When it comes to finding vendors for your wedding, it is perhaps one of the most stressful parts of planning. Will they be on time? Will they do a good job? Will the food suck? So when it comes to finding the right wedding videographer, there is always a good solution but you have to know what you want and know what to expect from what you can afford.
Simply put: you get what you pay for. I’m writing this article to help any brides-to-be who may agonizing over the budget, what to cut, what to spend… So I’ve organized this into three different ranges of skill and cost; You have “The Entry Level/Friend”, “The Pro” and the “The Artist.” A videographer in any of these three categories may be right for you, depending upon what you are looking for and what your wedding budget can handle. The price range fluctuates according to experience, skill level and the market area. Keep in mind that the estimated investments listed below are generalized for the south in the Texas area and may differ in other market areas. So let’s take a look at what is out there and give you a clear direction in your search for the best wedding videographer for you.
The Hobbyist or Entry Level Videographer
(Packages starting at $200 – $800)
These entry level videographers have often been dubbed the “weekend warriors.” These are individuals who either have another full time job or are just starting out. They started out filming a friend’s wedding, had fun and decided that they want to make some extra money on the side. Everyone has to start somewhere and most videographers started at this level.
RISK: Every videographer learns valuable lessons of “what not to do” simply through shooting more and more weddings. If you choose to go with this level of videographer you do run the risk that they will learn just such a lesson on your wedding. They are also more likely to use entry level equipment and there may be a long waiting period before you receive your completed wedding video.
REWARD: The most obvious reward is the lower price point, as shown above this reward brings greater risks. The other reward is that if you are lucky enough to find a new videographer (making their way up from entry level to professional) then they are going to be passionate about your wedding. They have something to prove and need to get their name out there so they may be willing to do more for you at a lower price point then the recognized professional. (note: this up and coming videographer will likely be younger and have only been in the market for a few years).
TIP FOR THE BRIDE: If your potential videographer falls in this category make sure you have a clear and concise contract which outlines exactly what you are getting and when you will be getting it. You are risking quality of product and service, but you might just find the perfect match for your needs and budget. Remember, if the videographer could be charging more, they would. There is a reason they are a “good deal.”
(Packages starting at $1,000 – $2,500)
These videographers have moved past the hobbyist level and are now making a decent living at their craft. They have worked out their “what not to do” lessons on past weddings and are perfecting their craft. They realize that a happy bride is critical to their business remaining successful, therefore they will put the bride first. A professional videographer will also invest their money into getting up-to-date equipment and it will also work in your favor that this level of videographer has also been around enough vendors to know most of the people they are working with. You are not likely to see this videographer in a fist fight with your photographer!
RISK: Your risks are far lower with this level of videographer and as a result, you will pay more. You do run the risk that your videographer will not put the same passion into your wedding as the up-and-coming hobbyist. This risk can quickly be assessed simply by meeting with the videographer face to face.
REWARD: Your videographer will have more experience, better equipment and will put your wedding before everything else. They will create a video that should exceed your expectations. You should feel well taken care of with this level of videographer and most importantly, you will be able to get a faster turnaround on the final video.
TIP FOR THE BRIDE: If you can afford it, hiring a videographer at the professional level is a wise investment. Take some time and watch their samples online, they will likely be a good representation of what you are going to get.
The Artist or Upper Level Videographer
(Packages starting at $2,500 – $7,000)
If you are looking for a world class video, a truly hollywood masterpiece in which you get to play the lead role, then this is the level of videographer for you. These are the videographers that fly all over the world filming and their work truly is amazing.
RISK: You are the canvas for their art. This level of videographer is going to produce amazing work, but might be more concerned about how good the final video is going to look then how your wedding day unfolds. You also run the risk of an artist not “playing nice” with other vendors.
REWARD: You will have an amazing piece of art in which you are the star, your friends and family will be in ‘awe’ of your amazing video.
TIP FOR THE BRIDE: Do your research, if you have this sort of a budget for video then your videographer most likely won’t be local. Follow wedding blogs and find the style of a videographer that you like best and track them down.
PS: Plan on booking them in advance, at the very least, a year before your date.
Lastly, do your research! You will get what you pay for. Be realistic, if you have a budget of $1,000 don’t expect your videographer to produce the same quality as an $8,000 videographer. Find someone that is a good match for your budget and needs.
Also, when you think about hiring a videographer, NEVER go through a massive company that contracts out their work as it will always be sub-par. The most your videographers will get paid is $40 an hour when you are paying the company nearly $2,000. Always go with a smaller company as the videographers will 99% of the time be the ones who actually gain something by doing a good job.