You are here

Getting Started In Wedding Videography

filmmaker920's picture
Last seen: 9 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/08/2005 - 1:38pm
Hello,

I have a few questions for those of you who film weddings professionally. I'm currently looking at entering the business. I've done a few weddings for family so far and have been leanring quickly, but I was wondering what it takes to start a wedding video business professionally. Like, what is involved with taxes, incorporating, etc. And do I have to mess with taxes right away or wait until later? I don't really know much about that yet. I've been wanting to get into this field though as a job. I'm 18, so not sure how the age would work into everything. Any responses would be appreciated.

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Whether a lemonade stand, videography business or loan-sharking, Uncle Sam always wants whats his. The good news is that in your first year of wedding videography, you're likely to owe less in taxes than either of the other two businesses because you're not going to have that much profit!

You don't need to incorporate, which is a way to limit liabilty and has tax implications that would probably work against you at this stage. You will need to file quarterly estimated tax payments. Check with an accountant on how to sell your current equipment to your business. You'll have to spread the expense over a few years (depreciation), but with that and with all the new equipment you're going to need to buy, you're sure to not owe too much in taxes the first year.

If I were you, while I would be sure and obey the tax laws, I'd concentrate more on learning my craft better and on marketing. Try to spend at least ten hours a week (preferably more) studying videography, and about the same time should be spent studying sales and marketing. Spend another twenty hours a week on doing actual marketing.

Ah, but you ask what to do with the other thirty hours a week? (10hrs x 7days a week) Any of that time that isn't actually spent shooting / editing wedding video should be spent practicing - actually using your gear in simulated circumstances. You should know your camcorders (you'll need at least two to do a decent job) so well that you can reach all your manual settings with your eyes closed. You should be able to manually white-balance, set exposure and focus in under five seconds (three is better). You should be able to setup your tripod and mount your cam within fifteen seconds (ten is better).

If you haven't noticed, while employees work forty hour work weeks, self-employed work sixty hour weeks - once they are established. During your first year, you'll likely need at least seventy hours a week.

That should be enough to get you started. Let us know how it goes.

Good luck!

filmmaker920's picture
Last seen: 9 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/08/2005 - 1:38pm
Thanks alot for the advice. I'll have to study up more on this. I've been studying videography and making films, including to feature films, since 1999, so I've got a pretty good hang of things. For cameras I currently only own a Panasonic PV-DV701, which isn't that great, with access to 3 other camcorders similar to mine and also just recently possible access to an XL2 which my friend just bought. I'd probably just rent some better cams if the client wants them to be used. Anyways, thanks for the advice.

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
That's pretty impressive, that you've already produced feature films by the age of 18!

However, I don't think the art of videography is one where you can reach a level that learning should stop. I started studying and doing photograhy and film-making in 1959, but I don't feel that I will ever reach a level where I can stop learning. Having "a pretty good hang of things" is not something you'll be satisfied with if you want to become a professional.

I can't think of a more exciting field for a young man to enter than videography. But I'd advise a college education as a foundation. A technical school for video background would be nice, but only after getting a degree in business.

filmmaker920's picture
Last seen: 9 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/08/2005 - 1:38pm
Yeah, I agree. It's a constant learning process. Even looking at the last film I did, there's alot I could have done better. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do for school yet. I may be attending a 14 month video production course through our homeschool organization next year. Beyond that, I'm not really sure, as I can't really afford attending college. I may possibly look into distance learning and home college courses. I'll just have to see what the future brings. Thanks!


compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Eric,

I hope you'll take this post seriously -

You can't afford NOT to go to college!

I'm pushing sixty and can look back on my careers with an unclouded view. Life would have been much, much better with that sheepskin! But Uncle Sam delayed it, then I got married and felt I had to earn good money right away. Marriage should have waited.

Wash dishes, wait on tables, push a broom, do whatever you have to do to work your way through school, but register now and get started. "Life" can wait, your education cannot.

If you ignore this advice, I can guarantee that when you're sixty, you'll WISH you had taken it!

Videoman's picture
Last seen: 8 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/20/2005 - 4:08am
Man..... Why is it that wisdom only comes with age???

Why is it at the grommet stage of our life we think we know everything and when we get older .. like compusolver (sorry Hank - I'm 20 years behind you) we realise we new sweet nothing

Study study study



compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
An "old guy" is always someone twenty years older than yourself!

Hey, I can still run three miles, work out three times a week and when I can get a sparring partner, I can still give the twenty-year-olds a good boxing workout (until the 3rd round!).


Videoman's picture
Last seen: 8 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/20/2005 - 4:08am
What's a mile ???

Keep going Hank, I love to see an old guy living in memories ha ha ha

Man, I wish I had your knowledge maybe I can catch up in 20 years.

When I'm dead I'd be the biggest know it all...... oh I forgot I was that when I was 20 years younger.

i digress.

You can never know too much and every day you learn something new.

Educate yourself first, for with education comes knowledge and wealth

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Being in the States, we often forget that the rest of the world jogs in kilometers, not miles. When I first moved to Canada (was there a couple years in early 2000) I got all excited seeing those "100" speed limit signs, but the RMPs straightened me out quickly enough. X-D

You just gave me a great idea, Peter - I'm going to switch and start jogging 3km instead of 3mis! X-D

filmmaker920's picture
Last seen: 9 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/08/2005 - 1:38pm
Thanks for all the comments guys. Yes, I know the learning experience at college is deffinently worth it. The two colleges I was considering were the Pensecola Christian college, which is $5000 a year, and the Bob Jones University, another Christian college. Pensecola offers a broadcast productions course or something and BJU offers a full film course. Other than that, I will not be thinking about attending any non-Christian colleges or anything. But I have been looking at those two and considering applying. I'll be looking alot more into that stuff over the next year. And I certainly agree that wisdom comes with age. But, that doesn't mean that I'm some stupid teenage know-it-all like Videoman has suggested. I've been studying film for the past 5 years already. Still there's a ton more to learn though. I personally know plenty of people around my age that are better than me at this craft. Anyways, thanks for the comments.

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
But, that doesn't mean that I'm some stupid teenage know-it-all like Videoman has suggested.


I think you've got our Aussie friend all wrong. I'm certain he didn't even have you in mind, in particular, when he made the comment about knowing everything when we're young - its just something we all go through and all of us (over thirty) agree and understand. Someday you'll understand too, but that doesn't mean your a "stupid teenager".

The fact is, that your view of the world and of your own capabilities will drastically, but slowly change over the next fifteen years. Its just a simple fact.

I've never noticed any silly back-biting, etc. on these forums, only people helping out other people.

Videoman's picture
Last seen: 8 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/20/2005 - 4:08am
Hang on a minute.

I am not suggesting you are a know it all uneducated teenager at allI

Sorry if I gave you that impression.

This was a reflection of my own past, and I think you will find most people my age say " I wish I paid more attention in class" or " you know.... my parents were right."

You see I was a know it all and my wisdom finally came with age.

In actual fact, at times I wish I was a teenager growing up with all this technology and the ability to understand it so much easier that we Dinosaurs, then I see the pressure and expectations placed on the youth of today and wonder how they sorvive.

Videoman's picture
Last seen: 8 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/20/2005 - 4:08am
You've been studying film for 5 years now
Great stuff. Is this through an education program like at school??

I have no education on this subject at all. Everything is trial and error.
Lots of trials snd many errors. I think my work is ready for DVD production and low and behold when I watch it on a produced DVD - mistakes- even after watching it on the computer.
I now burn on a RW first double check, and the duplicate the RW if it is ok.

I do sit there and study DVD's. Check out fades and cuts, different camera angles.

I watch one DVD movie called "Bullet proof Monk" Oh man it was a disgustling edit. It chopped and changed - didn't flow very well at all.

filmmaker920's picture
Last seen: 9 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/08/2005 - 1:38pm
Hey, sorry for not responding sooner. I've been busy with school and work on a new website. I've actually been homeschooled since 2nd grade and have been studying film on my own through the internet, magazines such as Videomaker, books, and bonus features on DVDs. DVDs are some great resources, especially the LOTR extended DVDs. There's plenty of trial and error stuff as well. The first feature length film I did was an amazing experience, but technically, horibbly done. There are so many things that I could improve on now. But even now I'm nowhere near the professional level and I know of plenty of people in my age range who are much better than me at this craft. Thanks again for the repsonses. I'll have to look in to the tax requirements and stuff this year and try for the wedding expo again next year once I get all that figured out.

jepabst's picture
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 11/29/2012 - 7:15am

 

I have a couple links that I think could be helpful to this conversation. It sounds like the original commenter is well on his/her way. Forming an LLC seems like the way to go, and depending on your State, (I formed mine in Indiana instead of Illinois) because it was only 50 dollars as opposed to 500 dollars. There's a short article about forming an LLC that a wedding video company wrote here.

 

Also, I wanted to include some good tips about starting out from stratch. A lot of people don't have 2000 dollar cameras or camcorders just laying around ready to be used. In fact, does anybody? Here is a post that would be very helpful to anyone really just starting and looking to get started as a wedding videographer from next to nothing.

 

Cheers and best of luck to all.


marcofree's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 12/25/2012 - 11:59am

Ideally, you'll want better photography equipment; but that's something which will come with time as projects become available and your finances improve.

 

What you can do for now is on the job training.

Volunteer for any and every photography project, even if just a friend's wedding.  

 

See every moment as a learning experience and don't be afraid to go out on a limb and experiment with various techniques.  

 

Study videos done by other wedding videographers for ideas and pointers.   Take an internship with a local photographer or videographer for first hand experience. 

 

If this is the right direction, things will naturally fall into place for you. 

Wedding videography is a subsidiary company of h2n production .
We have specialize in producing of beautiful and stylish wedding films.