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A videographer is usually a solo camera operator or a small crew that records videos for various industries.  

A videographer and cinematographer can sometimes get mixed up as they do similar jobs, but a cinematographer is generally someone who works on larger sets with bigger teams.

On the other hand, a videographer will mainly work under a producer, and if you run a smaller production company, you could be working on your own most of the time.

In this blog post, we will take a look at everything you need to know about videography to consider it for your career.

Do You Need a College Degree to Become a Videographer?

If you apply for videographer jobs at film agencies, they will expect you to have some degree in a film-related subject. This could be anything from broadcasting to screenwriting.  

Having a degree will help you with your application, but with that said, if you don’t have a degree in filmmaking, you should still apply to provide you have experience. If I didn’t have a degree, and I wanted to apply to a videography job that required a degree, I would email the company and send them some of my footage along with my application.

Don’t be frightened to apply without a degree as practical experience is a great advantage you may have over other applicants. If you have produced multiple short movies or have filmed weddings, send them over with your application, and explain. However, you don’t have a college degree in filmmaking; you are passionate and have practical experience.

If you don’t have a degree and don’t have the practical experience, I would advise you to contact your local film school to see if they have any short film making classes available or you could also join a film making club in your local area.

You may also want to see if there are workshops in your town that you could join. If you can’t find any, you could learn from online film making tutorials.

Internships and Mentors

Internships and mentors are one of the best ways to learn any skill, in my opinion, because most schools will teach theory that sounds good in the classroom, but in the real world, it just doesn’t cut it.

Apprenticeships are essential for gaining practical experience that will not only help you develop as a videographer, but it also looks great on your job application when you can show you have experience in other videography companies.

Working an internship opened so many doors for me, and it allowed me to meet other professionals that would help later on in my career. If you have the chance to do an internship, even if it’s unpaid, please do it, it will benefit your career, and you will make vital industry contacts along the way. 

Why Videography?

I had a camera in my hands for as long as I can remember. I loved to record videos, whether it be a day out at the park or a family event.

Videography is a passion for most of us, but you may have another reason for wanting to become one, such as the job is always different. For example, a wedding videographer may only shoot weddings, but you are filming different families at different locations and celebrating a happy time in someone’s life.  

Videography is also exciting as you never really know what’s going to happen when you begin filming. At a wedding, you may capture a heartfelt moment between the bride and groom or something funny that one of the page boys may have done.

If you shoot short films or indie films, you may capture a moment that goes off-script and makes the movie more entertaining. As a videographer, your job is to capture a moment in time that can never be given back, and you can take some satisfaction from the job, knowing that you did just that.

Some videographers may not get into the job because it’s a passion of theirs; they may choose to become a videographer because of the money earned.

Freelance videographers can demand anything from £275 a day to over £5000 depending on the camera operator’s level of experience and the niche that videographer works in.

Wedding videographers can typically charge £1000+ a day.

If you’re in it for the money, a videographer can make a lot of money if they know how to market themselves and their website.

Equipment Needed to Become a Videographer

Videography can be expensive when you take into account the equipment needed to record your films. With that said, you don’t need the best equipment when you are getting started. You can also look online for used camera equipment. The online auction websites are a good place to look and your local market place (Craigslist, Gumtree, or Facebook).

When starting, you are going to need the following equipment:

1. Tripod

A tripod will be your best friend as a videographer because cameras can become heavy when you are using them for multiple hours per day. Tripods also allow you to shoot perfectly still scenes, which in my opinion, ads to the professionalism of the shot.

Tripods can be bought for cheap, or you can spend a large amount of money on them. Get one you can afford, and if you get a quality one, it will last you a lifetime.  

A cheaper tripod will work fine but won’t last as long, and you will replace it within a few years, but if your videography company is growing, this can be a great way of keeping the costs down, for now, have more work.

Videography

2. Gimbals

Gimbals are vital if you shoot any fast-paced photography as they stabilize your moving shots, making them look more professional even if your budget is small.

3. Microphones and Booms

Your camera’s microphone isn’t going to be enough to capture high-quality audio, so you will have to invest in wireless microphones or booms depending on the type of video you want to create.

For interviews, a portable microphone will improve your sound quality, while short filmmakers will need to invest in a boom mic to capture dialogue.

4. Your Camera

Before buying a camera, I highly recommend going to workshops or a local videography class so you can see the cameras being used and learn how to use them and the limitations certain cameras may have.

Starting, you may want to use a DSLR with video capabilities as they are cheaper than your traditional videographers camera. With that said, you need to use both to see which one you prefer, as buying a camera is a significant investment.

5. Camera Lenses

Camera lenses are where most of your budget will be spent, as you will need different lenses for different shots. Lenses are expensive, so you will need to be creative when you first start your videography career.

If you think you will need a special lens for a particular reason, you could consider hiring a camera lens online as it’s cheaper than buying one. Make sure to take out the additional insurance in case you damage the lenses.

6. Protective Cases

Protective cases are needed if you travel with your camera equipment. 

Without these hardened cases, you are risking your camera equipment being broken or damaged during transit.

Protective cases aren’t too expensive, and when you consider how much money you could lose if your equipment gets damaged, it makes sense to get a few of them to protect your equipment.

Getting Clients

The difference between a successful videographer and a failed videographer isn’t the individual’s skill levels or how good their movies are; it’s how profitable they are.

If you want to run a successful videography company, you are going to need clients.

There are many ways of getting clients, and here are some you can do when you are starting your business with 0 clients.

1. Tell Everyone you Know

The first way of getting clients and the easiest is to tell everyone you know what you do. Most people don’t understand what a videographer is, so if you tell them you film weddings or film videos for small businesses, they will act as mini salespeople for you without even knowing.

If someone has a wedding or event that they want to capture and someone remembers that you film that type of event, there is a huge chance they will mention you and your services.

This tactic isn’t limited to family members either. It can be used on everyone you meet. If you are having a haircut and the barber asks you what you do? Tell them, and they may need someone to film the inside of their property for a social media campaign.  

It may be worth getting business cards made up for these situations, but in my experience, if someone wants to work with you, they don’t need to show them your work, and you can close them on the spot as a client.

2. Cold Emailing for Business

You may shudder at the thought of cold emailing a prospective client but don’t. The business world is filled with cold emails, and with the average conversion rate of 15%, you can see why it’s successful. 

Cold emailing will require you to face rejection head-on, but you can get your first client very quickly if you can do it.

With cold emailing, you will need to decide who your ideal client is and who can realistically afford your services. When you know all of the above, you can put a list of businesses together and reach out to them.

Alex Berman of Experiment27 has a great youtube channel where you can learn all about cold emailing.

When I started as a videographer, I used cold emailing and was able to get my first commercial customer within 3 days of sending out emails.  

The business that hired me even thanked me when I reached out to them because they had been looking to have some videos made for their business but hadn’t had the time to research a video production company.

If you don’t work with companies and work with individuals, it becomes difficult to cold email because of the various laws worldwide. However, in this situation, you can use cold email to build strategic partnerships.

If you film weddings, you could contact all of the bridal shops in your area and introduce yourself and your work. You could tell them you are looking to film more weddings and would be glad to give them a referral fee for all brides sent their way.

3. Social Selling

Social selling is a term used to win customers through your social media channels by creating content that potential customers would like to see.  

For a wedding videographer, this content could be a short video uploaded to YouTube along the consideration lines when hiring a wedding videographer.

A potential bride could be looking for this content and come across your business. If your content is useful to the bride, she will see your brand and remember you next time she’s searching for a videographer, or it could be the case that the bride reaches out to your company after reading your article.

Many videographers make the mistake of using social media to hard-sell customers on what they do, be different, and create content that your visitors want to see, and you will win more business.

If you want to learn more about social selling, check out Hootsuite’s blog post.

Conclusion

Becoming a videographer is a rewarding yet challenging career. Not only do you need the technical skills to create stunning videos, but you also need marketing skills, sales skills, and people skills. Thankfully all of the above can be learned, and when you master them, you will have a successful videography career.

Written By
James Mathews is a videographer and works for Bounce Color, a company that helps other videographers cut down on their editing times through preset digital assets.

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