So you want to become a freelance videographer.
But how do you get started?
If you are interested in being a freelance videographer, this article was written just for you. It will help guide you to start your own business and provide clients with great video content they want.
Here are seven steps that will help you start your own video production company on the side, or turn it into your full-time career.
How do I become a freelance videographer?
We will cover the basics of what you need to know in order to be a freelance videographer. We’ll start by discussing how much it costs and goes into detail on all the different equipment that is necessary for your work. Additionally, we’ll talk about marketing yourself as a freelancer and some tips from successful professionals who have been working in this field for years!
Get the right education
To become a freelance videographer, you’ll need to get the right education. Nowadays it’s easy enough to find classes online or even on DVD that can give you some of the basics. You should always start with an Associate’s Degree in video production from an accredited college so you have your student loans taken care of and are somewhat established. You can always get a Bachelor’s degree in video production or film, but that will take you more time and cost a lot more money.
Get the right equipment
To become a freelance videographer, you’ll need to invest in some good quality equipment for your business. A camera is obviously the most important piece of gear so you’ll need to buy something that’s good.
What is the best equipment for a freelance videographer?
The best cameras for video production are the Canon EOS C100 Mark II or the Fujfilm X-T4, both of which will set you back about $3k each. You’ll also want a stabilizer like a glidecam system and some lights if your camera doesn’t have internal ones built-in already. Other equipment like a tripod and microphones are very important as well.
Make your first video
Once you’ve got the education and the gear, it’s time to make your first video. Make sure that whatever content or service you provide is something people will actually want. Not every business needs its own promotional videos! Nowadays lots of businesses use social media as their main advertising platform, so you can create a video for that. You can also use your videos to promote other people’s businesses and make some money from them too!
Now it’s time to market your new business. Once you’ve made one or two great promotional videos (or even an entire video about promoting your own business), post them on social media and start sharing. You can also join some industry-specific job boards like Upwork or even Craigslist to help you find clients as well.
Build Your Portfolio
Having a portfolio is key to breaking into this field.
Once you’ve done a few jobs for clients, it’s time to start building your portfolio. This is basically just a collection of all the promotional videos you have made so potential clients can look through them and see if they want to hire you. Make sure that whatever content or services your provide are things people actually want (like we talked about earlier).
You need to start building your portfolio of work. The more you have, the better!
Get out there and shoot as much stuff for free as you can. Let people know that if they let you use their gear or help on a project that they’ll get some credit in your film credits.
Create an LLC/DBA Name for Your Business
To become a freelance videographer, you’ll need to create a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or even a doing-business-as name for your business. This will allow you as the owner of that business to have some legal protection from lawsuits if anything happens during production.
Get Insurance and Licenses for Video Production Work
As a freelance videographer, you’ll need to get proper insurance and licenses for your business. You should always have professional liability coverage including workers compensation as well. This way if someone gets injured on the job or there is an accident during production, you’re covered. Always check with local authorities about what laws are in place where you live to get the proper government licenses.
Freelance Videographer FAQs
What is a freelance videographer?
A freelance videographer is someone who shoots promotional videos for their clients. They can be hired to create a number of different types of content including commercials, film trailers, interviews and more. They can work alone or be part of a team.
What equipment do I need to become a freelance videographer?
To shoot promotional videos you’ll need at least one good quality camera, preferably two – but more is better! You’ll also want a stabilizer, some lights if your camera doesn’t have internal ones built-in already. Other equipment like tripods and microphones are very important as well.
What type of jobs do freelance videographers get hired for?
Freelance videographer can be hired to shoot all kinds of different types of videos. They are most commonly hired to shoot promotional videos for businesses, but they can also be hired to shoot interviews or even film trailers for movies!
What kind of skills do I need?
To become a freelance videographer you’ll need some basic education in video production and editing as well as experience shooting different types of projects with your camera(s). You’ll also need to be able to market yourself and network with other people in the industry.
What is a DBA?
A doing-business-as (DBA) name allows you as an owner of a business to create another legal entity, but still keep your existing assets outside that new company. This way if something happens during production or your business gets sued, the assets of that company will not be at risk.
What is an LLC?
Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a type of legal structure in which you set up your business to protect yourself from any liabilities that come with running it. You’ll need this for starting your own video production company.
What licenses do I need to become a freelance videographer?
As an owner of your own video production business you’ll want to make sure that you get all the proper government required licenses in place before starting up. These include:
Local and state sales tax ID numbers
Commercial general liability insurance coverage
Workers comp insurance for full-time and part-time employees
Business license (DBA)
How much does a freelance videographer make?
Freelance videographers typically make anywhere from $25 to $150 an hour. This is usually for smaller projects like real estate and product promo videos. Bigger projects can pay more than this with clients sometimes even paying a flat fee per project completed as well.
How do I become a freelance videographer?
To start off as a freelance videographer you’ll need some basic equipment and training. You can start off by taking courses in video production and editing, but it’s also good to take on smaller projects and work with established photographers and videographers before going out on your own.
Is there money in videography?
Yes! There is a high demand for videographers who specialize in promotional videos. This includes everything from commercials to real estate and product promo videos. The more experience you have, the better your chances of getting hired will be as well.
What are some tips I can use?
Reach out to local businesses that might need video production services. This could include small local businesses or larger companies that are starting up in your area! You’ll also want to start building an online presence through social media and blogging where you can share advice with others who might be interested in going into video production as well.
Who pays for the promotion?
When a company is just starting out they will usually need to use their own budget for marketing and promotion of their product or service. As they get larger, then they will hire you to shoot promotional videos that can be used throughout social media channels like YouTube, Facebook etc.
What are the different types of camera stabilization?
There are several ways to stabilize your video footage when shooting on the go. These include:
These are the most basic way to stabilize your camera and can be used in almost any situation! You’ll need a tripod that is meant for holding your specific type of camera, but they generally start at around $15 on Amazon. Plus you can usually find them locally at places like Best Buy or Walmart.
These are great for holding your camera and giving you options to change the angle of the footage while shooting. Lens rigs – help you film with less shakiness by attaching a lens or additional pieces to your specific type of camera (e.g., DSLR, GoPro etc).
These give you a lot of control over your footage and can really set the mood for any video production.
You may also need other accessories to help with lighting, audio etc – these include:
Great for picking up clear dialogue from interviewees as well as ambient noise in outdoor scenes.
If you’re shooting during the day then natural light can be great but if you’re doing an interview or indoor scenes then lighting becomes very important.
These will pick up good quality sound and are especially useful for interviews where you want to capture crisp dialogue between two people on camera. These start at around $70 and go up from there depending on how many features you need.
What are the different types of video production?
There are several ways to shoot your footage depending on what type of project you’re working on and how much time / money you have available for shooting. These include:
Indoor studio shoots
If you’re doing an interview, talk show or anything else that will be shot on a controlled set then you’ll want to opt for an indoor studio shoot. Location shoots – this is where your subject will be filmed at their location and can often bring in more authentic footage as well as give the viewer a better sense of place. This could include things like:
These are typically done with two cameras with one person sitting down facing the interviewer. Or you could do a walking interview where your subject is moving around while being filmed!
Product or real estate videos
These are great for showcasing certain places, events, products etc where having video footage of that location / event can help sell it to potential customers.
If you’re filming an athlete, extreme sports enthusiast or anyone else doing moves that are difficult to recreate then this may be the best option for you. This can include things like:
Skiing / snowboarding
If someone is skiing down a mountain at high speeds then having good footage of them going through each turn and jump will really help the viewer feel like they’re experiencing it right alongside them.
When filming mountain bikers you’ll need to capture footage of both the athlete as well as where they are in relation to their surroundings (focusing on turns, jumps, obstacles etc). If someone is flying through a trail at high speeds then having good steady footage of them going through each turn will be a lot more exciting than just seeing the trail from behind.
Football / soccer
It can help to have at least one shot where you’re focusing on your subject as well as another that shows their surroundings. It’s important for viewers to know what position they play and who else is around them to really be able to follow the action.
This is a good option for filming if you’ve got access to slow motion footage or want something that will look great in black and white. Try having one shot of your subject hitting the ball, another where they’re waiting at their side of the court and possibly even an overhead shot where you can see the ball coming down.
This is a great option for athletes who are doing flips, jumps or anything else that’s particularly dangerous to film with just one camera angle. A lot of these types of shots will require good equipment and editing skills so if you don’t have access to someone experienced then it may be best to ask the athlete themselves.
How do I start shooting my own videos?
If you want to become a video professional then it’s important to start working on your skills as early as possible. This means spending time learning about camera gear, lighting and sound equipment before ever picking up a camera for yourself so that once you do you’ll be as efficient as possible.
The first thing you should learn is how to use your camera and make sure that it’s set up properly before shooting anything important. If you’re using a DSLR then this means learning about:
Auto focus – check out some guides online on how to change the auto-focus mode of different lenses.
Auto exposure – you can find guides online on how to change the auto-exposure mode of different lenses.
White balance – learn how to adjust the white balance settings so that your footage doesn’t look too blue or orange etc. This can vary a lot depending on what location you’re shooting in and will need adjusting every time you go somewhere different.
After you’ve got your camera set up properly then it’s time to start learning about the other equipment that will be required for videography. You’ll need to understand how light works in order to get shots that are well lit, so spend some time looking into:
Light positioning – whether you’re using natural or artificial light, knowing where to position your lights will make a big difference. Make sure you’re not blocking any of the subject’s face and that it doesn’t look too flat or washed out etc.
Hardware – once you know how to use each piece of equipment properly then start looking into upgrading/buying new gear as needed (you can find some great deals on eBay for example).
Editing – a lot of video professionals choose to invest in their own computer hardware/software so that they can edit as quickly as possible. If you don’t have the time or money then look into hiring someone with professional editing skills, but be aware this may take longer than just doing it yourself.
What else do I need?
The above are all things that you can learn online or by asking someone with experience in the field. You could also go to YouTube and check out tutorials specifically related to whatever type of video content you want to create (e.g., GoPro videos, sports videos etc). Once you’ve picked up some skills then it’s time to pick a niche and start uploading content.
YouTube channel name
You’ll need to decide what type of videos you want to create before picking a YouTube channel name so keep this in mind as well. It’s also important not to bite off more than you can chew. Instead of trying your hand at making various types of videos it may be best to stick with one until you feel confident enough to move on. You can always change your mind later or branch out into new types of content once you’ve built up more experience/a fan base etc.
A blog perhaps?
You could also try starting a blog if videos aren’t really your thing, but make sure that whatever platform(s) you choose they’re all related to what you want to specialize in. If you plan on specializing in sports videos then make sure your blog/channel(s) are all about the same topic as well (e.g., GoPro videos, BMX videos etc).
Once you’ve picked a niche and created an account it’s time to start uploading content. Make sure that each video has a descriptive title and is well lit/shot so that people can see what they’re getting into before clicking on it. If you have a YouTube channel then make sure to include links in your descriptions as well for more information etc.
Get some quality shots
After doing some work on the computer, why not take out one of the cameras you’ve been learning how to use and go out and film some awesome content? Make sure you keep your camera close in case anything interesting happens, but also take it slow. You never know when something cool might happen so make sure to be prepared for this!
You can even try making a video about how to become a freelance videographer if that’s what you’re interested in 🙂
It’s not easy…
Now that you know what it takes, the only thing left is for you to take action! Becoming a freelance videographer is a lot of work, but if you love video editing and production then it will all be worth the hard work.