The Price is Right: Charging the Right Price for Wedding Videography
Budding wedding videographers set prices on one criteria: make 'em lower than the opposition. The internet's awash with £350 prices from both new starters and even the more experienced, but these kind of prices simply aren't sustainable in the long term. And certainly aren't compatible with producing a quality product to a valued customer. Key to charching appropriate prices is to consider your wedding videography service as a business, not an extended hobby.Whilst there's a temptation to see weddings as a means of additional income, this serves to distort prices and undervalue your time and effort. By perceiving your service as a business with the associated bottom line, you'll soon see that £350 prices are unrealistic. There's two main criteria affecting your pricing structure: level of experience and skill; and the costs you need to cover. Lets take the first of these, experience and ability.
Are You Experienced?
Unfortunately experience is not always a sign of skill within Wedding videography. Due to the artistic nature of much of the work, there's a certain degree of raw talent required to produce an aesthetically pleasing product. That said, raw talent won't see you at the right place at the right time on the wedding day, nor will it compensate for technical knowledge. The vast range of skill sets required for a successful wedding videographer are beyond the scope of this article, but it does go a long way to pointing at the prices you should charge. If, for example, your enthusiasm and technical knowledge outweighs your artistic skills, theres a chance you'll always be at the lower end of the market without expansion. It's therefore essential to build a reputation for producing a professional quality product delivered to the expectations of the client. As your knowledge and standing in the market expands, so will your ability to employ others with the artistic skills required to increase your prices. Alternatively videographers with oodles of talent but no experience should also expect to 'learn the ropes before being able to justify a price at the high end of the market
I've deliberately avoided mentioning the actual price you can charge. The above gives an indication of the 'level' of prices you can charge, but this should always be considered within the context of the costs you encounter. It could be that the price you can command is too low to justify your entry to the market: either you lack the experience to deliver a product to the standards demanded, or your ability doesn't match those within the industry. To this end, my initial recommendation for any budding wedding videographer is to address both of these before contemplating entry into a highly competitive market. Experience can easily be gained through working with other videographers. Indeed, if you have the talent you would be a natural compliment to a videographer with years of experience attempting to move up in the market. This will benefit both parties and the net gain will certainly be higher.
Do the Maths
Costs within the videography aren't always fully appreciated. The typical videographer invests up to £10,000 the start of business, and technological changes mean investment in new technology is unavoidable. Your prices therefore need to reflect these costs even if you already own a substantial amount of equipment.
Despite high equipment costs (be prepared to pay in the region of £8k for a decent set of cameras), the highest cost is that of labour. During the day itself you could find yourself starting out as early as 6am and rolling back home at gone midnight. And that's just the day itself. You'll then spend time capturing and editing the 10 odd hours of footage to produce a DVD. Depending on client requirements, this could involve a significant amount of editing which would typically involve around 3-4 days of work. In all, I would estimate that 4 days is not a-typical of a producing a DVD. If we go back to the original price of £350 at the start of the article, you'll soon see why I consider these prices to be far too low. Once you've factored in the cost of equipment and the one off costs of materials for each wedding, many wedding videographers are operating at a significant loss. Many videography prices reflect the perceived quality of the product. If it's seen as a way of making a few extra quid, professionalism slips and the prices start to justify themselves. People will always be willing to spend as little as possible on the wedding video, but that's not to say prices should reflect this. So when setting your prices, always start with your costs. If your costs are, but you feel your prices don't reflect the quality of the product you can provide, consider why you're entering the business. Equally you could reduce costs to charge low prices, but this would certainly limit your expansion and perpetuate low prices.
So what do I see as the right price for a wedding? From my experience a two man operation would need to start prices at around £1,000 to stand a chance of succeeding. In my opinion a wedding, no matter how small, requires two operators to on the day itself to ensure all 'angles' are covered. If you can win business at these rates based on your samples, then you're set for success. Charging anywhere below £500 simply isn't sustainable.