DJs taking pictures and videos at events have been a hot topic on a few of the social groups I’m a part of. So I thought I’d give my take as a DJ that has made a huge effort to include media on our website and marketing materials. I’m also going to give a few tips for others that are looking to include pictures and video on their websites and how to step the fine line without invading the space of professional photographers and videographers.
Looking For Professional Services? Hire A Pro.
First of all, my company is not in the business of monetizing photography and videography services. I’m a firm believer that just like hiring a professional DJ, you should hire a professional photographer and videographer to capture the amazing moments of your wedding day. I have dabbled into these fields as an amateur, and at best my skills are slightly above average when it comes to obtaining footage and editing. These are not services we specialize nor charge for. Whew! Glad we got that out of the way. Now I can tell you why we take pictures and video and why you should too.
My DJ company takes pictures and videos at our events. GASP!
The sole reason for taking pics and vids of our events are for marketing purposes only. We are a part of an industry where the client doesn’t get to usually ‘try us out’ before they purchase our services. We’re not a commodity that you can test for a while, and change to something else if you don’t like it. We are a one-shot service, that has to get it right the first time. The only way for me to show what we do, and give our clients a snapshot of our services, are with visual media and content on our website and across social platforms. These pictures and videos are about Cutmaster Music, not our couples. Remember, that’s what they’re hiring the pros for, not you.
I want visualizations of our couples and their guests having a great time. I want to show how our gear and equipment look in different settings for visual appeal and aesthetic decision making. I want to show the skills of our DJs on the microphone and in the actual mix of our events. I also want show how all of this comes together to create amazing moments and use it to sell our services. I’m using pictures and videos to win over my next client.
How Do I Get Footage Without Making The Professionals Upset?
This is actually pretty simple and can be summed up in one word: relationships. I have formed great relationships with most of the vendors we work with and here’s our approach.
If I know the photographer, I might ask ahead of time if it’s ok if we also take pictures. I always advise our staff to stay completely out of the way of the paid photographers. Our viewpoint will always be different than the professional’s because our approach is with our marketing in mind. My goal with photography is to get about 10-20 great party pics and create a small gallery of the day. I want these posted within a few days of the event for maximum exposure. My exposure is not to take away from the photographers and I don’t think it affects them and their business in any way. Most photographers don’t post galleries for viewing until weeks or months later. I like to give a snapshot of how much fun people had at our event that same weekend, which is no different than guests posting pics immediately afterward on social media.
Option #2 is what we currently practice, which is to obtain pics from the pros. I have a few photog friends that actually give us free access to their albums of the event, albeit weeks afterward. I’ve even had photographers put our SD card in their camera and give us pics at the event to use and post right away. I always choose to use pro pics over ours. First of all, it solidifies vendor relationships by posting their pics and giving credit by linking to their website. Second, their pics will always be better than our amateur staff shots. Any time I want to post still pictures, I currently almost always use pro pics.
This area is where we currently spend most of our time. My company has moved away from photography and mostly shoots video for our marketing and website material. I have also formed great relationships with the top videographers in our market, but I only take video footage if the couple does not have a videographer. I do this for a couple of reasons. About 80% of our events don’t use a professional videographer. So, it’s not going to kill me to not film those 20% that do. This means I stay in the good graces of the videographers and I can take footage from those other 80%.
Getting footage from the videographers is a little more difficult than photographers. Most probably aren’t going to feel comfortable giving you their raw footage, especially if you are not paying (rightfully so). And I personally would want the raw footage because I want only the footage highlighting my company. And chances are good, that there isn’t going to be a ton of footage I would want or could use. That is not the professional videographers fault because it is not their focus. They should be locked in on all aspects bride and groom, not other vendors. This is why we train our team and hire ‘media gurus’ specifically for our shows. I want the focus on my team and how we rock events.
Before we take any footage, we always obtain permission from the couple through our contract. I want to make sure I have the couple’s blessing before my team starts snapping away or rolling tape. Not all couples allow us to film, which is perfectly fine with me. If they choose not to allow us to take footage, I just omit that clause from our contract. Once again, we’re not paid for any of this and I view any footage as a bonus for my company. We do so many events that allow us to film, that it makes no sense to fuss over the few that don’t. Usually those couples only want professional media taken at the event, which I totally respect.
It’s A Win Win For All
I think the way we obtain media footage is a win for all. If there is no videographer, then having a short highlight clip of your reception is really cool for the client. This is a bonus for them since we don’t charge for it and the quality is decent. If they do have a videographer, we don’t film. I like keeping those vendor relationships intact and always refer clients to the pros when looking for those services. Anything we can film is a bonus for us. I like to show the cool things we’re doing at Cutmaster Music and my team is always going to be looking through the lens of the entertainment, which is a different focus than the hired professionals focusing on the couple. At the end of the day, if you play nice with the professionals, have respect for their work and services, and they don’t have to start looking at your DJ company as photography/videography competition, they will typically be cool with you taking and posting footage. That’s been my experience and we have hundreds of event footage in both picture and video galleries.