Videography rates?

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    • #47381

      Hi all. I’m making the jump from hobbiest to pro and need to know what to charge clients for gigs?

      For example if someone wants a wedding done on DVD or Blu Ray what do I charge and for how much finished footage?

      My first gig is for 5 and 10 minute promotional films for businesses that are designed to go on the businesses website. What should I charge for these gigs?

    • #195197


      You can charge as low $40 to $150 per working hour. Class your customers as one time customer no repetition or customer can give more work. Also the company size, large companies with 50 to 500 employes can pay more than small businesses.



    • #195198

      Thanks very much for replying.

    • #195199

      One thing you have to keep in mind when deciding what to charge is replacement cost of equipment. For example, you will want to build up a savings account so you can replace or upgrade your equipment over a period of time. I have set my timeline for two years for complete replacement cost on camera and computer, three years for lighting and accessories. For this my rate will average between $50 and $75 an hour depending on the client and the size of the project.

      I know that my area will support a larger fee but I have only been doing this for a year and do not have all the experience as the top dollar videographers out there. Another factor in my fee is that all my equipment is new and should last for a few years before having problems, I hope.

    • #195200

      Thats a good tip Charles, thanks.

      But I expect that a wedding party would want a fixed price on a fixed product.

      Do you guys normally give fixed prices on that and if so for what price and what product? ie 1 hour DVD on disk with chapters for $3000?

    • #195201
      Grinner Hester

      I often quote flat bids per project. I base it on an easy 100 per hour rate. My ability to say “4 grand” to a client when they ask me how much has become my saving grace through these evolving times we work in. I know my workflow. I can easily judge how much time I’ll have in ap roject after revisions. I like being able to answer their question and getting the gig because I can do that.

    • #195202

      Ok cheers Grinner, and what do you give the client for 4 grand?

    • #195203

      Many DP’s I work with offer fixed rates by assessing jobs as either half-days or full-days. Half days are a fixed rate of 6 working hours, and full days are a fixed rate of 10 working hours. This means if you’re actually only working 3 hours, you still charge for 6 hours based on the block of time you’ve been booked for. Anything over your 10 hour full day would be considered overtime, but that needs to be agreed to before hand.

      For shorter projects, I’ve also gone into contracts that explain my hourly rate. I give a fixed rate based on the estimated time they’ll need me. While discussing the contract, I explain to the client that if they would like me to stay longer, I can do so but I must charge my hourly rate. Clients seem to be fine with this. I just make sure that during the shoot, if it’s approaching time for additional fees, they give me consent to continue shooting.

      At this point, I typically charge $50/hour.

    • #195204
      Grinner Hester

      Ok cheers Grinner, and what do you give the client for 4 grand?

      4 days.

    • #195205

      For weddings it is probably a good idea to check out what your competition is charging. Most will have a website that will have information on different wedding packages. They are usually pretty clear on what services they will provide.

      Some will have the package prices also postedon their websites.

    • #195206

      Whether I quote a fixed price or by the hour, it all averages $75 to $100 per hour.

      The first thing I had to do was factor in ALL my costs for doing business, including equipment, expenses such as insurance, permits, taxes, salary, location, meals, the afore-mentioned percentage set aside for future investment/replacement, every pencil, every website and hosting and their related costs, EVERY single penny I put into doing and conducting business.

      I took these amounts and totaled them for the year, divided by 50 weeks x 40 hours = 2,000 hours a year, on average, I expect to work (sure add those other two weeks and even weekends, but expect burnout sooner rather than later if you don’t take time for yourself, and other extenuating circumstances). I divide my TOTAL ACTUAL/estimated costs for doing business by that figure and THAT gives me what I need to make on an hourly basis to break even. If I WANT to make a profit I need to add some percentage to reflect that, upping the hourly rate I need to charge.

      And I have to realize that there will be times when I’m NOT working every hour, making that amount every hour, downtime, other factors that weigh in on my bottom line. I have to adjust “on the run” so to speak, knowing that there will be times when I need to make/charge MORE, or when due to economy or other factors I have to cut my rates to keep business coming in.

      Thus the $75-to-$100 hourly average I charge.

      After a bit of experience you will become comfortable estimating how long certain production work will take, and will use that estimate to develop a flat fee, adding 10 percent for variables that inevitably will occur. This would be your charge for a project where you provide a “delivered” turnkey or flat rate. For example: you estimate it will take you 10 hours to shoot and another 20 hours to edit and deliver a wedding. Thirty hours X $100 = $3,000. If you tag on another 10 percent, you’re looking at $3,300 and the minimum you ought to be charging for wedding production. That doesn’t happen, of course, because even I have pricing that is way below that. Also, rare is the independent wedding video producer who will be able to shoot, edit and deliver a full-blown wedding event in 30 hours. Happens, but rarely.

      Simply stated, when I charge LESS than $3,300 for a wedding production I AM losing money! Period! But I make that loss up in other forms of production work that take LESS time and produce MORE income on average. Why do I continue to do weddings? Because I simply cannot turn away business and the contacts made through weddings have led me to other, often more lucrative, business … from montages to funerals, to website video for small business, to youth sports groups, school event contacts and more.

      At the end of the year, however, when all is said and done, I know I will have gotten close to what I needed to average, that $75 per hour, based on a 2000-hour work year. Still, some years I barely manage to break even, while other years I’ve made a profit but actually decided to plow that profit back into the business with new equipment or whatever.

      I believe anyone averaging less than $45 an hour for video production work as an independent businessperson is NOT making money or covering ALL the expenses, much less making a profit. These factors can change depending on the individual: part-time, supplemental income, income for support of a video production hobby, etc. It isn’t always about the money, but to some extent, short of doing video totally for the pleasure of it and the enjoyment of a GREAT hobby, you need to be compensated and that probably isn’t happening if you charge less than $45 per hour, on average.

    • #195207

      Thanks Earl, thats excellent feedback.

      I cant find much info on competitors web sites in my area regarding wedding pacjages though.

      Can anyone tell me what package I should offer? ie should it be on DVD, should it be 1 hour in length? Should it have chapters? etc

    • #195208

      There are essentially two forms of wedding event production: short form, or long form documentary style. There are a million other names for them and others will likely pipe in here with corrections, but the “essential” forms are along these lines.

      Short form can be any combination of time-shift techniques, narrative-heavy with vows and toasts under various elements, interspersed with vignettes or montages of the rest of the activity. Or highly creative treatment with not only the wedding itself, but portions of photo and music and narrative underscore, and the overall event highly truncated. The self-proclaimed ARTISTS among us usually charge a premium price for such productions while IMHO not giving the bride and groom an accurate representation of their wedding day. These have been as short as 12 minutes (so claimed by some who feel that “less is more”) and perhaps upwards to 45 minutes. The longer one, I think, probably offers a more fair representation of the event as well as a better value for the bride’s buck (or her Dad’s bucks πŸ˜‰

      I tend toward the documentary, interspersed with vignettes and montages and usually one and one-half hours, give or take. Often I will have two DVDs, one focused on a shorter, more creative production with just the absolute highlights of the event; and a second one with limited editing (more than cleanup, less than the short form) that includes some pre-ceremony stuff in a montage; procession, all the vows and ring portions (usually with the communion, if a Catholic ceremony with Mass, and Mass portions given minimum footage) any special message pertinent to the bride from the minister or officiant but most of the SERMON removed; candle lighting usually by the mom’s then the subsequent single camera lighting by the couple; THE KISS OF COURSE, and often from more than one angle if I’m using more than one camera; the announcement “for the first time” and the recessional. Some of the stuff that goes on if there’s a receiving line, rice, birdseed, or whatever fanfare.

      Then I include some pre-reception elements in a montage, full two-camera production of the first dance, single camera (usually) limited production of the B&F, G&M, and bridal party dances, and some representation of the party with portions of one fast and one slow song played under them montage style.

      I also usually montage the cake cutting, bouquet tossing and garter (removal) tossing elements. If there is a demonstration dance by the B&G, I of course get that in its entirety.

      There are other things, and other elements, and I don’t always do ALL of the above … it pretty much depends on how many hours they want from me, and how much they spend with me.

      But essentially I offer the two approaches, but instead of JUST a short form the B&G also receive a lengthier documentary of their entire day with the appropriate live audio of vows, toasts, etc.

      By the way, I also usually edit Looooooonnnnnnnngggggg toasts to the salient points, and/or whatever generated the most reaction or any goofy antics, etc. RAW video, something that is usually a provocative subject, with the stuff I DON’T want seen or heard removed is available for a substantial fee. Otherwise not.

      I start at $1,500 and go as high as $6K, but on average I get bridal budgets of about $3K which includes most or all of the above. And I often do weddings based on an all-inclusive hourly rate with a minimum of six hours at $200 per hour, including editing. I’ll be updating my wedding website to reflect some serious changes ASAP. I don’t go for naming packages after gemstones, precious metals or romantic topics and will likely go for straight hourly coverage with a BASE package all inclusive, or a package that removes all barriers for something like $6K or better. I plan to no longer have anything, other than the hourly with 6-hour minimum, package-wise for under $3K.

    • #195209

      for a 5 or 10 minute promotional gig for businesses I would go with a packaged flat rate route if you have a tight production schedule in place that you can stick to.

      I produce strictly :60 second web videos for business with no more than 24 hours turnaround time given to any project of this type. Time is broken up into story boarding, location shooting, breakdown, editing and sweetening, changes and approvals, then final edition to website and bulk upload to all social media sites – all within 24 hours – which is roughly two 8 hour working days- at a flat rate of $1000

      16 hours is how much time it take me to produce 1 minute of quality video – the other 8 is a pad for any changes the client requests – which is time paid for anyway depending on how good the edit and final production turns out.

      Figure out how many hours you think it will take to produce a 5-10 minute video and go from there…

      For some this sounds impossible but I’ve been doing it for so many years and have become very proficient at it while maintaining creativity.

    • #195210

      Just A quick question:

      I normally stick with small business 30-60sec Tv ads as well as event videography and that’s how my pricing is set up. Price packages with additional options. I’m working on getting a contract with a pretty large bank and they asked me to supply my hourly rate for just shooting raw footage for the documentary they’re putting together. I may land the editing contract but the raw footage is my foot in the door. Would it be wise to charge my $70 hr rate and $300 processing fee (which covers transportation, video transfer and DVD costs)? I normally do a start to finish contacted bids so this is kind of new to me. Any helpful info would be great.

    • #195211

      Whether setting a flat-rate or charging strictly on an hourly basis, the best way to get yourself in the ballpark is to check with your state’s standard estimated hourly wages usually found in your Secretary of State’s or State Economic Development webpages. There you will find what the base expected hourly wage for professions (including video and photography) are in your state. Use that as your starting point and factor in what it actually cost you to both prepare for and shoot an hour’s worth of production.

      Knowing that information will help you adjust your potential rate per hour up or down. From there you can set up packages if you like, but don’t forget to include the time it takes to edit and prepare the materials to create the final product after post-production. Once you get a figure setup, then take a real-world look at what your market will truly bear. If you’re coming in too high, you’ve got either inflated rates from over compensation to be profitable or you’ve got potential unnecessary overhead that needs to be jettisoned. If you’re coming in too low, you’re most likely undercutting your expected profits and not including overhead items that are necessary to be ‘cheap enough’.

      There’s a big diff between being ‘inexpensive’ and ‘cheap’. Inexpensive is cost-effective and still profitable. Cheap is cost-prohibitive because you are not bringing in enough to cover your costs just to be ‘cheap’. It’s a fine balance that will need to be tweaked and reworked many times as you work your way through the business of running a business.

    • #195212
      Grinner Hester

      … and I’ll add, it’s always better to be known as the best in your market, not the cheapest.

    • #195213

      Many are saying $75-$100/hr. How many hours do you charge for? is it just the time you’re shooting? Does the customer usually understand that the shooting part is generally the shorter of the two when compared to editing.

    • #195214

      Do any of you charge a rendering rate?

    • #195215
      Grinner Hester

      I charge for rendering, capturing, travel, ect. Much of supervised time in the edit suite, as you all know, is acting as counselor, not editor. lol 100 bucks an hour for that. Whatever time I put into a project, that’s what I bill for. It’s why it’s so easy for me to quote flat bids to new clients. It’s easy to guage how much time I’ll have in it. None of my time is worth less than other hours. It’s still time away from billing something else. That just aint free and I have no reason to discount it, at least not with editing rates so much lower than post houses in my market. They are all 175-195 and hour per the usual rates. I can offer 100 hour because I have so much lower overhead than the oldschool post houses that are struggling to keep producers doing what they did a decade ago.

    • #195216

      I’m with Grinner, but have to admit, I don’t charge by the hour for “Render time”. truth is I plan my time so I can hit “render” and go to bed. Last thing I need is to be forced to upgrade computers every year because my competitor can undercut me by one to three hundred dollars, on render times because his computer is faster than mine. simple rates. by the hour for set up take down and shooting. plus same rate by the hour for import and capture times the number of hours of footage time the number of cameras used. An estimate on editing hours in writing, same rate per hour. and one or three hours for the rendering time (estimated). I try to work out an estimate that fits thier budget, and then I try to organize the shoot and edit to come in slightly under budget. Job done.

      Never go over budget unless the client starts asking for changes or alterations to the original contract.

    • #195217

      A formalized contract is something I need to work on. I have an Estimate sheet they can sign but not a formal, court proof contract. Grinner, do you have an electronic one I can get from you, since we both live in the same state?

    • #195218
      Grinner Hester

      no sirree. EEEEvery now and again, I’ll have a local artist who want’s a contract drawn up because I have to get half down. I just type em up and put the date and place in there. There are online templates if you need one but I like a close personal vibe when dealing with, well, anyone. I don’t do lawyers or formal contracts. I even tell em that. I just give em what they need in writing to feel comfy with me. The verbage in each one of those simply depands on how comfy they are with me at that point in a new relationship. lol

      Don’t hesitate to put the word dude in your contracts, Making people laugh is not only fun, it’s rewarding.

    • #195219

      again good advice Grinner. My basic contract is simply a standard get it online/from a book, job that I’ve rewritten to suit my needs, prettied up in company letterhead.

      I don’t have any multimillion dollar ad campaigns… any contract disputes I have (usually settled amicably anyways so moot point here but…) would fall under the “Small Claims” division in court with no lawyers. I suspect that a Judge there would rule not based on the “Legalize” of the contract, but rather on the spirit of the contract and the personalities of the individuals and it would likely boil down to who tried hardest to resolve the problem. So I expect I’d win if it ever came to that.

      The contract is the device that spells out who is expected to do what and when, and should protect both parties interests in the project, and is your main tool for negotiating and reasoning to prevent a misunderstanding or problem from ever going to court. If we’re talking huge sums of money…pay the lawer a little up front, or pay him a lot later…your gamble.

    • #195220

      I sat down with a contract specialist who helped translate the legalese into a ‘plain english aggreement’. I just have to tweak a word or two to set it to a specific project/client and put their name on it.

      After doing things that way for a number of years, I can write one out on my own. However, I always let a lawyer or contract specialist take a look at it to catch anything I may have missed.

      What it boils down to is you specifying what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, who you’re doing it for, when it’s supposed to be finished, and how much it’s expected to cost. Include provisions that give you and the client some ‘wiggle room’ if the unexpected occurs in addition to what happens if you’re late or if they don’t pay on time.

      So whether it’s a formal contract, proposal or WFHA, you don’t need to parse the details down to microprint unless you’re trying to pull a fast one. Keep everything simple, up front and in writing. Both you and your clients will benefit from it.

    • #195221

      “Do any of you charge a rendering rate?”

      Yes, I also have been tagged for FTP download fees from a couple networks for 40 bucks a pop and have started to charge forupload as well and even a upload to youtube or vimeo. It usually runs half my hourly rate unless its a big project then I may wave them.

      When it comes to contracts, I would advise anyone sit down with an expert a couple times before writiing their own. It is suprising how many of the little things that need to be covered and what can bite you in the rear forsimply not having mentoned it.Especially in the area of dealing with deadlines and still getting paid when the client screws all that up.

    • #213245

      There are a lot of factors to consider before determining the right wedding videography rates. Typically, the costs range from $800-$7000 (depending on your region). If the couple wants only the most basic rate with the use of single-camera and a video length from 60-90 minutes then it costs around $800. The rates will increase as the requirements and features for the wedding video photoshoot increases. You can learn more about wedding videographer rates here: Hope this helps!

    • #215839

      There are a lot of factors to consider before determining the right wedding ceremony. I have learnt lots of good things from you guys.

    • #278597

      thank you for sharing, it is very helpful

    • #283896

      Except for the fixed costs (equipment rental, assistants, editor, location, production staff, taxes, etc…), for first time clients I usually offer my full price (as a director, DP/cameraman or editor) and then I negotiate if necessary explaining that all fixed costs may not be reduced, but maybe just a small percentage of my own fee. I always keep in mind not to low my personal fee too much. Otherwise, it may sacrifice other professionals in the market. Hope it helps. Cheers!

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