Shooting wedding videos and how much to charge:

roller_steve's picture
Last seen: 9 years 4 months ago
Joined: 12/20/2006 - 10:12am
Hello: I have a question regarding doing weddings for a little extra profit. I would like to shoot a wedding once a week when the weather gets nicer, but I would like to know what is a good price to charge for a single camera (and possibly a stationary one). I did a couple weddings way back in the mid nineties, and since that time, the technology surely has changed, thus making editing easier.

Also, is it ok to use an editing suite that costs under 100 dollars like Pinnacle, Ulead, or possibly Nero Vision 4? I personally think videos with this software look super, but last week, while attending a wedding, the parties taping it (a husband and wife team) told me they use Final Cut Pro which costs $1,100. Also the cameras they used were like 5000 a piece!!!!! Can you believe that? I think that's overkill. They told me their price was $1,800 for the deal, so I figure that $600.00 would be a fair price for me to charge if I did it my way.

One thing that drives me nuts is the fact that people are always trying to technologically outdo one another. The sub-100-dollar software a few years ago would have been much much more money, and people would have been super happy to have their wedding done on it. I feel that there is nothing wrong with it, but I am new to this digital editing. Any advice would surely be appreciated.


birdcat's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am
Steve -

I'm sure a few of the "professional" wedding videographers will jump in here too but just remember you are playing with someones memories here. If you screw this up there will be bad karma coming your way forever!

I consider myself a capable but very inexperienced amateur videographer (have done my own wedding plus one for a friend, plus lots of stuff for work and NPO's) and there are many things that I continue to learn on a daily basis. Also realize that I come from a professional photographer background (had several front page major market newspaper photos). I tell you these things because I would not consider at this point taking someone's money to video their wedding - Just too many things that can go wrong with my sub-professional camera (you really do get what you pay for) and lack of experience here.

If you really want to do this, I would suggest going along as a third camera on a very experienced videograher's gig for a few months (for free) just to really learn the ropes, then getting a reasonable camera (even a used VX2100 would suffice) and doing low budget weddings while reading and reading and reading some more to hone your skills.

Just MHO. Good luck.


Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions

director958's picture
Last seen: 9 years 4 months ago
Joined: 12/11/2006 - 4:46pm
I have the DCR-VX2100. I have done two weddings, but I was not alone, I was with two other people. We all filmed the wedding, they told me where to stand and what to shoot, and in the end, I gave them the tape, and I recieved $250.

Finnacnially, I may have not been paid a lot. But I have gained some knowledge and expeirence. So I suggest you too go around with a videographers' gig, and shoot with them for little or no pay, because in the end, you will appreciate the reward.

Video-maniac's picture
Last seen: 10 years 3 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2006 - 9:52am

You make a valid point. What it will always come down to is what will a client want to pay and what are their expectations. Videographers who do this for a living will also have to ask them self, how much money do they want to make doing this as well. I may be wrong but most videographers want to make as much as the can. In order to do that they have to use the best technology available so that their finished product looks great. Thats what will separate them form the rest.

If a couple doesnt want to spend a lot of money and/or dont expect too much, then a one-camera shoot edited in Pinnacle will work. But if a couple wants an artistically... very well done video, they wont be getting that from a one-camera shooter and of course they probably wont be paying only $600.00 either. In other words it falls under the old adage, You get what you pay for. There really is no right or wrong way about going about it here. In my experience though, most couples want something done very nice because 9 out of 10 times, they have already seen someone else's wedding video and they their's to look like that too.

As far as your overkill comment regarding equipment and software, here again. You get what you pay for! A wedding video will look WAY better using multiple higher end 3CCD cams and edited in higher end editing software such as FCP, APP or Avid. You can just do nicer effects with them.


;0)'s picture
Last seen: 9 years 5 months ago
Joined: 12/04/2006 - 12:54pm
I admire your initiative.
I believe there will be someone who will want what you offer, but be very VERY careful to tell them exactly what differences to expect between your offering and other more professional offerings.
2 things that my wedding photography customers expect is:

a) guarentee...I will come back with good pictures, come hell or high water. If a camera breaks, I have several others, at least triple redundance for everything. I'll get the best shots possible under all conditions, and I let them know what to expect beforehand, at the contract stage.

b) honesty: they know I'll turn them away, if I cannot or will not be able to meet thier I don't need or want the job so badly that i'll compromise my self to get it.

So there is no substition for experience. Experience without talent doesn't sell either.
If you've got talent, then get out there and find some young couple, struggling to set themselves right before God, but who really can't afford a pro, and do some charity (accept a donation as opposed to a low fee). Don't get yourself trapped into a "Wedding Video Done CHEAP" reputation when starting out.
Good Luck.

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 11 years 4 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
You've gotten some good advice here, but I've got to add a couple of things..

First, the good news - yes, you CAN do a professional edit job with a $100 NLE program.

Now, the bad - You should not offer to do professional wedding videos with just one single camera. Yes, I know there are some people doing this and they'll likely post here and vehemenently defend their right to continue doing so, but they are doing a disservice to their brides.

The problem is that many brides just don't know what a wedding video is SUPPOSED to be, so they use bad criteria to make their hiring choice and then they don't know how to rate the video they receive. In other words, they often get a terrible product that sits on a shelf collecting dust instead of a wonderful keepsake that continues to bring joy into their lives over the decades.

I delivered a video a couple weeks ago and received an email the other day from the mother of the bride. The couple had moved to Wyoming right after the wedding and the bride's parents flew up there to be with them for Christmas. The mother wrote that they were so thrilled with the video that they went out and bought a new 42" TV for the couple to watch it on and that they watched it dozens of times already!

THAT's the kind of wedding video a bride deserves. To deliver less is to cheat your client out of something that they only have a once in a lifetime chance to ever receive.

By the way, we've started production on our "Wedding Video Done Right" video course and hope to release it by May.

jwood's picture
Last seen: 10 years 6 months ago
Joined: 11/04/2005 - 2:04pm
I agree with compusolver totally. On a side note,I have been away from these forums for too long, but i remember that he always had great advice.

as for your situation Steve, you have to crawl before you walk. thats right, walk. look, you might think that all of the tech stuff is overkill, but have you ever compared a video done on a cheap 300 dollar walmart special and a 3000 dollar 3 chip camera? I don't think you have or you would not be thinking it is overkill. This video is what people have to remember the biggest day of their lives by so its not something to take lightly. When I started out in High School doing weddings i charged $200 dollars for my first two (which happened to be a week apart). Today, with the experience i have gained from working with real pros and just continually doing video projects, I would not pay $20 bucks for the crap that i gave them. Fortunately both couples absolutely loved their videos which were about an hour to an hour and a half long apiece and both parties (them and myself) gained in the deal. what you need to do is charge at the most 200 for the video,do the wedding, and the entire reception and then some. I mean go all out for it. you need to get the experience and buy nicer stuff. you will enjoy nicer equipment and the customer will enjoy a better product.

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 11 years 4 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Thanks for the kind words, jwood! I'm going to have to go out and buy a new hat now that my head has gotten bigger. X-D

I overlooked the comment about the $5k camcorders being overkill. If the poster is shooting with VX2100 (a $2500 3-CCD 1-Lux cam), I won't argue - but if he's using some 7-Lux consumer (or even prosumer) camera, whoa!

I'd done instructional videos and weddings back in the eighties, when we had to run the cameras with a hand-crank. <OK - I'm kidding about the crank!> But we still did our first two weddings for free when I got back in the business this time around.

We used a Panasonic C-7 as our third camcorder, and eventually decided that it just didn't pass muster even as a 3rd cam except in outdoor weddings and in very well-lit churches, which total up to not quite half the events. (And this is a $1200, supposively "professional" camera with supposively 1-Lux rating.)

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 11 years 4 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Subsequent posts here were regarding camcorders suitable for wedding shoots, which I've moved to their own topic, under Camcorders.