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


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Old September 17th, 2014, 04:29 AM   #31
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

I like Roger's attitude - very similar to my commercial clients. I've always wondered how wedding video people get away with contracts stacked totally in their favour - if there is a dispute, courts now use the reasonable contract terms rulings to decide if the contract is fair and valid. Not sure if I read it right, but even giving deposits back if you let the wedding couple down seem something the wedding people find difficult?

The point of a contract is to set up the entire deal in a way that everything is clear. Paying up front for a product that has not yet been produced is fine, and for one party, excellent - but the point made many times seems to be that this is done because frequently the clients don't like the finished product, and the contract stops them complaining? Roger promises them a decent product, at least as good as others he shows them, and they promise to pay the bill. Obviously, there are potential problems - they can scrap the wedding, they can split up etc etc - but that presumably is a risk of doing business. I'm forever amazed that the clients accept these terms - especially with extended delivery dates being common too. Paying a deposit, and the balance on completion is how many successful business models work - the risk is shared. With weddings, the common model seems to be no risk whatsoever to the video business, and if they cancel at the last minute - tough.

I wonder if a last minute cancellation to a pre-paid wedding shoot by the video business would warrant compensation in court? If you wreck a wedding you have accepted full payment for, then I'd expect the judge to order full refund plus compensation. If a deposit, or no deposit had been charged, then less?

Quite interesting - maybe too much emotional input from the client prevents business like procedures? It's a great model, though - 100% stacked to the benefit of the business not the client.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 03:29 PM   #32
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

i do requiere at least 2 payments before the event and 1 after the event when work is ready to pick up. Each payment is of equal value. If they pay in full after the event i would include 20 more minutes of the reception or do interviews after the formals.
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Old October 18th, 2014, 06:21 AM   #33
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
The point of a contract is to set up the entire deal in a way that everything is clear. Paying up front for a product that has not yet been produced is fine, and for one party, excellent - but the point made many times seems to be that this is done because frequently the clients don't like the finished product, and the contract stops them complaining? Roger promises them a decent product, at least as good as others he shows them, and they promise to pay the bill. Obviously, there are potential problems - they can scrap the wedding, they can split up etc etc - but that presumably is a risk of doing business. I'm forever amazed that the clients accept these terms - especially with extended delivery dates being common too. Paying a deposit, and the balance on completion is how many successful business models work - the risk is shared. With weddings, the common model seems to be no risk whatsoever to the video business, and if they cancel at the last minute - tough.

I wonder if a last minute cancellation to a pre-paid wedding shoot by the video business would warrant compensation in court? If you wreck a wedding you have accepted full payment for, then I'd expect the judge to order full refund plus compensation. If a deposit, or no deposit had been charged, then less?

Quite interesting - maybe too much emotional input from the client prevents business like procedures? It's a great model, though - 100% stacked to the benefit of the business not the client.
It's the standard business model throughout the wedding industry & not restricted to videographers or photographers. Whether they are florists, DJs, cake makers, venues etc they all insist on payment up front. There may be odd individual exceptions with any of the suppliers but the vast majority of florists, DJs, cake makers, venues etc will insist on payment in full before the event.

I don't see that a couple would have any case for compensation if a videographer or photographer couldn't make it. How would that ruin the wedding? If the guests all turned up to find the venue closed then that would certainly ruin the wedding but not having a video would at most be a disappointment but if the couple got back their advance payment I cannot see that they would be entitled to any more. The DJ not turning up would be more of a disappointment or even the cake not being delivered but a videographer plays no part in the wedding in fact many boast about how inconspicuous they are on the day.
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Old October 18th, 2014, 09:18 AM   #34
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

Why would a videographer not being at the wedding ruin the wedding? All we're doing is documenting the memories right? ...

I recently read an article some one linked to via facebook. In India a wedding DJ had his life beaten out of him due to not playing a requested song by a drunken guest. And some other indian lads followed up in the comments section saying videographers/photographers etc are looked down on over there, pushed and shoved by family and treated like dirt.

So with that being said ... I highly doubt the world revolves around us and our service. I'm yet to experience a client that tells me that my service is what made their day special.
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Old October 19th, 2014, 01:37 PM   #35
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

It's funny how brides try this with videographers/photographers. I wonder if they try this with the wedding venues. "Can we pay once we have had our ceremony and reception?"
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Old October 19th, 2014, 05:04 PM   #36
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

A venue would of course have to pay out for staff, food, electricity and various other items, all of which would be paid whether the couple pay up or not, so I think quite reasonable to insist on payment up front. Many other wedding businesses also have to invest money in each booking, so also can expect up front payment.

Only a small number of the wedding services are just putting in time without up front costs involved, ie videography, photography, DJ and car hire. Payment in advance is a personal choice for those suppliers, but can't be classed as payment for pre wedding costs. Most of these suppliers use prepayment as security for the booking but it is a matter of preference rather than necessity.

Roger
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Old October 19th, 2014, 05:12 PM   #37
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

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It's funny how brides try this with videographers/photographers. I wonder if they try this with the wedding venues. "Can we pay once we have had our ceremony and reception?"
There is also another way of looking at this, as a bride once told me.

• With the venue they usually get the chance to sample the food and menu they will be getting, it's part of choosing the menu for the day. They also get the chance to see the venue dressed, either through photos or when attending wedding fairs. So they know exactly what they are getting in advance.

• With flowers they can often see a sample bouquet, button holes etc, so again they can see in advance.

• With the wedding car they can sit in it, often choosing one car over the other because of how a specific car makes them feel, but in any case they can see the finished product before they even book it, let alone pay for it.

With Photo and Video it's different. They can see what you did for other people, they can see other people's weddings, sometimes at the same venue, sometimes not, but what ever they are seeing, it's not 'exactly' what they will get since every wedding is unique.

I am quite sure I could have got even more booking by saying 'pay me after the wedding', but I know two photographers and one videographer that did jobs and never got paid. Whether you choose to take that risk and perhaps amortise that loss over the other weddings you do is entirely up to you. I chose not to and always required payment two weeks prior to the wedding. If a bride didn't like it, I offered that they could pay using their credit card which would have given them some protection through the card company. That always seemed to give them the comfort they were looking for, plus they got their card points or cash back or what ever deal they have with the card company which always helped the sale.
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Old October 19th, 2014, 08:50 PM   #38
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

Hey Dave

I guess we could do a sample shoot for them and then cost it into the package and then they pay once they have seen the result. Then again if you show them a recent wedding it does confirm that you can shoot a wedding and it is much like a venue sample menu ... who says the food you taste prior to booking will be as good as the food on the day? You might have a less competent chef on the day?

It's the same scenario with a videographer choosing his very best sample to show them prior to booking ..it might have been perfect weather, a perfect venue and an extremely photogenic couple and even different cameras!!! Let's face it some weddings do come out a LOT better than others and it's not even our fault ... the priest wanders off to a far corner so your audio sucks, the light is bad etc etc I still prefer the couple to sample at least my last 3 weddings so they know they are current shoots and it's a closer representation of what their's will look like ... it better than showing off a perfect wedding and then they come back and say "Ours looks nothing like your sample"

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Old October 20th, 2014, 02:17 AM   #39
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

I`ve covered over 500 weddings since I started in `88 although after the last couple I no longer do weddings (Chav wedding with 15 speeches) nightmare!!!
My terms were always a "Booking Fee" at the time of booking & full payment 7 days before. I use the term "Booking" as in English law a "Deposit" can be made to be refunded! The client is "Booking" the date & is non-refundable, therefore if for whatever reason they cancel then the "Booking Fee" is forfeit! I have however made a couple of exceptions over the years following the death for example of one of the parents when the wedding was re-arranged.
My couples have always accepted that these are my terms & many have booked me through recommendations.
Thankfully now, I`ve seen the light & stopped covering weddings :-)
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Old October 20th, 2014, 04:01 AM   #40
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

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Originally Posted by Barry Hunter View Post
My terms were always a "Booking Fee"
We've always used the term "Retainer" which seems to have the same result.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Hunter View Post
Thankfully now, I`ve seen the light & stopped covering weddings :-)
Ditto. I shot my (hopefully) last wedding video in September (booked 18 months ago) and don't plan on doing any more. I lost count of how many hundreds we've shot, but I think it's 'enough' :) I've been much happier shooting other things lately.
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Old October 20th, 2014, 06:16 AM   #41
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

It's the same scenario with a videographer choosing his very best sample to show them prior to booking ..it might have been perfect weather, a perfect venue and an extremely photogenic couple and even different cameras!!! Let's face it some weddings do come out a LOT better than others and it's not even our fault ... the priest wanders off to a far corner so your audio sucks, the light is bad etc etc I still prefer the couple to sample at least my last 3 weddings so they know they are current shoots and it's a closer representation of what their's will look like ... it better than showing off a perfect wedding and then they come back and say "Ours looks nothing like your sample"

Chris
I totally agree with you Chris, I always take along a selection of recent weddings for them to look at as much or as little as they want of a real wedding, complete with obese brides and torrential rain if that was the recent scenario. Like that, they know exactly what to expect without trying to push an idyllic and untypical demo. More importantly though, they can see how you handle difficult or unexpected circumstances.

Roger
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Old October 20th, 2014, 07:05 PM   #42
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

Hi Roger

Yep, I would MUCH rather lose a bride booking than gain an order that I know won't make her happy!

I think the comment I usually use is "so there are no nasty surprises when you deliver the video"

BTW: Keep us up to date about using your quad gimbal as a handheld "stedicam" .... I need to dump my big rig now. Getting way too old to carry all that weight

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Old October 21st, 2014, 05:16 AM   #43
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Re: Explaining your reasons to a bride?

Hi Chris, the quad gimbal steadycam will most likely be a Winter project as we are still doing some weddings and the school play season will also be on us in a few weeks. Will report on any progress though.

Roger
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