A good wedding producer takes change, drama and mishaps in stride, knowing that as long as you stay on top of everything, remain professional and keep your cool, your end of the deal will work out fine. But just having a good video camera doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful. Here are ten important keys to help you become successful and profitable in the wedding video industry.
Tip one: Have good equipment
Starting out, you will soon learn you’re going to need more than just a good camera or two. Thankfully, there are many options for those working with a tight budget. Here’s a roundup of all the must-have video gear every wedding videographer should have.
At least two cameras and a tripod
If you’re working with a high budget, you can go out and get the best cameras the market has to offer. However, if you’re like many — who are working with a small budget — prosumer cameras could do the trick. While they may not yield the same results as professional mirrorless or DSLRs, they are still many great options out there.
You can check out our buyer’s guides for mirrorless and DSLRs and camcorders for guidance, regardless of your budget.
Two wireless mics
Audio is very important to creating a quality product. Nothing screams “cheap” louder than poor audio quality. Wireless mics allow you to be very flexible with mic placement without your having to run a bunch of mic cables everywhere. Never rely on your built-in camera mic.
If you need help picking a microphone, here are our recommendations.
One camera light
Wedding receptions often take place in low light, which also often translates to poor camera performance. Even if you use it only occasionally to capture people on the dance floor, it isn’t that intrusive and makes a huge difference.
One hot light and stand
This is something professionals don’t always use, but sometimes it can make a world of difference. A hot light with a stand can come in handy when you need to do guest interviews and don’t have a well-lighted place to stage them. It looks better than a camera light and saves battery power.
One wired mic and cable
Most of the time it gets really noisy when conducting guest interviews, and sometimes the only place to do them is right next to the dance floor. Having a good close-range mic cuts out almost all of the ambient noise and isolates what the interviewee is saying.
Tip two: Go get experience
If you plan on going out and selling yourself and making money, you first need something to sell. When starting out, you may want to consider offering a reduced rate to friends and family who are getting married. This can help you get valuable experience and develop a portfolio simultaneously. However, you want to be careful not to give away your services for free. It cheapens the product in the eyes of the client, and it may set an unwanted precedent among your peers. We’ll talk more about pricing.
Tip three: Produce a solid product
When you have a few weddings under your belt, it’s time to make a demo reel. One of the biggest mistakes aspiring videographers makes when showing their work is they show too much. Let’s be honest; a wedding video is about 95 percent boring unless you’re in it or you know the people in it. The last thing you want to do is to bore a potential client with someone else’s wedding video. When people are shopping around for a videographer for their wedding, they will be looking for someone who captures key points from the day and does it with style. So take the best of the best from each of your weddings and edit them together in a two- to three-minute reel. Once you’ve done enough weddings, you can put together a demo that contains an entire ceremony, reception and love story from three or four different weddings for clients who want to see more.
Tip four: Present yourself well
The old saying is true: You have only one chance to make a first impression. When first meeting with a client, try to present yourself as an established business. This makes the client feel a little more comfortable about possibly spending money with you. Try to avoid meeting at your home or messy edit station. If you have an office, set up a client area with a viewing station. If you don’t have an office, offer to meet the client at a classy coffee shop, or you can even offer to come to their house. And make sure you dress appropriately.
Tip five: Market yourself
Marketing strategies have changed over the last few years. Now that many people today are tech-savvy, we’ve had to change how we get their attention. My advice: Put your money into your online presence. Social networking site and pay-per-click advertising are very efficient through companies like Google. Also, create a website for your clients to go to to check out your work – and remember to regularly post your work.
One of the most effective ways to get yourself out there is to participate in Bridal Shows. This gives you the opportunity to put yourself directly in contact with potential clients and show off what you can do firsthand.
Finally, try getting your info displayed at bridal retailers and wedding venues. Often the establishments are happy to let you display your stuff for free. You can even offer a little referral incentive.
Tip six: Pricing
Pricing is a very important part of being successful. You don’t want to price yourself too low, as it sends a bad message out to clients. But you don’t want to price yourself out of the game, either. It’s best to start a little high and give yourself room for discounts and specials. Even if you always offer a “season special,” if people think they are getting a deal, this goes a long way.
Also, we recommend starting with three packages: a starter, middle and high end. You can have other lower-end packages that you don’t advertise. If you do advertise them, you run the risk of having all your clients choose the lowest costing options. If someone doesn’t have the money but really wants to hire you, instead of lowering your price and cheapening your product, try offering them a limited package instead or even a filming-only package with the intention of editing down the road. Be careful with this one, though, keeping in mind they will see all the bad work you’ve done before you have a chance to edit it out.
Tip seven: Get out there and network
One of the best resources you will have is other wedding professionals. As you get established as a wedding videographer, you will start to get to know other wedding vendors as well. Make a special effort to get to know and become good friends with these people. You will find that many wedding bookings can come from referrals from other wedding professionals. So get out there and network, go to social events, mixers, fairs, open houses, whatever.
Tip eight: Be flexible and easy to work with
As you are building your wedding video business, the last thing you want is a reputation of being hard to work with. Flexibility is a must in this business. While filming a wedding, expect plans to change, schedules to fall behind and brides to get stressed. You can set yourself apart by being helpful and easy to work with. This goes a long way, especially when it comes time for the bride to recommend you to her friends.
Tip nine: Educate people
When people think of wedding videos, oftentimes, their only experience with them is watching a poorly-done video shot by a friend or relative. Part of your challenge is to re-educate those potential clients on how a good video can and will look. When talking to an apprehensive client about an upcoming wedding, don’t be afraid to get aggressive and insist that they take the time to look at your work. Explain that they need to see a wedding video done the right way before they make their decision. You may feel like a salesperson, but that’s OK, because you are.
Tip ten: Educate yourself
A major key to being and remaining successful is to stay up on current technology, style and technique. Not only does it keep you current, it also gives fresh inspiration and keeps your job fun.
Keep it professional, and keep it fun
The wedding video business can be a lot of work, but you’ll find it can also be very profitable. So remember to take it seriously, but, most importantly, keep it fun.