Wedding Production Fee

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    • #43273

      It has most likely been asked before, but if so the post would be old and things have changed so I will ask again.

      This is a 2 part question.

      Part 1)
      Someone brings in old VHS tapes and photos and music and ask that you take this stuff and turn it into a wedding to remember on DVD. Examples ( Hover your cursor over the word Weddings at the top and a drop down menu appears of weddings as above.
      So you do this how much should one charge for the finished production (This is not video you shot)

      Part 2)
      Someone hires you to shoot a wedding. From start to finish you have control. How much should you charge?



  • #181394

    Editing: their materials, $100 per hour; 8-hour minimum.

    Turnkey: I do it all, starts at $1,500 and can run as high as $10,000 depending on hours, creative level desired and additional equipment requested.

  • #181395

    WOW: I have been charging a total of $150.00 for delivered project. WHOO!!!

  • #181396

    any wedding event we cover involves a lot of time and equipment and skills.

    at $150 bucks a pop, how do you expect to stay in business? even if you paid yourself welfare rates, you’d have to book twenty wedding a season to pay for your business license. You do have one don’t you? then there are taxes. Also you need to incur marketing expenses to get those twenty jobs…. so your camera will be obsolete or worn out in a couple years… you’ll need to upgrade.

    by the time you figure out the proper way to run a business, you will have brides claiming $150 is the going rate, and “why should I pay you xxxx amount of dollars, when you shot so and so’s wedding for $150.00? You are trying to rip me off!”

    Good luck with that business plan!

    Just remember for every guy out there who has the talent, the equipment and the business plan to run a business there’s ten guys out there with a consumer camera, no experience, and no long term plan eating up jobs, pushing down the value of the product and producing disappointed brides and making the public perception that this is an industry full of rip off artists. Guys that are here today and bankrupt tomorrow are bad for the industry. Period.

    Plan long term please. That bride may need a new copy of her video in ten years, be nice for her if you are still around.

  • #181397

    Don, I’m fairly sure Tasana is referring to the editing of their materials. But I could be wrong. Let us know Tasana.

  • #181398

    Don; At the current time I have not established a business in this area. I am still gathering the information to make informed choices. I did run a business successfully for some time here, a computer business. In fact it was so much a success that the only rival I had had been established since the 70’s bought me out because it was hurting him too much.

    A business license here in my county is not that costly. But since I have yet to charge a fee I have yet to obtain one. When I do I will set it up as self-prop. In my county it is the equipment that you use that they tax you to death on.

    I do agree with you that to undermine an already established rate does no benefit to the industry at all, and the only time I have been paid is when a very close friend had me use their content to make a 10 year anniversary DVD. But that was long before I opted to try my hand at this end of it. I developed my web site in the last couple of months to “feel” out my area. After more research I have come to learn that my current equipment is no where near what it needs to be. I am thinking about this ( I have never posted rates on my site due to the fact that I had no idea what to charge for my services. All the stuff I have done thus far was for friends and to get something to post so people could see my work. I STRESS to my friends not to tell my rates. And yes I have fallen victim to “hay use Greg he only charges…..” It was my own cousin referring my to a lawyer, we have not spoken much since. I do not like doing work for lawyers or real estate agents, impossible to please.

    At the current time I have not shot a wedding from start to end. I have edited about 8 with the footage provided to me. 1 almost killed me, 2 hours of video and only 20 minutes usable and part of that was running it backwards. I am in the part of my development of establishing a fee plan, that is why I posted here and asked.

    As I have stated I have established a business and even saved a few by stepping in and giving sage advice. But before I drop too much money into this plan I have to have the right equipment and knowledge of charging. Just because I have a site up with my work on it does not mean that people are running around my area spouting off “cheap rates” because what is there is family and extremely close friends stuff.

    Once I get a better understanding of rates for MY AREA, and better cameras then comes the registering with the county and setting of the rates. Keep in mind there is no intake into the business at this time to justify getting a license YET. When I set a fee rate and start to do work for others then that will come. But if I have nothing to show for what I can do then I can’t built.

    But at this time Don I am seeking a better understanding of a fee rate. and as I stated I was thinking of $150.00 but I have never advertised that. I do hope this clears things up a bit.


  • #181399

    Greg, once the business plan is in place, the prices generally fall somewhere between the actual cost of being in business and what the market in your area will bear.

    so get to the tax offices and any business planning resources and even check out what your competitors are doing, then plan your equipment choices to provide the best quallity product within the going rates.

    for example….

    I was shooting stills before expanding into video.

    I had lights and light modifiers, tripods lightstands, mac computers capable of video editing… for me it was easy to add some top teir prosumer hd cams and start shooting video.

    this made us the first hidef shooters in our market and we were able to beat out many competitors quality wise… but…. big but…. there were pro level cameras I could have bought, and we’d not be able to get more sales out of this market area even if we spent triple or quadruple on better cameras….

    even now if I need better gear than what I got, I rent it, instead of buying it.

    works out better for my bottom line which means it serves my customers better.

    so when is the best camera not the best? When buying the best forces you to price yourself out of your local market.

  • #181400

    Thanks Don; Right now all I have is a Sony DCR-SR47. Which is no good. I took photography for 2 years and learned that I stunk, but I seem to be better at video. In order for my business to even take off I do need another camera. The only other place around my area that I would compete with at this time would be a place in Cookeville. They charge $400.00 for 30 SECONDS of finished product. I thought that was nuts.

    Thanks for all the suggestions.

  • #181401
    AvatarGrinner Hester

    My rates for weddings start at 5k and go up from there.

    As Earl mentioned, it should be based on an hourly rate and there is no reason that should ever be less than 100 an hour.

  • #181402

    When I first started a lady said she wanted me to film her daughter’s wedding, and that she paid $150 for her first daughter’s wedding. I asked her who and how they shot the wedding. They used a camcorder from wal-mart and stood on stage beside the bride, dubbed it later to VHS and gave it to her. I explained that there was no way I could do it for that and explained our equipment and how we operated. I didn’t get the job, but do not regret it. I cannot drag along several thousands of dollars worth of video and audio equipment for $150. That’s the difference in homemade videos and pro videography. And the quality difference makes it worth that difference. The price differs from market to market. I’m in the rural delta area so I’m a little lower. But my basic ‘no-frills at all-wedding service only package’ is delivered on DVD for $1k. I will do a simple 30second TV spot for $400. I do this on the side so it’s not my primary income. I do not do the number of weddings as some here, and I have missed some weddings because of pricing in my market. But that’s where I distinguish my business from the ‘homemade’ market. My target market are those who can afford pro videography.

  • #181403

    I can see that if I am able to get the JVC I can then charge these fees.

    Since I am using the Walmart Sony Cam, IF and that is a big IF I do land a gig I will price it around $500.00, because IMO I can work wonders in editing. I think I am a better editor than a shooter. IMO


  • #181404


    Are you planning to do everything from shooting through post production?


  • #181405

    Yes; For now. I ran a compute sells and service a few years back and had a CONTRACTED employee steal $2,500 and 3 major clients. It devastated me.

    My youngest son (18) is very good at audio editing, but not a believer. After the business takes off and I get it going and get jobs I know he will come on board as the audio editor.

    My oldest son, (Seen in the AT&T promo at called “Are We Safe” is excellent in front of the camera. He has an ability to see into my mind and deliver. I hope he comes on board as well.

    My wife enjoys helping, but she has yet to learn video work is not a 1 take job. As time goes by and the business grows she will help as well.

    I do not like being in front of the camera at all, I think I stink. Behind the camera as a videographer I am all right, because when I get a concept I complete it from start to finish in my mind. I see every angle every shot, I hear the score, I just see the whole thing. Then for the ones in the family that help me I storyboard it and script it. When I get to editing since I have used VS X3, X1 etc for so many years I can just fly through editing. It is when I have 7-8 tracks going at once it get a bit messy. But I am weary about trusting others again, even with a contract the cost of recoup can exceed the worth. That is one reason why I am approaching this business very slowly. If ti takes two years to build then so be it. I do not need to fall twice. I lost $10,000.00 of thousands in my other business because of 1 single employee. Also in my area to find people who even know what Non-Linear Video Editing is, is not easy. Those that do already have a job, those that don’t will fake it to get a job. I live in the center of Tennessee and people tend to focus on one thing all their life. New blood is moving into the area, but from areas where the cost of living is higher so they expect more. Like I have learned here that a going fee for weddings is $1,500.00. I do not think anyone around here would spend that much on an entire wedding.

    No easy answer to this question because of past dealings. But if I ever do hire people, I would rather do editing.

  • #181406

    You don’t absolutely need a pro or prosumer camera to create a good wedding video (of course it helps but is not necessary). If you want to use a good consumer camera (lines are blurring between high end consumer and low end prosumer these days anyway) you still need to focus (NPI) on getting the right shots and using good production techniques (editing, color correction, audio, continuity, etc…) – I shot a wedding for a friend years ago with a Sony Handycam and they were very impressed (I spent weeks in post with it to make it the best it could be).

    Look at samples of other wedding videographers (I like Glen Elliot – and study their work, then come up with your own style and grow from there.

  • #181407

    “Impressive” video. But here is a problem I am encountering here. In this area Pictures as still considered the ONLY real keeper in weddings. People here will do what ever the photographer tells them to. Video, I can show people stuff I have done and they are WOWED, but when I go over what is needed to get the good stuff. UH! It is like “well video is not that important can you just stand in the corner in the back behind the screaming babies?” It is like I want to cry myself.

    I have a shoot in March, it is as much as a promotion for me as a end product for them. I have nearly begged the couple to come over to go over some things so I can get a feel of them, but again, the pictures are what is important, not the video. How do you change the mindset of and entire geographic area?

  • #181408

    that is why my company does the stills and video and sound.
    I not only get a say in the set up, but I can order the photographers and videographers around.
    still doesn’t make everything perfect though.
    I had a wedding recently where we attended the rehearsal… where we set everything up…
    then on the day the groom, the officiant and the groomsmen all decided to stand off thier designated marks and crowd together in front of a stationary camera.
    The brides maids were all in thier proper position…you look at the video and from one angle the aisle and flowers are centered nicely, the brides maids look lovely, and the grooms and groomsmen are all crowded off centered and blocking the other camera effectively ruining both views.
    I’m not the person who did the wedding planning.
    I’m not the person who didn’t pay attention at the rehearsal.
    I’m not gonna stop a wedding, and tell people to move over to where they said they were gonna stand the night before.
    But I’m the guy getting b1tched at about the video.
    The cameras were placed perfectly, in accordance with the plan we were given. Then they didn’t stick with the plan. I’m mad, the video is substandard to my standards. But they still got video.

  • #181409

    I do not know what it is about this forum that makes it do that from time to time, But I’m not fixing it, nor am I re-typing it.

    Safari on the mac does not play well with video maker forum.


    changed my mind and fixed it. why does it clutter up a post with all that code crap anyways?

  • #181410

    I am a videographer in a smaller Kentucky market fairly close to Nashville Tennessee. It’s all about the time and quality that the client wants. I set up several “packages” for them to choose from with different prices. Then I have a selection of “add ons” that they can choose from as well for an additional charge. I start at $750 and it can go up from there. When I started the business my lowest 1 camera package was $300. It has grown in the past 3 years and therefore I charge more for my services. Price and demand.

  • #181411

    @D0n Try using Firefox. That browser more standard code. There are many sites that do not work the browser you are using. Give it a shot. If not don’t just saying it will work way better.


  • #181412

    @jmaxwell0003 do you have a website? Would be interested in what you offer. Been thinking about doing wedding just not really sure if I want. But seems like it could help pay for equipment.


  • #181413

    <p class=”post”>

    I can see that if I am able to get the JVC I can then charge these fees.

    Since I am using the Walmart Sony Cam, IF and that is a big IF I do
    land a gig I will price it around $500.00, because IMO I can work
    wonders in editing. I think I am a better editor than a shooter. IMO


    Greg, I wasn’t meaning that you had to have the latest & greatest and certainly did not mean any ill intention. I was just trying to state why the fees are more for a professionally made video. The reference to the lady using the walmart cam was mainly that she stood right on the stage beside the bride and the end result was poor audio and shaky video. And she was also in several of the stills that were shot. I use wireless mics, a shotgun mic and typically a two or three cam set depending on the package. Also I use Vegas pro where she used windows moviemaker. I guess simply put you pay for what you get. Sorry if I came across in the wrong manner.

  • #181414

    No you did not come across sharp or inappropriate at all. That was not my intention in my reply. I am flustered with the area around where I live. The photographer is center stage while the guy trying to make a professional video is not important.

    I have tried to convey to my friends and others the value of video over photos but it is like trying to get a vegan to eat a steak. I can’t see it happening around here any time soon. What I was trying to suggest is that if I had a $3,000.00 camera and equipment then maybe people around here would be more receptive. As it is I use a light box that I had a friend make. It is a wooden box with a nut on the bottom that will sit on a tri-pod. I had him make a slit in it. I put a 400w halogen light in it. I went to Office Max and bought a transparent department store sign, and some transparent plastic notebook dividers of different colors. I use these as filters. So when I go to a shoot I look like I am dragging in junk and people just freak. But when they see what I can give them they give me WOW. It is by far not you I am flustered with. People here do not see the importance of paying for good quality video. And until I can carry of the “visual” look they expect in person, what I hand them as a finished product does not matter. I can’t even begin to tell you what I have had to deal with when trying to get people to understand what goes in to making a video. Some think I just sit down and 5 minutes later out pops a video.

    I am very sorry that I gave the wrong impression.

    I use Corel VideoStudio X3. A very long time fan of Corel. I have looked into Sony Vegas Pro 10 and was impressed and ready to make the choice to buy, but I am not sure it would be stable on my system. I built this computer and it has some heavy duty hardware, some of the best, but I sometimes I get up to 7-8 tracks and the reviews I read said that on my hardware the system would start to have issues.


  • #181415

    If you got anything to display as a demo reel, then I’d certainly start with it, and make more videofor illustration.

  • #181416

    Some of what I have done is here I had to compress it and it really messed it up. My hosting company has a 100MB video limit. I HATE YouTube so I will not use it. ANd most of my work is in the GB range.

  • #181417

    Who do you use for web hosting your video?

  • #181418

    I use weebly ( you can make a web page for free, but can’t toss video on it unless you pay for a pro account which is like $5.00 a month. And trust me on this ANYONE can build a site on weebly. They use a base template then you drag and drop the elements you want to use and write your own text. You have to upload the photos, videos etc.

    I host 2 sites of my own and 2 that I build for business.

    As you can see the options are limitless. They do not look like template creations either. It does take some time to get to know where everything is, like how to remove the weebly logo, how to add code. But once you know it is very very easy. The pro account that lets you upload video is about $5.00 a month paid in 6 month payments. With that you can sit up 10 separate sites. If you do not own your own domain name, like then you would have weebly on the end of your site name, like http://www.tasana-studios/ something like that. You can buy a domain name through them as well. That is cheap also and once a year payment. Once you have a domain name you can then make your email address"> it is a free service offered with the pro account by Google. But trust me, oce you get to know how they have stuff laid out it is easy as shooting a baby. WITH A CAMERA.


  • #181419

    I have looked into Sony Vegas Pro 10 and was impressed and ready to make
    the choice to buy, but I am not sure it would be stable on my system. I
    built this computer and it has some heavy duty hardware, some of the
    best, but I sometimes I get up to 7-8 tracks and the reviews I read said
    that on my hardware the system would start to have issues.

    I use Vegas Pro 8 on a Pentium IV w/3gb RAM @ 2.6GHz and some projects have scores of tracks, which Vegas handles like a champ. I would suggest you download the free, fully functional 30 day trial and see how your box handles it.

  • #181420

    Downloading it now. Will give it a try.

  • #181421

    I’ve noticed that this website dumps the blog comments every so often. I am using Firefox and still get dumped, si I try to type fast, if inaccurately.

    Our wedding charges start at around $700, but most people end up paying between $1000-$2000 by the time engagement videos, extra coverage, slide shows etc are added on. That’s the market here right now. We also shoot stills which helps, but the amount I can get for combined movie an stills is lower than the sum of movie an still alone. We are all subject to the local market conditions.

    One thing to remember, weddings are DIFFICULT! They take a long time, the talent is all amateurs, everyone or no one is in charge and stress is very high. Yet, I believe if you can shoot a wedding, you can shoot almost anything else (war zones excluded).

  • #181422

    I believe the best web host around is Hostgator.

    If you want to stream video on your site, then the cheapest video hosting service around is AmazonS3… we’re talking cents/month for many videos.

    I use EasyVideoPlayer (EVP) which gives the video a “skin” and player options and the EVP software sits on my server (at Hostgator) and integrates beautifully with AmazonS3

    I don’t recommend using free video services such as Youtube and I’m not going to list the reasons right now (there are too many)… if you are serious about being in business as a videographer, then you need to be in control of your own video footage.

    With regards to wedding clients, think about who your perfect client is. Do they want a professional video that captures every moment perfectly, with great sound… memories that they can show their grandkids down the line.

    If this is your perfect client then forget the cheapies… they’ll only cause you headaches, hard to please – even at cheap rates.

    Remind your clients of the benefits of using you and list what can go wrong if they use amateurs… you see a wedding videographer only gets one shot at it – you film on-the-fly.

    Put yourself in your clients shoes: what are the problems that they’re thinking about (list them all), then aggravate the problems by expanding on them giving examples. Then provide solutions of how you’d deal with them. You’re a professional, so put them at ease. They have problems – you have solutions; that’s why you can charge higher rates.

    Provide testimonials which is proof.

    This is a simple marketing strategy that any type of business can use.

    Note: Most people buy on emotion… so don’t talk to your clients about technical equipment or jargon… talk about emotions.

    For example: “Imagine sitting down with your husband in a years time at your anniversary watching your vows to each other…” Or: ” I heard a terrible story recently of an amateur video guy who ran out of battery just as the bride was about to say I do, they were devastated. I guarantee that…”

    In summary, you can charge what people are willing to pay. The bigger the problem – the more they’ll pay. If someone came to me with old VHS tapes… oh boy! Don’t people know that VHS deteriorates over time; it’s extremely lucky that they’re getting them transferred now etc… Plus there is the chance of an up-sell. Provide extra copies for $$$ or unedited version for $$

    Sorry to ramble


  • #181423

    Very good post. Many interesting pieces of news and comments. Thanks a lot for we would love to see you write more on this topic. I found it very interesting to read.

  • #181424

    I’m subscribed to your RSS feed now so I’ll check in more often!

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