Wedding videography on a BUDGET
Finding an affordable, budget-friendly, inexpensive whatever you want to call it, wedding videography is usually the goal of most brides, especially nowadays in the United States.
But people. Let’s be real. When you say “affordable” what you really mean is “cheap.” Insert smiley, laughing emoji here. Yes, I know. When I was engaged, I asked the same thing.
The truth is, most brides are looking for the best quality film ever for the cheapest cost. This… is not realistic. At ALL. And I do say this respectfully.
When the average cost of weddings varies from state to state according to this article by The Knot from $28,000 to 34,000, in 2021 alone, you can definitely expect the cost of authentic wedding films to vary accordingly.
Why is inexpensive cinematic wedding cinematography NOT realistic?
For MANY reasons, some of which are discussed extensively in my blog on why video packages of your big day cost so much. Keep in mind, you do not want to risk even “just” a poor quality highlight video of your special day. But for now, let me say it is not impossible to find a truly affordable wedding videographer for a great cinematic experience.
Here are 5 best tips to help out with this.
1. Look for an upcoming professional wedding videographer
…basically, a new wedding videographer.
Look for someone who is just starting to film weddings, someone who just finished film training school, or someone branching out from photography to wedding videography.
You can find people like this by asking in bridal or wedding vendor oriented FaceBook (Fb) groups or even videography Fb groups. Or ask your local photographer if they know of anyone.
This is a great method because these individuals know about the equipment and editing software needed for videography, and likely have experience with shooting and editing already so you will get a better quality film than someone who has no experience whatsoever.
If you’re going to take a gamble on your once-in-a-lifetime wedding moments being captured on film, do it with someone who has at least some experience in the field.
REVIEW beginner professional videographers portfolios!
On that note, if you are pursuing this route, make sure to look at any previous work available! Talented wedding videographers will show their skill in any other video production they’e produced even if it has nothing to do with a wedding ceremony.
By looking at previous videos they showcase as a feature film on their social media platforms, you will get an INSIDE LOOK of the editing process and quality of standard that will be used in capturing your special moments.
And, in this research, you are obtaining a better idea of what to expect as a final film of your beautiful wedding and wedding story.
2. Reduce the HOURS of coverage or FILM TYPE of your Special Day
This next decision may not seem ideal to you, but it is actually a fantastic option.
You will, however, need to limit the hours of coverage and type of wedding films you’re expecting.
Meaning, it’s unrealistic to expect a highlight reel, teaser, full ceremony edit and whatever else you’re thinking, including the raw footage, filmed on DSLR cameras for less than a thousand bucks, even $1750 for that matter. Unless someone is just throwing your films together, this is a tall order for a quality videographer to commit to. Expecting a deal like that is expecting a videographer to work in the negative. And honestly, this makes one think you do NOT value the beauty of your love story.
Instead, consider asking a videography business who you would like to hire but maybe is out of your budget, to give you an offer for producing a highlight reel of several minutes for only a few hours of coverage as opposed to the whole kitchen sink. You might be surprised at what he or she offers you and it may be exactly what you didn’t know you wanted. yes, this could mean missing out on footage of your cocktail hour or dance floor big moments being in the final film, but the most important part of the day is the ceremony and at the very least, you will have those candid moments of beauty captured.
SHAMELESS PLUG for an affordable option
*Shameless plug here. This is something I am a huge fan of and I offer in what I call an “Elopement-style” package. (Formerly a B.O.B. package, a.k.a. “bride-on-a-budget” package).
From seeing so many brides on FaceBook bridal groups mention being “on a budget,” it seemed a good idea to offer this.
It includes almost everything that I can possibly offer for my basic highlight reel package with the exception of LIMITED hours of coverage. For this package, I limit the hours of coverage I provide which is strictly to obtain footage before, during, and immediately following the ceremony.
For me, I take wedding videography extremely serious because a bride and groom are trusting me to capture their day to remember forever. That is a huge honor! So I give my absolute best when I’m filming and producing a wedding film. Which means it takes up a great amount of time, effort and cost to ensure this.
Use your hours of coverage to focus on the ceremony.
But in order to maintain that high standard of quality and still make the price more budget friendly for any bride, I reduce the hours of coverage for what is considered the most important moments of the day… the ceremony and the events immediately surrounding it.
If you can find someone to do this for you, the beauty is you’ll at least be guaranteed the quality of what you’re wanting.
3. Buy footage/film edits AFTER the wedding day
Book a videographer for their basic (cheapest) option and following the ceremony, see if you can go back after the day of the wedding and purchase more edits.
Some videographers save the footage for a certain period of time for this very reason.
By doing this, you can save whatever funds needed return back to your wedding videography team and obtain what you want.
It’s not a hard and fast rule to book for everything before the wedding if your budget doesn’t allow in the moment. And think of all the monetary gifts that usually follow the wedding, or even before the ceremony. At the bridal shower, combined bride and groom shower, etc. Personally, I think it would be wise to plan on putting some of those monies toward investing in a quality wedding film.
Just check that this is a viable option with your videographer before planning on something like this. You will need as much information from that wedding videography company on how long they retain footage, what footage is retained, and the cost la carte of certain edits, like a “day edit,” to make sure you’re making the right decision.
4. Film your own footage and then pay someone to edit it for you
This one is a possibility, but again, probably takes planning beforehand.
USE YOUR OWN CAMERAS
See if you can have your own cameras (GoPros are a great option, etc.) set up strategically or filmed by designated trusted loved ones at your wedding. Better yet, if you (or friends of yours) have DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras and legit camera lenses, borrow them! Make sure they’re set correctly though.
If you do it right, you could film your wedding with three of them and just have them turned on at just the right time so they don’t have to be touched again. Why three? I’ll have to write an in-depth blog on that to really break it down, but in short, that would parallel how many wedding videographers film weddings.
Have a camera trained on you, the bride, on your groom, and then one in the back of your guests to capture the entire scene from a distance.
Once you have the footage, see if someone can compile this into a film for you.
Now, there will be issues with this in the sense of the quality of footage obtained.
Now, you do have to keep in mind that there will most certainly be issues with this in the sense of the quality of footage obtained. An amateur versus a professional videographer do not substitute and you have to weigh the risk of your great moment of the first kiss as husband and wife, or the first look of the bride walking down the aisle being compromised.
By booking a PROFESSIONAL VIDEOGRAPHER, you pay for their EXPERIENCE.
Videographers, ones that produce high quality films, will make sure their cameras are at the right place and their camera settings are best in the moment that your day’s events are recorded. Exposure, aperture, white balance, shutter speed, and other such settings are key to dial in correctly so the post-production process is optimal. Not to mention, things like professional high-quality audio, licensed music, will likely not be accounted for.
So having inexperienced loved ones try to fill in for an experienced videographer is risky but might be doable.
The tough part in all of this is getting your entire footage to someone who can edit it into a film for you.
And yes, there are basic editing software options available that could possibly do the job but this option is full of risks. Free software options like iMovie, Shotcut and Openshot likely won’t cut it due to various reasons like storage and software limitations, and user expertise.
And in my opinion, it would be imperative for you to have someone locked down to do this service for you before you make plans to get equipment to record your wedding.
So for a day as special as your wedding day, I would say go with one of the previous options.
In short, affordable wedding videography is possible BUT…
5. Just book a wedding videographer.
My take home point for you, dear bride, in trying to keep your wedding videography on a budget is just book a wedding videographer. The best wedding videographers have to get started somewhere, and even catching one in their beginning stage is worth the peace of mind that your final video will be exactly what you dreamed it would be.
Honestly, the additional cost is worth it.
This is one of the biggest regrets that I hear brides having and I truly believe a videographer is just as vital as a photographer. You can read my blog here on my reasons why.
So budget for it and don’t fall into the category of being one of those who later regrets skimping out on it. Hopefully one of the options listed above gave you an idea of some affordable options to consider.
Til’ next time,