I’m going to be completely honest. I’m the type to go to a Texas state fair and check all available food booths for the cheapest batch of fried Oreo’s to purchase. What can I say? I don’t want to get ripped off; I work hard for my money. If I make an investment on something, I want to know why it costs the amount it does, especially if it’s more than I budgeted for. This is why I can see where couples can feel alarmed whenever they hear the cost of video and photography (or any service) for their wedding day. I feel like I’m very transparent with my business, so I’d like to share a bit of behind-the-scenes on how videographers come up with their quotes. I cannot speak for all videographers, but I can at least speak for my own and maybe this will give you some insight for other business as well!
Every season is not wedding season. According to the Knot, in Texas, fall is the most popular time to tie the knot and winter is the least (pretty sure it’s because of the weather, but that’s my guess). That being said, I have to prepare financially for those slow seasons. The amount videographers charge is spread throughout the year as an average income. If I don’t save enough for those slow months, I’m in trouble.
Before I can pay myself, this list needs to be taken care of first:
- Camera, drone, mics and other equipment like lighting, stabilizers, and batteries.
- Assistance, Insurance, and Contracts **Do not use a videographer who doesn’t have insurance or a contract! Big No-No!**
- Advertising and Website – so you can find me!
- Adobe software and song licenses – gotta have Ed Sheeran!
- Travel expenses – gas, hotels, etc
- Education – continuous
- USB flash drives/subscription to Dropbox
- Taxes and other random day-to-day costs
Once equipment is paid for, that’s not the end either. They need to be upgraded every 5-6 years because we all know just like our phones and computers, times are always changing and you gotta keep up! So as I figure out how much I need to charge my client, I have to make sure all these expenses are in the equation as well. I wish the list wasn’t so long, but I want to make sure my business stays trustworthy and I give my absolute best.
Time is very valuable and since I have my own business, I can work twice a week right? No way. If I worked that little a week, I would have some angry clients wondering where their video was. The hours are longer now (at least 75 hours/week) than when I actually worked for another company, but the benefit is I can plan out months in advance the days I want off to go on vacation or holiday. As much as I would love to provide $500 videos for my clients, I simply can’t afford the time to take care of the things listed above. I would have to work double to keep my business running and worse than that, spend less time with my husband and 10 month-old.
$500 videography is possible, but there are some risks. Of course everyone knows you risk your video quality, but there are other precautions to keep in mind like insurance and contracts. You want to make sure if a drone is flown into your venue or a guest trips over camera equipment, there’s insurance to pay for damages. It doesn’t matter if your videographer costs $100 or $10,000, they need to have insurance and a contract. You want to be sure they do show up on your wedding day and you will receive a video after everything is over with. I’ve heard horror stories of vendors not showing up or running off with couple’s money; it’s the worst and it breaks my heart every time. So when searching for a videographer (and this goes for all) here are some tips on what to ask:
- For examples – highlights, teasers, drone footage, etc.
- How music is chosen – do they choose or do you and do they have a license to those songs?
- What their insurance covers as well as a contract.
- What all video you are actually given – do you receive your whole ceremony, dances etc?
- To meet in person (at least a phone call) – make sure they are a legit person and that you mesh well with them.
- If the owner will be filming your wedding – it can sometimes be conflicting if you like the owner, but they send someone else to your wedding.
- About any hidden fees or expenses.
I hope this relieved a sense of curiosity some may have when they receive a quote from me or any other wedding professional! Preparation, expenses, time and personal earnings are everything a wedding professional or any small business needs to put into consideration when setting up their prices. With that being said, I absolutely love what I do! It’s a lot of work, but you are all worth it! Everyone has a story; not just the fame and fortune on television. You are my inspiration and it’s why I love doing what I do.