21 Going Pro: How to Earn a Second Income as a Videographer
If the job title of Videographer makes you think of a middle-aged wedding video maker with an ancient camcorder, it could be time for a rethink; the term is coming back into fashion in a big way, as professional content creators seek to distinguish themselves from the masses of amateur content creators that are still trying to build an audience on streaming platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, or TikTok.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being a wedding video maker – take a look at the prices on a typical solo wedding videographer’s website and you may be in for a shock. The number of people getting married may be at an all-time low in many Western countries, but such events still command higher than average hourly rates for creatives with the right skills in photography, music, and video.
Creating stock video footage is another potentially profitable sideline for those who are just getting started in the content creation industry. Building a large subscriber base on the major streaming platforms can take several months or years, regardless of how good your content might be. Creating stock videos could be your ticket to doing what you love whilst you build a fanbase; let’s investigate what it takes to earn extra money by creating videos.
If you think of yourself only as a streaming content creator, then you probably won’t be filming enough spare content to think about selling it on the side. It’s time to change your mindset – from now on, why not consider yourself a freelance videographer? That could mean filming other people’s weddings, but you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself; set up a website and offer to film parties, corporate events, real estate sales videos, or anything else you feel confident in your ability to create.
If you are already an accomplished video editor then you could even try your hand at filming music videos, corporate events, or other more complicated video tasks. You can choose to only take bookings that conform to your preferred schedule, making such work ideal for those who don’t enjoy the early mornings required of those commuting to a regular nine-to-five job.
That said, you probably don’t want to be too picky about the enquiries you receive in the beginning. In most areas, there is likely to be a lot of competition and may be necessary to offer your services at a discounted rate when you are just getting started. If you do a good job, word of mouth will soon begin to earn you an ongoing stream of work.
Build Your Relationships
Following on from the previous step, you should try and accept as much work as you can – provided the client is offering a reasonable wage – as every job that you complete will help you to build a portfolio that you can use to demonstrate your skills to any future potential clients. If creating videos is what you enjoy doing, then all that really matters is that you are earning enough money to get by in the beginning.
There’s an old saying that it isn’t what you know, but who you know, and nowhere is that truer than in creative industries such as this where word of mouth is the best form of advertising that money can buy. Create a social media page just for your video work and make sure that you seek permission from every one of your clients to post a few clips from the finished content to your profile; these examples of your finished work can often be the difference between securing a job and just having a conversation about it.
The best people to get to know as a freelance videographer are those who have a recurring need for somebody who can create high-quality video content. That is likely to be the corporate jobs, the business work such as creating sales videos for properties that are up for sale, or nightclub promoters who like to share memories of their parties with their patrons.
When a client comes back to you for a second or third job, you should feel thrilled; if you can convince them to pass your details on to their own friends and family, then you are truly cracking the nut in terms of making it as a professional videographer. This is the primary reason to ensure that you always produce the best work that you possibly can, regardless of who the client might be.
Sure, you might not feel overly excited at the prospect of filming the wedding of a person who you only know as a friend of a friend, but what if they were to pass your details on to an acquaintance of their own who will then give you a regular stream of work creating content for their business?
You never know what could happen as a result of you delivering a great service at an attractive price, not to mention the fact that word-of-mouth recommendations also carry enormous weight – new people from outside of your network will usually be willing to pay more for the services of somebody who has been recommended to them.
Maximizing Your Income
Once you have begun to build a significant following of trusted clients and your portfolio is expanding regularly, that is the time to think about talking to your employers regarding your rate. Don’t be afraid to bring up the topic of renegotiating terms, especially if you have regular customers who have been with you since the start and are paying you much less than your more recent clients.
Taking this advice a little further, you should eventually reach a stage where you feel confident in your work and know what you are worth – if you feel that you have reached that point then you can now have confidence when it comes to negotiations, or even deciding on the jobs you will opt to turn down. If you are fully booked every working day, you are obviously not charging enough.
At the same time, the opposite is also true so you should not be too cocky about this – if you are consistently losing work because you are asking too much, you may have to adjust your expectations.