Why are some wedding videographers less than $1000 and others more than $4000.
Most videographers who charge less than $1000 may just be starting out in the industry and because of that are offering extremely low rates to help them start their career. Often times if a bride hears that the videographer is brand new she might feel unsettled by hiring them to care for such an important day in her life especially if they are charging a substantial amount. However if the videographer offers her a really cheap package of $500 or so she might feel like it's not as much of a gamble and give the wedding videographer a chance. Some couples don't feel they can spend more than $1000 so they take the gamble of hiring a brand new videographer. The fact of the matter is hiring $1000 or less wedding videographers really can be a gamble. There can be no telling how much they lack in experience or knowledge of how to handle different situations. While one who charges $500 may do phenomenal another may do horrible.
If you are on a budget and looking for someone who may be new to the industry and charging less than a $1000 I have some tips for you on what to ask your videographer before hiring them.
Firstly you will want to ask them if they have any experience at all with weddings. I suggest looking for a videographer who has spent some time second or third shooting for another experienced wedding videographer. This is what I did. My first few weddings were spent as a third and second shooter for my friend Drew and his buddies's company. It was an experience that was an amazing help to me and my career. (Thank you again Drew and friends!) For the one thing being a second shooter takes some pressure off of you and allows you to learn and grow. While also striving to do a good job so that you'll continue to be hired as a second shooter. It also allowed for me to learn how to navigate the day, connect with the bride and groom, make good relations with the photographer and learn what to do in situations where you need to adapt. All of this built up my experience because not only did I witness how Drew handled the day I also was able to build up my own experiences on how to handle the day. I was much more prepared for when I did take on my first solo wedding.
If the videographer hasn't been a second shooter before maybe they have had some experience working for free. I also did this when starting out. By finding a friend from high school and offering her a free video, filming my aunts wedding and connecting with a local photographer turned friend where I filmed one of their couples bridal sessions for free when their dad was no longer able to do it. These were no gamble situations because all of them either hadn't planned on a wedding film to begin with, had planned originally for a family member to do it who no longer could or in one case I was the family member. So these experiences also helped me be better prepared for when I did start offering weddings as a solo shooter.
So overall I would make sure the wedding videographer has at least a little bit of experience in weddings whether as a second shooter or ones they have done for family or friends for free. As long as they have some experience to fall back on it will be less of a gamble for you of whether you will receive a good highlight film or not. Some experience is always better than no experience at all. Especially when it comes to something as important as your wedding day!
Does More Expensive Videographers Mean More Experienced Videographers?
I would say typically yes, more expensive videographers are going to have more experience than those who are charging less. While a lot can go into pricing experience is a big portion of it. More experienced videographers have a lot more to bring to the table therefore they can charge more. But let's get into what having a more experienced wedding videographer really means. A lot can go on during a wedding. Mostly planned for but also there can be unplanned things where the videographer, photographer and planner may need to be quick on their feet. A more seasoned videographer will be able to handle whatever comes at them with more grace and ability than that of an unseasoned videographer. I have had weddings that fell more than an hour behind due to incidents beyond the control of the planner or the couple. On one such occasion the photographer and I had to quickly plan a new timeline order so as to be able to get the bridal portraits done before we had no light and then quickly find a different location for family portraits. It was a severely stressful situation for the planner, photographer and I. However because we aren't new to this and we had experienced multiple weddings beforehand, we were able to hold our composure and confidently adjust to the situation helping to preserve the day for the couple.
What Additional Value Does A More Expensive Videographer Have Than A Cheaper Wedding Videographer
A more expensive wedding videographer can provide a lot more value than an inexpensive one. When just starting out a wedding videographer is going to be limited on the services they can offer you and the gear they might have available to them. My first few wedding films didn't include any audio from the ceremony, vows, or toasts because I simply lacked the proper audio equipment to handle such accommodations. To me this was something that needed to be fixed right away because one of the best benefits of having a wedding film is being able to hear your ceremony, hear the vows exactly how they were said, experience the toasts and the voice of loved ones again. Something that photos simply cannot do. I also only had one or two cameras to work with when I started. I remember to get the good shots that help make up the ceremony portion of the wedding film, I had to be incredibly close and intrusive on the couple and their guests in order to get what I needed to be able to produce the job correctly. It was uncomfortable for me to be at the head of the ceremony the whole time blocking peoples view. Once my set up went to three cameras with telephoto lenses the entire workflow of the ceremony became so much easier and way less intrusive on the couple and their guests. I was no longer at the front of the ceremony during the entire time but rather I could get everything I needed at a distance. However getting more gear such as multiple audio sources, two additional cameras and two telephoto lenses was not a cheap investment, nor is it cheap upkeep. And it is because of my added access to equipment that my pricing needed to go up. But the benefit of this to all of my couples is the quality of my films also increased. I now had audio on the groom and the officiant and running through the sound system of the DJ or band. So the audio and storytelling of my films drastically changed as now we had audible access to all the precious moments of the day. My camera angles also increased to give more variety and more options in my editing. I have more access and ability than I did just starting out and that resulted in a price increase. I am not the only videographer who grows this way. In fact one of my mentors choses to film his ceremonies with 5 or more cameras and his pricing reflects the additional gear that he has access to. His couples love this though because they get so much more out of their wedding day and especially the ceremony portion of their wedding packages.
In addition to great access to not just more gear but better quality gear, a more expensive videographer will also be able to include more services. In fact what sets apart a $2500 wedding package to a $10000 wedding package may be the results of the additional services and coverage offered by the wedding videographer. If you are looking for just a highlight film of your big day your cost is going to be much more affordable than the couple who books the highlight film, full ceremony edit, rehearsal dinner coverage, raw footage etc.... Bare in mind that just because you only plan to get a highlight film does not mean the costs will be lower than $1000. Again you must keep in mind how the videographer will be charging based on the additional work and not just the product of the film. Things like hours of coverage, equipment costs, days editing also play apart in the total cost of a wedding package. For more information on this however please consider reading my blog Why Are Wedding Videographers So Expensive?
Should I book a more expensive videographer or a cheap videographer?
While I cannot truly answer this question for you I can help guide you in your decision. When planning your wedding its important for you to set up a budget for yourselves. Always remember that there is a full life to live after the wedding and it is ok not to blow a fortune on your wedding day. What matters most at the end of the day is that the two of you have just celebrated the start of your life together and when you wake up the next day, its time to start building that life. So find a budget that isn't too cheap (you run the risk of having more issues with cheap vendors) but not too expensive either. I would recommend your highest costs being the Venue, the Photographer and the Videographer. The venue because you need a place to accommodate your guests and you for the day. (know that if you chose to do a micro-wedding this might help you save on costs with the venue. be on the look out for an upcoming blog of Benefits to Eloping or Having a Micro-wedding). The Photographer and the Wedding Videographer should be your next big investments. You should think about your photographer and your videographer as and investment because at the end of the wedding day after all your guests go home, the venue closes out the day and moves on to the next event, the DJ or band also move on to their next event, the food is eaten and the flowers wilted, you come away with a new marriage, your photos and your video. So leave a bigger portion of you budget to get an experienced photographer and videographer. Because at the end of the day they are the ones who help document everything from your big day.
So to conclude, yes I definitely think it is worth it to go for the more expensive videographer oweing to the fact that they have the better experience, better gear and more capabilities that that of the cheaper videographer. I have heard many horror stories of those who have skimped on the budget for videographer just to come away angry or hurt because the videographer had a hard time delivering. Invest in the experience and quality of the wedding videographer. That being said if there is absolutely no way for you to spend over $1000 be extra careful who you hire by asking questions and refer back to the advice I gave earlier in the blog.
I hope this helps shed some light on why some videographers are more affordable then other. Happy Planning Friends!