Using the same vendor for both photography and videography/cinematography

From time to time we are approached by couples asking us whether we provide both photo and video services.
Of course we do not, and here’s why.

Let’s start with the pros of having the same vendor or studio providing both services.

1) It is very convenient and hassle-free (or so it seems prior to the wedding). You speak to just one person and you sign a single contract for both services.
Of course you will be shown excellent examples of the work for both photo and video which will leave you doubts-free.
2) You talk to a single person on the day of your wedding.
3) You only need to follow-up with a single person after a wedding.
4) Most importantly – booking all services with the same vendor will usually save you money. Usually not a significant sum, but hey, money is money and everyone wants to spend less.

To any reasonable human the reasons above are definitely will be enough to look for someone who provides both services under the same roof.
There some very good reasons why you would want to think before you sign a contract like that:

1) Let’s start with the fact that a person can be best in one thing only, hence being both a great photographer and a great video guy is virtually impossible. You will always better at one of those, and most importantly – one cannot do two things at the same time. What that means, is that the studio owner will have to hire someone who will do the part he is not so good in for him and as a result the client will most likely get a great product, but only one of them, let’s say photo, and not so good video. One might say – I employ BEST videographers around. Well, if they were the best, they would not work for the studio, they would have their own business running and their name out there.

2) A studio owner can also contract another video studio to do the job just to book the client and sign one contract for both vendors. That looks legitimate, right? It does, however you will not find a single high end studio who will agree to that and here’s why. When a studio contracts another vendor, they lose control of the way product is shot, edited and delivered. The deliver date itself is also a huge issue, since while photographs might be delivered within weeks, high-end video will never be delivered within weeks, and only struggling low-end studio would commit to a single date for both products. A good studio will not sign such a contract, since it means they will have to chase partners to deliver the work they have committed to, however partners in most cases did not sign anything (remember, they are not on the high end and got that job just to have work) and can drag this for months. From a different side a high-end studio will not agree for someone else since that means they will not hold the copyright and won’t be able to showcase the work after (and if they do agree, they won’t invest as much effort as they would into their own clients). It’s life and most vendors who agree to work for other vendors won’t try too hard if they didn’t sign the paper and their name is not on the line.

3) Since you’re working with someone who would have different people working for him/her, they can show you the best piece of work they have for something they do not personally do, but you will never be able to control who will work with you on the day of.

So in the end your options are –
A) Pay less initially and most likely you will get an easy start with probably not so good ending and possible extra payment with your time and sweat when trying to get all the work delivered, or paying actual extra money to someone who will have to fix the mediocre work of not so professional vendor. We see a lot of people who have received a part of the product and chasing the vendor for the other part for months and even years due to the contractors being slow, stopped being in contact or just disappeared.

B) Hire two professional reputable companies who will deliver their best to do what they do best and while you will pay slightly more, you will most likely be very happy with the result, you will be working with the person you have hired, and in case an issue comes up, you’ll be able to address it with a person who is actually responsible for the product.
Great professionals will always be able to recommend other great professionals they know and have worked with in the past, so your photographer will be able to refer a great video company and vice-versa. If you look out there you will probably not find a single well known and reputable company who does both photography and video, however you will find a lot of local small studios who will do anything to get the work, and hence they must be a jack of all trades (and master of none).

I will end this post with one of our favorite images from Yana and Serge’s wedding in Oheka Castle which we blogged last year and can be found here – http://julianribinikphoto.com/blog/?p=17485. Their wedding was shot by a fantastic cinematography company – New York Film Works which we totally recommend to work with, their work speaks for themselves and Jon is a great person to work with.

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