Things to consider when comparing wedding videographer package pricing
Most wedding videographers have different ways of presenting the video packages they offer, which can make it very difficult when trying to compare one company's wedding video packages to another. So, I figured I would do my best to break things down for you in a way that will allow you to understand the things you should consider when trying to get the most out of your budget for a wedding videographer. I hope this helps!!
While there are standards that should be met to produce quality videos, determining what video quality means to you is not a question easily answered. That's because the most important thing about finding a videographer that fits you, is how their videos move you. A wedding video that you really connect with might have the opposite effect on me. So, my best piece of advice in comparing quality is to watch videos from several different videographers and contact the videographers whose wedding videos you connect with the most. Videographers are going to hate me for saying this because we love referrals but don't pick someone just because your friend or relative used them. You're going to connect to their videos because you know the people in them but that doesn't mean that they're best suited for you and your style. So, get your tissues ready and watch as many videos as it takes to find a couple videographers that you connect with the most!
-The Types of Edits You'll Receive and Extras
To me, this should be the most important thing to consider after video quality. It's one of the most highly debated topics among videographers and it seems to be one of the most poorly communicated between them and their clients. It is also one of the factors that will dramatically affect the package price because most of the hours you're being charged for occur after the wedding itself; in editing. So, after you find a few videographers whose videos you feel fit what you're looking for the best, it's time to start thinking about the type of video(s) you want to receive. Most videographers start their pricing with a Highlight Video only and some include the ceremony and speeches in that base package. Professional Wedding Videographers base packages can range from $1,500-$15,000 but the standard for experienced, quality videographers is $2,500-$6,000.
The best advice I can give you is to really look at all of the details of the packages, specifically the edited videos you'll receive and compare them to what the other videographers are offering. This might be more challenging than it sounds because you'll have to do some math to add up all of the "extras" for the videographers who only use the a la carte method, which could include things like drone footage, documentary style edits, RAW footage and plenty of other things that other videographers might include in ALL of their packages.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you're interested in a longer video than the videos they display on their website, ask to see more than one example of any video that you would like to receive. I'm not saying that you have to watch the whole video of some other couple's entire wedding but at the very least skip through it so that you can be sure they're as good at producing those videos as the videos on their website and to make sure that those are the types of videos you still want.
-Number of Videographers
This is another highly debated topic between videographers because everyone has their own way of capturing a wedding. I prefer to work with alone but other videographers prefer the team approach. I don't think that there's a right or wrong answer here because both methods of shooting can provide amazing results. I prefer being the only shooter because I've learned how to capture all of the shots I need to make a spectacular video by myself and I know exactly what shots I need to make that happen. It also keeps my overhead low, especially if I have to travel, which in turn keeps the package prices reasonable for the quality I deliver. There are certain circumstances where having two videographers is necessary though, like when you're getting ready in two different locations at the same time or you have a party bus and want someone to travel with the bridal party for pictures but would like coverage of the guests at cocktail hour as well. So, I have a few second shooters that I work with, including my wife and son, who know exactly the type of footage I'm looking for in those situations. Another thing to consider is how many people you want running around throughout the day. Most photographers already have a second with them. So, the more videographers you have the more crowded it gets and the harder it is to stay out of each other's way. Again there's no right or wrong way here because every company has their way of doing this. These are just factors for you to consider!
-Level of Experience
The amount of experience will also play a big role in the pricing. Videographers who are confident in their work charge what they feel they're worth. That can be very subjective but experience is valuable when you only have one chance to capture that special moment or to capture all of the moments collectively in a way that will allow you to create great video(s).
One of the things I've realized is that when a videographer charges a lot less than other local videographers, it's because either they are just starting out and don't have the confidence to charge what they're worth (this was me for several years) or they're so old school that they're still producing the type of videos that they did in the 80's and 90's and aren't as relevant today or wedding videos is only a side-job for them which means that they may not be as committed to it as someone who has made it into a full-time career. So, if a deal seems to be too good to be true just make sure that you really look at plenty of examples of the videos you'll be receiving and thoroughly read their reviews (and how recently they've received them).
Red Flags and Additional Considerations
-No Contract or Agreement Form
Any videographer who doesn't have you sign a contract or agreement form should NOT be trusted. These forms do exist to protect the videographer but more importantly to you they also PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT in the services they are offering. This form should clearly outline the date of your wedding as well as everything their package includes as well as the cost of the package you selected. If a videographer (or any wedding vendor for that matter) doesn't present you with a form like this, my best advice is RUN!!!
-Make Sure You Know Who Is Going To Capture Your Wedding
Many wedding video companies have what is known in our industry as a "volume brand" which means that they have a separate wedding video company, which allows them to book weddings for less than they normally do and if they have another, more expensive wedding package booked that same day, they'll hire someone else to capture your wedding. Other businesses (like George Street Photo & Video, for example) have built their business on contracting local videographers nationwide (many of which have little experience), to capture weddings for them and they pay a team of editors near minimum wage to edit them. I don't see anything wrong with hiring someone to edit your work because if it comes back and isn't consistent with the normal videos you produce you can always re-edit it. But you only get one chance to capture the many special moments that take place at a wedding correctly so I personally never rely on someone else to capture a wedding for a couple that books with me. I'm not saying that this practice will definitely result in a poor video but I am saying that it's a risk I wouldn't take for my wedding. So, my best advice here is to ask who will be present at your wedding and capturing the footage and audio. Then make sure that you see samples of weddings that they have captured AS THE LEAD VIDEOGRAPHER if they are going to be the lead videographer at your wedding.
-No Professional Website & Very Few Samples or Reviews
If something seems to good to be true, it usually is. An event that you don't want to test this theory on is your wedding! The most important factor for any wedding vendor you hire is professionalism. If all they have is a Facebook page or their website has ads on it, only a few samples or very few reviews, be very careful. It may be worth it and save you money in the end to spend a little bit more upfront to hire someone you feel the most confident about.
It's illegal for videographers to use popular music without obtaining the proper licensing to use that song for your wedding video. Most of the places we upload these videos (Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) won't even allow you to upload them and have been recently deactivating accounts because of these infractions. If you're watching a wedding highlight video and hear a song that you'd hear on the radio from a well-known artist, this should be a red flag that they may be cutting corners or are somehow unaware of the legal ramifications for using songs without the proper permissions.