3 Ways to Prepare Your Wedding Photography Business for Adding Videography Services
Are you a wedding photographer wondering what it would take to add videography services to your packages? On one hand, it may seem like a no brainer; a simple way to increase value and profitability. On the other hand, it can seem very daunting and overwhelming! In some ways, the two disciplines are very similar, but in others, they are vastly different. So, is it possible? Can a photographer add videography services and be successful at both? Yes! We’ve done it, and we are so grateful that we made that leap. We want to take a few minutes to chat about the topic, and maybe help out any photographers that are leaning in that direction.
Let’s take it back for a minute. Rewind our business about 5 1/2 years. We were working consistently photographing weddings. We were a 2-person team, with me (Erin) as the lead photographer and Dan as my 2nd shooter. Dan has a background in video production, but not in photography, particularly with DSLR cameras. So, at that point in our business we were building our client base, raising our prices as we went along, working on marketing, networking, shooting skills, and everything else that comes along with the growing years of a wedding photography business.
So, as we began booking more and more weddings, we found ourselves working alongside videographers at most of them. Often times, these two teams of professionals are working against each other, both trying to get the same shots at the same time. We began to wonder if there was an easier way.
That’s when it hit us.
Things would go so much smoother for the bride, groom, and vendors if we were all working together, on the same team, and with the same purpose. And with Dan’s background in video production, my growing wedding photography business, and advances in cameras that could now easily shoot both, it just felt right for us to merge our skills and begin to offer photography and videography packages for our clients.
Ok, now fast forward back to today. We have learned a lot over the last 5+ years. It has not been an easy road. Going into it, I truly thought it would be as simple as just “flipping the switch” on the back of the camera and shooting a few video shots throughout the day. I laugh at that now, because I truly had no idea what it would take.
But, I have a very patient (and forgiving) husband, who literally taught me everything I know. And I can say now, that I am a photographer that confidently captures and edits video and audio on wedding days and beyond. As a team, we have made it work, learned from one another, and come out better for it. Not only that, but we have been able to bring immense value to our clients, charge more, and be insanely proud of our consistent, quality work. All without that awkward tension between photo and video on the wedding day (at least most of the time, haha).
So, all that being said, we’d like to help you, the photographer, learn how to do this too! And maybe without the 5 year learning curve! ;) Today, we’d like to let you in on three of the foundational elements of our business that we think were imperative to making the leap to adding videography. So, before you go out and buy “the best” audio recorder, or drop a bunch of hard-earned cash on that intimidating editing software, take it from a photographer. Start here.
1. The Skillz.
Ok, that’s my inner dork making an appearance. ;) But seriously, even though this may seem obvious, you need great camera skills. You need to know photography technique, camera settings, lighting rules and tricks, and everything that makes you a confident photographer. Learning video and photography at the same time is just too much. Get good at one, then circle back around and add the other one on.
But, we believe that even more important than camera technical skills, is the ability to think on your feet and creatively problem solve under pressure. This is a trait that is difficult to teach. Learning how to record audio, pose couples, build creative packages, and work in non-linear editing software is all manageable. Those skills can be taught and learned. But being able to anticipate the needs and events of a wedding day, make quick decisions based on unexpected situations, and understand your camera well enough to know how to capture what you need with what you have is incredibly important.
2. The Brand.
Before you begin adding to your offerings by trying to break into a new market, you need to have an established brand in your current one. I’m not saying you have to be leading the industry or be shooting 30 weddings per year. But you do need to know who you are and whom you serve. You need to be bringing in clients, paying your expenses (plus some), and have some good relationships with other vendors in your market. You need to have a system in place that serves your current clients well, and with consistency.
Remember, a brand isn’t just a pretty logo and matching website. A brand is who you are as a business, and the message you communicate to your clients and potential clients. Adding video to your wedding photography business is a pretty big endeavor, and it is more difficult to build a brand at the same time.
Now, that being said, it can be done. We did it. You can build a cohesive brand while adding new major service offerings. Just know that we weren’t learning video from scratch. Dan had 10 years of production experience at that point. And looking back, it probably would have been more responsible of us to have built a solid brand first. But, like they say, hindsight is 20/20.
3. The Why.
Ok, here’s the key. The kicker. The number one thing you need to have figured out before moving forward in bringing on video as a permanent offering in your business. You need to know WHY. I’m not talking about your business why. That is important, too, of course. You definitely need to know why you’re in this business in the first place. Why you do what you do. What gets you up in the morning.
But, I’m talking more about knowing and iterating why the heck you want to start on this crazy road of bringing video into your wedding packages. It’s a big commitment of time, finances, and effort. So a reason of “everyone else is doing it and I’m afraid I’m going to be left behind” is not a good why. Figure out why you’ve got this itch, and if it is going to truly benefit your business. Is it going to make you love what you do even more? Trust me, you don’t want to get eyeball-deep in this thing and then hate yourself for it. You want to love it.
Want to know our why? Our why five years ago was the same why we still talk about with our clients today. It is still the reason we believe this was the number one best decision we’ve ever made in our business. It is still what keeps us moving forward.
We create both high-quality photography and videography because we believe a cohesive team with one goal and one end-product serves our clients best by fostering security, teamwork, and peace on the wedding day, and is the best possible way of telling their entire love story.
So, after this beast of a blog post, do you think this may be a next step for you? Are you excited and energized about serving your clients in this unique way? Do you feel like you have all the above boxes checked, and want to know more? If you’re looking to go farther, we have a free gift for you! Click below to download our free guide to the 5 Keys to Adding Videography to Your Wedding Business: