Getting Started Shooting Weddings? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 21st, 2006, 02:42 AM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 10
Getting Started Shooting Weddings?

I am interested in getting some input into how others started shooting weddings? I love videography and figure shooting weddings might be a good way to build up some experience while making a little money at the same time. I don't have a much in the way of $$ to advertise so I was hoping for some insight into a good way to get started. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jim
Jim Corley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 21st, 2006, 03:24 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Billericay, England UK
Posts: 4,711
A good way to start is to offer to best-boy a wedding photographer in his prime, saying you'll tag along for free, hump all the kit, guard the bags, load the car, drive between venues, open fresh tapes and get him drinks.

All the while you'll see what he does, how he conducts himself, how he interracts with the couple and the guests, how he prepares, how he edits, how he presents and how he bills.

Hopefully you'll get to man the second camera on a subsequent shoot, and from then on your learning curve will rise steeply. Then one day you'll break away, break into a sweat at the responsibility you've taken on, pull in real money, and you'll be on your own.

Good luck.
Tom Hardwick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 21st, 2006, 04:41 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 419
Tom's advice is pretty darn good. You could opt to just go for it, but why...???? Try the method he mentioned first, but make sure whoever you choose or whoever will allow you to apprentice with is "quality" and not some "hack" (very important!)....this way you learn from a solid foundation. THere is a lot to this business and you coming on this forum is a very good start as you wil get lot's of free and quality advice.

There's some training DVD's sold under the sticky thread at the front of the wedding forum here.....most of them are worth the money.

Learn as much as you can about the wedding industry as a whole.....from vendors, to locations, etc etc. Its all good stuff that will only broaden your knowledge. Its not all about shooting and editing. Learn what brides want and expect, given your region. Learn the business side of things.....find out the demographics in your area.....average earned income....this stuff is also important to know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
A good way to start is to offer to best-boy a wedding photographer in his prime, saying you'll tag along for free, hump all the kit, guard the bags, load the car, drive between venues, open fresh tapes and get him drinks.

All the while you'll see what he does, how he conducts himself, how he interracts with the couple and the guests, how he prepares, how he edits, how he presents and how he bills.

Hopefully you'll get to man the second camera on a subsequent shoot, and from then on your learning curve will rise steeply. Then one day you'll break away, break into a sweat at the responsibility you've taken on, pull in real money, and you'll be on your own.

Good luck.
Joe Allen Rosenberger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 21st, 2006, 07:37 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Willmar, MN
Posts: 1,400
Join a local videographer's association. That's a great place to get advice and find someone to tag along with.
Chris Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 21st, 2006, 09:23 AM   #5
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 17
I'm just getting started myself. I have a background in short film production and editing, so in January I decided to jump right in and start shooting. I read two books on the subject and read as many posts as I could in this section of dvinfo.net :o)

After a month of basic research, I posted a free ad on Craiglists stating that I wanted to shoot three weddings for free between March and May. I specifically stated that I was only looking for brides who were NOT planning to hire a videographer. Within a week, I had a dozen replies. (Some were for weddings as late as August.)

I was very upfront with the brides about my lack of experience shooting weddings, and made sure that they were not trying to "save money" by going with me instead of someone more experienced. I ended up booking three "ceremony/receptions" and two more "ceremony-onlys". (As I discovered that the ceremony is significantly more important than the reception to most brides, I decided I wanted additional experience filming the ceremonies.)

I made each bride & groom sign a contract/release which showed the "normal" price for my services along the "Promotional Discount", which brought the price down to $0.00.

After my first wedding, I quickly cut together two demos and sent DVDs to several of the other brides who had inquired about my Craigslist ad. I offered 50% off my services to all of them, and I was able to book two weddings at discounted prices.

My website is now online, and I've already got two full-price bookings and multiple inquiries for this Fall. This is all based on the first two demos I cut from the first wedding I shot. I've got two more freebies this weekend, so I'm hoping to cut a few more demos together next week.

I'm probably doing more free weddings than most, but it has really helped me to relax at these first weddings. If I have a bad shot, I learn how I could have done it differently and move on. No stress.

Several of the other posters to this thread have talked about the value of researching both the overall wedding "business", as well as learning what is being offered in your market. I agree with this 100%. Go to theknot.com and other wedding sites in your area and look at EVERY local wedding videographer's website. Look at their pricing. Look at their different packages. Look at their site design and the way they market themselves.

After that, try and figure out what packages, pricing and marketing that none of them are offering. I truly believe this is the key to my early success.
Christopher Thomas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 21st, 2006, 11:21 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Aus
Posts: 3,884
well i been producing for over a decade, music mainly but alot of my work was post production audio, so i was involved with many production companies..

for me, i was lucky that I was exposed to all this, and the suggestion of doing freebies for local producers is a good one.

i was doing corp and commercial work looooong before i thought about doing weddings, and to be staright out honest with you it took me no less than 1 year simply to set up the wedding division of the business. COntracts and clauses, and legalities were a major element as being airtight to protect my business was th emost important thing to me.
Ive sen alot of companies go down or get hit hard when one client isnt happy.. it can be detrimental to the future of teh business and having an airtight contract is the only way to protect your interests. Its all good to be nice to your customers and do favours, but in teh end, youre still running a buiness with bills to pay. More importantly, youre runnign a business which has a reputation.. be it good ro bad, fledgling or ol skool.. doesnt matter this reputation will dictate the future of yoru business..

Either way, with all this in mind, i set up the Wedding divisiion all the while working full time doing camera sales and training, NLE sales and training and keepng my foot firmly in th edoor of the industry, in case the wedding element failed.. I was also producing/mixing. and that helped keep up with trends...
At the time of this set up, i was doing very minimal wedding work and pretty much did what christopher did.. and that was to offer dirt cheap services for portfolio building.

Once u have a decent portfolio set up, with a few feature length weddings, and several highlights clips, then u can go hard with the marketing.
At this time, im still only marketting half of what i had initally planned, simply because the work is too much for me to even consider targeting other market areas.
Now id love to get more clients in, but the style of edits i do (ie longform) dont let me take on any more work than what im already doing.. so ive needed to change my packages, keep my prices the same, but with less editing on the Post Prod side of things..

we'll see how that goes, but its the current trend here in AUs and for me, it will allow a faster turnaround of work.

So the point here is dont quite your day job.. not until the video work either gets too much to keep up, OR the video work is turning a profit and your making either the same amount of money or more than what your currently making..

either way, good luck with it..
Peter Jefferson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 21st, 2006, 10:31 PM   #7
New Boot
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 10
Thanks so much for all the great advice. I just joined this forum 2 days ago and am very grateful to have found it. What a great blessing to have so many experienced videographer's willing to help and share their experiences.

While I am thinking about it, let me ask another question about shooting weddings... which camera would be a better choice, Canon GL2 or Sony VX2100? Eventually I would like to expand and shoot short films and/or commercials with the camera as well. I don't know it that would make a difference as to which one would be better to purchase now.

Thanks again,

Jim
Jim Corley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 21st, 2006, 11:09 PM   #8
Still Motion
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 1,186
Jim,

As a new user ot the forum, you may want to utilize the search feature for this and other forums which will answer many of your questions, including the every popular question of which camera to use.
Patrick Moreau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2006, 08:37 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Aus
Posts: 3,884
ya the search function .... good source of answers to all your potential questions... :)

but the sony still kicks butt compared to the GL...
Peter Jefferson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 24th, 2006, 11:48 PM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Posts: 75
tuition free education

Do free weddings for friends and their friends if and only if they did not hire a professional videographer. Do these free ones for a while and cut your teeth. Offer a copy of a finished product- editing is a vital skill and needs to be learned. Think of these as tuition free education not as a give away. Explain to them your experience and what they will receive

The more weddings you are exposed to the better you will be in handling the curve balls any wedding will throw at you.

Everyone starts somewhere.
__________________
"The Light is the melody, the Motion is the lyrics..."
Michael Plunkett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 25th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,498
This is one Great forum full of helpful folks!
Sean Seah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 26th, 2006, 07:59 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Worcester, Mass USA
Posts: 125
I myself am in the stages of starting up as well - about 6 months into the "5 year plan" and it's going well right now - starting to get some decent bookings - already starting to get booked up for next year!!

Here's what I did/am currently doing:

My background was mostly in fictional "shorts" and documentary work. I have just received my Masters Degree from Emerson in Boston for Media Arts - so I use my education and fictional background as my main points of advertizing right now since I am limited with experience in Wedding videos.

I shot my first wedding for free (but got tipped a few hundred for the work by the Bride and Groom once they say the DVD - very unexpected - but very nice!). I then started charging half of what my nearest competition was charging (about $600 for a two camera shoot).

After about 3/4 weddings booked at that cheep price, I raised my prices all around by a few hundred bucks. Once I get about 8/9 weddings booked - I'll go up again until I'm confident that the work I do far better then my competition. Until then - I'll stay reasonably affordable to build a portfolio and get my name out there - building relationships with DJs, Photographers, etc.

My goal is to slowly build up the business until it is self sufficient (so I don't need to personally give it money to buy new gear or advertize) - and then see if I can either cut back more on my "day job" or make the plunge and do weddings and other videography "full time" (hopefully at the end of the 5 year plan).

I am about ready to launch my first major ad campaign in the mid summer->winter period for next year. I believe the only way to do this and do it right is to A) Be realistic in your goals, B) Start slow and never stop learning. and C) Don't be afraid to spend money to make money!

Right now I am spending more than I'm making - but that's part of the game being only 6 months into the process!

Ryan
Ryan DesRoches is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 26th, 2006, 08:29 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Somerville, MA
Posts: 360
Jim,
I spent my first year in this business just learning everything I could about the equipment and skills I would need to get started. One big help was taking a workshop that was offered here locally by DVCreators. Invaluable.

You've aready received much good advice but to underscore, there is no substitute for experience, especially in this business. Do a couple of free weddings, develop editing skills, check out some of the contributions by members of this board and consider other pro organizations for the help you'll need.

And after you're certain you can produce compelling videos, the hard part comes...marketing.
Good luck.
Bob Harotunian is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:23 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network