6 Ways how you can make money as a videographer
Posted on October 10 2018
6 Ways how you can make money as a videographer and how to get the budget that you want
Maybe your eyes hurt from looking into the viewfinder of your camera all day long? Try listening to our article.
It all started when I was 13 and tried to recreate scenes of The Godfather.
My friends and I wrote the script and searched for the right outfits in our parents basements. We used the camera of a friends dad und just begann filming. At the time we were quite content with our work, always planning the next project. As time went by I was able to buy better equipment. Starting with a mini DV Cam until I was finally able to afford the 5D Mark 2. That marked the moment when the hobby of filming turned into my profession. I started filmschool for digital film and animation in Germany. After filmschool I started working for televison where I earned my first income as a freelancer. After a couple of years it was time for the next step. So a good friend and I decided to become self-employed. We started our own business shooting Weddings, Concerts, Musicvideos and Clips for Televison. After a while we managed to buy more and more equipment. We became rather successful so now we mostly shoot professional commercials. We are very proud that our passion for film pays for our own office space, apartments and overall for a good living.
Screenshot from our first Movie :)
If you are an aspiring Videographer or Photographer I have 6 Tips for you that may help making your dream come true!
1. Make no false promisses!
I have experienced the following over and over again: Client: „I have seen this commercial by BMW and that's how my clip shall look!“ - That is the moment when I have to fight a grin and wait for the clients estimated budget. „We plan on spending $3.000. That should be more than enough, right?“ So now I have to crush the clients expectations and need to explain to him, that the model sitting in the BMW alone costs up to $3.000 a day. So my first advice to you would be: Never make false promises to appease a client. You cannot possibly meet such expectations on a low budget. Show him his options instead. A happy client will recomend you or hire you again, which a disappointed client will not.
2. Make your offer transparent:
Oftentimes clients are shocked how pricey a film production actually is. So use your offer to show him, how much manpower, equipment and working hours even a short film entails. This helps your client to realise that you are not trying to enhance the price. Here is an example for cost estimation of an Eventfilm: FREE DOWNLOAD
3. Build a Network:
Build your own network and ask for your peers prices. For example: If you need an additional cameraman for your project, you need to know his price. Otherwise you cannot write a precise offer for your client. Apart from that you can use this information to find out if your own prices are to high or to low in comparison. My personal Tip: Pay the People what they demand and what they are worth. Look at their references and make sure you are able to work with them as a team. Never forget that you may spend a lot of time on set together.
4. Get references:
All beginnings are difficult. The more work samples you are able to show a potential client, the higher the chances that he will actually choose you. Keep in mind, as a beginner you cannot ask for the same prices as a DOP who has over 10 years of work experience. Try to build an significant showreel so you can impress and convince your audience. Check out our after effects templates which help you construct a spectacular showreel in no time.
5. Never sell yourself below value:
Oftentimes the clients try to beat down the price on the film production. And thats okay, negotiations are to be expected. As long as you make sure to define a lowest price for yourself which you will not undercut. Make sure not to sell yourself short. For example a client may choose to build the concept himself if he does not want to spend money on it. You should still give him advice if needed, since you are the professional. But you should draw the line, when it comes to haggeling over prices for the cameraman or the audio operator. Certain services have their value.
6. Know your field of work and focus on what you do best:
For working in filmbusiness it is mandatory to know your way around every station and aspect involved in the process of filmmaking. So if you are a camera operator you should know how to cut, how to colourcorrect and at the best know how to record the sound. Because when you try to sell a movie to somebody you need to be able to explain all the important steps of a film production. Of course you only have two hands, so you will need help especially for bigger projects. So my advice for you is to build a network of helping hands. Find reliable sound operators or cutters, so you can focus on what you do best.
And last but not least two additional tips: #1 Do not waste your precious time and save money. Sometimes it is better to use a template or Overlay effects for an intro or for a showreel instead of sitting for hours and hours on self-made transitions. #2 A few ways to make money as a Videographer: Weddingvideos, Musicvideos, Live events (e.g. Highschool Sport Events). Real Estate Movies or as a freelancer for TV News.