How to Succeed in Videography
Three hundred weddings later we’re still going. I’ve learned a few things, forgotten a few things but earned a good living with a camera. If you want to do the same, here are a few things I’ve learned that may help you get going.
1. Year one. You’ll likely make a little money, but you’re planting your referral tree. Eight years later, I have weddings that link to my first year. Charge as little as you can. Over-deliver every time. If you can keep a day job and still over deliver.
2. By year two, 25-50% of your jobs should be referrals of some sort. The clients you over delivered to in year one will sell you to their friends and family. You’ll want to do a lot of advertising, but remember your videos are advertising you. Each client can be a brand ambassador.
3. As Seth Godin mentioned in a blog post, if you want to make money as an artist – Make Beautiful Work Fast. Turnaround time is a factor, especially if you’re going up against people who take six months to a year. Don’t waste time getting your work out.
4. Exercise. Your back will take a beating. If it doesn’t, then you’re overusing the tripod. Thankfully cameras have downsized, but it’s still a workout to hold a camera for 8 hours and a variety of awkward positions.
5. Use a time tracker when editing. Know how long it takes you to edit a video. If you don’t know that, you can’t price correctly, and you’ll likely get burnt out too fast. I use Caato.
6. Don’t be an Early Adapter. Your favorite video, film or photo was taken on technology that exists today. The high markup will cost you profits. Technology does not make you a better cameraman.
7. Rent first. Try out cameras, lenses and other gear with lens rentals.com or similar. I prefer Lensrentals vs. Borrowed Lenses.
8. Turn down non-wedding events, birthdays, anniversary or sub-contract them out. Focus on narratives.
9. The photographer is your best friend. I have lots of friends in the photography. We work as a team. So often I hear of videographers who get in everyone’s way or monopolize their client’s time. That missed connection may have cost you a $50k over the course your career; maybe more. There are photographers I’ve worked with dozens of times. Those are the days you look forward to working as you do find friends in the business.
10. Stay in touch. If your clients love your wedding work, you’ll pick up their commercial work as well. Wedding Videography is a terrific way to network.
11. Make sure you have at least two cameras going at all times. You’re legally obligated to film your client’s wedding. Accidents will happen, cameras and cards fail, but at the end of the day yo,u need to have a wedding – all of it.
None of these things speak to your creative work.