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Essential guide to setting your videography pricing

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Written by Esther C

Published Aug 09, 2023

If you’re just getting started as a freelance videographer, we understand it may feel daunting to think about making these decisions. After all, setting your videography pricing can bring up a million questions like — should I charge by the hour or by the project? How do I calculate an hourly or day rate? How do I estimate how long a job will take? We want to break this topic down for you so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming, and you can approach clients confidently and start building your business today. 

By following this guide, you'll be equipped to set fair and competitive prices that reflect your value as a videographer.

Contents

  1. Determine your skill level
  2. Define your services
  3. Conduct market research
  4. Establish a pricing structure
  5. Project pricing - estimate a project's cost
  6. Calculate your expenses
  7. Be transparent
  8. Review and adjust
  9. Final thoughts

Determine your skill level

image of a woman filming outdoors
Image by Brett Sayles

If you are a beginner looking to start your videography career then having a portfolio is essential to showcase your skill level and represent your best work. To begin with your portfolio does not need to have paid work, it can include personal projects and speculative work (unpaid work presented as if it is for a client). Just make sure you clearly label your 'spec' work in your portfolio.

To gain some perspective you can take a look at other experienced videographer portfolios which will help highlight areas where you excel and areas that may need improvement.

Although it can seem a little daunting at first, asking for feedback from others is a great way to understand your skill level. Share your work with trusted peers, mentors, or industry professionals and ask for their honest feedback.

Feedback can of course help identify your weaknesses and areas for growth but it's easy to forget that positive feedback is just as valuable because others will be able to highlight strengths you won't have noticed yourself.

Getting in the habit of continuous learning will mean your skills continue to develop — from reading industry news, participating in online courses, being part of forums, and following other’s work on social media. So also make sure you continue to update your portfolio as you go so it always represents your best work. 

Define your services

image of a man filming in a forest
Image by Peter Fowler

As a videographer, you can offer a wide range of services depending on your skills, interests, and your clients' needs. You can always start with one focus like real estate videography and then expand your services as your experience grows, or try out a few different areas and then find your preferred niche. Here are some common services provided by videographers:

Event videography

You can capture and document events such as weddings, birthdays, corporate functions, conferences, concerts, and other special occasions. This would cover filming the event, capturing important moments, and creating a final edited video.

Commercial and promotional videos

You can produce videos for businesses and organisations to promote their products, services, or brand. This can include commercials, corporate videos, promotional videos, testimonials, product demos, and explainer videos.

Documentary filming

Work on documentary projects, either independently or as part of a team, to capture real-life stories, events, or social issues. This involves conducting interviews, capturing footage, and creating a compelling narrative.

Music videos

Maybe you're interested in collaborating with musicians and bands to create visually appealing videos to accompany their music. This can involve conceptualisation, storyboarding, shooting the video, and editing it to synchronise with the music.

Real estate videography

Create video tours of residential or commercial properties to showcase their features, layout, and surroundings. This can include aerial shots, interior walkthroughs, and highlighting the property's unique selling points.

Travel and adventure videography

Capture stunning visuals of landscapes, cultures, and experiences to document your own travels or work on travel-related projects for clients.

Educational and training videos

Produce instructional or educational videos for online courses, tutorials, or training purposes. This can involve demonstrating processes, teaching skills, or explaining complex concepts through visual storytelling.

Sports videography

This can include filming both amateur and professional sporting events, matches, or competitions to capture key moments, player performances, or team dynamics.

Post-production and editing

Provide services such as video editing, colour grading, audio enhancement, adding special effects, and creating a polished final product. This can be offered as a standalone service or in conjunction with other videography services.

Live streaming and virtual events

With the rise of online events and live streaming, you can offer services to film and broadcast live events, webinars, conferences, or virtual gatherings.

Conduct market research

image of a man filming at beach
Image by Kyle Loftus

It can be helpful to research the current salaries for permanent videographer roles as a rough guide for how much to charge for video production. First you need to decide what role suits the number of years of experience you have, for example, if you’re in your first year as a freelance videographer then your equivalent permanent position would be a junior videographer. 

Searching job listings online is a good place to start as they will often advertise the salaries, and you could also reach out and email recruiters to find out how much they see people getting paid in that role. 

It’s important to check your local job market because location can greatly affect salary ranges. Videographers in London for example have higher living costs and will earn more than those in smaller cities around the UK.

But what if you want to convert an annual salary into an equivalent videographer hourly rate? You can do this with a simple calculation. Take the annual salary and divide it by 2,080 to give you the number of working hours in a year (40 hrs per week x 52 weeks). 

Then to get closer to a freelance videographer hourly rate, you can take that number and multiply it by 1.2 and 1.3 and somewhere in between those numbers should be a fair hourly rate. The reason for adding an extra 20-30% is because as a freelancer you have to pay your own taxes, insurance and other expenses. 

This will give you a good place to start but shouldn’t be your only consideration. You don’t want to undervalue yourself!

Find the perfect location for your next video shoot

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

Establish a pricing structure

image of a man filming a violin performance
Image by Kyle Loftus

When it comes to building a videography pricing structure there are a few different options you can take: 

Hourly rate

In this case you would determine an hourly rate based on your skills and expertise and charge your clients for the amount of hours you work.

The advantage of charging an hourly rate is transparency. Clients can clearly see how their investment correlates with the time spent on the project. This transparency can help build trust and minimise potential misunderstandings regarding costs, as clients have a clear understanding of how their budget is being allocated.

Hourly rates are particularly advantageous for small projects that don't require a substantial time commitment. Clients only pay for the actual hours worked, which can be more cost-effective for them compared to other pricing models that may have a higher base cost.

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider. Hourly rates can also create uncertainty for clients, as the final cost is not known until the project is completed. This uncertainty can make budgeting and financial planning more challenging for clients, potentially leading to hesitation or resistance.

Additionally, some clients may perceive hourly rates as a potential avenue for overcharging. If they are not familiar with the intricacies of videography work, they may question the value they are receiving in relation to the hourly rate. It's important to clearly communicate the value and expertise you bring to the project to address these concerns.

Finally, hourly rates may shift the focus to time spent rather than the value and expertise you bring to the project. This can create a perception that clients prioritize shorter durations rather than considering the overall quality and impact of the final product.

Day rate

If you would prefer to provide clients with a day rate, you would set a flat rate for a full day of shooting, typically 8-10 hours. This approach can simplify pricing, especially for longer projects.

Package pricing

You can create different packages with varying levels of service, such as basic, standard, and premium. Each package should have a fixed price and clearly defined deliverables. This type of pricing structure can be the simplest but requires you to offer nearly identical services to each client as this structure doesn't allow for customisation. 

Project-based pricing

In this case you provide a custom quote for each project based on the client's specific needs and requirements.

One advantage of working on a project basis is you can focus on getting the work done rather than tracking your hours or worrying your hours will be more than the client wants. It provides you clarity and predictability.

By offering a fixed price for the entire project upfront, clients also have a clear understanding of the costs involved, making it easier for them to budget and plan. 

Project-based videography pricing also allows you to emphasise the value and outcomes of the project. Rather than focusing solely on the time spent, you can highlight the unique benefits and deliverables you bring to the table. 

Another advantage is the control it gives you over the project scope. By clearly defining the deliverables and setting project boundaries, you can minimise scope creep and ensure that the project stays within the agreed-upon parameters. 

However, there are potential disadvantages to consider as well. Estimating the project scope accurately upfront can be challenging, and unexpected complexities or changes in requirements may require you to renegotiate the price. If you underestimate the time required you can end up working more hours without appropriate compensation, impacting your profitability.

Additionally, some clients may perceive project-based pricing as more expensive compared to hourly or day rates. Communicating the value and benefits of the project, and the unique value you bring as a videographer, can help justify the price and address concerns about costs.

See how to calculate a project quote below.

Project pricing - estimate a project's cost

image of a man filming a person running in the snow
Image by cottonbro studio

As we mentioned, charging on a project basis can be a little more complex, but the more you do it the better you’ll get at it. The first thing you’ll want to do is get all the information you possibly can from your client about what the project will entail. You need to know exactly what you’ll be shooting and exactly when they need it delivered by. 

By breaking the project down into smaller components you can allocate reasonable timeframes for each based on past projects or industry standards. It's also helpful to build in some buffer time to account for unforeseen delays or contingencies. Once you have totalled the hours, multiply that number  by your hourly rate and you'll have your estimated project cost. 

Here's the videography process from start to finish to help you estimate the time required for each stage of the project:

Pre-production tasks include client consultations, scriptwriting, storyboarding, location scouting, shot planning, and organising logistics. This can vary depending on the complexity of the project and client requirements.

Production involves the actual filming time, including setup, capturing footage, multiple takes if necessary, equipment adjustments, and any additional shots required. The duration will depend on factors such as the scale of the production, the number of locations, and the complexity of the shots.

Post-production includes reviewing and selecting footage, organising clips, video editing, colour grading, audio editing, adding transitions and effects, and finalising the project. This stage can be time-consuming, especially for projects with detailed editing requirements.

Remember, every project is unique, and actual timeframes may vary based on specific project requirements and unforeseen circumstances. Get in the habit of regularly tracking the time spent on each stage of projects to improve your accuracy with future quotes and better manage your workload.

When you send a quote to your client you want to make it clear that it’s the quote for the current scope of work, and that anything outside of that scope can be accommodated with an additional quote. You don’t want your client to think that if they just casually add on a few additional projects that they can fall under the original quote. 

Calculate your expenses

image of a man filming a wedding shoot
Image by Rene Rasmussen

It's vital to know your ongoing costs when calculating your videography pricing because if your prices don't cover your overheads then your business won't be sustainable. 

Overhead costs for videographers include: 

  • equipment maintenance and upgrades
  • editing software licenses
  • office or studio rental
  • utilities
  • insurance
  • marketing and advertising
  • website and other online tools
  • professional memberships
  • accounting and bookkeeping fees
  • transportation
  • communication tools
  • education and training costs

Once you have added your costs together it can be helpful to turn that number into an hourly cost rate. For example, if your expenses cost £4,000 per month and you expect to work 160 hours per month, your business cost per hour is £25. In this case your videographer hourly rate would have to be at least £25 just so you can cover your costs. 

Some projects may require additional expenses, such as travel, equipment rental, or hiring additional crew members. Make sure to account for these costs and include them in your pricing.

Be transparent

image of a man being filmed performing in a studio with blue light
Image by Kyle Loftus

If you offer fixed pricing like package services then it will be helpful to display your prices prominently on your website so potential clients can access the information easily. It will help them determine if your services fit within their budget before contacting you.

Encourage clients to ask questions about your videography pricing structure and be prepared to provide explanations or clarifications as needed. This will demonstrate your willingness to be transparent and ensures clients feel confident about the pricing. 

Document your agreements in writing, for example send an email with the agreed pricing, payment terms, and any other relevant terms and conditions to serve as a reference for both parties which will help avoid misunderstandings.

You also need to be responsive to client inquiries related to pricing. Timely and clear communication shows your commitment to transparency and helps clients make informed decisions. 

To manage expectations you can provide clients with a timeline, for example, mentioning in your contact details you respond to queries within 24 or 48 hours. To encourage potential clients to reach out and ask questions you can also add a contact form to your website. 

Review and adjust

image of a man filming a cyclist while sitting in the boot of a car
Image by Ben Collins

You’re not expected to set your prices once and leave them. As you gain more experience and expertise, you can gradually increase your rates. And if you are monitoring your profitability and realise you are not covering your costs for example, you can adjust your prices as needed. You’ll find that if one client is willing to pay you a higher rate, then most other clients will too. 

Set aside dedicated time to review your videography pricing at least once a year or whenever significant changes occur in your business. Researching how other videographers in your area are pricing their services will provide valuable insights into the market's expectations and can help you position your pricing effectively.

Pay attention to client feedback regarding your videography pricing too. Do your clients perceive your services as valuable and are they are satisfied with the overall experience? If you often receive feedback that your prices are either too high or too low, it may be a signal to review and adjust accordingly.

When making price adjustments, you want to clearly communicate the changes to your existing and potential clients, for example by email, and give them plenty of notice to ensure a smooth transition.

Instead of making drastic price changes all at once, consider making incremental adjustments over time. Gradual adjustments allow you to gauge client reactions and maintain stability in your business while ensuring your prices keep up with your evolving skills and market value.

Final thoughts

Setting videography pricing requires you to carefully consider factors like your skill level, expenses, and the market. It can be a balancing act between valuing your expertise and managing client expectations. But making pricing decisions will become easier with experience, and remember you always have the opportunity to evaluate and adjust your prices over time.

Your clients will appreciate transparency above everything so practice good communication by clearly outlining your packages and services on your website, providing detailed quotes, and staying open to client questions.

Find a professional studio for shooting your next project

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

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