Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to read up on the blog today.
As a 20 some odd year wedding videographer I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years with regards to the wedding industry and of course wedding films and videography too.
I was recently meeting with a couple that booked with me and they asked me what makes me different that others out in the industry and I didn’t really need to think about that much and told them it was my experience and value-added services that are unlike any other in the industry.
And while I was right, it’s not something that I’ve really talked about before on the website so while writing another blog this morning and drinking my coffee, I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about what makes me truly unique in the wedding industry. So, let’s begin!
Beyond the obvious, having 20 years of experience in wedding video (26 in the media business altogether) I have things that are value-added that clients love.
Perhaps one of the first things that couples are shocked by is the low cost of my services. Well, I used to charge a lot more and that’s when I ran the business full-time, I relied on weddings and video to pay the bills. Well, today, I operate just part-time and I don’t need to make $3,000+ a wedding film, I can charge half of that and still make some money.
But beyond money, I film because I love it. Today in 2019, I don’t film all the time, only taking on 15 clients a year and I turn away clients if I don’t think they’re a good fit to work with, something I wouldn’t have done in 2015 when I was full-time in the industry.
Sadly, I get a lot of gripe from the wedding video industry of my pricing being too low and how I seem to undermined everyone else that is trying to maximize their profits. Well, sorry, I’m not here to help you make as much money as you can, I take the first 15 clients that book me and I hand off the rest to my competitors and actually help them out by giving them leads and removing myself from the table each year once I’m booked.
Yes, I get it, make as much as you can with as little weddings to film as possible, thats what every wedding vendor it told to do.
Well, I’ve been doing this off and on for 20+ years, I’ve made my money from it and I’ve made a career already, I don’t need some newbie or someone trying to make a career of it to tell me how the industry works and what I should be charging. Telling me to raise my rates or stop telling people I’m more affordable than you tells me one thing, I’m doing something right.
That’s called competition, if you see me as a threat, then you’re not looking at it the right way, be unique and be different, hence today’s article.
I offer a great service at an affordable price for couples and a price where I can make some money too. I don’t need to over charge in order to be happy with what I’m doing and ironically if you asked me five years ago, I’d be seeking the most expensive clients so I wouldn’t have to do as much work. Today, I film because it’s fun and very enjoyable again.
Unlike my competition, I’m very ‘in-tune’ with the wedding industry here in Southwestern Virginia. Not only do I film weddings, but I also collect data, LOT’S of wedding data. I often run polls and surveys each year to help me develop my marketing but more importantly, to know the trends of couples getting married and to help tweak my video and films as needed too.
That’s something that no one else in the industry will do either. Now, it might not sound like something worthwhile, but I will tell you that I’m much more in-tune with the wedding industry than most.
I’m Very Exclusive
When I decided to get back into the business in late 2018, I decided I didn’t want to do it full-time again, but rather limit myself to just 15 weddings a year. And I’ve stuck to that too. In fact, in June of 2019 I stopped accepting clients for 2019 and I turn clients away if they are getting married in 2019, I’m taking applications for 2020 clients and I already have 4 in the books for next year too.
While there are plenty of others out there, I’m exclusive in what I do and what I offer. Since I’m only taking on a limited number of clients each year, I’m in higher demand that others in the industry.
My Satisfaction Guarantee
I also provide a satisfaction guarantee for every service that I perform. That means, once you get your film, you have 30 days to ask for a minor change and I do it for free. Maybe you don’t like the music that I selected for the feature film or maybe there is a clip in the video that just rubs you the wrong way.
In either case, I’m happy to make good on the video one time at no charge. That’s something very few wedding filmmakers offer, but I do.
My 10 Year Replacement Warranty
Something that no other wedding videographer in the nation does, I keep a master copy of your wedding film(s) in two locations, my fireproof safe and in my personal computer cloud.
If something ever happens to your media, I’ll replace it one time at no charge. Now, it might not be a fancy memory stick like you ordered, but I will provide you guys with another copy for keeping.
That’s come in handy for a few clients over the years too, theft, fire and even dogs eating their wedding video, yup, I’ve dealt with that too.
But listen, this is a great way to provide you the added -peace-of-mind that another copy of your video is out there for safe keeping. And trust me, having your video on YouTube or Vimeo doesn’t always last either, that happened to a bride just recently where it was taken down and I had to upload it to another website for her.
Most wedding videographers will not have a master copy, they might keep it on YouTube where you can watch it with ads, wedding photographers too will not keep all the files they have for you either, so its an awesome way to help secure your keepsake.
0% In-House Financing
Another thing that I offer that others don’t, is financing for those that want it. Hey, I get it weddings are expensive, I should know I’ve been married, and I work in the industry.
In fact, many of you will be shelling out $25,000 or more for your wedding day! While wedding video isn’t a priority like wedding photos and you’re not going to be spending as much on a video or film, forking out a 30-50% deposit can be a task.
I truly get the sentence ...”we’d love to have a wedding video, but only if it’s in the budget…”
So, I’ve taken the liberty to offer an alternative to make it more affordable than one might think. You can learn more about that here.
One of the other ingredients that makes a great wedding vendor is having backup plans. Hey, life happens, and I understand that, so it’s important to have backup plans. With all my contracts I state that if something happens and I can’t make it I will have another videographer company film in my place if needed. And if that’s not enough, I have two part-time people that can also fill in at the last minute.
In filming for 20 years, that’s never happened, and an ‘emergency’ has never come up.
But, for that added-peace-of-mind, its great to know there is a backup person/plan in place if something does happen and have it on paper. It helps protect couples if needed.
Additionally, having backup camera gear is just as important. I carry with me additional gear in case something happens to the gear that I have. While I’ve never had to use the backup gear in that capacity, it’s always nice knowing that you have backups onsite in case something bad happens.
Being More than a Camera Operator
Being a wedding filmmaker is much more than just having a cheap camera, slapping it on a tripod and calling yourself a professional. It takes a lot of experience both technically and aesthetically – being able to connect with the clients, providing a service that is top quality and able to be affordable too.
Filming weddings is actually a lot of hard work, we’re running around the wedding day gathering all the footage we need and also trying to setup for the ceremony, the reception and all along the way, trying to seek out those best shots for the wedding video too.
Everyone can take out a smartphone and point it at a couple, some people can slap a cheap DSLR on a tripod and call it a wedding video, but very few can combine all the technology, experience, the subtle yet powerful clips as well as devotion to making a great wedding video.
Helping Others & Philanthropy
Each year I provide a couple that has little to no budget a free ceremony video, it’s a way to help give back to the wedding community for those that simply can’t afford to have a great wedding. Beyond that, I run a small 501c3 non-profit call Blessing Bags, making hygiene items for homeless, children in poverty and families that simply can’t afford much at all.
Part of the proceeds of each wedding I film goes to the non-profit and helps my friend Phil who is a humanitarian aid worker in the Middle east, supporting those people in dire need. I use my wedding films to help others locally and abroad and I do my part to help others as I can. While most wedding filmmakers are in business to make as much money as they can, I take a much different approach.
When you hire me to work with you and your wedding you are helping support others that you don’t know across the world, both locally here in Virginia and elsewhere. That’s something that no other wedding professional int he nation offers either.