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.
Found a Wedding Videography Business Online? Look Closely At The Details
Planning a wedding can be a challenging and exhausting search, albeit one that can have awesome rewards. Referrals can be great, a friend who recently was married and loved their DJ or photographer (yes, even video!), and were flattered by the results? Heck yeah, sign up! Ever attended a wedding and fell in love with the venue and thought ‘”This is where I wanna get married!”, it can help a massive amount of time and visiting with venues, taste testing foods etc. Literally weekends are saved. My cousin, she fell in love with my brothers chocolate cake:)
However sometimes, you’re just left flat. No recommendations, none of your friends provide you with glowing reviews of a particular vendor. Often for various reasons, you don’t get much feedback on a few. Maybe they felt the rates were too high, maybe no one danced the night away, or maybe the Photo Booth was stuffed in the corner and kinda lame, whereas they wish they had video to relive their day.
Typically, couples go to sites Google, The Knot, or Wedding Wire to begin their search. Which is the obvious choice, most industries have become this way. However, there’s a caveat: Alot of these companies are not located near Philly.
Yeah, may not be earth shattering to you, and likely you kinda knew that, which is fine. However let me tell you why I feel this is a detriment to the industry. Wedding videography is a tedious process, keeping up with the bridal party, lugging gear around (tripods, which photographers don’t carry), setting up from location to location. Photo sessions, 1st dances, toasts (audio, which photographers aren’t concerned with), first look etc. Everything requires being there in advance, a steady camera, and ready to go. Rarely is one offered a ‘Oh, wait a minute’, one or two of these becomes a major turnoff the the couple, and possibly other vendors (photographer, DJ, Maetre Die). Then the dance floor opens up, you cut the cake, and its just fun time from there.
However, that’s just the first half of the workload. Then, it becomes editing. Now, let me explain, editing is not simply polishing it up, or trimming it here & there. In fact I once read where a couple purchased a unedited video package then was devastated it wasn’t that good nor set to music. Editing is shooting 2 or 3 takes (if possible) of various scenes, then later choosing the best of them, assembling clips and segments of the day (bridal prep, first look, ceremony, bridal party photos, entrances/1st dance/toasts) and then dancing, and setting it to music.
Myself, I try to give the extra and time the edits to the music.
However what do these national chains do? Well, it’s not exactly an industry secret that the videographers tend to be just that, videographers. Once the wedding day is over, they ship off all the clips from your day, and that’s the end of their workweek.
So who edits it?
Dunno. In house editors I presume. They may be really skilled at it. And fast. Admittedly they are possibly faster than me, although they are likely editing numerous wedding per month. Definitely don’t base your decision on speed. It is a question I get asked often, what’s your turnaround time? (For me, 6-8 weeks). Wouldn’t you want your editor to be the person who attended your day? Or at least have pretty significant input? To know who the funny bridesmaid was, the moment the groomsmen cracked a joke during the toasts and to cut to a reaction shot of the bride laughing? To know grandmom was out on the dance floor around 9:30?
Now you wouldn’t want your editor to miss these events, would you? I’ve actually seen a few of these ‘edits’ and I gotta say, more than anything, the dance floor segments, which I love, and love to edit btw, come off as lame. Just extended 12 second cuts with little excitement, lasting about 3 minutes long, fade to black. Weddings over. I once did an afternoon wedding where the dancing started around 1pm. People slowly migrated out to the dance floor, and by 4pm they were still partying, guests were undecided if they wanted to leave or keep going. Guess what? They kept going. Stayed till 5pm ending and danced their rear ends off, having fun. In that full length video I had 200 different clips in the dance floor scenes alone, 2 song choices were used, nearly 9 minutes long. It was epic! And I was so glad the couple got the chance to relive nearly every moment of their day.
That is what I like to provide. Cause I’ll tell you what you can’t get with a national vendor. Me. Me, someone who cares about your day, carefully plans out the shoot and shoots nearly every moment knowing how it might be of use in the final edit, then crafts a carefully developed wedding video to best reflect upon your wedding day!
Congrats to Heather & Albert, on their November wedding day! They managed to fit it in, albeit on a cold day it was before the December 2017 cold snap really kicked in (0 degree temperatures). A lovely wedding with great guests at the Waterfall Room on Southampton Rd, located in Northeast Philly.
Hard to believe it’s been over a year since I met with Kevin & Brittany to discuss their wedding day at the Dunkin Donuts nearby them on Aramingo Ave. At the time they were still value checking, and I handled each of their questions with experience and confidence, but also a high interest in being the one to cover their day. The harder the purchase, the more I want to sell my service. Fortunately, they left interested and later followed up with commitment. I thanked them, and well all awaited their day to come.
June 17th seemed far off at the time, but as with weddings, once the year turns, we’re a few months/weeks away, it rapidly approaches. I got there for the groom & bridal prep, which always makes for great footage of them both getting ready, but it also assists in ‘telling the story’. Sure this story was 10 years in the making, but we’ll condense it a bit. Then it was on to the Pen Ryn Estate, a very nice location with a very accomodating staff & maitre de. The weather was slight overcast, but made for a very nice outdoor ceremony. Also nice, a beautiful butterfly release. Then we ventured the grounds for photo sessions for both family and bridal party. Lastly, we went inside for the reception with lovely first dance and parent dances took place, then two great toasts were given by the Maid of Honor and Best Man.
Oh, and there was a wee bit of dancing towards the end of the day:)
In what was my last wedding of the year, I was glad to knock in out of the park. Brooke & Woodrow had a great fall day for an October Wedding in Philadelphia. Prep was done at Hotel Monaco, and the ceremony & reception and The Downtown Club. We decided for better coverage to hire a 2nd shooter, something I offer in my services as an added feature, and I got to work with a photographer friend Tanya Rose Peth. Don’t let the term “Photographer” scare you, she’s schooled in the video field and nailed every shot I had asked of her to capture.
I get asked, on occasion, “So what’s it like? Being a wedding videographer”. A layered question, because to the couple, it’s one of if not the biggest day of their lives. Best way I can describe it is it’s like being responsible for setting up and shooting the entire Monday Night Football game by yourself.
Congrats to Christine & Ralph for having their awesome Philly autumn wedding. Starting off at the Morris House Hotel we did bridal prep in their lovely bridal suite. Onwards to Philip Neri Church in Queens Village for a lovely Catholic ceremony. On a beautiful (and busy) fall day, they took the limo on up to South Broad Street, for a shot of the couple with City Hall as our backdrop, “Hello Honkers!”. I got the chance to work with the laid back but skilled Jon Oler on a bridal party shoot at the nearby Washington Park, making for a nice setting of greenery for the backdrop, as well as red brick.
Lastly it’s back to Morris House Hotel for the cocktail hour and reception. Introductions and First Dance started off the evening, followed up by toasts by Ralphs brother & best man, Christines 2 Maids of Honor, and a ‘Romano Familia’ toasts by Ralphs sister, welcoming Christine to La Familia Italia. Or something like that. Guests enjoyed themselves and the outdoor setting led for plenty to be out on the dance floor getting their Uptown Funk on. Great autumn night for a wedding.
Congrats Ralph & Christine!
This wedding was a scorcher Rebecca & Brian chose to have their lovely Sunday wedding at the Mendenhall Inn, in suburban Chadds Ford. A lovely location with a sunlight Ceremony reception and cocktail hour, with the reception a close walking distance away. Very convenient for guests (and videographers).
I got to work with Amy & Wenty on their wedding day thru a mutual friend, photographer Josh DeHonney which I was excited about, because Josh is a great photographer, and I know, going in he has a vision for the day. The full day took place at the Windsor Ballroom which makes for a much relaxed day for the bride and groom, and can be convenient to wedding guests. A slight and inconveiniently timed rain moved the ceremony indoors, and from their the party started with the reception. On this Sunday wedding, guests forgot about work the next day and danced the night away.
Congrats to Dayna & Don for their great Philly Wedding. Loved how the Eagles theme was merged in, yet totally was not made into being tacky. Stated at the Ukrainian Church, then a quick photo session at the Art Museum for photos behind the museum (a result of the front being closed due to the Democratic National Convention.