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Old February 21st, 2019, 07:51 AM   #16
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

Hey Roger

The fingers crossed seem to have worked ..I have Friday and Saturday free and my favourite ocean playground has almost zero wind and flat water on Saturday morning ... I get a chance to enjoy my retirement activity again but we have weddings every weekend after that for the whole of March and April

Getting quite a few bookings for 2020 already like you guys have already mentioned

Chris
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Old February 21st, 2019, 11:05 AM   #17
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

Hi Chris,

Got two weddings this weekend and a few edits still to catch up on, but looks like I may have a few days coming up shortly to get some work done on our boat at last. May even get it back in the water by the end of Spring :-)
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Old February 27th, 2019, 04:32 PM   #18
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

I'm having a tough time with them. Admittedly most of my time here I was a weekend warrior, holding onto my office/M-F job. In 2017 I was working somewhat of a customer service/phone job for a web host like a small version of GoDaddy. It swaying into billing & complaints & ultimately I left as it was mid-summer, a busy time for me, and the money was best for a time to go.

Last year, I obtained pretty good work doing web streaming, and I like it. It's part time/contract work, not quite livable but its passable for a few years. Hoping that will lead to FT work over time, although more likely it could lead to a positive step career wise. That's likely the direction I'll head in.

With that said, last Memorial Day (May) I had a pretty rough day of it. A busy weekend, my timing belt broke on the way to a Saturday wedding. Car broke down on the side of the highway, uggh. Fortunately it wasn't too far, the wedding was only 30 minutes from me and I was about halfway there. I called an Uber & got there just in time. However being a popular 3 day weekend I also had one on Sunday too. Had to uber back to my parents house, then take their car up about an hour away. Then work monday, it was a confusing weekend. It just made me think I really don't charge for the ancillary costs such as travel, advertising etc. Also I don't want them to impact my workweek with this job so few Sunday or Friday weddings.

I shut down all advertising & stopped promoting altogether, then I got hit with the vimeo/DMCA takedown (which I won, I'll post about that later) but it just was too much of a whirlwind 6 months & left a bad taste in my mouth. I had a sister of a past bride reach out, and I'm shooting hers but wish I really had NONE lined up for a period of time, I needed to step away from them.

I might rethink my business model & packages, hire a 2nd shooter, pay alot for Google adwords etc. A full rebrand, but I'm not sure. FWIW I worked with a photog a second time & we got to know each other & talk a bit more. He's my age, 45ish, and worked odd retail jobs into his 30s,and knew he had to get out of it. I think he got married & realized the prices they charge, and got into it. He was pretty desperate, but I'll give him credit he had the courage & paid WeddingWire or The Knot $1000/month to be on front page. He'd only get a few a year but even 10 or 12 would get him $40k albeit $12k on ads. Anyway, he said its been about 5-7 years but said its now paying off due to referrals are outnumbering paid leads anymore and they mostly instantly book. It's food for thought for me, again I'm not sure I have the desire anymore to do them, I posted previously about back/body issues, and losing weekends I fear I've given up much of my life. We'll see, but I had a downer year & mini-breakdown of 'em.
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Old February 27th, 2019, 06:06 PM   #19
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

Hi David

It's a tough industry and I dunno about the USA, but here it's totally unregulated which means any Tom Dick or Harry (or Mary) can walk into a discount store, buy a camera and voila, they are now a qualified wedding videographer. The fact that cameras themselves do a fantastic job even with an idiot holding them makes the industry very competitive nowdays and a bit of a price war too ! Not really a nice situation.

I have noticed that a lot of the more expensive wedding videographers have simply shut up shop because they are tired of competing with the low ballers and brides don't seem to care that much about quality and creativity! That is why we moved to supplying a live broadcast for friends and family who cannot make it to the wedding whether they are down the road or on the other side of the world. Because we edit live and often only shoot with one camera there is no post work and it's really cost effective! I got tired if shooting weddings all weekend and then spending the entire week editing them! With ceremonies we are in and out in an hour and can often do two on a Saturday. Works well for us!!
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Old February 27th, 2019, 08:39 PM   #20
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi David

It's a tough industry and I dunno about the USA, but here it's totally unregulated which means any Tom Dick or Harry (or Mary) can walk into a discount store, buy a camera and voila, they are now a qualified wedding videographer. The fact that cameras themselves do a fantastic job even with an idiot holding them makes the industry very competitive nowdays and a bit of a price war too ! Not really a nice situation.

I have noticed that a lot of the more expensive wedding videographers have simply shut up shop because they are tired of competing with the low ballers and brides don't seem to care that much about quality and creativity! That is why we moved to supplying a live broadcast for friends and family who cannot make it to the wedding whether they are down the road or on the other side of the world. Because we edit live and often only shoot with one camera there is no post work and it's really cost effective! I got tired if shooting weddings all weekend and then spending the entire week editing them! With ceremonies we are in and out in an hour and can often do two on a Saturday. Works well for us!!
I've noticed that drastically with photographers. So many are just young couples who got married, spend $3K on wedding photos, and thought 'Why don't we do that'. Funny, I worked with one couple who was elated over their new venture, and it was gonna be their lifelong career together. I think they had a newborn & I commented from what I heard from other, older photogs "Yeah, it'll be great, until your kid gets older & plays sports & has birthday parties to goto". I didn't mean it as an insult, it was more a 'Yeah then the party ends' type comment. I could tell me their reaction the concept of it never crossed their minds.

I also joined a FB wedding group for my area, it really took the life outta me. Just people complaining about rates, then likely the same people bidding on lowball weddings for photogs friends or for people who get double booked but don't want to say 'No' so they outsource it to another rando. Weird novice complaints about B&G's or venues. I mostly lay low & don't like to comment on things.

I do think video is a bit safer as the amount of editing required, and skill set & software required is pretty intense, but yeah I hear about teams going rogue & shooting weddings. Whereas photography can be spray & pray, shoot 3000 images, deliver 600.

Anyway I hate to complain & can admit I had trouble getting the business side going. Never had the conviction to go all in & invest into marketing, which probably led to my demise. Anyway, we'll see. And FTR there weren't any complaints or nasty couples that contributed. I had one last year I 'thought' might try to nitpick, but never heard back from her either way, and another later last summer at a wedding saw a bride as a guest who loved her video from 2 years ago, gave me a really good compliment.

Thanks though Chris, I love your concept about livestreaming weddings & think you mentioned before there's a demand for it there due to alot of international residents (UK?). It could catch on here over time, but for the most part most family friends can attend weddings here, so the markup would be a minimal addon for Grandma in Florida to watch.
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Old February 28th, 2019, 01:41 AM   #21
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

Hi David

Most photogs here don't even advertise themselves as such they now say "photography and video" ... I guess it's easier than getting a job that pays $25 a hour when you can be a mediocre wedding supplier for $100 an hour. Even photos need to be edited .at the very least a crop and contrast correction but our local government post school establishments offer a myriad of photo courses and it's mainly women that do them.

Yes the livestream is a niche market so it does have that attraction to couples with family that cannot attend but the other attraction is the "instant video online" feature. At the end of each event (say the ceremony) we post instantly to the event page so people can actually watch it minutes after it is completed. My biggest complaint was having to shoot a wedding then spend days putting it together but here when the wedding is over we are done! (we do send them a USB backup a few days later) but no real editing is done as it's done live ..huge time saver for me and the attraction of no waiting for your wedding video for the bride.
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Old February 28th, 2019, 06:09 AM   #22
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

After this coming May, I'm done with it! going to sell off all my equipment (if I can)

Things have dried up the last while, I think the advent of smartphones and live streaming on FB has had a big impact at least in my area.

There are some part timers around making really lowball offers, that, quite frankly I wouldn't get out of bed for. The other fact (here anyway) is that 95% of weddings are on a Friday or Saturday because most of these events have turned into two or in some cases three day events, so theres not much call for mid week weddings because it presents too much problems/expense getting time off work for guests etc. So it has slowly turned into almost exclusively a weekend job for the most part.

I believe of a lot of people are happy enough with a few clips on their phone etc. and even the traditional (expensive wedding) album for stills is dying away too.

I've asked around from in my area, are they content with just watching clips on their phone /tablet v on a big screen TV and most seem to prefer it on the phone etc. and really aren't too bothered with the big feature or a highlights video, the older would prefer that but it's the young couples that are getting married and mostly prefer the clips/photos on Snapchat or Facebook or phone. It's still a big family event here in Ireland and people will travel back from as far as you can imagine to attend, so I don't see too many offering live straming as it's not in demand.

i can say I enjoyed it and it was good while it lasted, but everything has a shelf life, I certainly wouldn't like to be trying to start out today.


cheers

R
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Old February 28th, 2019, 07:01 AM   #23
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

That's really a shame Rob but I can see your point! In fact much the same is on the rise here ...couples are taking cheaper venues and the traditional video I used to do with 14 hours coverage is a thing of the past. Yes eventually phone footage will be accepted by most brides (they already can shoot in 4K!) but seriously brides couldn't care less ...I very much doubt whether anyone watches their wedding on a big screen TV any more ...it's mostly shared between phones and tablets and of course footage that would look terrible on a 55"TV looks stunning on a phone!!

There is a small market for live video here and I bet there also is in Ireland ... it's not just the live content that is watched ..I will often be streaming a ceremony and the server shows 15 or less people online BUT an hour later you look at 350 people have watched it!! Not bad for private videos ..I find that the "instant video after the event" is a marketable product and I have seen many brides waiting for the photographer and staring at their phone saying "this is so cool" and on enquiry they are watching their own ceremony! Everything is on phone ..some marketing guru said to me ..if your product is NOT available on phone soon you can forget about selling it ... I have kept things REALLY simple ..one single camera on a dolly ...Broadcaster Pro encoder going to a private event page and only a 720P video too!! It looks stunning on a phone ..you have no editing and on civil ceremonies you are done and dusted in under an hour!!

Isn't that something to think about before you get rid of all your gear??
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Old March 1st, 2019, 04:51 AM   #24
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

Sorry to hear that you are giving up Rob. I'm glad that I gave up five years ago as I think it's even tougher now that everyone has a halfway decent video camera in their pocket. Couples are very rarely prepared to pay a fair price for the work involved in a properly filmed & edited video of their wedding. Chris's live streaming & live editing seems a great way to go & is going to be a different product but maybe that's' what couples really want.

Making money out of wedding services particularly video & photography is always going to be problematical when most weddings are on a Saturday in the summer. It's a bit like being business in a seaside resort you have to make money while the sun shines & shut up shop in the winter. Diversifying into anything other than weddings is ideal as it gives you work during the week & in winter. I know Chris does/did real estate video surveys.

You can always become a YouTube blogger telling other people how to shoot wedding videos.
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Old March 1st, 2019, 06:13 AM   #25
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

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You can always become a YouTube blogger telling other people how to shoot wedding videos.
I'd rather have a job cleaning the latrines... Vloggers is one of my pet hates. :)

On the subject of Wedding Videography, no doubt the Business can be tough, but there are still plenty of companies out there and a few I know, some struggle, some don't and it isn't always about price. Some charge low and still struggle, others charge a lot and do well. I think you need to know your target clients and nail the marketing. It's a changing industry and keeping on top of the trends helps and not pigeon holing yourself into 1 thing. My service includes Marryokes, Parties and Corporate Work and whilst Weddings are the most lucrative, I get a few parties and about a dozen or more Corporate work a year to keep me busy.
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Old March 1st, 2019, 07:49 AM   #26
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

I do agree with Steve here. You have to diversify like crazy and not have all your eggs in one basket. Even if I would have been happy continuing with traditional shoot and edit video I think you have to work smarter not harder to outwit the "bottom feeders" who are making your life hard by offering prices that make doing your job hard. Things like Marryoke are in the smart basket because the guy in the street doesn't know how to do them. The market here is really tough !! A bride was looking for a videographer yesterday for May (so only two months away) and I was staggered how many of the companies that should be booked up solid for this year, offered their services so pickings must be lean!!

I have always said look for niche markets that the weekend warriors never think about and you can keep busy and not have to compete with the rabble that are all bust cutting each other's prices!
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Old March 1st, 2019, 02:34 PM   #27
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

If I was to sum up this year, its that my Business is in rude health. Takings were great last year, so I have plenty of money in the bank, bookings for next year are so far considerably up from the equivalents in all the years I have been doing Business, suggesting a bumper year in 2020 and even this year, yes its not great, but still better than 2016, my toughest year. And still nowhere near as bad as bad could be to be worried. If not beating the highs of the last 2 years is my biggest problem, it's not a bad problem to have as the last 2 years were exceptional.
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Old March 1st, 2019, 03:28 PM   #28
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

Yeah I think Marketing of it is huge. Definitely to grow one needs to spend on advertising, unless you're at the point referrals are coming in steadily.

I will say, for my area at least, weddings definitely aren't just a 'summer thing'. In fact, Fall/Autumn is just about as busy as May/June/July, (from Mid July thru August its so sweaty hot here they almost die down). Spring is sorta popular but March/April can be cold & possibly snow. Always love that, couples complaining it's cold on their wedding day ("It's March 10th/November 25th??")
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Old March 1st, 2019, 06:28 PM   #29
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

Going back to the sad news about Rob quitting everything after May, something I did notice with myself is that I was getting far too complicated. I was buying stedicams and gimbals to get that perfect shot and then drones started to make an appearance so with cranes and multiple cameras I found I was just making more work for myself and was trying to impress everyone out there with all my fancy gear and I'm pretty sure that the bride couldn't have cared less what I shot her wedding with as long as she got a video.

The odd wedding ceremony we do now consists of a shoulder mount camera on a tripod and dolly and not much else and brides are still happy with the results. It's a lot easier to take just one camera to a gig instead of setting up 4 or 5 and doing multi-camera editing which takes a lot longer too.

Rob mentions that phones will take over from pro cameras one day? I wonder if someone will bring out a "prosumer phone" for weddings. I might have already mentioned it but I did read that a well known marketing guru said that if your business cannot supply your product to be available on clients mobile/cell phone by 2020 people won't want to do business with you and if you see people with their eyes glued to the screen day and night I can see his point!!
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Old March 2nd, 2019, 12:58 AM   #30
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Re: Wedding Guys, What's Happening?

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Going back to the sad news about Rob quitting everything after May, something I did notice with myself is that I was getting far too complicated. I was buying stedicams and gimbals to get that perfect shot and then drones started to make an appearance so with cranes and multiple cameras I found I was just making more work for myself and was trying to impress everyone out there with all my fancy gear and I'm pretty sure that the bride couldn't have cared less what I shot her wedding with as long as she got a video.
Yes and no. Brides know nothing of gear, well most anyway. However aside from the fact that amongst guests can be someone who does and may relay that to the couple, the finished video will show the results of that gear. I had one guy shoot for me who used an A7s mounted on a shoulder rig - alas the quality of the shots were shakey and the footage I did use had to be pulled as the Bride although initially happy later when showing the video to friends had comments that it looked like mobile phone footage. So even if you trick the Bride into something of lower quality, she has friends and family and some of them may not be so clueless as the Bride.

Adding such extra gear as you put it is what sets us apart from some Uncle with a camcorder or a phone. Take my Drone, its been very lucrative for me. I charge more for it as an extra than I do a Marryoke and its a lot less work, but not only do drone shots help sell my videos and my service too, but its now my best extra. People will pay a lot if they see value and its one way to sell the idea of Wedding Videography. I admit my jib doesn't get used. I have a gimbal setup permanently and also a Pocket Osmo which is wonderful for on the fly shots with hardly no setup time. I used it recently on a raining day to film the Bride's arrival. So there are ways to add gear and not make your life too hard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Rob mentions that phones will take over from pro cameras one day? I wonder if someone will bring out a "prosumer phone" for weddings. I might have already mentioned it but I did read that a well known marketing guru said that if your business cannot supply your product to be available on clients mobile/cell phone by 2020 people won't want to do business with you and if you see people with their eyes glued to the screen day and night I can see his point!!
I don't see phones taking over from Pro Cameras. Besides couples aren't paying for gear, they are paying for you to film the day. If they are not willing to pay for a Professional, then Uncle Bob with a camcorder can do the job. Again, its about making your work stand out from him.

As part of my service, I run a Guestcam, where I lend a camera out to guests. The quality of the footage even with a stabilised camera shows I have nothing to worry about from guests with phones taking my job. :) Same in any industry. Give me access to Professional DIY tools and I am not suddenly going to be a master carpenter competing with a Professional.
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