How Much Does A Wedding Videographer Cost?
Its easy to see package prices and think to oneself, “Wow, wedding videos are expensive?!”
So let me take it upon myself to explain why I’ve priced myself as I do, which to me, is a very affordable rate considering my skills, service, and product delivery.
Ok, putting it out there, the gear is expensive. One, likely two HD cameras (of higher end capability), two tripods, wireless mic & audio bag, a slider or GoPro for enhanced viewing, decent PC for editing, possibly a drone etc. It adds up, into the thousands. And unlike photography, alot of the technology evolves quite rapidly. Up until 2012/2013 many of us were still shooting SD, making the leap into full HD delivery. Heck, when I began Vimeo had better HD streaming than Youtube (1080 vs 720). Now, 6 or 7 years later we’re looking to make that switch again into 4K. This upgrade will include not only 1 or 2 cameras, but also another massive upgrade into computer workstation to remain capable of 4K video editing. (Hint: Its a resource hog)
I’ll be as honest as I can be here, it’s a hard day. Labor intensive. 2 cameras, 2 tripods, bags for each, multiple locations, storing bags here, there, carrying them with you, leaving them in the corners of certain locations, fear of tucking them away to prevent someone tripping over them, theft etc. Think of bridal prep in a hotel, wedding ceremony at a church, photo sessions at a park, and wedding reception at the venue. Now also think unlike photography, who can miss the first minute of the first dance, toasts etc, or change their batteries and make certain adjustments during the ceremony, for video its non-stop, no retakes, every second needs to be captured and therefore we need to be ready to go before each important moment begins. This includes interaction with the Priest/Celebrant, DJ, Maitre De. All the while lugging around 2 camera bags, 2 tripod bags, audio gear and possibly a slider, camera stabilizer or other tricks to enhance your wedding video. For 8-10 hours, it’s physically demanding.
Professional or Amateur. Experience pays off. As one who has shot over a hundred weddings, I’ve encountered a lot of situations. Various lighting conditions, being forewarned of strict priests for ceremonies, outdoor ceremonies moved inside at the last second due to rain, challenging photographers, even a venue fire the night before. I’ve battled thru and never had issue with any wedding, venue, or vendor, but I can’t say the same for others. I have capable equipment to handle any and all situations. And I know, a couple may be thinking ‘Can’t they just buy a camcorder at Best Buy’. The truth is, no. Just as, it’s been my experience one should be guarded against hiring a lone wolf with ‘Just a DSLR’. A cameras look, or body, is less than half its capability. The lens, both how good it can be in low light, as well as how far a zoom it has, matters more. I once second shot a wedding for a national vendor, more like co-shot. The other videographer, whom I’d never met before, simply had a short distance 35mm lens. For an outdoor ceremony, he stood in front of the front aisle, practically in front of the groom parents view. Very odd to say the least. I shoot using zoom lenses, as well as sunlight/ND filters to optimize for brighter outdoor shooting, plus XLR for audio input and monitoring.
Yes, your wedding video needs to be edited. Editing isn’t some special effects/ Star Wars style enhancement, but its about trimming up and setting to music to your entire day. No one wants to sit thru 4 hours of random shots and retakes with no music, and its my belief that one wouldn’t want their wedding day edited down to a simple 20-30 minutes either. I provide you with both a 3-5 minutes highlights trailer, for you to share with family and friends, but also a full length edited version of your day. Broken down, it would typically include parts of the following:
- Bridal/Groom Prep
- First Look/Pre-Ceremony
- Family/Bridal Party Photos
- Venue Setup/Interior
- Introductions/1st Dance/Toasts
- Cake Cutting/Garter Bouqet Toss
- Dance Floor
Think of it as chapters of a book to your day. I don’t edit or shorten any of the important events. Mostly trim up the prep, photos, and dancing sequences for timing. Generally speaking, the final edit comes out to 60-90 minutes, with a large factor being the length of the Ceremony (10 minutes or 45 minutes etc).
I never giver out raw footage. Reason being I’m sure you wouldn’t want it. For me to shoot a couples cake, or brides wedding dress, I may shoot it 3-5 times. Starting with a wide shot or safety shot, then going in for slow motion shots. Overall the shots may last a couple minutes, knowing I’ll only be using a few seconds of it. Repeat this for shots of a wedding dress, rings, invitations, outdoors of church/venue, cake, seating arrangments etc. But whats better, a ‘Bang Bang’ few seconds of your pretty wedding dress, or watching me attempt many shots of your dress for 2 minutes.
Secondly, on occasion I may venture out for cocktail hour, or maybe there’s an outdoor firepit of sorts, where again I may shoot a bit of guests where they may be talking. I have no idea what they are talking about, nor their relation to the bride & groom. Possibly, the work together and are discussing other people from work, or people they attended college with. I find it a certain amount of trust that in a typical ‘Wedding Video’, overheard conversations and talking would not generally make it into the final edit. I find Raw Footage a breach of that trust.
In conclusion, I’ve drafted 4 main reasons I stand by my pricing. Some people look at it and say ‘Hey Dave, you charge an awful lot for 1 day of work’ to which, I respond ‘I agree with you, it is alot for one day of work. Good thing I’m not charging separately to rent the equipment or the hours spent editing the wedding video. Heck, I might be charging more.’
Instead of looking at the price, look at what video is worth. It’s an investment into your wedding which allows you to relive you day, and whats more, it allows you to live and enjoy your day, knowing it’ll all be there for you on video. I can’t tell you how many brides I hear from who say they can’t believe how much went on throughout the day that they either missed, or forgot about. Imagine going to a concert, ticket prices upwards of $100. If they offered you a downloadable pro shot stream of the concert, for you to enjoy again and again, for less than 10% of the ticket price, would you consider buying it?
After all, I’ll leave you with this, I can assure you I offer the best wedding videos, and the best service, and I’ll be the best ‘Day Of’ wedding videographer for you and your bridal party and family. And that you’ll be glad you chose me, and that’s something you won’t get by somebody down the road.