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Old January 25th, 2015, 05:38 PM   #1
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A turning point in video/photo packages?

We exhibited at one of our regular big wedding shows today, one that we have been to twice a year for 10 years. For eight of those years we were the only video company as against 10 regular photographers and various numbers of other trades. The last 4 shows we have advertised our joint package and the last 3 shows there have also been two other video companies, both from well outside the area.

Today however there were still the same number of photographers most of whom we have worked with, but there were 4 other companies offering joint video/photo packages. They were all photographers who had decided to offer video as well and 3 of them only did short form highlights. 2 of those were the new companies who had previously promoted their video only, as the organisers only allowed 10 photographers. The remaining joint package company were offering a very basic unedited video shot with a handy cam alongside their main photography.

They were all youngish guys and very pleasant, but I noticed that not one offered a doc style full length video except us, so I concluded that either they were following what seems to be the current preferred trend, or that their equipment and style of working made long form difficult. All of the others had cameras and equipment as the centrepiece of their displays, which I found surprising.

What I also found fascinating was that all of our enquiries were for the joint package for the first time, and we took more reserved dates and viewing appointments than at any wedding show we have attended over 30 years. Five of the reservations were from brides who had been round the whole show and returned to us later and by the time we got home, we already had two more email reservations from people who had seen us at the show. That was also a first for us.

I have no idea what any of this means, except that much greater competition has brought us more interest, joint packages are suddenly becoming more widely offered and short form offerings are becoming the norm. I have no idea how many serious enquiries the other companies took, but I did notice that every person reserving a date with us asked how long our videos were. That is very unusual!

Roger
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Old January 25th, 2015, 07:15 PM   #2
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

Hey Roger

For us that is good news indeed if the trend is going that way! I would say most of my brides DO ask me about video length and they do seem satisfied when they get the 60 -80 minute answer so maybe they want decent coverage. So far this year I have had just one bride who wants a highlight video but she still wants a long form. Maybe it's better value for money to them if they get a double DVD set and it costs them $2000 for the day as opposed to the same price for a 20 minute or less summary?

After you convinced me to go the photo/video route (and I convinced wifey to help out) most of our enquiries have been for the dual package! The only difference is that she likes to keep busy at the reception so we also toss in a simple "open photobooth" (just a backdrop and a bunch of props but brides love them!

Good to see the market is going in this direction but it will be tough on the DSLR people who prefer to do something more cinematic and creative and produce a shorter end product.

Chris
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Old January 25th, 2015, 07:28 PM   #3
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

Great for you.

I suspect those newly offering highlight only video will learn quickly that, even though that's what everyone sees online, it is only part of what most clients want. I learned that our first year. Our first wedding, actually.

Chris, I squared the video length question with 3 videos. The 5'er that will get the most social media, the full length so they have the whole ceremony/speeches, and the 20 that splits the difference and is still easy for the B&G to rewatch.

I would love to be able to offer photography, too, but I have a long way to go for that.
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Old January 25th, 2015, 08:29 PM   #4
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

Hi Rob

We have a guy here who is super popular with brides and gets piles of work simply because he is clever enough to offer a triple package with video, photos and a DJ service. His wife does the video and he does the photos then at the reception he becomes the DJ/MC and still does photos/video too. Brides love the fact that they can get an all-in-one package. He doesn't get too complicated with each service and doesn't try to provide anything too fancy but it certainly works for him! Gosh you already have a stunning DJ service so all you need is to get the wife up to speed as a photographer while you are doing video pre-reception and you would have a real winner.

I feel that in the future brides will be looking real hard at booking all-in-one packages ...let's face it, if you hire a DJ ..he has to load gear, travel, do the job all with startup costs. Then you hire a videographer and the same start up costs also are added to the budget. Already, you have eliminated any start up costs for video as you are already there as the DJ so it makes sense for a bride to look a lot harder at multiple services packages rather than hire individual operators for each service. Since Roger convinced me to do dual packages 90% of my enquiries are for video and photos and the occasional bride that wants only video only does so because she already booked someone else for photos. I have even had a bride cancel a photog after seeing our package ... she saved enough with our all-in-one to offset the photogs deposit.

Chris
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Old January 25th, 2015, 09:19 PM   #5
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

And as the old saying goes..."Jack of all trades and Master at none"
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Old January 26th, 2015, 02:10 AM   #6
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

Photographers offering Video can work for single Videographers too. I got a last minute booking in mid December, where the husband and wife Photographers offered a Video service. Having hooked the couple with the idea of video, they must have been a bit peeved when I was booked instead. Still we got on well on the day, so they obviously didn't bare a grudge.
Combined packages might force the fat cows in the Photography and Video Industry to lower their prices as from a google search of companies offering both, I see prices rarely climb above 2k for both, more around the 1500 area, which seems quite low to me. A contrast to some Photographers I've worked with where a glance of their prices for Photo service alone is around 2k or even higher. Yet their website says they're not taking bookings for 2015 and have limited space for 2016. I wish I could get away with charging that for Video.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 02:19 AM   #7
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

Hi Steve

My justification revolves around the fact that more often than not the bride books photos and IF there is any money left at the end she will get video. By offering both I can book photography and video and seal the deal plus I get to work with the photog of my choice and not some highly paid arrogant guy who had decided this is HIS wedding not the bride's and he is in charge!!

We have total control with a dual package and although we charge less than it would cost a bride to have us just for video and then hire a photog, the peace of mind of having the entire wedding in our hands is well worth it!!

Chris
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Old January 26th, 2015, 03:04 AM   #8
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

I'm not knocking your service Chris, there's a place in the market for it. I don't want it necessarily to seriously knock the single service business as I feel there's a place for it too. There's a risk in putting all your eggs in one basket, a combined DJ, Video and Photo is great until the DJ falls ill or has an accident. Hell, I worry about that for me and I'm just offering video.
I admit there's a few Photographers I hate working with, but also many I do love working with. Some even become friends. It's nice meeting new people, perhaps even learning from their style of work, something I'd see less of if I did do it all. That said, I'm seriously considering of adding a photo service to my packages, but not the full deal. More Speeches to First Dance. I had several Weddings last year where the Photographer was hired only for 3 or 4 hours until the Reception and I've spoken to others who offer a similar service. Yet no Videographers to my knowledge have picked up on this as a chance for extra cash.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 03:18 AM   #9
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

Since last year I have seen a clear increase of video and photocompanies starting to offer both, it's just a way to secure more bookings and income, what I read on weddingforums is that some brides do prefer it that way because they find it easy booking both at once and they think the cooperation between both won't be a issue.

I"m watching a ray roman course now and someone did ask if Ray was not afraid of those companies that start to offer both and if it was something he would consider offering as well, his starting price is 9K so you would think that with his kind of clientele he would be able to easily double that price.

He was very clear about that, he would never think about doing photography as well, "you can't be equally good at both things at the same time" he said and he would prefer to be the best at one thing only and being able to charge accordingly.

What I do see is that all photogs that have a website (where I can see their demo's) and start delivering video as well still focus most on photography and deliver video as a simple add-on, mostly with no attention to sound, vintage look, very shallow dof kind of thing. To me it looks more like a moving slideshow, they usually charge at least 20-30% more for their photopackages

I think for most brides would consider photography as most important and expect good quality and they choose video as add-on just because it's easy but will not be expecting the same level so they won't be paying more for it.

So I think that if you want to add photography to your videopackages you might have to consider that brides expect a good photocoverage. A photocompany will be able to deliver a simple videocoverage which to our standards would be just above uncle bob level but I think that doesn't work the other way round.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 05:18 AM   #10
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

Some interesting points of view on this subject and I have no idea whether it is just a novelty at the moment or whether the market is changing.

Chris- you seem to be finding the same response and interest that I get and that would suggest a change in client attitudes. One thing that was very obvious yesterday was that the enquiries were for much further ahead than we would usually expect for video only. One of the dates reserved is for September 2018 and several for 2017, which seems to be consistent with photographer's enquiries. that would also explain why we are currently getting almost exclusively joint package enquiries as last year many couples would have booked their photographer before we were offering the package.

There is no doubt that I am finding that all the younger companies are promoting short form and cinematic, with two companies yesterday advertising themselves as Cinematographers and Film Makers. They were also filming with DSLRs and some were showing cameras, sliders and steadycams. Analysing the comments of many visitors to our stand who had looked at other companies exhibiting, there were several mentions of 'Out of focus video', which I would assume was how they saw shallow DOF. I was also surprised to have comments about 'Arty Farty Video' and 'Clever Fiddly Stuff', with two couples also completely bemused by a video that started at the vows, then went to the preps, then the first dance, then various different moments. I tried to explain time shifting but they weren't impressed. Gave us two more reservations though :-).

Of course I have no idea what visitors were saying to the other companies about our style, and I went to great pains to tell people that there are different types of video product available and to be aware of what companies were offering.

Noa- Because Ray Roman is a heavyweight in wedding video production, he commands a lot of respect, however just because he says you can't be top quality at both, doesn't mean he is right, it just means that he couldn't do both. There is also the definition of top quality, as there is a huge difference in the quality and style of different photographers. I always ask potential joint package clients to look very carefully at our photos and videos to make sure that they are getting the quality they want from both, before booking. The unsolicited comments we received yesterday about our photography and video work leads me to think that we are doing both jobs to a generally accepted standard of quality. I do concede though that certain photographers and videographers lift their work to an art form that a few clients may be prepared to pay a premium for. Some people can throw two balls in the air and catch them reasonably comfortably, while others can juggle 3,4,5,6 with consummate ease, it's a skill that takes time to learn.

I also agree with Steve that there will always be a market for separate video and photography and many would not feel comfortable trying to do both and perhaps offering a sub standard product. I also have a number of photographers that recommend us because they have been asked about video and feel comfortable with us, just as we recommend photographers when a separate photographer is preferred.

Roger
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Old January 26th, 2015, 05:33 AM   #11
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

I did feel yesterday, that some, not all, photographers offering video, were doing so partly out of panic at losing a potential client to a joint package company, and some of the video was poor to say the least.

I don't see that a new joint package trend needs to be of concern to those that can't manage both, as it would be very simple for video and photo companies to team up with companies they have worked well with to offer a combined package, whilst keeping their businesses separate. The client would see one contract, and the payment would be split by agreement between the companies, without the client even thinking about it. It would also mean that both photographer and videographer would work in their own comfort zone, but also, importantly, be aware of each other's requirements. In essence the client would see very much the same as they would if Chris or I were doing a joint shoot with our wives.

Roger
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Old January 26th, 2015, 05:34 AM   #12
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

Quote:
Because Ray Roman is a heavyweight in wedding video production, he commands a lot of respect, however just because he says you can't be top quality at both, doesn't mean he is right
What he actually was saying that for him there s no way he could put the same attention doing both simultaneously and still deliver something exceptional as both require a different skill set and way of handling, it's just his opinion on these matters which I actually share. It's not that it is not possible to do both, you can, but I think we have had this discussion before. You could include being DJ as well as that would just be a matter of autoplaying a playlist, but that will not make you a top DJ, you only will be providing for music and as long as your client understands the limitations then you can combine whatever you are capable of doing yourself.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 06:01 AM   #13
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
What he actually was saying that for him there s no way he could put the same attention doing both simultaneously and still deliver something exceptional as both require a different skill set and way of handling, it's just his opinion on these matters which I actually share. It's not that it is not possible to do both, you can, but I think we have had this discussion before. You could include being DJ as well as that would just be a matter of autoplaying a playlist, but that will not make you a top DJ, you only will be providing for music and as long as your client understands the limitations then you can combine whatever you are capable of doing yourself.
I understand what you and Ray are saying Noa, but in my experience, most couples do not want the best that is possible to achieve, otherwise I would be using jibs, cranes, dolly tracks, audio technicians etc etc, probably how Ray works. That of course would make it totally impossible to do while you are also taking stills using reflectors, heavy duty lighting, several cameras, flashes, lenses. I wouldn't want to work to that level because I wouldn't enjoy it, and there wouldn't be the customer base here that can afford it.

What I can and always have offered is competent, good quality doc style video. I have also been a competent photographer for many years, and have brought the two together. If I felt that I was unable to meet the expectations of my clients in either, then I would not offer both. If I felt I was compromising my own ability to offer my normal standard in either then I also would not offer both. If I walk around any wedding show that I attend, I see a lot of good video and photography on display (and some not so good) but I never feel that the quality that is on show, is something that I can't match. I also am aware that my potential clients are also judging my work by others that they see at the shows, so ultimately they have the opportunity to compare and choose the options that they feel give them the quality they want.

Roger
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Old January 26th, 2015, 06:37 AM   #14
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

I had my first official website inquiry last week and the MOB said she wanted to hire us so she could have a single POC for photo and video.

My team and I are moving forward down this path of offering both photo and video as a combo.

We'll see how it goes.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 07:13 AM   #15
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Re: A turning point in video/photo packages?

I was a passionate Photographer before a Videographer. My folks are still bemused at the change and can't understand how I can come back from Holiday or a visit to London with Video rather than Photos. But if I'm standing on top of the Shard, I see everyone snapping away with cameras, whereas my video is capturing the view somewhat differently to them. I see Weddings in the same way. I can certainly do both if I put my mind to it. I've done Wedding Video, Marryoke, Guest Messages and Same Day Edit as a one man band in a day, so it's doable.
It's my attitude to Photography that's the issue rather than my ability. A Wedding is full of people snapping away, even the kids as young as 3 are in on the action. In most cases I'm alone in capturing the day via Video, making for me that work more unique and special than should I be adding to the multitude of Photos. I also find formal photos to be an exercise in tedium and a tradition long past its sell by date: a hark back when photos of family members were rare due to the cost of film. I left my old job as it was shifting me away from what I loved doing to something I didn't and I'd be damned if I let my Business go the same way.

That said, personal opinions count for little if they prevent me from making money. If this idea of combining both becomes less the flavour of the month and more the way forward, I can't be silly and just ignore it. Which is why the idea of doing Speeches to 1st Dance has some appeal as an extra. It avoids those blasted formals for a start. Whether I then join forces with a Photographer or 2 is something to consider further ahead.

Can't see this new trend as a positive one though. Photographers charging 300 to add Video; that's even undercutting the weekend warriors let alone me. The only consolation is that many will be rubbish and swiftly grow tired of the extra work.

Last edited by Steve Burkett; January 26th, 2015 at 07:17 AM. Reason: Spelling
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