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Old July 21st, 2007, 11:49 PM   #1
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Am I Crazy to offer both Photo and Video services

Due to the small amount of wedding video work in the rural area I live in, I am considering a very risky move to generate more business.
I am going to offer both Photo and Video services as a package.
I am a pretty good photographer (definitely better than some of the photographers I've worked with!) and I have 3 assistants who are almost ready to handle video on their own.

My gear would consist of:
Canon 30D for stills
XL1s
GL1
VX1000

I would bring myself and 2 assistants.
I plan to work in the $1500 price range. My normal charge for 3 cam, 2 operator wedding is $1000.


I have started doing my obligatory "free" work in order to build up a portfolio and some experience.
Has anyone else ever done this? Has it worked or flopped?
any feedback would be welcome.

thanks
Mark G
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 03:14 AM   #2
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I see a few possibilities here.

First, if the area you live in is rural and you're dealing with clients who don't spend much on a wedding, you might be better off just switching to photography. In many ways photography is much easier than videography. Photography also has the nice benefit of return business if you start to offer services for seniors, children, families and so on.

However, packaging video and photography can definitely increase your likelihood of booking couples for both. My wife opened her own photography studio about 2 years ago. Before that, I really struggled to get couples to come in and check out my work. Now they come to see her work and I get to show mine off at the same meeting, and my bookings have literally tripled.


My main concern for you is this: just as videography has more to it than meets the untrained eye, so does photography. There are some pretty big differences between the two professions on a behind-the-scenes level. It will be difficult to master both.

So, if you're really just looking to increase your sales, it might not be a bad idea. However, if you really want to be really good at what you do, then it might be a bad idea to try and take on both professions. Hope these thoughts help you in your decision.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 06:20 AM   #3
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Thanks Travis, the stuff you mentioned is exactly the stuff I was concerned about.
I know I can take the pictures, but its the behind the scenes stuff that gets me worried. I've been in the business for almost 10 years and my wife has been connected with it for almost 20 years, so Im comfortable with it, but there are some aspects of it I am new at.
Thats why I plan on doing a fair amount of free stuff until I am confident I can handle it.
I have mixed feeling about the quality issue. For years I have resisted the temptation of using a 2nd crew to send out so I could do 2 weddings in a day (I did it once and it wan't pretty), but I figure if I am actually still there to supervise it would be better.
I know this next statement may generate some heat, but to be honest, some of the competition here is so amatureish I could easily drop the quality a notch and still compete.
Every year I get requests for me to take stills from the video because the pictures "didn't come out", so I know there is a segment of the photography population that can be weeded out!
Mark G
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 03:04 PM   #4
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Hi Mark -
There are good resources for photograpy out there, and a lot of so-so photographers... so I'd say your odds are not too bad... you do need a couple good shooters to cover even a small wedding "completely", but I know there are "one camera" shooters that pull it off - too stressful for me! You've already got a team, so that's a plus.

I too work with my wife and she handles most of the pix, but I have her backup camera and shoot some when needed or appropriate, I've gotten some good stuff along the way if I do say so myself.

Also, if you are anywhere close to the HD transition (I see your cams are still SD), doing frame grabs and a little post work opens up the still capability quite a bit. You might consider that angle - if you can pull good stills from the video footage, it gives you "backup angles" on the key shots - my wife relies on me somewhat for that just in case she gets pinned or blocked. I rely on having several cams running for the same reason... there's almost always a usable angle!

Just some thoughts, but having both services from one vendor can be good (you can give a better package deal most likely), and ultimately it matters little what equipment you have if you have a lousy eye for the shot... so you've probably got a leg up already, just need to learn the different "toys"!
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 04:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Ganglfinger View Post
I know this next statement may generate some heat, but to be honest, some of the competition here is so amatureish I could easily drop the quality a notch and still compete.
Mark G
Actually, it's smart to properly evaluate your market. If your market isn't going to support the highest quality, then you'll either go out of business or do a lot of extra work and not get paid for it. That's why I mentioned the quality issue.

We go into business to make money, and you have to be realistic in regards to your market. Best of luck to you!
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 06:32 PM   #6
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i took a chance once and decided to do a favour of doing a bit of photography and a bit of video for a friend/customer who was watching the budget.
at the time i was a more experienced videographer than photographer but saying that i still knew the photog's job pretty well.
long story short- i ended up with adequate amounts of both video and photo, i got all the important stuff like the ceremony and speeches on video and during the photo session thats what i done exactly, take photos.
i was a one man show and almost pulled off getting everything required from both professions. and the work was pretty ok as well.

my point however, is this. I havent done it since. You really need your head together to do either of these jobs on their own. to do both requires a very high level of concentration. Its hard to be the diplomatic, outgoing, friendly photographer when your head is completely taken up with video as well.
and vice versa, its hard to find yourself in the right place at the right time to get the video when you get asked questions like "what will we do next?"

but i only had two hands, you seem to have more at your disposal.
my advice would be to give it a go. keep an eye on your stress levels and if they peak you know what to do...
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 07:57 PM   #7
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In many ways I really prefer photos over video. You can hold photos in your hand, an emotional connection video can never achieve. However, I really like the ability to capture 1800 still images every minute ... something photography can never hope to achieve.

They are distinct disciplines. They require completley different intellectual and pragmatic approaches. Post production work is equally different.

There is no reason not to sell both ... as long as you have personnel dedicated to each discipline. Just be sure you can deliver.
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Last edited by Waldemar Winkler; July 24th, 2007 at 08:52 AM.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 12:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waldemar Winkler View Post
...I really like the ability to capture 1800 still images every minute ...
I have captured excellent still photos this way at equestrian competitions. Capturing 1,800 fpm is a BIG advantage when the horse approaches the jump and executes it. However, it does not work when shooting SDV since the frame is 0.63 megapixels. The resulting picture would probably look fine when printed on a half-wallet size photo. Capturing in HDV results in a 1.57 megapixel photo which I have found can be nicely printed at up to a 5x7 size. The SD captured frames, however, are still good for a photo montage on your DVD.
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