Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Specialty Topics › Wedding and Event Video › Wedding videography business slowing?
- March 5, 2012 at 3:29 AM #47494
I am new to these forums but I have scanned quite a bit of helpful threads
already and it looks like a nice place! With that said, let me explain a
little about my background and my problem. I started a videography /
editing business over a year ago, purchased a Panasonic HMC150 / good tripod
and partnered with a close friend and certified sound engineer. The
business is official and licensed, and I have a good editing rig. I have
been making videos for fun since 2006. During my first official year of
business I have shot 5 weddings, training videos and a “corporate
appreciation” video for two national and one local corporations.
Made two small business internet ads and numerous volunteer church stage
musical dramas and a few charity videos.
I did make a profit but nothing to live off of.
However now that 2012 has rolled around I have seen a dramatic decline in
securing clients. I have had about 5-6 wedding “probes,” all of
which have ended with the brides phrasing ” I will discuss this with my fianc
and get back to you,” alas I never hear back. Before I secured all
the clients in 2011 I had a pretty crummy demo reel of the one free wedding I
shot and a few local for-fun gigs. Yet somehow I got all those gigs
previously mentioned. At the start of 2012, I updated my wedding demo
with three of the 2011 weddings and have secured no clients.
I am listed on many “free” websites, post weekly on craigslist,
and have done gigs purely for the word of mouth “payment” but none
are working. I have been approached by bridal expos wanting $500-$1000
per booth at their expo but that is a very large investment for where I
currently stand. I live in a capital city in one of the most populated
I price roughly $850 for a basic 6 hour / highlight video with professional
audio, and $1100 for the next step up. I
work extremely hard and have had no complaints from the weddings I have
shot. I would post my demo and website
but I really don’t want prospective clients to stumble on this post for obvious
reasons, but as I had mentioned I did get a lot of gigs with a far worse demo
than I have up now.
Which leads me to my question.
Is the possible reason for this decline the seemingly assault of the
“Canon 5d / 7d” wedding market and brides are expecting all videos to
look like 5d’s, or is it the recession and videography is the first to get cut? Is my HMC150 too “outdated”
now? Or am I simply charging too
much? I have shot two weddings for $500
each and believe me it is not worth it. Is
everyone feeling this pain this year?
How likely are you to get a client at these bridal expos, has anyone had any
success? Does anyone have any good other
affordable advertising tips? I really
can’t afford much unless business picks up, the age old conundrum. Any help is
- March 5, 2012 at 1:52 PM #195714GregoryParticipant
Market – Turn of the Year – & The very low cost of proconsumer video cameras and Windows Moviemaker. OH and Aunt Joan with one of those proconsumer cameras telling the bride she can do just as good as a job, for free.
That about explains it all.
Due to copyright issues I have quit producing weddings, too much of a risk in today’s world with the RIAA dogs.
I have and am switching gears to nature, adverts, demos, tutorial, and life stories. I would also venture that since every book store in America now prints the cookie cutter how to wedding video that many are “happy” with the free family versions now. However regardless of how inexpensive cameras get, storytelling is still an art that can’t be bought or done free.
Not even Aunt Joan would buy a book by someone who did not know how to develop a story, and with that I am shifting my focus on using video to tell stories, like penning a novel. This is one area that REQUIRES creativity and something that is impossible to copy, you can’t get into my head, adn who would want to?
- March 5, 2012 at 4:37 PM #195715
Video production is my hobby and part time job due to having a “regular” job that pays comfortably well. Video production doesn’t come with insurance or a retirement plan so I’ve been hesitant to risk my family’s source of income on doing what I love full time.
I’ve shot a wide variety of projects from a feature length movie to 30 second television commercials. But doing it only part time doesn’t bring in a lot of cash.
Therefore, I’ve always used my wedding video shoots to primarily fund my video production habits. 10 years ago I was doing as many weddings on my XL-1 as I had time to do and making $1,000 each, give or take.
After a several year break, I sold my XL-1 and filled my credit card full of good quality prosumer HD gear (which was ironically cheaper than my XL-1 even before accounting for inflation.) I assumed that I could dust off my shingle, hang it up, market myself like I did in the pastand the weddings would start to trickle in just as they did 10 years ago before building up enough steam that I could start turning people down. I’m even offering full HD video packages on Blu-ray at exactly the same rates I offered VHS tapes for back in the day.
And guess what? I’ve had one paid wedding video in the last 6 months. And I did that at half price.
I wish I had a magic pill I could take and share with other wedding video producers out there. But it just seems like wedding videos are the couple’s last consideration and it usually comes after they’ve blown their budget on flowers, salmon and a ride in some horse drawn carriage.
I think it wouldtake a culture change for young brides to look past a still photographer and realize that video is the real medium for capturing the emotion of a wedding. Photographs are very convenient – but when it comes to reliving that special moment, nothing does it like video.
I intend to plug away at wedding videos, and to conitue working on movies, shorts, music video and all the things I really enjoy. I’ve just become more realistic about how much I can afford to spend on free work.
Like I said, my day job pays well, so unless I’m making an average of $25 an hour on video I don’t consider it worth the time or effort. In fact, since I’m an avid still photographer and one of my cameras is a Canon T3i, I’m consideringjumping shipand taking stills!
In a way, it’s freed me from the wedding video grind. I chose the projects I enjoy instead of the projects I need. And when I get a wedding, I’ll take it, but I’m not going to count on weddings as a real source of income. They’re just a nice pick-me-up now and then.
But for those of you who are counting on weddings – try this: Stress video’s ability record the emotion of the event.Market yourself with still photographers as a package deal.Get in good with facilities, wedding planners and ministers/officients. Get your sample video online – either on your own website or use vimeo, ithas better quality than youtube, but everyone knows youtube. Get a facebook page foryour business, post your videos there and make friends. Pass out business cards everywhere you go. Ask your barista if you can put a business card or post card in their window. Attend a bridal fair but be realistic about how much it’s going to cost you to attend versus the odds of getting business from it. Join local wedding an event themed organizations and network.
Above all – deliver the best work you can possibly deliver and treat your customers like gold. Put several of your cards in the case with your finished disk. Ask for testimonials from yourhappy clients and don’t be afraid to let them brag for you.Roughly a thirdof my weddings were from word of mouth.
- March 5, 2012 at 7:37 PM #195716HarlinParticipant
I just did a bridal show yesterday and I was the only videographer in the place. There were at least 4 photographers competing. I also shoot photos and do DJ so I offer the whole package and sub out what I dont feel like doing. I would rather shoot video this year so I bump up my photography rates. In all I do more DJ than anything else..less money, less work, more fun!
- March 6, 2012 at 2:15 AM #195717DanielParticipant
I am going to say this and try not to sound condescending, because that is not my goal. If it is your goal to shoot wedding events, then I highly suggest that you embrace the wave of dslr technology. This technology allows you to shoot film like quality wedding films, because this technology allows you to shoot with a technique very conducive to motion picture camera work. If you are not booking weddings, it is highly probable that Brides simply are not impressed with your work.
I started in this business last September, by purchasing a Sony vg10, a few lenses and studying the art of filmmaking. Since then, my business has taken off. I did my first two events free to provide potential clients with sample work, and then designed a killer website. Thankfully, I did not listen to people on this forum who wrote off advertising vendors because they did not generate results with those vendors.
I now Have a very strong stream of clients booking, and have about 15 weddings already booked for 2012 and some n 2013 at an average of 1800$ to 2400$. (low for my area). I’ve already generated enough income in the past six months to cover overhead, take a net 400$ a week salary and purchase about 15000$ worth of equipment including a Sony fs100?
So, I guess my point is, the market is strong enough for those with the right skill set. Scrap your hmc 150 for the right equipment, learn the cinematic technique, if you want to thrive in this business. This same applies to those seeking higher end corporate work.
- March 6, 2012 at 3:22 AM #195718
Thanks for all the responses.
@Joseph I think you are right about video being the first thing cut. I always read that websites and whatnot advise their brides to avoid videographers with “day jobs” and that has been the primary fear stopping me from getting a side job.
@Weddingmaster did you have any luck securing video clients at the bridal show?
@dadkins It doesn’t sound condescending at all and it pretty much backs up my suspicion that brides want the DSLR look. I am curious when you say you didn’t write off advertising vendors, are you talking about in-person vendors, bridal shows, or online sites?
- March 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM #195719AnonymousInactive
Too bad the business slows. It could be the effect of recession.
- March 6, 2012 at 12:33 PM #195720Steve4900Member
Having started my Wedding Video business 2 years ago, I’m running it concurrently with my day job. This is not unusual – many photographers I met are doing the same. If you’re starting up, it’s extremely risky to just jump in without a safety net. The benefits to the clients is lower prices, with only the potential longer wait for the video the draw back. However, since I book only enough Weddings that I can comfortably deal with within a given time period, there’s little difference to fulltime Videographers, who will take on more work to cover their costs. Besides for us it’s a great way to slowly build up a Business without the pressure of relying on it to make a living. All my money I make goes into buying new equipment, building up a name and trying new ideas. Do the Brides know I have a day job, no; I don’t advertise this, nor do they ask. At the end of the day as long as I don’t exceed a workable number of jobs, the impact to them is minimal. The only downside is holding down two jobs during the busy Wedding season, and from next year I shall be seeking to reduce my main job gradually as my Business builds up.
- March 6, 2012 at 1:09 PM #195721HarlinParticipant
@Weddingmaster did you have any luck securing video clients at the bridal show?
Jeff, I had lots of interest, Video is usually the last thing Brides go for so I will be hearing from them in the near future..They were gathered around like they were watching their own wedding. I disagree about not telling the bride I have a day job. I do tell them, I also tell them that I pass the savings on to Them. I have been in the business in some sort for at least 18 years..I manage to stay busy.
I also would not recommend a DSLR setup for anyone just getting started, They are a lot more work than a new shooter needs when just learning the wedding routine. I have one but use it only for Pics. I use sony Nx5’s and have never had a bride ask what I use..
- March 7, 2012 at 7:07 PM #195722AnonymousInactive
I’d vote the vdslr’s as being the problem. In our area we’ve booked 15 at an average of $2k (for 2012), which is about $1k less than what most studios charge in our area. We are part time so don’t have the overhead as the studios. This is our first year doing business and second year knowing how to even operate a dslr. We don’t do the traditional documentary edit and we refer brides to traditional videographers, but don’t see traditional videographers charging more than $1k. Last week we booked our highest package and the couple actually spent more on video than the photographer.
Its about 15-20K to invest in the vdslr look (for a good setup), what, like $5k for a starting setup? The budget brides that we refer to traditional videographers are coming back to us and booking. The one issue is with mother-in-laws that want the home video edit. Companies in the area offer doc edits that command a $1k premium to deal with that. Whats holding you back on vdslr? The look is even accepted commercially, which we plan to get into in the future and charge double. For me its fun learning and being able to tell the story better. Ray shoots on a t2i and is changing the way wedding films are viewed (below). You need to differentiate yourself to command higher prices.
And network. We team up with local photographers that need people to refer out to. Plus its fun to coordinate and work with them.
- March 7, 2012 at 7:17 PM #195723AnonymousInactive
And one other thing, I was married two years ago, so I was your customer recently. I went into it with the stigma that wedding video’s were cheesy. When I was educated about vdslr’s I had the opposite reaction. Growing up, I always had the impression that people cringed when they heard the word wedding video. Now when a client has money in hand, who do you think they are going to book? I went with vdslr on my wedding and have no regrets.
The product actually gets viewed by their friends, rather than just close family with a 2 hour cut. Its free marketing and advertising on facebook.
- March 7, 2012 at 7:58 PM #195724
Thanks for all the replys!
Iunknown that is really insightful. I am not against DSLR’s, just baffled at how they seemingly swept over the market so fast in my area right after I made my purchase. I guess this is no different than the other technology markets though. The only thing stopping me is budget. I also am a little hesitant about the DSLR’s limited record time, so I would certainly need 2 cameras with tripods and stabilization rigs. Perhaps even a follow focus tool and a pocket dolly? The good thing is I live with two aspiring photographers who could also use the DSLR’s for photography gigs once their skills are up to par.
So it sounds like my best course of action is to get a day job, do any gigs I can for under 1k, and buy my first DSLR + lenses to partner my HMC and then a second DSLR when I can afford it. Iunknown could I pm you my demo by chance and get your opinion of it? nevermind pm system doesn’t work I guess.
- March 7, 2012 at 9:42 PM #195725
Much has been said about HDSLR vs traditional video cameras so I won’t make this too long.
But on my last wedding shoot, I found myself inthe darkest venue I have yet encountered -just really horrible.
My camcorder video came out as I expected, nothing special. But the color and contrast out of my T3i wassurprisingly good usingthe ef-s 55-250mm f/4-5.6 is ii lens zoomed all the way in. If I had a proper prime lens I could have lowered the ISO for even better quality. (Think of it as turning down the gain.)
So if you’re providing your clients with full, uninterrupted ceremony coverage, I believe you will always need the ability to get a single, continuous shot for ease of editing. But I also believe that HDSLRs can, when properly equipped, be an excellent option for wedding videos due to the larger chips and the benefits those sensors bring.
Now, when I say properly equipped, I recommend a tripod and/or a shoulder rig. HDSLRs are, as you surely know, not terribly ergonomic. The T3i and the 60d are the two camera’s I would recommend because they have the vari-angle screen. I shot with a 5D mkii recently and couldn’t image trying to use it as an event camera because the screen is fixed.
I would also recommend youavoid using thecamera mic (of most cameras, actually) unless all other sources have failed. The T3i audio is usable as backup audio only.
- March 17, 2012 at 3:55 PM #195726faqvideoParticipant
I worked on my last Bridal Show couple years ago and had a feeling that new generation of the brides has no interest in getting the video at all. They are generally unfamiliar with the concept of the wedding video. My take is that people want what the others already have. If most of the brides skip on video, than it’s getting much harder to convince them in hiring the videographer season after season, whether you do DSLR or VHS. If in one particular area the wedding video has been in decline, it may be harder to speed it up over again.
@dadkins311 – You may be lucky because of the wedding video culture having been developed in your area by the ones who fertilized the soil before you arrived on it. I see it dying in Ontario, Canada. But it does not mean it’s not going get revitalized again. It most likely will.
- March 19, 2012 at 2:03 AM #195727designcbtsParticipant
It is definitely an art form, for me. Most of my wedding gigs tend to be straightforward affairs – Get the standard shots, some interviews, document the ceremony, etc. Sometimes, there are opportunities that scream to be seized. Like my nephew – With a return from is assignment in Germany looming in his future, he asks his girlfriend to rendevous at their favorite castle. He asks her, on bended knee, for her hand in marriage. It’s these types of videos that you need to make and put in your portfolio. This should help sell your services to others – even if they don’t have a fairytale story…
- April 7, 2012 at 6:09 AM #195728aikidokaParticipant
Nope not us…our schedule is already full for this year.
As for the DSLR comment, we too shoot with Canons 60Ds and MarkII and have seen first hand how that factors in attracting clients. Although the DSLR picture quality/looks is amazingly great, keep in mind that these are just tools..it’s the creativity and editing skills of the person using it that is important. If you lack these skills, it doesn’t matter whether you used a Sony PD150 or a MarkIII.
Having a top of the line hammer does not make one a great carpenter.
@faqvideo – which area of Ontario are u referring to? last i heard from my friends based in the Toronto area, they cannot accommodate all the requests they are getting. One i know is booked for 56 weddings (4K per) already while the other 25 (3K per ). Also your statement that ” new generation of the brides has no interest in getting the video at all” is totally inaccurate. based on our experience and what i’ve seen in my area, more and more brides are placing more priority on their videos. Last year alone, we had 4 clients that skipped hiring a professional photographer just so they can hire us to film their wedding.
- April 7, 2012 at 12:55 PM #195729
Please don’t take what I am about to say the wrong way but I am speaking from over 35 years of mostly successful business experience in various types of businesses. It’s very easy to say “Hey I am in business” or Hey I own a business and every is hurting my success” or “WOW the recession has just killed my business” or the best yet “The advent of the HD-DSLR is killing my business”. Well some of this may or may not be true but I can bet that in most cases the ones using those excuses don’t have business plans, don’t have a marketing plan, nor do they have a business growth strategy. Posting on Craig’s list for business in my humble opinion is lame. When was the last letter you sent out and then followed up on it? Business is all about relationships not selling. The most important thing you can do is build relationships and connections. If you do not have relationships and or connections how do you expect to sell your product regardless of what your product might be.
Honestly, it not the DSLR that is killing promising up and coming businesses rather it’s the notion that all I have to do is post on a few free websites, Craig’s list and wait for business to pour in. After reading your post I have to ask – the work you did for a National account – how often do you follow up with them? When was the last time you talked about how you can help them with their next project. Do you even know what there next project is?
Again please don’t take any of this the wrong way but its reality. Being in business is hard work, every day day in and day out. For me most months break down like this about 20% – 30% is actual photo or video work the rest is what I do to make the relationships and connections to get the work. If people like the work you do and like you, it doesn’t matter what camera you have and many times the price is just nit. There are some very good, quick read books, by Jeff Gitomer that outlines sales strategies that could be very helpful.
As for your business drying up after a year – well that to me is easy. First, most businesses that fail do so during their 1-5 years. They start out with great beginner’s luck and do very little to drive new opportunities to create money in the bank. At some point along the way the beginner’s luck dries up and there is nothing in the pipeline to drive the cash flow and business and cash flow takes a nose dive. Second, what are you doing today to drive your business tomorrow, next week, next month, in six months, and next year? Do you have a marketing budget or even a marketing plan? If you do not have a planned strategy on how you are going to drive your business, once the business you have gotten from family and friends dries up so will your business. Do you have list of potential businesses and or contacts that you market it to regularly? What local organizations are you a member of? Do you network with others in business? Business opportunities need to know you exist. By listing on Craig’s list, sure you will get some work, but you are not going to get the big dollar corporate accounts that pay your bills for months – if you think so you are only kidding yourself. Third, being in business is hard work. It’s not like the infomercials, magazines or Amway portrays it to be. You have to work hard to be in business – especially in the photography and video business. Lastly, just as many have posted – you either need to have another job or some source of funding until you get up and really running with leads in a pipeline, cash in the bank and a shoot schedule full requiring you to hire help.
Please don’t take any of the above the wrong way. It’s reality and its time for a reality check. Feel free to drop me a note with any of your business questions. Like I said – I have over 35 years of very successful business experience in various type of businesses. You win some and you fail at some but in the end you have to be having fun loving what you do and doing what you love.
- April 7, 2012 at 8:12 PM #195730
- April 9, 2012 at 1:40 PM #195731
EarlC – you said in one sentence what took me a few paragraphs but what you wrote is so SPOT ON the the point I was trying to make. It’s all about marketing your product and or services. SPOT ON man – if you don’t market it really doesn’t matter what equipment you have or how good you are if nobody knows you exist how can you expect to make a business out of it.
- April 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM #195732
Sorry I have been MIA for awhile, I kind of figured this thread had died but am happy to see it was revived with more helpful information. A little ironic update, it had been quiet since I posted until I got a call for a wedding on one day and 2 days later a referral for another wedding on the same day at the same time, doh! Instead of throw away the extra cash I am now putting together a secondary team to shoot the other. Why couldn’t they have been a day apart though lol…
MediaFish, I appreciate your experience and there is a lot of truth in what you say, although none of my business as of yet was due to family relationships. As for the corporate accounts, I was in touch with them but it basically ended with “we will let you know if anything comes up” and I made sure they got plenty of business cards when I shipped the product. It was more of a local branch of a national corporation though. I understand the need for being persistent but I always fear I will turn them off by being too forward. I guess my main question to you would be if you were only bringing in a few thousand a year at first, where would you start this marketing campaign? Every bridal show wants at least $600 for a booth with no guarantee of a booking. Adwords and wedding sites want about $60-$300 a month again with not guarantee of a booking. I just don’t know where to start, any info on that is greatly appreciated. I will not deny that I am new to this, but I do enjoy it when I have the work.
As for the comment that it is not the tools but the user that matters, that is most often the case but not when people want that depth of field look and there is no reasonable way to provide it in a rush with the HMC150.
- April 17, 2012 at 11:32 PM #195733JackWolcottParticipant
Where to spend the marketing dollar is always a question and there’s no single good answer. A fact-filled web site is a good starting point, however. Not just “We shoot weddings; call or email,” like so many sites we see today, but a site that a bride finds worth landing on, with lots of links to the accoutrements of the wedding that every bride needs. Take a look at our wedding link for example – http://www.videoccasions-nw.com/vowedwed.html. We have this on our site even though we don’t do weddings. It enhances the URL in Google listings and it’s a reason for brides, wedding planners, etc., to visit and stay on the side.
Put your picture on the home page. There are hundreds of wedding videographers out there, but only one YOU. And in the long run it’s you — your charm, personality, artistry and technical competence — that you’re selling. Many people who come into our business say “Wow, you look just like your picture!” It’s a great ice breaker.
Also be sure to have the location of your business (city and State,) your phone number and email address on the home page. There’s nothing worse than having someone have to hunt through an index to figure out whether or not you’re nearby. And being nearby matters to lots of brides and grooms.
Plaster the URL to your web site everywhere: on your car, on your business cards, on your email signature, etc.
The other thing to check out is free, or nearly free, bridal directories on-line. Our company is listed on quite a few of these and we average 15 to 20 hits a month, even though we say in our promotional material that we don’t shoot weddings. We generate photo montage business, however. More importantly, it keeps our name in front of people looking to purchase video services and it creates additional Google-worthy links.
Finally, network like crazy. Get to know local photographers and fellow videographers. Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Business Association — all of these bring you in contact with people who are spending money in town and who know lots of others in the neighborhood. Let everyone you meet know what you do, what kind of video services you can provide, and make sure you exchange business cards with them.
I think all too often small business people sit in their lair and wait for customers to come in, rather than looking at everyone the meet as a potential customer. Every woman you meet is a potential customer, either as a bride, the mother of a bride or someone who knows a bride-to-be.
- April 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM #195734birdcatParticipant
OK – My $0.02 here – My step-daughter recently got engaged and is plowing though all sorts of things – magazines, TV, bridal shows, etc…
One vid guy told her she won $1000 off their $5000 package and she got all excited (at least she did come to me to ask if I thought they were any good).
Bottom line is I will pick someone whom I know and trust (and pay for it) but there is no dearth of venues to showcase your skills to drum up business – If you’re a wedding person, folks are flocking to these bridal shows and there is ample opportunity to present your skills (bring a DVD of your best work and show it there). DVD’s are cheap – why not leave a couple of dozen at local bridal boutiques? As Earl has pointed out before, buy some good data on brides-to-be and send out postcards with links to your reel.
As Jeff (MediaFish) pointed out (any my wife constantly reminds me) work is WORK. There are scads of books out there pointing out methods to make a business successful – the common thread is you have to have a written plan and be willing to make the sacrifices in your time and energy to put it in play. Is it hard – you betcha – Can it work – If you want it to and make it happen.
- April 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM #195735
Jeff – one suggestion about wedding shows etc. This has worked for me many times in the past for various business endeavors. I have gone to these shows as paid customer. I buy an entry ticket and walk the floors – I talk to everyone. Most times never mentioning who I am or what I do unless asked. However, every single person I talk to I give a business card and tell them if they have questions or concerns on how to proceed (with whatever it is photography, video, event planning etc) to give me a call – that I don’t bite and don’t charge to just chat. Normally, between 5%-10% of the people I speak with either call, email or drop a message on our website. Of that number we get some level of business from approximately 80-85% of the ones who contacted us. In fact, in the late 1980’s when I owned an electronics supply and assembly business – I did this at a trade show in Tampa and landed a deal that lasted 3 years and paid for 4 employees. So like I said you have to work at it, think out of the box (i.e. I cannot afford a booth at the show – how else can you get to the show and talk to attendees? Become an attendee. If you are short on cash – what are the things you can do that are inexpensive or free that will put you in contact with people? Offer a rewarding finders fee for referrals that actually book – there are so many creative things you can do – the key is you have to do them.) Connections- all types will be what drives your business. Become creative – what sets you apart from the rest? What makes people want to deal you instead of the competition? When you figure those two things out and capitalize on what sets you apart (what makes you better) you will have more work than you know what to do with.
- April 23, 2012 at 2:13 PM #195736PabloParticipant
I am not from US, but I can tell you that the situation is similar in my country. A wedding party is getting more and more expensive and besides wealthy people others just try to cut cost anywhere they can, and video is a good place unfortunately.
In my experience, trying to sell only the video production service is quite complicated. Most successful people working at weddings sells both photo and video in a package. This is more convenient for the marrying couple for price and also having only 1 provider.
Try to partner a photographer to sell a package rather than video-only service.
Also, being also an serious-amateur photographer I feel that people tend to give more importance to the wedding photos and the video. They use the video to laugh for a time just after the wedding, but within the years they prefer the photos, so they allocate more budget to the photographer, and if they don’t have money they ask a friend with some skills to shoot the video.
Moreover, now consumer electronics are getting better and better, and cheaper, so skills aside the quality of a good consumer video camera is good enough not to spend in a pro. Also, NLE is also very handy with Movie Maker or Adobe Premiere Elements. With some imagination, time and reasonably artistic sense many people can edit the video with good results (at least for them).
In the past, a pro photographer or videomaker just had to go and take the stills or the footage. Now, to be competitive you have to take the stills and footage, have a live view of your work during the party with wireless connection and an assistant, make a live wedding summary for the end of the party in real time editing, tweak the material in PS so the brides mother looks like in Cosmopolitan, special effects in the menus, and so on. People dont want to wait 2 or 3 weeks to see the material anymore. The concept is fast, now and better. Sooner, they will ask for a 3D wedding video.
In my experience, to make real money from weddings you must provide your service to wealthy people, but for doing that you must be among the top 20 studios and a have a good investment, offering the photo and video plus all the fireworks. Targeting to average becomes a very pricing competitive. Ill do that but most for the experience and to have a plus income but not for living.
- April 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM #195737D0nParticipant
This is what the wedding industry is reduced to in my area…
Someone cold calls me, and I don’t know who reffered them…I tell them my price. They hire me, great they don’t, great. Either way it is long hours, low pay for the worst clients.
I advise people that if you are looking to pay less than $1400.00 you’d be better off buying a decent camera or two and getting friends and family to shoot it for you…
you’ll likely get the same or better results as a bargian videographer or photographer, and even then if the work is lousy, at least you got a decent camera or two out of the deal to console yourself with.
The industry is dead except for the occasional high end clientel that get me by word of mouth. There is little you can do in terms of marketing to get work in an area where bottom feeders have devalued the percieved value of the work to the point that brides want hollywood quality filming and editing full event coverage, for $350.00.
- December 27, 2012 at 11:57 PM #205391marcofreeParticipant
Once they say, "I'll talk to my fiance", that's just an excuse not to call you back. And, really you know this already. You can have the best advertising and packages but unless you know how to close the deal, you'll be forever scrounging around doing discount video shoots and begging people to let you shoot their wedding. More than anything, you'll want to work on your sales techniques. Study on how to close a sale to hook the client in. Forget basic package and go for deluxe as that could be what your clients want. Market to non-traditional 'brides' including second timers and divorcees who are going into a second or third marriage. Offer something different than what your competition offers.
- January 8, 2013 at 3:13 AM #205578jonathansmithParticipant
You should try to make an attractive website with all the testimonials and your work. If you have already done that, then try to promoto your website online because most of the clients today taking help of web for hiring any service. This might help you a bit.
- April 23, 2013 at 11:56 AM #207071OLD_SCHOOLParticipant
Hello, I'd like to chime in here and say I am a wedding videographer with a fairly successful business in California. And, NO I dont use DSLR. I use SONY FX1000's and SONY Z5U's. That is my preference. I love the way they handle, I love the RELIABILITY of these Professional CAMS and I love the flexibility they give me when shooting various events. My wedding films come out GREAT!!! Cinematic picture quality, High Definition crispness and sharp vivd colors. The brides love my work. Its all about what you make of your business, how you market it and how well you know your competitors.
The introduction of DSLR's into the market is not the reason why you arent making money!!!
You must understand that technology in this business moves forward rapidly. You may buy a Panasonic XDCAM one year and then two years later it is obsolete!!! The key is not to try to keep up with the latest and greatest gadgets out there but to make the equipment you have WORK FOR YOU! When making initial purchases of equipment, be cognisant of how rapidly technology moves. Purchase equipment that has legs. What I mean here is to purchase equipment that will last and give you useful life duration. My equipment is 3 and 4 years old but still KICKS ASS. Also dont worry too much about the DSLR's larger chip and the ability to make its films look cinematic.
This can all be done in POST. A good NLE like Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and Adobe After Affects is all you need to produce quality videos that will rival anyones!! Its all about editing technique, shooting and marketing yourself.
As I am writing this, a faxed contract for a $2000 wedding video is coming over my fax machine. Literally, I am not lieng. Its gonna be a 2 camera shoot both wedding and reception at an outdoor venue! The California weather is great these days. I have 3 more weddings lined up between now and August. I do this part time. I have a full time 9 to 5. The extra 20 to 25K a year I make part time really helps to supplement my full time income. When I retire, I plan on taking my video business full swing.
MARKET..MARKET..MARKET. I cannot stress this more. Trust me, the video companies that have gone 100% DSLR are pitching the DSLR against what we use. It is a battle and literally a war. There are pluses and minuses to both technologies. And I make sure my clients understand the differences between the two, and you know what, they end up coming to me any way. Im not sayiong DSLRs are bad because they are not. I may move in that direction down the line, but for now I am quite content with what I currently use and I am making money!!
- June 27, 2013 at 1:26 AM #208033DavidParticipant
Its a pitty for videographers that people are tending towards do it yourself recording. I'd say it's a never dying business a decade ago but the scenario has been changed. Digital SLR's made every individual a videographer. Rather than hiring photo/videographer, people prefer to hire audio visual equipments. I used to hire from this site: http://www.avdj.co.nz/.
- July 15, 2013 at 11:45 PM #208273GRX21Participant
I'm not trying to rant to the choir, I just want to explain my position.
I think it would somewhat depend on where you live. Unfortunately in my area, the wedding video business has become pretty dead over the last few years. While I do agree about hard work and marketing in general, let's face it, there have been plenty of businesses which have closed due to changes in the landscape- not because the other elements weren't there.
We started in 1996 and have done too many weddings on DV to count. We got referrals like crazy because of our affordable price and artsy fully edited work. But, It became a hard transition between DV and HD because of expense and variations in client equipment. It's a really tough ravine to cross if the business isn't there.
The last few weddings we did, we actually poured money into advertising to boost our client base in order to cross the ravine into HD. Among other things, We took out a half page in a paper in full color! Well, we didn't get 1 call from this advertising. I don't mean some probes that didn't work out, I mean not 1 single call. Our full color professional circulated wedding show materials generated nothing.
Meanwhile, we did have some personal contacts with brides so we present to them. Nothing.
These brides did not hire ANYONE for video production. They paid $4000 for a photographer but had no professional company at all for the video production.
I attended one of these weddings, the bride had someone using a little camcorder and rickety tripod in the back. Let's face it, even a professional would have trouble getting a good production out of that sort of equipment. You still need a professional tripod….etc.etc.etc
What these brides are failing to appreciate is the gigantic difference in hiring a professional or using Joe Smith. They don't recognize the difference between this and getting a shallow depth of field extreme closeup during the vows or even an excellent recording of the vows. Heck, one of my microphones costs as much as the camcorder they were using at that wedding.
I'm not exactly sure where this is coming from other than the fact that video is just being cut. It's a low priority. It's a shame, because they only realize just how much they messed up by not using a professional after the fact. Then, it's too late.
After 12 years, I'm jumping ship to photography. I know for a fact I can get clients much easier than doing video production because it's easier to aquire them at a lower price point. You need little real experience to get work if you're charging half as much. It's much easier to grow prices than video because there are many times more clients. Work wise, it's probably easier than video production (considering sound and editing) if you're already an experienced videographer with equipment costs about the same or less.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day it will be the mid-level, lower budget level brides who end up taking the brunt of this change. We used to love to give them a spectacular edited production for around $900. But, Because so many brides skimp over video, the experienced video companies that were affordable are leaving the market- like us. This will leave only $2500 video productions, productions by inexperienced companies or something your friend shot that is horrendous to look at.
It's a very sad day indeed. But for those of you still cranking out wedding video in your area, I wish you well. I just don't think it works everywhere.
- July 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM #208289JackParticipant
Since I took down an introductory video that popped up and played on my website when it opened, the work has dropped off.
It hasn't bothered me that much as I've had a regular client for some time, so the rent has been getting paid.
But people want to see YOU and what you sound like. They want to know you're not a weirdo that's going to be at their wedding just as much as wanting to know that you do a good job.
- November 17, 2013 at 9:03 PM #209156
I've been working with DSLR and video for about a year and a half, and decided to take the step from hobby to pursuing full time work creating wedding films and commercials.
I've had the chance to create a few films for free, but finding clients willing to pay just seems to be a great struggle. I'm 100% committed to working my butt off, but don't know where the most effective uses of my energy lies.
Should I just keep creating films for free to build my portfolio, and wait for clients to approach me? Where are in your experiences the best places to advertise video?
Finally, I've been reading that having a great website is critical. If you have a minute, would you mind checking out my site to give me your first impressions on navigation/branding/film content etc?
Thanks so much!
- November 17, 2013 at 11:56 PM #209157GRX21Participant
You have a nice site. I think it looks really good.
This is only my opinion and perhaps in your area it is different.
If you are going after business, I would do that and not target brides. I mean, I would not split up my energy chasing brides because I consider it a poor market in general for video. This is especially true with the higher priced packages. I just don't think there are tons of brides in the market for higher priced wedding productions (or video productions in general). Heck, we have trouble moving $1000 wedding productions – 10 years ago it was easy.
I did some investigation by inquring at a ritsy local reception site. What I found out was that many brides aren't getting productions and the ones that get them get it as an add-on from the photographer. Makes sense. The bride is going to hire a photographer regardless, when they add video on as a side item it's a no brainer. Never mind the fact that it may not be top notch. Educating brides is a lost cause.
Now, you mentioned DSLR, if you have shot weddings that's a different story – you can add the video on like everyone else. Otherwise, I think the wedding video by itself is a hard pill.
I would target business video and legal. Unless you have big bucks for advertsing, you're going to have to take the hard road and just introduce yourself and get the word out. If you go that route I would move the wedding advertising on that site to the background. If I'm a business, I want to work with a business video company, not a jack of all trades. Wedding video upfront just puts someone on a different Peg. Just my opinion.
I guess the funny thing about this whole situation is next time someone asks you if you want to watch their wedding video, you can be assured that the correct answer will be a responding NO.
- November 19, 2013 at 1:44 PM #209169Laguna HikerMember
I live in California, and I wouldn't do weddings at gunpoint, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt. Out here, weding planners control the business. If the bride has hired a wedding planner, then the odds are better that she has a budget. So court wedding planners, and be prepared to pay for their referrals, one way on another.
Second, don't sell the wedding video–sell the experience. The bride is a movie star–it's her moment, and she'll pay for a Hollywood experience. Get a clapboard, and hire a crew, even if you don't need one.
I was shooting B-roll at the Mission San Juan Capistrano a couple of weeks ago, and there was a wedding shoot going on at the same time. Three shooters, and I'll bet two of them had never held a camera before–they were props, and their job was to hover around the bride, making her feel glamorous. They had a clapboard, and a director, and they put on a pretty good show. The bride loved it–it had the 'Disney princess' feel that brides seem to really enjoy.
How good was the video? Who knows–that's not what the bride was paying for. She was buying the show. Nothing wrong with that (at least, not until the bride walks into my shot); it's just not my cup of tea.
- March 30, 2015 at 12:36 PM #212005
What you need to do is go directly to the brides. Facebook has a powerful tool that can laser target brides. We use it everyday. It's called the search bar. On a desktop computer type engaged people and click search. The results will show all of your friends that aren engaged. Message them. After that message all the people that you are friends of friends. You can also type "engaged people that live in(your state). Let me know how well it works for you.
- May 18, 2019 at 5:00 AM #72016167
- December 5, 2012 at 9:35 PM #205163jammartineParticipant
I agree with you. Today's generation is not interested in their wedding video but I think wedding video is very important part of a wedding. With the wedding video we can memorize our wedding events in future which are very precious in everyone's life.
- November 23, 2013 at 12:24 PM #209203
Thanks GRX – sure appreciate the feedback, and its definitely given me a lot to think about. Its tough because even aiming at a business market – what kind of a company wants to hire someone with little or no portfolio? Any suggestions for getting started in this realm from the ground up?
- November 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM #209204
Very interesting concept – I think you're really on to something here – that a wedding (and the video in particular) are very much about the experience, maybe even more than the actual product itself!
Thanks for your feedback – any suggestions on what kind of work is rewarding and pays decent if weddings are the apparent bottom of the barrel? I'd love to do something that gives me some creative liberty – which is why weddings beat talking head interviews for artistic fulfillment.
Any thoughts are sure appreciated!
- March 24, 2015 at 11:59 PM #211977cookie52Member
Hello, want to tank you for the advice even thought It was not directed directly to me. I haved a pason for doing wedding videos. I have done 4 for famly with a small Pan Dv camcorder. They liked what I did and were very pleased. I defently would not pass them off as professional. But I injoy taking the video and making a story with the raw video footage. As my pastor of my church says alot, If you do not have a plan then you you will plan to fail. I know what I am getting into is not easy and it will come with its problems and its rewards. You gave me alot to think about. I am new to videomaker forms, and have learned alot. I do belive one needs to be thick skined when working with the public. I am a EX chef for3 1/2 years orking wit th public. If I shoud ask a quesion on this fourm I what some one to te me what I need to hear not what I want to hear. thanks again for sme great advice.
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