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


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Old March 9th, 2006, 05:58 AM   #1
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"Why hire a pro" story needed...

I'm putting the finishing touches on my website and I'd like to be able to include an article with the subject "Why hire a professional videographer?"

I realize there are plenty on the web, but I'm not looking to plagiarize, I'm looking for an article I can get the permission to reprint. I'd be happy to provide a link back to the book or site it came from.

Does anyone know if something like that exists? Does anyone have anything on their site they'd be willing to share?

Thanks.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 06:34 AM   #2
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Do u have any of your own??

I guess after afew years u will come to collate your own stories about this, but predominately, i try NOT to use that method of marketing as its akin to a slight guilt "you should" mentality, which people dont like (not here anyway)

Instead consider the fact that by going to/looking at your site, they have already made the decision to have video fo their day, now that u have them, keep them there by informing them of what u do and how u do it. What makes YOU different from all the others?? why are YOU chosen over others... that kinda thing...

The "why you should have pro video" really isnt an issue.. if however theyre tyre kickers, i wouldnt bother wasting energy on them coz in the end clients like that are not worth the effort and are usually more trouble than what theyre worth. Dont get me wrong, getting questions and people querying is good, but those who need "convincing" are the ones who are gonna give u trouble.

Ive got all the relevant info on my website, and i still get calls from people asking questions which have already been answered. With these people, i usually tell them to check out the site for more info as im about to "step out for a meeting"
If they have my fone number, they have obviously already been to my site (the only place to get my number) and are just being lazy.
Now some might think "thats not customer service" but neither is me on the fone for 2 hours explaining to someone why my videos are different to everyone elses while an edit from a shoot 4 months ago sits there while i yak away trying to sell myself to these people.
Theres a flipside to everything.

No offense to those types of clients, but those that umm and arrh really have more money than sense, and if they need "convincing" then theres ether something wrong with your product, your sales pitch or the information you have provided them just hasnt sunk in. Questions are all good, but how much is your time REALLY worth?

To my eye and to the people ive met, they either like it and want it, or they dont like and dont want it.
Theres no maybes.
The only time maybes come up is when were talking cash and theyre trying to hussle me to compete with Joe Blogs down the road. In response to that, i say "thats their prices, these are ours and this is what we can offer you at this time"
Just remember that not everyone is gonna be into your "style" and not every meeting you have will be a sale. Also be sure to advise your potentials that your demos are just that.
Demos and that each wedding is different. What you are showing them is the POTENTIAL of the POSSIBILITIES within their own presentations.

Some might say im tough on the clients, but hey this is business and ive learnt the hard way. I used to sit with them for hours on end going wedding after wedding explain this and that yadda yadda.
I used to do all the undercutting and all that price comparison shite until i got to where i am now, and now, I charge premium rates, have good intelligent clients who appreciate my work and photographers who vouch for me and sell my products for me simply becuase they like working with me.

Its all relative.
Persoanlly i went the educational method.
Educating potential clients in what i do and how i do it. Showing them equipment, and explain in point form why we do what we do. I thought about going the sales way, but then id be like everyone else, and id be left with a myriad of questions which would drive me insane.

Have a think about what youre tryin to convey to your potentials and work out what kind of market your tryin to target.
From there, your website should be built around those factors to ensure a smooth running of your own business day by day (ie hassle free and fone call free), as well as give a reason to potentials to go to your website and check it out "for more detailed information"

my site is here if you want to have a look at it
www.studio-d.com.au

By the way, i dont usually plug my site, but as your looking for guidance i think it might help.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 10:36 AM   #3
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Wow

Great website, Peter! Your stills are incredible... I'd love to see a video.

Chad
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Old March 9th, 2006, 11:07 AM   #4
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Thx for the feedback.
Im not to pleased with the need to blow up these stills to fit the page, also the gamma on some of the images needs tweaking for monitor display but time is a real bitch.
As for size, i can easily scale them to HD res, but again, time is a factor. With the Native HDV weddings, ill be putting those pics in the gallery albums when i get a chance to collate al the stuff. The site has been an onwards project now for almost 3 years and theres always SOMETHING which im picky about..

As for video online, the problem with putting stuff online is that people think that THAT is all you can do. and if that one particular demo clip you have online isnt to someones taste, they might write you off without looking further. Like i said, not everythign you do will be to everyones taste, which is where consultation, research and most importantly communication with the potential is key.

When meeting them, i ask them what it is their looking for in a wedding video, and they tell me. THEN i go through my piles of weddings and pick out what i think they might like. This way theyre only exposed to presentations which pertain to their own tastes.

Even though i dont like the idea of web demos, Im currently working on afew which would be akin to 3 different styles of bride/groom prep, 3 different ceremonies, 3 different fotoshoots 3 differnt slideshows (i distribute particle illusion here in Aus and youd be surprised what you can do to a still with using this app... ) Either way this way they can at least pick and choose what they think they might like.

Im still tossing this idea up but we'll see how it goes.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 12:40 PM   #5
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Personal Opinion:

Bogging your site down with lots of explanatory text works against you in (probably) most cases. Strip your text down to as little as possible and let your clips and packages do the talking. Make everything as simple and easily findable as you can. For your packages make a chart that lists features on the left, package names and prices across the top, with stars or checks showing whether a given package includes a particular feature or not. Keep your F.A.Q's as lean as you can and limit your "sales speak" to lean but potent blurbs.

As a general rule there will be very little interest in spending time on your website reading all the stuff. The brides will be looking for key information (clips/packages/prices), just get them to that as quickly as possible. If they are at your website they're already looking to book a pro or they wouldnt be wasting their time...they will come, look at your prices and know if they can afford you or not...if they can they will check out your clips and see if they like your style. If those two questions are answered to their satisfaction they will call you and book, if not they'll keep looking elsewhere. It really is that simple. In my opinion of course! And Matt Jeppson...thank's Matt for pointing these things out to me and taking my website into awesome new levels of bride booking performance! The results cannot be argued with!
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Old March 9th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Runyon
...taking my website into awesome new levels of bride booking performance! The results cannot be argued with!
Okay - now you've got to show us yours! :)

I'm just starting out and need all the ideas I can get. The site I'm working on is going to be pretty simple (for now at least) since I'm going to do it myself, but I'm interested to see what you have if you're willing to show us.

Thanks,
Chad
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Old March 9th, 2006, 08:25 PM   #7
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I agree somewhat with what Daniel has written. I mean there are 2 ways about it. The ones that are serious about what they want and the service theyre going to recieve, and then theres the ons who are $$ concious... well i would call it more akin to dictated by $$

Now IMO nothing that Daniel has said is incorrect, however again it all comes down to time. U might find someone who likes ur style and prices, then they aproach u for more samples or "full weddings to view" and they rattle off a million questions while theyre at it. So then your back at square one....how much time do u really have for this potential client?

With information, it can be a good thing and it can also be a bane of any website, however breaking it down for people to choose to read on works well in my own case. I cant say that ive ever had to repeat what ive written on the site as most clients are serious abotu what they want and the site answers their questions. The only thing it doesnt do is give them a $$ figure and it also doesnt give them any video clips to view.
This is where the personal marketing comes to play. as most of the time, the emails we get are for "how much" and this is where we send them PDF brochures with prices and detailed packages and offer to meet with them to show them some work.
This then becomes a part of their contract if they choose to hire us. This way their whole service is in writing for them, as opposed to drawing out a contract for each individual person.

Streamlining the workflow this way works really well and it aleviates questions and concerns, And having everything in writing, as well as giving the client a 7 page "agreement" contract usualy knuckles them down and stops any "what ifs"
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Old March 9th, 2006, 11:42 PM   #8
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I have to agree with Daniel Runyon

Although your site is beautifull... I have to agree with Daniel above. For me, way too much information. I got bogged down fast (too many details, things to think about/consider, technical stuff... AAgg...) reading it and exited the site. However, this is just my opinion and by your site I can see you are very professional Mr. Jefferson.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 06:49 AM   #9
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Thx for the feedback, and again, its all relative.

Im not focusing on sales, although some of the text IS sales oriented, mostly however its an informational site, and those who have questions WILL find answers here.

In this market, one must have "SOMETHING" which makes them "different" to the others. In my case, i inform and educate my clients (either ion my site or in person) Ths way they have a better understanding of what we do.

Then there is the product itself. The product, in my experience, sells itsself. I dont need to sell my product and say "hey look what i can do" as this is what alot of other producers in the market are doing and about 15% of potential clients would ask about specifics pertaining to the possibilities of what we can do.
Instead, we say, ok this is what we can do, just like every other cmpany, but more importantly, THIS is HOW we do it, coz HOW we do it affects YOUR budget, your wedding day, your memories OF that day and hopefully, maybe change the way you Perceive video.

Here in Aus, the stigma for having video is a negative one. And changing those perceptions is good for my own business, as well as good for the industry as a whole. If more poeple knew how much hard slog was invovled with video, they would definately be happy to pay more for a service that they UNDERSTAND.

In many cases i have clients writing back after the wedding and are usually blown away by the amount of detail we go into BEFORE the day to ensure a good smooth schedule, and then on the day itself, we stick to our guns. In the end, they see a professional outfit who KNOW what theyre doing to achieve the results they need to provide a decent product to the client.
This is enough to score referal jobs even from people whove never seen our work

Like i said, heaps of info can be a bane to any website and people might just switch off, but the fact that the info is there saves me about 20-30hrs a week on queries. And if people arent interested, thats cool too. They can just email us.
As for teh technical stuff, what i try to do is bring up certain elements which they may not have considered, such as audio and wireless mics, camera placement, styles, cultural requirements which could effect their budgets etc etc... at least this way everything is in the open and it shows that we have all bases covered before they even have to ask.

Many times i meet clients and they come in with a list of questions, usually i answer them before they even have to look to their list to ask. This in itself shows that your ahead of the ball and that you have the experience to be able to handle any given situation, be it the business side of the sales, through to shooting through to the editing thru to the delivery.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #10
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Thanks guys. I've come to the conclusion that my site is too wordy. I'm going to do some editing...
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Old March 11th, 2006, 01:12 PM   #11
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Peter having lots of info is Ok, but having no demos? How does that help? The main questions any bride is going to ask are

1. can i see your work
2. what do you charge

IMHO if you want to avoid lots of time spent answering queries then provide samplews and prices, at least ballpark figures anyway

my .02 on that

but the idea of "why you must hire a pro". If you mean pro as in full time professional videographer I suspect most folks here don't fit into that category.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 05:26 PM   #12
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I guess by "pro" I meant "Someone who gets paid and provides professional quality." It doesn't matter where else they may work.

The main point I want to get across is that the couple will usually be unhappy if they have a friend or relative videotape the wedding.

But after reading this thread, I would rather assume that the bride who is looking at my page had made that decision. Honestly, I'd don't want to work with a bride and groom who are still "on the fence". There is a large difference between me and "Uncle Joe", and I'd rather work with clients who understand that difference before even contacting me.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #13
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hate to say it Chris but to me it does. If I hire a web designer, a plumber, or a videographer and they represent themselves as a professional I expect that to mean that they are full time professionals, not just someone who will charge money. I think there are good reasons that the majority of folks hiring videographers feel the way I do. A big reason that the wedding video business is stacked full with amateurs is because the clients don't know any better. If you are just doing video at weekends you won't get much work outside the wedding market i.e. other professional will not hire you.

Last edited by Doug Bennett; March 11th, 2006 at 10:09 PM.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 10:17 PM   #14
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Then by your definition, I am a pro. I own my own video/web business. It's my full-time day job. But I still don't agree with you...
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Old March 11th, 2006, 11:09 PM   #15
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I too must disagree Sir Doug. Let's take the wrangler of this very forum section for example, Glen Elliot. Glen works a jobby job for the meat of his money yet I would say there is little doubt that his work blows away many, many "full time pros" if not most (and I personally would go as far as saying most). If a couple is looking for an absolutely superbly shot and edited wedding video they will not go wrong by hiring him. Yet a couple of days ago I was at a veteran full time videographers site who makes a nice paycheck per wedding in a very high profile location, yet his work is completely lackluster with more or less zero creative inspiration...it's like he just phones it in or something...but by your narrow definition the couple should hire this guy instead of Glen, not to mention you would grant the notalent the status of professional while poor little ol Glen is nothing more than an amatuer.

To me, professional means "knows what he/she is doing" regardless of ANY other factor.
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