What is the average cost of a wedding videographer? What does a wedding videographer cost? How much is a wedding videographer?
There’s your answer, that’s it. There is no “average wedding” and no average cost. Some couples want a 3 minute highlight film that is an artistic masterpiece and some couples want a simple 30 minute video of their ceremony.
Oh, you want to know why some videographers charge $500 and some charge $20,000?
First, think about time. How many hours do you want your videographer to be at the location of your wedding (and how many hours to drive to your wedding)? Then how much preparation is needed and how much editing time (sitting in front of a computer) is needed? It often costs more to get a shorter film. Taking footage out and editing takes a lot more time than just hitting record and stop.
For $500 you can probably get someone on Thumbtack.com to come to your wedding right about the time your wedding ceremony starts and then have them stay for the first dances and the toasts. They will use one camera and make a very basic edit so that you have a copy of everything. For $500 you should expect average or below average equipment, particularly in the area of audio quality. If you’re lucky for $500 you will find a videographer that will connect to your PA system and record the audio from there. You could call this package Ceremony Film + Formal Dances + Toasts. For most weddings its probably an hour long. Also keep in mind that in addition to editing, it can take several hours just to load the footage, export the edited video, and then upload the edited video.
We generally charge around $1,200 for this, sometimes more. Why? One is video quality, we bring two to three high-end 4K cameras. The cameras and lenses cost around $10,000. Second is audio quality. We rarely actually use the DJs audio because we have superior quality microphones and recorders to get exceptional sound. Sound is more important and harder to capture than video.
Now to be honest we generally only do a package like this on short-notice because we want to allocate our time to weddings that can sustain us. Most full-time videographers feel similarly. This is our job, if we do thirty $500 weddings, which is a lot of work, we would only make $15,000 a year. For $500 you are likely getting someone that doesn’t do this full-time, hasn’t invested in quality gear, and just does this as a side hustle. Maybe you only want something super and don’t care as much about quality, in which case $500 might be the right budget.
In expensive markets, like New York City, you might pay several thousand dollars just for a ceremony film. And that’s not a bad deal: I know, I used to live there, it costs a lot to sustain yourself.
How much does a highlight film cost?
A wedding highlight film requires more time in person and significantly more time editing. We primarily do 12 hour packages, so that we can capture the entire day from beginning to end. Then it takes about FORTY hours to import, edit, and export the highlight film. Some weddings take less than forty hours and some take more, the point is it takes a long time to edit. Editing higher-end 4K footage also takes a significantly more expensive computer. Take all of the hours and equipment expenditure and I would say the price you want to pay is AT LEAST $2,000. It takes longer to edit video than photos, and videography equipment costs more than photography equipment. If you are paying a lot less than that they are likely: a) not staying for long enough to tell the full story of your wedding; b) using substandard equipment; c) rushing your edit. You might get lucky and find someone just starting out who will be charging $4,000 in three years but early on as they’re building their portfolio they are charging $999. If you luck into that, great! Also, when I first started I way undercharged and just tried to do as many weddings as possible. Generally wedding photographers and videographers that do a great job for $1,000 and try to do 50 of them a year (plus corporate events) burn out.
Why would someone charge $10,000 or more?
Some editors are just better than others and they invest more time in the process (and it takes longer for you to get it back after your wedding). Some teams will have three wedding videographers, a sound recordist, and several editors. The more people in the process, the more expensive. If you’re having a once-in-a-lifetime destination wedding, maybe you want to go all out and get everything recorded. Maybe you want your editor to take a lot more time to fine tune every last ounce of beauty out of the film. Or maybe you have an fun concept, thematic wedding where you are actually going to plan the wedding out as you would a short film. Paying $10,000 or more in these cases is actually a great deal. If you want perfect lighting at your venue, you can spend $10,000 on lighting alone. That’s not to say that many weddings spend that much on lighting, but large corporate events and larger video productions (even ones for YouTube) spend that much on lighting. There are some weddings where the videography team has charged $50,000 and it wasn’t a bad deal because they invested a lot of time and energy into the event.
So what should you spend?
Give us a call and tell me about your dream wedding and I’ll see if we can make it happen for a price you can afford!
Keep in mind, these are mostly just my opinions. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.