As an NYC Wedding Videographer who leaped mainstream to luxury years ago, I’ve seen countless other videographers do it as well—and not always successfully. Here are the 6 most common mistakes wedding videographers make when trying to move to the luxury market so that you don’t make them yourself. Keep reading to discover what we’ve seen, heard, and learned in my 10+ years in this industry.
1. SHOWING WORK YOU DON’T WANT TO SHOOT
We know you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. Your portfolio should be curated for the job you want. Show the work you want more of.
This can be hard when you are starting and don’t have a portfolio bursting with your dream projects. If that’s the case, edit: Less is more. Make strategic decisions to build a portfolio that reflects what you want to shoot in the future, and will attract the client, planner, or budget you’re after.
Choose a video editing style that reflects the style of work you want to be shooting from your past projects rather than presenting full galleries is a short-term solution as you build up your portfolio with work you know will attract your ideal clientele.
2. NOT COMING FROM A PLACE OF VALUE
It might sound harsh, but offering a videographer you admire or a planner you want to work with a cup of coffee to ‘pick their brain’ isn’t bringing any true value to the table.
In fact, it’s doing the opposite, distracting them from their important work. Reconsider your approach; be respectful and mindful of people’s time, schedules, and true needs. Perhaps offer headshots, family photos, offer to assist, carry a videographer’s bags, or even offer a unique skill that you have for free. Offer to give, give, and give again before asking for anything in return.
3. CONFUSING MONEY WITH VALUE
If your desire is to be considered a luxury videographer, don’t add a zero to the end of your current pricing and wait for clients to come knocking. Start by evaluating your true value and what you bring to each project. Be honest with yourself about your level of experience and your point of difference. Spend less time focusing on what you charge and more time on specifically what you bring to each and every wedding, shoot, or moment with a client. Charge what you deserve to make for your skillset and time, not only what you think makes you competitive.
4. IGNORING YOUR POINT OF DIFFERENCE
We’re at a pivotal moment in the industry: the client is more aware, educated, and spoiled for choice. There are more working videographers than ever before. The risk of videographers shooting in the same style, clients requesting work that isn’t authentic to the photographer they’ve hired, and imitation has led to some styles becoming oversaturated in the market. Couples have more options than ever before. So, what do you bring to the table? What do you do well that stands out? If you’re not sure, start asking questions of your past clients, colleagues, and peers. Listen to the words they use to describe your value and experience, and take note. Remember, value and price should rise simultaneously for long-term growth and sustainability.
5. ASSUMING ALL LUXURY CLIENTS ARE THE SAME
There are degrees of delivering a luxury wedding experience to a client, and not all luxury is created equal. Learn how to brand your form of luxury.
Consider some key luxury brands we all know, invest in, follow, and love. They are all well established in the luxury space and serve their own unique audience with a brand-specific experience. For instance, think of Apple, Vera Wang, and Tiffany & Co. While Apple’s die-hard followers (raising our hands here!) might differ from those of Tiffany + Co, both brands are still serving a unique customer base in the luxury space. Your form of a luxury experience and brand shouldn’t look like someone else’s. Define what you offer, who you serve, what value you bring to them, and then deliver the very best. To some, one form of luxury doesn’t feel “elegant” enough; another’s luxury event may appear over-the-top or “trying-hard” to some.
It’s important to meet clients where they are. Some luxury clients will be willing to jump on Zoom with you; some want to have their planner handle all the pre-wedding interactions. Both routes are perfectly acceptable. The more “luxury” you market, the more you need to meet your clients where they are and custom-tailor your client experience to meet their preferences, especially when it comes to communication.
Know your place in the luxury market. The word “luxury” is not a synonym for “expensive,” nor is it a synonym for true value.
6. RELYING ON A PLANNER, A STYLIST, OR YOUR CLIENT
Many videographers dream of the day when they finally get to work with a luxury planner or stylist and have beauty laid out before them. Sure, working with elite planners offers you (the videographer) an opportunity to capture elevated beauty and details, but the stakes, the expectations, and stress levels rise proportionally.
Don’t rely on the planner to tee everything up for you, they are far busier than you probably know. Do your homework, be helpful, and always be positive. Be a problem solver and a crisis manager, as well as a calming force. Leave your nervous energy, complaining, and negative vibes at home. Remember that it’s not the planner’s job to help you do yours. While many are incredibly professional, kind, and see the value in a photographer’s job being easier, don’t assume this is their responsibility. Be grateful for any support you receive.
Lastly, make the effort to perfect and style your shots. If your surface isn’t ideal for an invitation, get resourceful; if a bride’s strap, train, or hair needs to be put back in place, step in. Don’t overstep, but don’t look back at your images with regret, either. It’s not anyone else’s job to perfect your images but you.