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Old March 30th, 2006, 08:34 PM   #1
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Brides and Lowball Videographers..urg!

I am starting out in the wedding video business. I already did a free wedding and expecting to do another this spring. I have uploaded my first wedding demo into my website and did some advertising. Brides have wondered if I have done other weddings before because I soon as they have seen my demo they think it looks really good for a first timer.

Okay..since Im new in the business, I keep my prices awfully low just to get some clients and referrals. Eventually I would like to make my prices higher after a few weddings. I do not want to lowball weddings and make this industry have low standards.

I received an inquiry from a bride and have asked me so many question through email regards availability and package price and my background in regards to film and editing which I responded to all of her questions politely. This even asked me if I have done wedding in the past because my demo looks really good for a first time.

She saw an experienced videographer who was charging way lower than what I charge.(way less than $1000) and told me that I should lower my price especially that I am starting out. How much lower should I get? !!!! I mean I dont think I would even be making a lot.
The quality of the video and editing suprisingly does not even compare to my work despite of this videographer's experience. Now I have no beef with this videographer, if he wants to make his prices lower that his decision. His business is his business.

I know a lot of you guys out there do at least 2 freebie wedding shoots before charging market prices (at least more than $1000). If I keep my prices less than $1000 for a wedding video despite the fact of having done a lot of weddings in the past then I would rather be working at a fast food restaurant then maybe I would be making more.

I do not want to compete on price but I would rather compete on quality of the video. I just wish that a lot of videographers have pride to what they do. If they keep charging wedding videos for less than $1000 for a decent package (brides house till reception), then they are just hurting themselves.
If videographer keeps doing this then other start up business (like me) will be forced to slice up their prices even more just to gain experience. Then the other videographer will be charging way less.

Im afraid brides might think in the future that a complete wedding video package only cost less than $900.00. While they are willing to pay photographers $4000.

As for this bride, I don't think that I would even bother to do her wedding even if I was available. Cheap brides are more demanding. Her wedding is 4 months from now. Videographers in my area may already be booked. Good luck in finding one.

Now I feel at ease realeasing my beef....thanks to dvinfo.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 09:07 PM   #2
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Billy, I am new to videography too and have struggled with the same question. However, I have been in a business for several years where there is local competition and a lot is based on price. This is where I will be pulling my advice from.

My company has established itself as THE place in my town, and everyone knows the quality work that we do. We've been in the business for almost 14 years now and our prices are slightly higher than that of other companies. Other companies lowball us for business, but a lot of the time it tends to be the type of business that we don't mind losing (if there is such a thing).

This leads me to say that you should take a little while (not too long) establishing yourself as a QUALITY videographer. I'm not at all saying 14 years, or even 2 for that matter. However, the higher quality work you do + the quantity you do = the more publicity you will get as a videographer. You will get MORE work (which is very important for publicity AND practice), and the rewards will slowball. However, at some point you will have to determine the time when you raise your prices to what you feel you are worth and what the market allows for. You WILL lose business because of your prices, but hopefully with the amount of interest you will gain in the community, the business that you do get will be quality business and will be more profitable over time.

I hope that this helps even though I didn't give you exact time frames. I would say depending on the number of weddings you film this season, you will need at least 6-8 good videos to prove your consistancy to brides. Whether that is by July or whether thats next season, I feel that this would allow word-of-mouth to catch on a bit and referrals from previous clients would allow you to pick and chose your new clients.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #3
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not all business is good business. Hold onto your standards and the reward will come. I have seen this same story play out time and time again. The quality customers will seek out a quality product. And that is the type of referrals you want. Not the client that passes your name along because they got you to do it for free or really cheap. Let the other guy burn up his energy and resources for pennies on the dollar. You only need one good client to make the same money that he does with three.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 11:25 PM   #4
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Hi Billy,

You are on the right track. It is good to know what the local videographers are charging but you cannot let their low prices keep you down.

When we first started we were cheap and then after a couple of years our prices were on par with the more experienced videographers, but that was still too low. At first it was awkward for us to charge as much or more than the more experienced videographers. I'm so glad we didn't let them dictate our pricing policy. Now don't misunderstand, they can charge whatever they want, but when they said you can never get $5000 for a wedding video in Tulsa, I'm so glad we didn't believe them.

Many brides don't shop based on quality, but based on a cheap price. Those are not the brides you want. There will always be cheap brides and cheap videographers, or another way to put it is, if you do not value your work, you will always be able to find more than enough brides that agree with you.

On your last sentence about cheap brides being more demanding. I don't know if I totally agree with that, but what I have discovered is that if you do not respect yourself enough by placing a proper value on your work, how can you expect the bride to respect you? Once we started charging more we discovered that the bride had a lot more respect for us on the wedding day. What a concept!
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Old March 30th, 2006, 11:51 PM   #5
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Well, Billy, it looks like you have gotten some great advice. My first wedding wasn't for free, but I did end up getting around $2 an hour. I guess it was close to free though. The only thing I can offer you that you haven't heard already is that you have to be very personable. At least that helps for me. Your attitude can sell over your work in areas that your ability to shoot and edit a wedding can never reach. And if you are worried about the lower end clients... I can tell you how I approach it. I always let them know what my "packages" cost during the initial meeting. I ask them what they have allotted towards the video from the budget and let them know that we can work with what they have.

For your prices, see what you need to make for yourself and then add what it costs you to use your equipment. When I set up a package, I list the equipment I will be using for the shoot, estimate a rental cost and then increase that amount by 20%. Then I add hourly wages x2 (half for the worker ie. me and half for the business) to get a price.

Most people don't think about their costs to actually shoot the video and even though they seem lower than you, they are losing money because they are not making enough to cover their investments.

I hope that helps. I kinda ramble after 11pm.

—Chapman
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Old March 30th, 2006, 11:54 PM   #6
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I guess I forgot to mention I usually offer package deals. If the basic packages I have set up are not right for the client or they can't afford it, I see what they can afford and then create a new package.

I never lower my rates for the items (hourly, camera rental, etc) but I can re-arrange and trim out hours. One thing I have always done is attend the rehersal free of charge. That way I can plan out the shoot to avoid wating time the next day.

That's all I got.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 12:11 AM   #7
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Hi James,

I just saw your post and noticed you are from Tulsa. Small world. We should get together sometime.

I checkout your website. Nice. I would be interested in your event on 05.05.06, but we are speaking in Detroit on Wednesday and then shooting a wedding in St. Louis on Saturday.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 12:19 AM   #8
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Hey thanks for the plug in the forum (premieretulsa.com). We are all excited about the show this May. The site is still under construction and I'm still playing loan shark with our sponsors but by next week, you will see ads everywhere in Tulsa. I didn't know you were new to the business. I remember checking out your site a while ago. Good stuff. Well good luck with your meetings. I'm going to be premiering a short film at the 05.05.06 but it will be up for download that next week.

O and... I forgot to mention. You have to let the Bride know that what she says... goes.

—Chapman
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Old March 31st, 2006, 01:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Mallari
She saw an experienced videographer who was charging way lower than what I charge.(way less than $1000) and told me that I should lower my price especially that I am starting out.

Old man Jones here in my town has TONS more experience than me and I think he'll do a wedding for around $300. I have no idea how he edits, but I know it's nothing to do with a computer. Probably in cam or dubbing with his VCR. I can't believe an old school VHS camera has lasted this long.

The key difference, and what she should be made aware of is do they do what you do, or even anywhere close to the same sport as what you do. It's what YOU do that will set you apart, and if what you do is unique and distinct then you'll draw people that it feels right to....that the soul of your work resonates with. She apparently is not that.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 01:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Chapman
I guess I forgot to mention I usually offer package deals. If the basic packages I have set up are not right for the client or they can't afford it, I see what they can afford and then create a new package.

I never lower my rates for the items (hourly, camera rental, etc) but I can re-arrange and trim out hours. One thing I have always done is attend the rehersal free of charge. That way I can plan out the shoot to avoid wating time the next day.

That's all I got.
I have always attended rehearsals, too; however, I notice that photographers rarely attend a rehearsal. On the day of the wedding, they often get in the way with the shoots. Fortunately, there are more camera angles to edit from, but does this happen quite often for anyone else?
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Old March 31st, 2006, 02:39 AM   #11
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Tom- I just had an IDIOT Photographer walk down the isle while the bride was walking down with her parents....HE blocked me good, but to top it off....he was not only blocking me....he was also blocking the grooms view of her wlak down. This dude was a real joker. To ALL photographers who read these posts....USE A LONG LENS....what a great idea huh????

As for low baller videographers.... They are usualy jokers as well and aren;t worth musch anyway and are most likely desperate for work. If you produce quality work, good service, blah blah blah.....stick to your guns(your rates). Brides have called and emailed our company and said...oh, you guys are so great, yada yada.......but I am on a budget.....could you do my wedding for 800.00 less than your standard rate, which is over 2,000.00???? Please please.....the answer is ALWAYS......sorry, but we are not a "budget" videography comapny. We don;t even give small discounts......we stick to our rates.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bolia
I have always attended rehearsals, too; however, I notice that photographers rarely attend a rehearsal. On the day of the wedding, they often get in the way with the shoots. Fortunately, there are more camera angles to edit from, but does this happen quite often for anyone else?
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Old March 31st, 2006, 08:08 AM   #12
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speaking of cheap brides

There was another bride today that asked me to give her a discount because here wedding is placed on a Sunday instead of a Saturday (as if it would make a difference). I have to travel 2 hours from my place ..I mentioned to her that I charge a travel fee since her location is out of my boundaries. She also asked a coverage of only the preparation for both the groom and the bride until they get into the chapel for -2 hours she only needs me? I mean, I create a montage out from the preparation 4-10 mins.

In my agreement I have stated that my videos are 30-60 mins long (maybe longer in some cases) but just duing the preparation till they arrive into the chapel is pretty short unless she wants the ceremony included.

I think this is one wedding I should turn down.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 09:10 AM   #13
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oh a doozy was when a potential bride emailed with a list of demands.

After seeing our packages and all the upgrade options available, she could have easily calculated how much her contrat would come to, but no..

she wanted a fuill long form edit across 2 dvd, wanted a short form edit, then a 7 minute edit.
She thn wanted no less than 500 images on cd, all teh raw material on DV tape AND dvd, 2 cameras, with a second operator for no less than 12hours, a 3rd camera in the balcony with a 3rd operator for the ceremony only..
then she went on to explain how she wanted the multicamming to be edited...

and the best bit.. she didnt want to pay more than $2500AUD (thats about 2kUSD)

The point here is how does one handle this kind of demand/request.
Sure enough there are clowns out there who would jump at this, not fo teh cash opportunity, moreso for the opportunity to get some decent material for a demo.

When we started, we were pretty cheap. U have to be to get your foot in the door, but everytime we finished a batch of jobs, upped the Ante, we changed our prices. Every 3 months or so, after 2 or 3 jobs would be delivered, we slowly jacked up the prices to reflect the experience and skills. Even though i had been in the commercial video industry for 6 yrs prior to weddings, it didnt mean squat and to be honest, they dont care.
I had one bride have a list of questions, soemethign like 40 odd questons about everything and before she even got round to asking I had already answered them without her having to bring it up.

Recently i saw a potential client and she had me sitting there for 3 hours while we went through somethinm like 7 different weddings.. she had no idea about widescreen or ho black bars work on 4:3 tvs. She thought it was a defect. HOWEVER.. she WANTED widescreen.. but no amount of educating changes the way ignorant people think. In this industry ignorance is the biggest problem we are facing as producers. Ignrant of teh art, ignorant of the technical elments, ignorant of the costs and most importantly ignorant of the time it taks for one to get to where they are
In the end, this potential decided to go with someone cheaper. How good their work is i dont know, but i wont be recovering those 3 hours i spent with her. THose 3 hours could have been put to better use editing

Its this ignorance which is forcing me to reconsider my options for my own business.

Joe, i hear u about loser photogs mate. As i compose my shots to convey natural events as they occur, such as fine detail on cuffs and lace and buttons etc etc. 99% of the time, the photgs will be trying to shove me out of the way to get the same shot which i set up in the first place. Its this attention to detial and respect for personal space to me and the client which shows the truth behind a persons professionalism. Iv eshot many a wedding where the photogs have waled in fron of a tripod during speech time.. i mean were off centre on the dancfloor and theres an abundance of lacations to shoot from, but this kind of behaviour is very questionable. I have found that many Photogs who also offer video will do this to ruin a shot. Also many a time have i had Photo/Video combo companies bring along their video shooter who watches my team like a hawke and afew times have i seen notepads and pens come out when composing shots while they take notes on how we do it..

THis kind of behaviour is appaling and to be honest the market itself is already saturated with plagiurism.
Its here when we as producers can take control of the situation and sometimes, i have specifically asked for people to step out of the room due to "space constraints" for me to get my shots due to "moving camera" . At least this way im subtle about it, but ive really had it with the backyard bozos and thats why im looking elsewhere to evovle my business.

here in aus, its probably a different market to the US, most likely the mentality and consideration pertaining to value of the product is not as high here until the product is actually delivered. People dont value video until after the fact, and that itself is a fact we must accept as people seem to think that saving afew hundred dollars is more important than quality.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 09:12 AM   #14
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Billy, I think you should turn it down

Even though I've only one one wedding in my experience, and on an old Hi8 cam, and for free, and it was done badly, and it was for a mate, Something like htat has to be turned down.

I have better stuff now, and I want to return to weddings, but the one thing that surprises me *even from my one time wedding* are the stories of brides who ask too much, and expects everything.

I wouldnt do that gig because of the minute amount of filming. That video will abe about 5, 10 minutes at most? The bride will obviously want something far more than that.... Despite the warnings you give her, the agreements you sign and the reasoning skills you may have.... She will demand.... and demand she will.... lol
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Old March 31st, 2006, 02:39 PM   #15
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Hi Peter

Just out of curiosity, what did you tell the bride after giving you that list of demands. That package she wants seem to cost more than $4000. Wasn't she satisfied with the packages you offer?

I once has a groom who told me he wants to go through the raw files with me. I do this business part time. Does he even know what he is talking about? Raw footages will take you more than 8 hours to watch. I don't think so..It does not work that way.
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