Beginner - sort of
I'm trying to get started as soon as possible as an event videographer, at first to make some money on the side but with the hopes of it becoming my only source of income, a few years from now.
So far I did a high school play and a wedding this year, but those were done for friends that know I'm not a pro. Now I want to get serious about it so I need to learn more about it. Is there any recommended reading for tips on how to plan for the different types of events, books, websites, etc? I'm not an absolute beginner when it comes to video taping or recording, I've been doing it for 2 decades as a hobby and my two events this year have been praised by the customers, but I would like to get more educated since I intend to make it my profession.
You may want to look at this
We don't shoot weddings, we do corporate video. However I can tell you that we tried it once and it's a royal pain. Don't forget that everything happens live, and you can't call for take two. My suggestion would be to shoot a few weddings for free or at cost to get experience and create a demo reel.
You demo reel if done well will help you get more business. The same holds true for events.
[Greg Ball] "We don't shoot weddings, we do corporate video. However I can tell you that we tried it once and it's a royal pain. Don't forget that everything happens live, and you can't call for take two."
Having shot one wedding so far (for free for a friend of mine as my wedding gift to her) I totally agree. I did however had a great time doing it and editing it.
[Greg Ball] "My suggestion would be to shoot a few weddings for free or at cost to get experience and create a demo reel.
You demo reel if done well will help you get more business. The same holds true for events."
I was thinking the same thing myself, however not so much for free but instead at a very reduced price. As I understand a regular wedding is normally charged about $1000, right? So I guess I would charge like $400, especially since I may not be a pro yet, but I'm far from being just a guy in the audience that grabs a camcorder and shoots and then the footage shakes all over the place. My friend was very happy with the video I made for her.
I also plan on delivering on Blu-Ray for those who request it, besides the DVD of course. Can anybody tell me how much more are event videographers charging for Blu-Ray as part of the package?
Sebastian, you may also want to look into an organization called WEVA.
As far as your pricing and your career track, what I suggest is, you first apprentice yourself to an already-established events videographer, as their second-unit guy and assistant. Go out under their umbrella, with their gear. Learn by doing and observing and you will get paid a little something, not usually a lot, but combined with the experience and contacts and reputation you build, it should be acceptable to you. The guy using you as an assistant knows you won't work for him forever and may become an eventual rival. But this won't matter if you don't make a fool of yourself while he's using you. Don't hang out your own shingle for anybody but relatives until you have done your time under a sponsor or two like this for at least a year. Your lowball pricing can become a huge trap preventing you from charging more later, plus it depresses the market for the rest of us, which earns you no friends in the production community and makes life tougher for everyone plus yourself when you want to charge a realistic price later. If you take my advice and when you finally emerge onto the market, you will bill more and be worth it.
Good advice, but a year is too long for me to wait. I need to launch my business as soon as possible for more reasons than I can list here, but among other things I just bought a bunch of equipment and I need to get back that money soon.
That statement reveals a lot.
Dude, you need a business plan before you need to buy any more gear. And the plan has to be more than "step one: earn a lot of green". A fast pass over my crystal ball reveals this probability: you will be selling one or both of those cameras later this year at a loss. I am not saying this to insult you, I am telling you about something I have seen happen over and over to people in your position. Too often people think buying the cameras is all you need to start a successful video business. I had a successful wedding video business on the side for five years or so and NEVER owned a single camera. Because I had a plan and a strategy. I rented the camera I needed just for the days I needed it. I didn't have to pay off the credit card, worry about depreciation, or obsolescence. While I didn't charge very much for my shoots, it was over 95 percent profit, no expenses. That's a plan.
[Mark Suszko] "you will be selling one or both of those cameras later this year at a loss."
Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I have enough confidence in me and my skills to maybe not know a 100% that that will not happen, but that it probably won't. I do have a full time job that will allow me to survive without having to sell my equipment, although in this economy nothing is for sure, but if I'm going to be that negative then I might as well not even start a business on the side.
It's not like a bought a ten thousand dollar camera anyway, one camera I already had and the one I just got was less than $1500, plus some extra money in accessories that will allow me to do a better job. Like I said, I may not be a pro with years of experience, but on the other hand, I'm far from being a guy that just bought a camcorder and wants to shoot a wedding holding it in his hand.
Personally I think you have the right idea. Charge less and let the client know that you are charging less to gain experience and to build a client following. It sounds like you've already shot one wedding that is getting good response so you are already ahead of other people in that you have something in your portfolio to show. Also, you've got the gear. Here are websites that I used while getting into the Wedding Videography industry:
These should help you a ton. Good Luck!