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


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Old February 13th, 2007, 12:41 AM   #1
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It's time

I've long been a lurker/infrequent poster here, but I've never shown my work before. I figure it's finally time, and here's why:

I've been working professionally in video for 4 years, and in that time I've been running a very part time wedding video business. We usually book about 4 to 6 paid gigs a year with a few freebies thrown in for friends and family. My full time job is a good job, and pays well for this region (North East Louisiana) but this last year my workload picked up a good bit and started putting a strain on my marriage. No thanks.

That made me look at the wedding video thing as my way out, but I'm scared to pull the trigger. We've placed an ad in a wedding publication and put up a website, and thus far those two things alone have booked us four weddings. Now we're heading into bridal fair season and I'm hoping the bookings take off even more. Problem is, I'm figuring that at my current rates, I need to book in the neighborhood of 30 to 35 weddings to make pretty much what I'm making now.

For you full timers, is 30 weddings a year even possible? If I move up into the $2,000+ range am I going to hurt myself? (that last one only applies to those who know this area) Like I've said, to this point we've been very much part time and under the radar. Am I kidding myself into thinking I can make a good living doing weddings?

Anyway, personal delima aside, can you guys watch my demos (the first picture isn't clickable yet... another day or two on that one) give me some feedback, and sage advice?

www.silver-media.net/demos.html
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Old February 13th, 2007, 06:03 AM   #2
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For you full timers, is 30 weddings a year even possible?

((Yes.. i only advertise online. I dont do shows and i dont do magazines. I dont do crap clients who ask for discounts.
I average between 30 to 60 weddings a year. .so far, we have 22 bookings and we havent filled in the second half of 2007. Here in Aus, video is usually one of the last decision people make.
Our prices range from $2200 to 4grand for base packages, then upgraded as needed depending on the client.))


If I move up into the $2,000+ range am I going to hurt myself?

((I was "working" full time while doing weddings.. any more than 20 bookings and i needed to walk away from my day job... it came to a point where i had to decide what to do and so i dedicated everythign to the business. Its not easy. Do not assume that your 5 weddings a year can be compared to 30 or 40... im lucky as its taken me 4 years to get to the level of a decade old company (in client rotation), but then again, i work behind the scenes with training and supplies, so ive seen what others are doing and im learning from their mistakes.
As for hurting yourself, i cant answer that. Persoanlly, i ensured i had at least 20 jobs lined up before i said goodbye to my day job, this way i was guaranteed financial security. It took me at least a year to make this decision. ))

(that last one only applies to those who know this area) Like I've said, to this point we've been very much part time and under the radar. Am I kidding myself into thinking I can make a good living doing weddings?

((In fact, you can make a VERY good living doing weddings.. even more so if you ahve a partner who is also into the art behind it.. Im unlucky in that sense as my wife CBF'ed with what i do. She has no interest... not anymore.. but if you can both work on the ediitng, you can take on twice as much work.. or one can deal with the admin, while the otehr continus editing..
Editing is whats gonna either make or break you..
To give you an ide.. her ein summer, for the last 6 days, ive spent more tim on emails and office crap as oposed to actual editing.. 6 16hr days... as those are teh average hours i work...
BUT
nothing beats thr feeling of looking at your account and seeing it inflate in a matter of days as bookings come in. But apart from the financial element, you need to be sure that you can handle the delivery.
Its one thing to shoot 40 jobs a year, but you need to ensure you can also edit them to an acceptable standard. Dont ever deviate from quality just to handle the numbers.. Many companies are starting to do this, and its affecting the industry...
If it means going broke for a month and not taking bookings, so be it.. ))

Anyway, personal delima aside, can you guys watch my demos (the first picture isn't clickable yet... another day or two on that one) give me some feedback, and sage advice?

((LOL sage? ill check out your stuff when i chance to scratch myself))

good luck with whatever decision u make
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Old February 13th, 2007, 08:07 AM   #3
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Hi Ethan,

I checked out 'Brandon and April' and from that, I think you definitely have the talent and style to do this full time and start your packages at $2k. Some of the audio needs some major work, but most of that could be in equipment (the officiant may not have had is own mic) and more equipment usually comes with doing this full time.

More specifially about your prices, I would at least move all of your prices up one tier so that you basic package is $1500. Keep in mind, you don't want to book your main dates for the smallest packages well in advance or you really can't afford to do this full time. I would also spread your packages out more. If you start at $1500, try making your highest package $4k and see what you can add in there to make it worth that value, in your opinion. By far, most couples will suually go for your middle package.

Regarding the total number of wedding per year, booking 25-50 is certainly possible. I think if your quality is there, you will quickly find that you have more than you need. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how many I can handle editing before I need to bring in outside help, and I think we have crossed that this year.

I would consider structuring your packages so that the middle package x 30 is the income you are making now. It may take a year to get there, but if you do enough marketing, you can easily make it by while your still growing your company.

One more thing to consider before you make the jump- make sure you love all aspects of the business and not just the shooting. You also need ot love the customer service, marketing, and of course editing...

Patrick
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Old February 13th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #4
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30 is not only possible but for me a soft year. I generally do 45 to 60 a year BUT am cutting back to 40 to 45 for this year and possibly fewer each year as the years go on. (I'm old and tired)

As for pricing, there are so many variable-demographics, geographics, comptetition, your standards of workmanship, the type of edit you do, do you have anyone else shooting with you, how many cameras are you going to use on an event, your hard costs, your soft costs, (these are overhead and expenses). If you're working from homw you still have overhead and expenses and THESE 2 items will cause more businesses to go out of business than any other thing.
I agree with Patrick, you better love or at least like doing 90% of the business-we don't all like doing everything in business-but if you at least like 90% of the stuff you have to do then the other 10% or so is tolerable.
Not saying DON'T just saying you have to look at a bunch of things BEFORE you make the leap.
Don
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Old February 13th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper
Am I kidding myself into thinking I can make a good living doing weddings?
If you call 60k "gross" a living then yeah, I'd say so. (2k times 30). Unless you're currently a fry cook at Mickey-D's with no benefits maybe. On second thought, I think even they would come out way ahead.

I certainly couldn't do it which is probably why *most* wedding videographers are part time (including me). Have you really taken a look at what's left over in this business after only grossing 60k?
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Old February 13th, 2007, 05:24 PM   #6
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with clever management, your outgoing costs dont have to be high..
in fact, my costs are stupidly low... aside from the car (hire purchase is better for taxation) the only real outlays are half our home rent, insurance.. insurance... insurance.. umm.. tapes.. tonnes of discs.. oh and our internet of course.. coz all our business is done onlines o we have as stupidlyfast connection.. umm.what else.. theres afew more, but you can do alot without killing the budget.. me i LIKE to spend at least 5k a year on goodies, whether it be a camera, PC upgrades, projector blah blah.. spending makes me feel as if i achieved something coz money in the bank is just a number to me.. im not rich, but im comfprtable.. my work however is VERY intense so when i am being comfortable I may as well take advantage of that time and make the most of it...

to give you an idea, working from a home studio, with rent and car payments my outlays are about 2grand a month... this includes consumables such as tapes and discs
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Old February 13th, 2007, 06:18 PM   #7
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Considering the AVERAGE INCOME in the US is a bit under 30K a year 60 is twice the national average.
Now having said that-there are so many variables.
Where do you live? How much does it cost you to live there? What lifestyle do you want to maintain? Many other things come to mind but lets start with these.

If you live in a smaller city where rents are say 6 to8 hundred for a really nice place it's different than say here in Chicago where 800 a month gets you a studio aptartment in maybe not such a nice neighborhood unless you go to the suburbs but even there it ain't cheap. Of course if you live in a small town you probably can't charge 2K and probably don't have that much work to begin with.
See where I'm going with this? IF you feel you can manage on 60K a year GROSS then by all means-BUT YOU have to make the choice and BTW IF you come out of the box at 60K gross then your way ahead of 90% of the other wedding vids in the country. (as a sole proprieter) My opinion only-your mileage may vary.

Don
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