How to Succeed in Videography Updated

Published by Christopher on

Almost nine years ago, wow, while waiting to get my tires changed I wrote down some things I’ve learned about videography.  I thought it was time to update.

We’ve filmed nearly 500 weddings and still going, although slowed to work on other projects.  I’ve learned a lot, forgotten some, but managed to earn a good living with a camera. If you want to do the same, here are some insights that may help you get started.

  1. Year One: Initially, your earnings might be modest, but you’re planting seeds for your referral network. You may not yet be charging your worth but you’ll need to book clients.  Many of these clients would not have booked videography unless they could get someone at a discount.  All you have to do now is wow them.  A decade later, I was still getting clients linked to my first year. Charge reasonably and always over-deliver. Maintain a day job if possible to ensure financial stability while you over-deliver on projects.  I’ll add, work as a second shooter with professional photographers and videographers.
  2. Year Two: By now, 25-50% of your jobs should come from referrals or folks who saw you on social media. Clients you impressed in the first year will promote you to their friends and family. While you might be tempted to invest heavily in advertising, remember that your videos are your best advertisements. Each satisfied client is a potential brand ambassador.
  3. Efficiency: As Seth Godin pointed out in a blog post, if you want to succeed as an artist, you need to “Make Beautiful Work Fast.” Fast turnaround times can give you an edge over competitors who take months to deliver. Don’t procrastinate on releasing your work. Figure out your workflow.
  4. Health First: Videography is physically demanding. Regular exercise can prevent back injuries, especially if you’re frequently handheld shooting. Modern cameras are lighter, but it’s still a workout.  If you work fulltime and shoot two weddings a weekend it’s taxing.
  5. Track Your Time: Use a time tracking tool during editing to understand how long it takes you to edit a video. This is crucial for setting the right prices and avoiding burnout. I recommend tools like Toggl or Clockify.
  6. Tech Investments: Don’t rush to buy the latest technology. Your favorite videos were shot on technology that’s already available. High-tech gear is expensive and won’t necessarily improve your skills.
  7. Rent Equipment: Before purchasing, rent cameras, lenses, and other gear from services like Lensrentals.com. This can be more cost-effective and allows you to test various equipment.
  8. Specialize Wisely: Consider turning down non-wedding events or subcontract them. Focus on weddings to build a strong narrative portfolio.
  9. Network with Photographers: Building relationships with photographers can greatly enhance your work environment and lead to more business. Avoid stepping on their toes during events to maintain a harmonious work relationship.
  10. Maintain Connections: Keep in touch with your clients. If they loved your work at their wedding, you might be called for their commercial projects. Wedding videography is an excellent networking opportunity.
  11. Backup Equipment: Always have at least two cameras running. You’re legally responsible for capturing your client’s wedding. Prepare for equipment failure to ensure you capture the entire event.
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Christopher

Christopher lives in Vermont with his wife, twin boys, corgi. He has owned a film production company, sold slot machines, and worked for Tony Robbins. He writes in his magical tiny house and sometimes writes in his blog at chrisrodgers.blog