The Pandemic Videographer Pivot with Rob Adams
Sitting in a coffee shop a few years back I was having a conversation with an industry friend about the wedding industry as a whole when we got on the topic of the health of our operations. Not to brag, but things were going remarkably well in my videography business (her photography business, also) and I made some comment to the effect of, “I really feel that the wedding industry is recession-proof and somewhat impervious to up-and-down swings in the United States economy.” It was a fact-statement based on my more than 20 years of working in weddings and running my own successful venture for about 3/4 of that time period.
Little did I know that a few revolutions around the sun later I’d be sitting here in that same coffee shop writing this article admitting to you that I was dead wrong. Although it wasn’t the economy that changed and forced my business into utter disarray, it was this pandemic. A nationwide health crisis was the furthest thing from my mind when discussing the potential dangers to which our industry was vulnerable. I have to admit that I’m disappointed with myself for not considering it as a potential threat earlier; but here we are.
We’ve all had to pivot. We’ve all had to make pivot our schedules, our working and personal lives, our very way-of-life. We’ve also had to make new projections while coming up with new ideas just to stay afloat in this new paradigm of the wedding business. Here’s how I personally have taken a once unshakeable model for success and revamped it into a business that is not just surviving the Covid-19 crisis, but thriving in its midst.
My wife, photographer Vanessa Joy, said to me while I was complaining about the numerous cancellations and postponements we were both facing, “You should start reaching out to planners, event coordinators and venues about doing virtual events online. You know, leverage those connections.”
She was right. I set straight to work making a list of the wedding planners I’ve worked with in the past. Some of them I’ve built great relationships with and others were former brides. I wrote a blanket email and proposed my services for live-streaming, citing my years of experience working in the broadcast industry and running my own wedding-videographer-centric LIVE multi-camera video podcast for a time. I had lots of experience in the live-to-web space and I knew it could be of value during this whole debacle.
In the meantime, I sent those same planners micro-wedding packages that had trimmed-down offerings for video coverage and shorter highlights films targeting smaller in-person weddings. These types of events were eventually allowed in mid-summer 2020. These packages were less hours and less of a finished product, but the same high quality and creativity. Out of the 13 weddings that had postponed to 2021 or 2022 due to Covid-19, I booked six micro-weddings straight away. A couple of them were current clients who were modifying their plans and a few of them were couples moving their dates entirely but still having a smaller micro-affaire in 2020. So, in essence I was able to earn even more off of these clients because they are having a whole separate event next year for which I’m getting top-dollar pricing. In these cases, we simply kept the original package contract for the 2020 event and are charging a premium hourly rate for the coverage needed for the future event.