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How to make money as a freelance videographer

There is a lot of ways to make money in the filmmaking and videography industry but one of the most appealing is as a freelance videographer because it allows you to work on your terms on your time. This article will focus more on general videography instead of cinematography, photography, editing, sound design, or graphic design, but these tips can be applied to almost any business. Videography can be shooting and editing weddings, parties, corporate events, music videos, commercials, or live events.

The best way to make money is to find your niche market or the thing you like doing, whether it's music videos or commercials or whatever and do it. Try establishing relationships with people who need these things.

Take any and everything that comes your way. Saying yes to everything helps you grow your circle and future gigs from that person. However, in my experience scheduling and payment becomes important. You don’t want to do too many things for cheap when running a business and you don’t want to do an incomplete job on something because you don’t have time.


Who you know is more important than what you know. The businesses in your town or city can create opportunities for you if you reach out to them. A barbershop can always use promotional video, a dancer can always use a video or photos, and a hospital can always use a corporate or training video of some kind. If you offer your services you might land a gig.

A solid, happy client base that has recurring events or needs for video will help you build a reputation as the guy who makes awesome corporate videos of whatever.

Word of mouth will always be one of the most effective marketing tools when building a brand or client base. Always deliver professional work, on time with a smile.

Most of your work will come via recommendations, so your reputation determines a lot and how much money you make as a freelancer.

Social media is a great way to get the word out about your skills or services. Social media makes you easily reachable so having the correct contact info and link to your portfolio is important.

Social media is everything and a good-looking consistent presence and impress any client. Also, sites like craigslist, linked in, or Fiverr are a great way to show you are an available videographer.

The Portfolio

Your portfolio is your resume. It's your museum. It's your storefront. It’s the reason why anyone will hire you.

It tells people who you are, what you do, and can attract the clients you want. If your portfolio is all skate videos, you will not attract makeup or beauty clients unless they want something skate in their video. If you shoot or have a lot of commercials, you will be contacted by commercial people. It's that simple. It can be hard typecasting or limiting yourself as one thing but this is how clients choose people.

You don’t go to the hardware store for groceries, and you don’t go to a bakery for fruit juice. Find the thing you like to do and do well and lead with that. Clients will end up coming to you when you do.

Labeling yourself as wedding videography or music video editor or horror movie director or fashion videography or sports videography is a great way to focus your skill and lands the big gigs that need a specialist.

Passive income is money earned with little to no effort. Stock footage sites are great for this, they can earn you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars extra a month depending on what you have.

Another thing I’ve seen lately is people selling GFX packs for premiere pro or After effects or LUT packages that offer a variety of looks for a single price. These sort of things are technically detailed and require a little bit of marketing and advertising dollars to sell but it can be done. I'm sure you have seen ads for 15 or whatever after-effect transitions pack or a 30 LUTS package for $50. Sites like motion array, pond 5, and storyblocks can offer these sorts of things including stock footage so if you're into that it's an option.

Another option is camera rentals. You can rent out your cameras or lenses or any production equipment to someone for a price. This does include owning equipment people want to rent and setting up this service somewhere. Whether it's through an already established company or advertising it yourself, it a great way to get passive income if you’re into it.

We here at Temple Studios do exactly this and have been very successful in earning passive income from the gear we had laying around. Our market is in the Tokyo area so if you’re ever in the Tokyo area and need cameras, lights, pro audio, or even actors let us know. That’s


It is possible to make a lot of money in videography, filmmaking industry but the competition is fierce and many people want the same job and will always undercut you. What sets you apart is what you bring to the table.

For example, can you shoot it? What camera do you have? Can you edit it? How long will it take? Can you add effects? How much will this all cost? As a general rule of thumb, they say $2500 is a good starting place for a three-minute video if you are doing everything yourself. However, this is just a starting price, and it will change depending on what the client needs.

Maximizing your revenue streams is a great idea. If you have 7 to 10 revenue streams that all bring in a couple of hundred dollars a month you are making a little bit of money, it’s a good thing.

Write down your expenses and figure out where to cut back or spend. A little bit of simple accounting can let you know how much you need each month to survive and to be profitable.

Set your price and figure out the hours you will need to complete it. You don’t have to lower your price to win a job and never say no to a job and if you don’t want to do a job because it's odd or you're too busy, increase the price. Offer to do less work if they can't meet your price and give them the elements of a project and have them take care of it. Stand firm on your price.

Your Price vs Volume of Work

All clients want things fast, done well and cheap and you will have to find common ground with the client and let them know what you can do for the price they are offering. In my experience treating just the editing like an hourly job and help the client understand how much time goes into making a video. For example, a 3-minute video might take 30 to 40 hours to complete including notes and revisions from the client. At $20 an hour for 40 hours of editing is $800. If they also want you to shoot the video that's another price. If the location is far of if they want something specific that’s another price. Things can quickly add up.

In this example, if the client only has $500 to spend on a 3-minute highlight video of their event you might want to say that you can shoot the event and you want to do it but the editing will cost an additional amount because of the time it will take to complete it.

Educating your clients on what each step of the process is will get you better pay for your efforts. If they simply cannot pay anymore, then let them choose someone else, you are promising a certain level of quality and if they can't afford that they need to reconsider, you are running a business after all. You cannot negotiate the price of a hamburger at a restaurant. They can not pay you $100 to edit a 60-minute video.

A key thing to note is that you want to be paid for the value of your work, not an hourly rate. If the client wants to know why you are charging a certain price for your work you can break it down but as a car mechanic or plumber, there is an arbitrary or subjective price to the cost of the “labor” or “skill of the artists” offered. A 30-year mechanic will know more do a better job and be faster than a 2-year mechanic. Another example is Jay-Z, you’re not going to pay Jay-Z an hourly rate, if you want him to play at your show it will cost a flat amount, you know what you are getting with him.

Surviving as a freelancer

Lastly, freelancer comes in waves so be prepared. Having a savings account for the slow months is a good idea. And remember to be professional and do quality work because this always leads to referrals that can help you in the long run. Also, any business management skills will help you be more successful. Things like Communication, Organization, planning, critical thinking, and Mentoring record keeping, being optimistic are all things that can help you maintain your business.

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