Live streaming has been making waves for years, but it was only during the pandemic when it boomed. Suddenly, people realized they could make use of live streaming technology to broadcast events and stay in touch with their friends and coworkers. Many industries have joined the bandwagon, but let’s focus on one in particular: the wedding industry.
Weddings have come to a standstill during the pandemic. The events require hundreds of people to be there and many of them have to travel to attend. Covid came to change it all. Sadly, the rules that were birthed during the pandemic did not allow huge gatherings, so people who had prepared for their big day months before the pandemic needed to reschedule and postpone their union.
To find a solution, wedding photographers and videographers turned to live streaming to help couples celebrate their union with their friends and family. This time, it was a virtual event. Thousands of couples around the world said "I Do" while their loved ones were watching from home.
To learn a little bit about how they adapted, I reached out to four successful wedding videographers. They have been in the craft for a while now, and can teach me what I need to learn.
Let's hear from Kayla Higginbotham, Jon Dunning, Todd Kwiczak and Abraham Mercado.
What should I know about live streaming weddings?
Kayla Higginbotham's advice
Keep it simple in the beginning. If you do it effectively, it’s gonna go a long way. I was fortunate enough to have people to ask, so find a community that can help you and explore tutorials to learn about it. Don’t be scared. Even your phone is extremely powerful, and EventLive has made it so easy. Be honest and your clients will understand and take a chance on you and your capabilities. See how it goes. Get people to trust you and eventually, you’ll get better at it.
– Kayla Higginbotham, Cub Bear Creatives
Kayla is located in Kansas and explores the area with a camera in hand. Just like the rest of the big four, she is an EventLive user who learned to appreciate its features. She served as a producer and content creator for in-house departments at the University of Kansas. This was where her love for live events started.
She came back to it during her internship, and she was famously called a cub bear because of her hard work and creativity. This was how she eventually named her business Cub Bear Creative, a video production company that has grown over the years.
Kayla's Current Live Streaming Setup:
- Software Encoder: OBS. It's free. Haven't tried it yet? Here's a little post on how to configure it correctly.
- Sony Cameras: A7III x2 + A7SIII. Up to three cameras to provide multiple angles.
- Started using Macbook Pro 2015, then switched to iMac to keep up with multiple video sources.
- Switcher: Roland V-1HD
- EventLive Broadcaster
- Audio: Zoom H6, Rode Wireless Go
- Multiple cables
Jon Dunning's broadcasting experience
No wedding ever starts on time. Thus, make sure you can provide the audience with a fair warning at the beginning of the stream. However, make it a fun experience for them. You can pan out the audience who are at the event themselves and present a slideshow for everyone to see – maybe show the pre-wedding photoshoot and video you created. This will allow people to enjoy and have a good time.
– Jon Dunning, Your Stream Come True
Jon is a telecom guy that ensures people are enjoying their Internet connections. Live streaming is his side job, one which he discovered during the pandemic. One day someone asked him how they could do a wedding even when no one else could come to celebrate with them. He thought about live streaming and tried finding some alternatives he could use.
Jon started with his iPhone and a microphone. He forged partnerships with event planners and kicked it off since then. It was an amazing experience that allowed him to explore and use other equipment to make his service better. He then created his business and named it Your Stream Come True.
Jon Dunning's Current Live Streaming Setup:
- DJI Osmo Mobile
- EventLive App
- iPad Mini
- Mavic Mini
- Slingshot Studio: Allows him to do a 5-camera setup if needed.
- Rode Lavalier Microphone
- Linksys WiFi Extender
Todd Kwiczak's wisdom
Learn to understand your customers. They are also stressed about the current situation, so the best thing you can do is assure them that everything will go well. On the other hand, make sure to hold up your end of the bargain and do your best to be as creative as always. Find ways to improve your service and continue to connect with others to learn more about live streaming.
– Todd Kwiczak, TKSHOTZ
Since 2007, he has been photographing weddings full-time. He built a fantastic team to level up their game over time and as he gained more experience. Currently, he works for TKSHOTZ in Calgary with a very dedicated and talented crew.
“I’ve been in photography forever, and I loved editing the videos”, Todd said. He became an expert in finding all the nooks and crannies to hold the best weddings and perform beautiful events which he would later document. He then teamed up with vendors and venues to create packages for weddings.
Todd Kwiczak's Current Live Streaming Setup:
- Canon Cameras: EOS R5 + EOS R6
- Lens: Canon 15–35mm
- Camera accessories: Diffusion Filter
- EventLive Broadcaster
- Weather protection: Umbrella attached to Tripod Clamp
- Stabilizer: DJI RS2 Gimbal
- Audio: Rode Shotgun Video Microphone + Rode Wireless Go
Abraham Mercado's live streaming tips
As a videographer and, now, live streamer, you have to know the places you’re going to for the event. Sometimes, the venue might not have any signal to send a text or connect to the Internet. These challenges will allow you to prepare for the event. Thus, before the final celebration takes place, do a sweep of the location a week or two in advance, and secure everything you need to ensure a successful union of the couple you’ll be streaming.
– Abraham Mercado, Lotus 7 Films
He runs Lotus 7 Films, where he tells meaningful stories through wedding cinematography and video marketing.
Abraham chose OBS as his streaming platform of choice in the beginning. The videos were streamed on YouTube, so he faced copyright issues with his first venture. In order for everything else to keep falling into place, he had to make a change immediately the night before the event. It was one of the challenges that Abraham had gone through and learned from during his first live streaming experience.
Abraham Mercado's Current Live Streaming Setup:
- EventLive App
- LiveU Solo
- iPhone 11 Pro
- Audio: Rode Wireless Go II + Tascam DR-40
- T-Mobile T Magenta Plus Plan
- AT&T Portable Hotspot
Live streaming events: a business opportunity
Live streaming is such an amazing field for photographers and videographers to jump into because the competition is scarce. It's not a saturated field -yet- which makes it a fantastic business opportunity.
For some videographers, it's been the main source of income since the pandemic started. Everything indicates that it's not going to stop. Couples are looking to live stream weddings even when most guests can attend in person. They want to include relatives who can't make the trip, and even invite people that wouldn't make the final guest count.
As you might have learned today, there are professionals who boosted their profits live streaming simply with a phone, a microphone and a tripod. Others decided to use the gear they already own, and some photographers and videographers had to acquire only a few pieces to complete their setup, like a Gimbal or a wireless mic.
If you haven't tried live streaming yet, there hasn't been a better moment in time to adapt your business. Don't wait until it's too late.