With so many things happening after the first few whispers of a pandemic drawing close, my mind turned into shambles.
What’s going to happen now? How will my business survive this?
Surviving by staying healthy is simply not enough to go through the coming challenge. I also needed to make sure that my family had financial security. Keeping them nourished and strong was my main goal.
As a business owner myself, I needed to find solutions before I ran out of time. I'm glad I did.
My wedding business was going down
I built my 27-year-old photography business from the ground up. I couldn’t just let it go to waste because of a pandemic.
I was challenged because I knew I needed to find a way, so I made sure to think long and hard about what I was going to do to continue offering value to my clients despite the challenge I was about to face. I was starting to lose my gigs, and every day, the numbers just kept going down. Couples were rescheduling or canceling their weddings. So then, I brainstormed.
One day, I got to thinking about how four years ago, my wife and I would go on a vacation at the Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean. Every single time we were there, someone always got married.
Every wedding always had a photographer around – so I guess joining the bandwagon during the pandemic and getting hired there wasn't an option. One thing that was missing though was a videographer. It got me thinking, “What if someone live streamed this?”
During the weddings I witnessed at the Sandals Resorts, there were usually a handful of people related to the couple who could come to their special union. It was extremely rare to find 20 people there. I knew there had to be a way for people to join the event – and live streaming was the answer.
Is live streaming what I'm looking for?
Before deep diving into the depths of live streaming, I had to weigh everything. What makes it so worthwhile?
Here’s what I think:
- Affordable – Live streaming is extremely affordable! You can run a live stream using your phone, an app, a tripod, and a microphone or two. Unlike professional videography, live streaming doesn’t require too much. You just need to make sure that aside from the gear you already have, a strong and stable Internet connection is available.
- Convenient – If there’s one thing people want, it’s convenience. The good thing is that convenience comes both ways – for the service provider and the couple. Because it isn’t difficult to set up, live streaming service providers don’t need to spend too much time on location. With the right platform, couples can easily send a link to their invitees to watch their wedding live on any device.
- Real-Time Engagement – Unlike usual videos which need to be recorded, edited, and rendered before it gets out in the open, live streaming allows viewers to enjoy the event in real time. Thus, they will definitely feel like they’re part of the wedding even when they’re far away.
- Reviewable – There’s nothing better for the couple than being able to watch a wedding twice.
- Downloadable – Aside from rewatching the precious event, people can also download it. Live streaming is really starting to change how people approach weddings.
The live streaming industry is new, which means that the market isn’t as crowded -yet. This was a great business opportunity for me.
How live streaming weddings saved my business
With all that set, I started conducting further research to know what exactly I was up against and how exactly I could provide something people have never seen before. At first, I tested out different things, and I used Zoom to try how the quality would look like. Per my observation, the quality just wasn’t there and the interference was awful – given how people needed to mute themselves to avoid being heard by everyone else.
It was crazy! I thought there must be a better way to do this. I wanted to try YouTube but didn't have enough subscribers to live stream from my phone and I wanted to keep things simple.
After trying a few alternatives, I ran into this app called EventLive. It allowed me to create a private live stream for the couple and every other feature was worth trying. Once I had a full understanding of the application and what it had to offer, I started finding clients and talked to them about keeping their union safe but reachable.
I started to offer my service for $450, and after that, my business just started growing nonstop. As of today, I have managed to complete 54 wedding live streams since July of last year.
My Streaming Gear
I knew I couldn’t become successful in live streaming if I didn’t invest in the right kind of gear. I decided to work with a simple but very effective setup. My clients love the results and it is as portable as it can be.
For reference, you can watch one of my live streams here.
Here's the equipment I currently use:
- DJI Osmo Mobile 2 – This gimbal is a life-saver. It allows me to move freely during events without recording shaky footage for viewers at home.
- Comica CVM AX1 –This tiny audio mixer includes three 3.5mm audio inputs. It can connect to a battery-powered or dynamic mic, a mic without a battery that requires plug-in power, or a line-level device such as a wireless receiver or a mixing board. There is also a stereo input for stereo mics.
- Rode Wireless GO II – In comparison with the original Rode Wireless Go, this is a significant upgrade. It can be used in a wider range of situations because of its dual channels. It offers better range and signal stability. You could clip the microphone to anyone in the scene or place it somewhere in the scene for sound coming from a more remote area instead of recording the audio directly from the camera.
- Rode Videomic Go – Crisp, clear sound with incredible ease of use. It's also very lightweight.
- iPhone 11 PRO – iPhones have always been my go-to, but the 11 Pro is simply amazing for live streaming.
- Speedify – This (paid) app can distribute your traffic over multiple internet connections so you get the most bandwidth. Channel bonding is automated behind the scenes, which means you don't need to configure anything.
If you want to know if live streaming changed my life as a businessman and photographer, here’s what I’m going to tell you – it definitely did.
Live streaming is here to stay, and more people are going to explore this craft in the coming months. Thus, as early as now, you need to do your research and make the necessary preparations in order to stay in the game and compete with others.