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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 14th, 2005, 09:41 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Raleigh,NC
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My First Wedding Shoot

Hello,

I will be shooting my first wedding and I'm not sure what to charged? Can someone tell me what I should charge this client based on the request below? Btw, I will be shooting w/ a vx2000 and GL2.

1. One hour ceremony
2. entire reception (about 4 hours).
3. Comments from guests attending the reception
4. DVD output - not sure how many

Thanks a bunch!
Troy
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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:07 AM   #2
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Wow this is tough to determine. It really depends on the quality you can provide and your region (different areas charge different rates). Have you done any wedding for free to get experience or have you worked with other wedding videographers in the past? If you have never shot a wedding before you might want to get someone to help you that has done it before. When I first started out I did a couple wedding fro friends of friends for free to get some experience and some sample footage to use as a demo. I made sure the brides understood that I promise nothing (since I was learning). Are you going to be using any wireless mics or are you going with the iRiver setup? You 'may' have some challenges with getting a good color match between the 2 cameras.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:17 AM   #3
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It depends on your Market (both location and client target) and how long it would take you to edit it.

I have base rates starting a 6 hours (starts 1 hour before ceremony to grab scenes and other chit chat). Then I charge for more hours if wanted. I have a one camera and two camera rate.

My own experience is that it can take 40-60 hours (1 to 1.5 work weeks) to edit a wedding. Some here on the list are faster though, that's why it depends on your own type of editing.

Two camera edits tend to take me longer since I have both going in the reception also. Parts are two camera sync and parts are more video to edit since both are grabbing interesting shots on the dance floor.

Think about what you need to earn to cover equipment costs (including repairs and upgrades, etc) as well as your basics like housing and food (transportation, health care, etc). That way you'll know what to charge for a week's (40 hours) work. Don't forget you'll have many UNPAID hours involved in marketing, meeting with possible clients, paperwork, so you have to factor that in to your billing. Your 40 hours of editing may have another 20 hours of other wedding business related unpaid work.

So what do you want to make for a 60 hour work week?
What will cover your monthly survival over 4 weeks?
At what point do you want to go beyond covering survival and make enough to take vacations, go out for dinner, go to a movie, have enough money to enjoy life?

Take into account the shoot day, inputting tapes, logging tapes, syncing the cameras, doing the edit, making the DVD.

Depending on your cost of living (and gear), target market, time it takes you to edit, a range of $500-$3000 (and some will go much higher) for a week to a week and a half of work.

Don't charge TOO low even if you're a newbie!
I had many years experience in corporate video and lower budget TV commercials before I did my first wedding. I grossly underestimated how long it would take to edit a wedding. I did an excellent job. Couple LOVED it! I got a slew of referrals for upwards of 18 months . . . they posted a rave review on a wedding bulletin board. NOT ONE CUSTOMER THOUGH because I raised my rates by about 25%. Referrals are key in the Wedding business and those getting referred seem to expect a similar rate to the one doing the referring.

The alternative is understanding that no matter how good your first wedding is you may not get much additional business from it since you'll be retargeting to a higher price bracket. You may be able to inch up your rates 10% higher comming from the original referrer as you also seek out new higher paying clients but you might end up regretting the time you put into the clients paying 10% vs the new prospects paying 25% more and up.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:32 AM   #4
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Robert,

Normally I don't think it's a good idea to do weddings for low/no pay BUT your training situation is ideal. If it's family or friend of family and they understand, you wont burn too badly if you make a serious mistake and if you do a good job, they can certainly refer people and fib about the price.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:54 AM   #5
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Craig,
You make a good point! I am not able to get a feel for how much experience Troy has. I think it is imperative that he manage the customer's expectations. The last thing he needs is to have an angry bride yelling his name on his first job :) In general I DO agree with you about doing jobs for free/cheap - it can be VERY difficult to get the prices where you want them once you start getting referrals. Good luck Troy!
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Old November 14th, 2005, 11:47 AM   #6
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First Wedding Video Shoot

Thanks to everyone for the helpful information. Here's a little more info.:

1. This will be a december wedding held in North Carolina
2. I have some videography experience (approx. 2 years) doing church events, theatre plays, etc.
3. I've gotten pretty comfortable at doing 2, and 3 camera edits.
4. My editing system is Sony Vegas 6
5. My audio equipment is:
(a) wms pro azden wireless mic system
(b) azden 1x and 2x shotgun mic
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Old November 15th, 2005, 02:57 PM   #7
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???

Well I'll say this I had less equipment and less experience time than you did:
Equipt.:
GL2
Davis & Sanford tripod
Stedystick
50ft 1/4" cable to run from mixer to camera (bad idea...kinda funny if you see my post though...Go Astros...)
Smith & Vector 100watt light...a bit bright to say the least
Editing: Vegas 3.0

I knew I had the experience and good amount of equipt, so I did it for $200 for everything. I live in south Texas in a small city which won't pay much for weddings. I now charge $250 for just ceremony and I have better equipment, but only 4 wedding behind me.

Just look at what others in your area are charging (lowest price) and divide by 4. For me, prices in the area started @ $800 so I did mine for $200. I hope this helps a bit.
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Last edited by Matt Sawyers; November 15th, 2005 at 02:58 PM. Reason: stupid spelling
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