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


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Old March 29th, 2006, 01:19 PM   #1
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A personal question to all

Hi,

Ok, recently I've been struck with the WONDERFUL news of becoming a FATHER!
My question is, how much does this line of work Pay?

Generally speaking, how much do you guys make a month?

I've been planning on starting my own business for AGES but never got around to it. I constantly read articles, watched peoples videos here (GREAT stuff!) and read how to get started, tips etc.

With the recent news, I now feel the motivation I needed to really get up and do it!

I understand if you guys are uncomfertable telling me this, I'm just curious what the ball park is for experienced and beginning wedding videographers pay is.

Thanks in advance!
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Old March 29th, 2006, 01:26 PM   #2
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Depends if you shooting AND editing and offering a full wedding package, or just shooting.

Mark
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Old March 29th, 2006, 01:51 PM   #3
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full blown shooting, editing with packages and all that good stuff.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:15 PM   #4
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I just started my full-time videography/web design business in February. I was employed as a software developer prior to that, and did the video stuff part-time.

If I can't net $75k in the next 12 months I'm going to go get my old job back!

BTW, congrats on the baby. We're also expecting one in August.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:49 PM   #5
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Thank you Chris! Congrats to you too. I'm so excited!

Good luck with your videography business. Hell, I'll be happy if I can net 25k in 12 months, it's about 6k more than I do now!
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Old March 29th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #6
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Roger: a lot depends on how quickly you can get yourself up to speed and get yourself noticed in a competitive business with budget-conscious customers, plus offer compelling demos and marketing to attract premium clients. As a ballpark figure the going rate for a basic wedding video in suburban California is roughly $750-1500 for most clients, and maybe up to twice that for people who really value video. So if you do a few weddings under $1000 to get your feet wet and then start ratcheting up your prices once you have some work to show, figure accordingly how much money you can make IF you can get enough people to hire you. Better get started quick though if you want to do this this year, because the peak season is from about now until October and a lot of couples book several months in advance.

P.S. Congratulations. Hope all goes well with fatherhood for you.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 04:17 PM   #7
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Thanks Kevin. That makes sense. I actually planned on doing 1 free wedding and another wedding after for dirt cheap so I can get my feet wet and start raising the price as I go. That is how most people on this board suggest you start.

I already knew that it's based on the clientale that one has and what I was really trying to ask is, how many job offers does an experienced, well grounded videographer get in the span of a month or 12 months?

Thanks again Kevin! Looking forward to being a father.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Rosales
I already knew that it's based on the clientale that one has and what I was really trying to ask is, how many job offers does an experienced, well grounded videographer get in the span of a month or 12 months?
The answer to that can be almost anything. But suppose for the sake of predicting income that you might initially get 2-3 bookings/month for ~8 months/year at $1000-2000 each, plus any other video work you can rummage up along the way. Subtract expenses including insurance and self-employment tax and it's not a very lucrative prospect, but if you hustle the upside potential is pretty good. Even just three weddings/month at $1500 each for eight months is $36K gross, but don't bank on collecting that much your first year or two.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 05:03 PM   #9
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Yeah, I don't expect to make that much the first year, but I do strive to make a lot and gain as much clients the second year.

Regardless, I think that's a pretty good income once I start making that much.

Thanks Kevin, 'preciate the help.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 07:25 PM   #10
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Roger- Here's some tips before diving in the head first:

Learn the trade first- Camera Operation, Lighting, Sound, Editing
Learn as much about the business in general....this forum is great for that
Have excellent customer service skills
Indulge yourself in bridal magazines, go to expos......mostly it will be women inquiring about your wedding video services.
Try to work for someone else(wedding videographer) to learn the production end of things(very important)
Do not plan on making money your first year(you'll be in for a real disapointment)...it's possible but don;t bet the farm on it.
Network with other videographers/vendors in your area

You can do it, just have a good plan and update/review it regularly.

If you become a boutique company.....you'll most likely make less money. The companies that have a various videographers and editors working for them will most likely make more(for obvious reasons)

It is by far not an easy business to get going. Once you purchase all the gear which can cost a small fortune...you now need to get clients as this is not a "walk in" operation......it a lot of word of mouth to be honest.

Southern California has a mess load of wedding videographers...most are not all that, the one's who are good stand out for sure. You have lots of film students who do it part time at cut rate prices, so in time you'll need to consider what company youre gonna be.....the el' cheapo budget guy bustin' your a$$ for peanuts.....or the one who costs more but delivers a package/service uncomparable to mr el' cheapo.

Good luck to you....
joe
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:25 PM   #11
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Hey Joe,

Thanks for the advice. I actually own an XL2 and operate it on a daily basis. I went to film school for a short while and droped out (many reasons for that) and I've been editing video for over 5 years. =D

I'm not new to the business, in fact, my current job involves shooting video for a company and editing all myself.

Lighting is my biggest problem. Altough not a pro in everything I do, lighting is where I have the least amount of practice in.

I never thought of indulging myself in bridal mags...sounds like a good idea actually.

I have seen the work of some of the local wedding videographers, including the guy that did my sisters wedding (I didn't have the proper equipment at the time to do it myself - Actually, I had NO equipment!), but as I watched it, I thought to myself I could do 100x better than this guy.

I have the confidence in my work, it's building the client base that's scary because I don't know if I will or will not get enoug clients to sustain myself and NOT have to work a day job. That is my goal. To NOT have to work a day job.

I've been thinking of different plans as well. It's difficult to know where to begin, but I just figure you begin where you begin and improve upon it from there. I'm not going to nail it the first time around, I've learned that. It's common sense, but I'm stubborn and I like to do things right the first time if possible.

Thank you for the advice though! It is much appreciated.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Allen Rosenberger
Roger- Here's some tips before diving in the head first:

Learn the trade first- Camera Operation, Lighting, Sound, Editing
Learn as much about the business in general....this forum is great for that
Have excellent customer service skills
Indulge yourself in bridal magazines, go to expos......mostly it will be women inquiring about your wedding video services.
Try to work for someone else(wedding videographer) to learn the production end of things(very important)
Do not plan on making money your first year(you'll be in for a real disapointment)...it's possible but don;t bet the farm on it.
Network with other videographers/vendors in your area

You can do it, just have a good plan and update/review it regularly.

If you become a boutique company.....you'll most likely make less money. The companies that have a various videographers and editors working for them will most likely make more(for obvious reasons)

It is by far not an easy business to get going. Once you purchase all the gear which can cost a small fortune...you now need to get clients as this is not a "walk in" operation......it a lot of word of mouth to be honest.

Southern California has a mess load of wedding videographers...most are not all that, the one's who are good stand out for sure. You have lots of film students who do it part time at cut rate prices, so in time you'll need to consider what company youre gonna be.....the el' cheapo budget guy bustin' your a$$ for peanuts.....or the one who costs more but delivers a package/service uncomparable to mr el' cheapo.

Good luck to you....
joe
Joe has again clarified all the major elements with regard to the business as as whole and within any given community. I really respect the way Joe himself composes himself and retains a line of thought whch is always focused. This is a major element in keeping that "business hat" on at the apropriate times. Never lose site that it is in fact a business you are arunning and there is alot of competition out there, be it newbie, oldskool videographer, boutique producer etc etc
Dont let the art interfere with the day by day runnings of the business. The art will always be there and weddings do give u artistic freedom to explore and experiment with your work. But dont lose sight of the fact that a client is waiting for the finished piece.
Dont go too far out of your way to appease one client if seeral otehr swill suffer as a result. It happens and its very real.

above all else this job will consume you. Irrespective of how business savvy you may be, during peak times you will be too busy arranging shoots an consulting potential clients and find it really difficult to get down to editing. More importantly than that though, is your wife and child.
My son is 2 and a half years old and i regret the fact that i have missed out on alot during his growth. I did my best to retain "normal hours" but that didnt happena nd all the videogs i know dnt work normal hours. I work from home out of a 2 room studio, and it does help in keeping contact with my family. Having a studio or office away from home would be ideal for teh business, but i cosed my 2 offices simply becuase i never got to see my wife and child.
At thsi time, the studio averages between 40 to 60 weddings a year. I no longer doublebook but ther eare quite afew Friday and back to back weddings, so it is physically draining, especially when your doing 3 weddings a weekend.
My own business growth fluctuates and on average were seeing movement at 300% for every nine months or so. This is due to marketing and style and uniqueness of our products. As for money, our packages start at $1600 and work their way to $4400. Average client goes for our $2200 package, however recently weve started offering shooting only packages which are bcoming very popular as peole can save $$ and edit their own videos. We dont make as much obviously but afew of these a month and it does help with the bills. the flipside to that is that there is no stres invovled with managing the client, and there is obviously no editing required on our part.

I personaly am looking to jump ship across to Stills Photography (i actualy pout a post up about it in the taking care of business forum here). the $$ made vs the workload itself (for a one man band) isnt worth the effort here in aus. Even with the coming of HD delivery formats and the movement here with the acquistion of HD material, HERE in aus, the stgma is negative and the industry is already tainted with dodgy business operators who have ruined th eindustry simply becuase they want to and can make a quick buck.

Either way you go, good luck with it, Dont lose focus on where you want your business to go and dont sacrifice more than u have to to make it succeed. Dont forget the reason why u got into the industry in the first place. Like u, i thought working from home would give me ample time and opportunity to grow and learn with my newborn and my wife, but that never happened for me.

I have a motto... expect nothing and if it comes, u will appreciate it more. Expect more, but if it doesnt come, your setting yourself up for dissapointment.

good luck with it
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Old March 30th, 2006, 01:20 AM   #13
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Peter, thanks for the respect mate....I like your style too.

Roger...it sounds like you're on the right track. I'm sure I'll be seeing you around here more often.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
Joe has again clarified all the major elements with regard to the business as as whole and within any given community. I really respect the way Joe himself composes himself and retains a line of thought whch is always focused. This is a major element in keeping that "business hat" on at the apropriate times. Never lose site that it is in fact a business you are arunning and there is alot of competition out there, be it newbie, oldskool videographer, boutique producer etc etc
Dont let the art interfere with the day by day runnings of the business. The art will always be there and weddings do give u artistic freedom to explore and experiment with your work. But dont lose sight of the fact that a client is waiting for the finished piece.
Dont go too far out of your way to appease one client if seeral otehr swill suffer as a result. It happens and its very real.

above all else this job will consume you. Irrespective of how business savvy you may be, during peak times you will be too busy arranging shoots an consulting potential clients and find it really difficult to get down to editing. More importantly than that though, is your wife and child.
My son is 2 and a half years old and i regret the fact that i have missed out on alot during his growth. I did my best to retain "normal hours" but that didnt happena nd all the videogs i know dnt work normal hours. I work from home out of a 2 room studio, and it does help in keeping contact with my family. Having a studio or office away from home would be ideal for teh business, but i cosed my 2 offices simply becuase i never got to see my wife and child.
At thsi time, the studio averages between 40 to 60 weddings a year. I no longer doublebook but ther eare quite afew Friday and back to back weddings, so it is physically draining, especially when your doing 3 weddings a weekend.
My own business growth fluctuates and on average were seeing movement at 300% for every nine months or so. This is due to marketing and style and uniqueness of our products. As for money, our packages start at $1600 and work their way to $4400. Average client goes for our $2200 package, however recently weve started offering shooting only packages which are bcoming very popular as peole can save $$ and edit their own videos. We dont make as much obviously but afew of these a month and it does help with the bills. the flipside to that is that there is no stres invovled with managing the client, and there is obviously no editing required on our part.

I personaly am looking to jump ship across to Stills Photography (i actualy pout a post up about it in the taking care of business forum here). the $$ made vs the workload itself (for a one man band) isnt worth the effort here in aus. Even with the coming of HD delivery formats and the movement here with the acquistion of HD material, HERE in aus, the stgma is negative and the industry is already tainted with dodgy business operators who have ruined th eindustry simply becuase they want to and can make a quick buck.

Either way you go, good luck with it, Dont lose focus on where you want your business to go and dont sacrifice more than u have to to make it succeed. Dont forget the reason why u got into the industry in the first place. Like u, i thought working from home would give me ample time and opportunity to grow and learn with my newborn and my wife, but that never happened for me.

I have a motto... expect nothing and if it comes, u will appreciate it more. Expect more, but if it doesnt come, your setting yourself up for dissapointment.

good luck with it
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Old March 30th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=Roger Rosales]Hi,

Ok, recently I've been struck with the WONDERFUL news of becoming a FATHER!
My question is, how much does this line of work Pay?

Generally speaking, how much do you guys make a month?

I've been planning on starting my own business for AGES but never got around to it. I constantly read articles, watched peoples videos here (GREAT stuff!) and read how to get started, tips etc.

QUOTE]

Hi Roger,

Congratulations on the new arrival. I'm the father of three teenagers. You have already been given some good advice. I would just like to add this.

It does take time to build a business. With all of the pressures of being a new father and being a new business owner it could become quite overwhelming. I'm not saying it can't be done, or that you shouldn't do it. I'm just saying to consider everything and make sure you have counted the cost.

Perhaps part-time videography and a part-time job would be one solution. At least you could count on a part-time job to bring in consistant money. Now I could be totally wrong, but it's something to think about.

I have been to California a few times and there are some great video associations out there. We were just with Mike Jensen and the Sacramento PVA in February and in June we will be in Southern California with another local PVA. I don't know what part of California you are in, but I would highly recommend joining the local PVA in your area, especially since you are wanting to get your business rolling. You can save a lot of time and heart ache by learning from the pros in your area.
__________________
Mark Von Lanken
www.VonWeddingFilms.com
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Old March 30th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #15
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THank you guys for the support!

Quote:
Originally Posted by peter jefferson
Joe has again clarified all the major elements with regard to the business as as whole and within any given community. I really respect the way Joe himself composes himself and retains a line of thought whch is always focused. This is a major element in keeping that "business hat" on at the apropriate times. Never lose site that it is in fact a business you are arunning and there is alot of competition out there, be it newbie, oldskool videographer, boutique producer etc etc
Dont let the art interfere with the day by day runnings of the business. The art will always be there and weddings do give u artistic freedom to explore and experiment with your work. But dont lose sight of the fact that a client is waiting for the finished piece.
Dont go too far out of your way to appease one client if seeral otehr swill suffer as a result. It happens and its very real.

above all else this job will consume you. Irrespective of how business savvy you may be, during peak times you will be too busy arranging shoots an consulting potential clients and find it really difficult to get down to editing. More importantly than that though, is your wife and child.
My son is 2 and a half years old and i regret the fact that i have missed out on alot during his growth. I did my best to retain "normal hours" but that didnt happena nd all the videogs i know dnt work normal hours. I work from home out of a 2 room studio, and it does help in keeping contact with my family. Having a studio or office away from home would be ideal for teh business, but i cosed my 2 offices simply becuase i never got to see my wife and child.
At thsi time, the studio averages between 40 to 60 weddings a year. I no longer doublebook but ther eare quite afew Friday and back to back weddings, so it is physically draining, especially when your doing 3 weddings a weekend.
My own business growth fluctuates and on average were seeing movement at 300% for every nine months or so. This is due to marketing and style and uniqueness of our products. As for money, our packages start at $1600 and work their way to $4400. Average client goes for our $2200 package, however recently weve started offering shooting only packages which are bcoming very popular as peole can save $$ and edit their own videos. We dont make as much obviously but afew of these a month and it does help with the bills. the flipside to that is that there is no stres invovled with managing the client, and there is obviously no editing required on our part.

I personaly am looking to jump ship across to Stills Photography (i actualy pout a post up about it in the taking care of business forum here). the $$ made vs the workload itself (for a one man band) isnt worth the effort here in aus. Even with the coming of HD delivery formats and the movement here with the acquistion of HD material, HERE in aus, the stgma is negative and the industry is already tainted with dodgy business operators who have ruined th eindustry simply becuase they want to and can make a quick buck.

Either way you go, good luck with it, Dont lose focus on where you want your business to go and dont sacrifice more than u have to to make it succeed. Dont forget the reason why u got into the industry in the first place. Like u, i thought working from home would give me ample time and opportunity to grow and learn with my newborn and my wife, but that never happened for me.

I have a motto... expect nothing and if it comes, u will appreciate it more. Expect more, but if it doesnt come, your setting yourself up for dissapointment.

good luck with it
Thank you for the advice. Losing focus is not in my plans and I know what you mean by not letting your work consume you to the point where you don't interact with your family. I hope that doesn't happen to me and I'll work hard at making ample time for my wife and kid. I can't imagine not being there with my wife as our kid grows up. Thanks for the advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken
Hi Roger,

Congratulations on the new arrival. I'm the father of three teenagers. You have already been given some good advice. I would just like to add this.
Ack! the teen years! Those scare me...haha. Thank you for the congrats.

For now, I have to work a full-time job and try and get my business rolling as I work. Once I see I'm getting steady income from weddings, I'll go part-time on my day job. Once my work is too much, I'll go full throttle at the wedding stuff.

Thanks again for all the advice guys. I really appreciate the help and support.
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