 PM   #23
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Re: Over booked 2015

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This has happened several times to me, I'm sure it happened to you too:

Couple reserves a date with you and puts down their deposit, and all is good to go. Several months later, you talk to another couple that wants to book you for the same date, and what they want would have paid you 3 times more.
I have a minimum package that is ceremony only plus one hour at same venue - i only however offer this from October - March - I don't let couples book this April - September as I can always fill weekends with my packages that pay more.

Pete
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Old February 19th, 2014, 04:54 PM   #24
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Re: Over booked 2015

I don't mind cluster booking (more bookings in one month than in another) as long as I keep to a given number in a year and don't go over that (and as long as I tell those who are cluster-booked that their editing is going to take x amount of time longer in their contracts).

Each year, given my other obligations, I decide on a target number of weddings. If there are 7 in August and only 2 in November, so be it -- it's the overall number that I budget for in my editing time.

That said, three-peats are pains in the neck and I'd avoid them going forward, myself.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 08:38 AM   #25
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Re: Over booked 2015

I'll take two weddings on a day, I have 3 guys that I work with regularly and they know what I like so I can leave them to do a wedding - I don't say who will do what wedding till closer to the day and that way I can take on the most difficult.

I don't like doing it but I have dates with 6 brides interested and other dates with nothing so I've trained the guys up so we can cope with 2.

I've had years where I was way behind in edits and way too stressed so I always clearly state that edits usually take 12 weeks but may take longer depending on our backlog. That way I can always deliver early (well most of the time)
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Old February 20th, 2014, 09:25 AM   #26
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Re: Over booked 2015

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Happens to me all the time Chris - it's strange!


I had an enquiry for a south Asian wedding next week but turned it down having vowed last year to do no more.


Pete
I'm curious how you guys turn down work you don't WANT to do but still have the date open. Do you fib to the client and tell them the date is either not available or is already booked?

Or is it something more along the lines of "Sorry, We are not prepared for (or don't do) these types of services?

Last edited by Ralph Gereg; February 20th, 2014 at 09:26 AM. Reason: fixed spelling error
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Old February 20th, 2014, 09:35 AM   #27
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Re: Over booked 2015

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Originally Posted by Ralph Gereg View Post
I'm curious how you guys turn down work you don't WANT to do but still have the date open. Do you fib to the client and tell them the date is either not available or is already booked?

Or is it something more along the lines of "Sorry, We are not prepared for (or don't do) these types of services?
We just tell'em how much it will cost to do it to our satisfaction (everyone has their price) and they don't come back :)

If I know the wedding is going to take twice as much work on the day and take twice as long in post then the price is going to be at least twice as much. At least.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 09:39 AM   #28
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Re: Over booked 2015

Ralph I always say 'Sorry but I'm busy that day' which to be honest I always am busy, so it's not a lie but does imply that I'm booked.

I'd rather leave these type of weddings to the companies that fully understand the culture both in terms of dealing with the people and the filming protocols. I certainly however don't want to get into that sort of conversation with a stranger on the phone as the last thing I want to potentially upset someone's sensibilities or be labelled as is a racist.

I've conducted 6 of these weddings in the past and when I've looked into the companies that specialise in them, they nearly always send a crew and have separate people for editing/graphics etc. I've fallen foul of being booked as a solo shooter only to find the expectation is that I will provide the type of end product normally produced by one of the specialist companies - and that's despite showing samples and pointing out I'm a solo operator.

Pete

Last edited by Peter Rush; February 20th, 2014 at 10:23 AM.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 06:34 PM   #29
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Re: Over booked 2015

It's quite possible to politely refuse a wedding without being rude or discriminatory .... There is even nothing wrong to say "We are sadly not equipped to do that kind of wedding" that's not a lie as it's tough for a solo shooter to being in 2 places at once and also try to understand what's going on when you don't know the language!

It's best summed up by a photog I worked with a few years ago called Chang ..very obviously Chinese and I asked him if he does many Western weddings during the year or are they mainly cultural.

"Are you crazy?" he said "I only do Western weddings, Chinese wedding are much too much hard work"

Chris
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Old February 20th, 2014, 07:20 PM   #30
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Re: Over booked 2015

Thanks guys, pretty much along the lines of what I was thinking too. Wanted to get others opinion to check myself so to speak.

Love the anecdote about Chang to photog! That's priceless.
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