Dear 80s’ Baby, I Need a Wedding Videographer Stat!
Dear 80s’ Baby,
When my daughter got engaged a year ago, a very close family friend verbally agreed to be responsible for the photography at her wedding. He said he would take pictures and have someone there to videotape it for us as well at no cost. Going off of his word and a small budget, I quickly accepted. Everything was fine up until about two weeks ago when this “family friend” changed his mind about providing the services for free and wanted to charge me a ridiculous amount despite knowing what a small budget I’m working with and knowing my family since Moses wore short pants. Needless to say there was a big blow-out from it and now we are left with no photographer or videographer for my only daughter’s big day. How can I find a professional photographer and videographer to fit my small budget at the last minute? What questions should I ask before I hire them so I won’t be disappointed in the end? I need answers ASAP. Did I mention the wedding is in 18 days?Stacy B. Chicago, IL Dear Stacy,
Did you say you need a photographer and videographer for your daughter’s wedding in 18 days?! Any one who has had a wedding or at least planned one can tell you that there is so much to do and so much that can go wrong. Based on my experience, whenever something is going to go wrong it usually happens at the last minute and you end up scrambling faster than a chicken with its head cut off trying to make it right.
My first bit of advice is to enlist an assistant that will help do some of the groundwork for you. I would suggest a reliable member of the wedding party or maybe just a family member you can depend on. Next, take a quick review of your overall budget and figure out exactly how much you will have available to spend on photos and/or a video. Once you come up with a solid number, determine exactly what services you want to have. Do you want pictures or video only or both? It will make a difference when it comes to price.
Here’s an idea, think about what parts of the day you want to capture. I videotaped a wedding where the client only wanted me to record the wedding ceremony, which only ran about 30 minutes long so I only charged them a quarter of what I normally would have charged for a 3 or 4 hour wedding. The photographer or videographer may be willing to alter their price if you eliminate certain time consuming moments you can live without, for example guests arriving and mingling.You may also be able to negotiate to have only the most important moments after the ceremony captured like the pictures of the Bride & Groom and the wedding party, the toast, first dances and what not. You can use your own digital camera or smart phone to take the candid photos at the reception. I mean how many pictures of your guests doing the electric slide do you need to pay for?
Another suggestion is to ask any and every person you know who has either gotten married or know someone who has gotten married in the last 3 to 5 years for recommendations. Make sure they were happy with their product. Also, look to your wedding venders. They will almost always know of a photographer or videographer for hire and may even consider bundling services. Although I have to warn you that if either vender gets a commission for providing references their testimony may be bias so be mindful of that.
Now here is one suggestion that may require a little more work. Looking online. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that it will be a breeze to find a photographer or videographer on the world wide web at the last minute. Despite their being thousands of wedding planning websites not all are created equal. I know of a couple that are pretty reputable, like the National Association of Professional Wedding Videographers, videographersonline.com and The Knot just to name a few.
When conducting an online search, write down a good laundry list of potential candidates to make sure you have options. To weed out the undesirables, call the ones on your list to see if they can possibly meet your needs. From there you can make an appointment for an in person consultation with the ones you like, to discuss the very important details. This is also your time to bargain with them to see if they would be willing to lower their fee. Might I even suggest bartering? Hey don’t knock the power of a good meal okay! I have even shaved a few dollars off my rate for some greens and corn bread. No but seriously, think about what you may have to offer your photographer or videographer. They may be open to the idea.
Finally, here is a short list of questions you can ask potential photographers and videographers to avoid buyers remorse.
- What kind of camera do you use? (Write the name down and Google it)
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have and/or what is your payment schedule?
- Exactly what services do you offer? Do you offer price packages?
- How long will it take to deliver the finished product? Can I see a rough draft before it is complete?
- Do you have any work samples I can look at now?
- How will you record the audio?
Good luck and God speed to you,
The 80s’ Baby.