When first trying to make your way as an entry-level videographer it can be very hard to find paid work to help you support yourself. We commonly see people reaching out to ask how they are able to best supplement their income sources via their videography skillset and help to build their reputation so we have decided to publish this post.
Our hope is that it will be able to inspire any of our readers who are just starting out on their professional videography journey and ensure that you are able to get your business off the ground. Now, all of these gigs may not be practical for you due to the location you live in, the equipment that you currently own or the competition you face when going for gigs.
That said, the more established videographers who you are competing with for jobs in your area will probably only going for the higher price point jobs. More often than not, there are plenty of crumbs around that you can use to get some income as well as start to build your reputation to help you work your way up the ladder to the higher ticket gigs.
First up, we have stock videography, although this will do little to build your reputation as a videographer in your local area, it can be a great way to earn some cash. Sites like Shutterstock have a massive client base that regularly purchases stock video via from their contributors. You can also double this strategy up with selling stock photographs too as the vast majority of modern videography rigs also perform very well as a photography set up.
Whenever we suggest this method to people they usually complain about how it will take a bunch of time and effort for a low rate of return but they don’t seem to realize that this is essentially a residual income. Yes, you have to front-load the work but if you are an entry-level videographer or a student you can have a fair bit of free time to get all the footage and then earn from it for many years to come.
This article does a decent job of going into how they were able to earn a steady $500 a month from selling their stock online. We also know a few people who have built up a massive portfolio on various sites over the years and now earn enough to essentially be a full-time income for many people.
Another one that is similar to selling your stock videos online is to start a YouTube channel but the YouTube channel also has the advantage of being a solid way that you can show off your portfolio, build up a reputation, and get your initial following off the ground. Many people know that you are able to display ads on your YouTube video and this may be a good idea while you are first starting out but our suggestion would be to use your YouTube channel to advertise your business and the services that you offer.
Go our around your local area and record some cinematic footage of well know areas and make high-quality video reels of them. Remember, this footage can act as your hook to get people to come to you for paid gigs. The vast majority of towns and cities have local forums and social media pages these days so share your work on there to help get the word out.
One strategy that a friend of ours did was to tell the local sports team that he wanted to do a documentary on them for his coursework. The trust is, he knew that it would be an excellent but of advertising for his company in the local area but he offered his services for free to do a behind the scenes look at the local team and then shared it online and it went viral getting tens of thousands of his target audience looking at the work he was able to offer.
Now, when we suggest wedding gigs to people they always think that they are going to be hard to get and if you go about it in the same way that most other people do then they truly are, especially if you are an entry-level videographer. Wedding gigs are the bread and butter of videographers and photographers so there is a whole bunch of competition to win the job so leave that to the more established photographers and videographers in your area.
Your focus should be targeting these more established people in your local area and offering your services to them, especially if you are able to offer your time for free for the first few weddings. Many old school photographers will simply offer a photography service for wedding gigs and not offer anything in the way of videography. This is your perfect target, go to these more established photographers in your area and offer your services as a videographer to them while these more established photographers are off chasing the actual jobs.
Another thing that we would like to share with our readers that another friend of ours did was to “jokingly” give his business card to whoever caught the brides bouquet and say something like for when the big day comes around. Although it may be a long shot, he actually managed to get a conversion from it and as you know, every little helps when you are first starting out.
Birthday videography is also another very competitive space and it can be hard to get gigs as an entry-level videographer so we would recommend that you try the same strategy as above by trying to work with an established photographer who does not currently offer any videography services.
That said, we have seen a number of people report that they have been able to get gigs by checking out local social media pages and sites like craigslist. Although we have never actually tried hashtag farming ourselves, we have also saw reports of people being able to get paid work by keeping an eye out for 18th, 21st, 30th, 50th tags related to birthdays online as people usually put up hype posts prior to the event.
Food videography is one of the most undervalued types of gig that you are able to win as an entry-level videographer in our opinion. The restaurant business has always been a very competitive space and with social media marketing being such a huge part of the battle in this day and age, many restaurants employ professional videographers to help capture their food in the best quality possible before they share it online to their followers.
The best part about trying to get these gigs is that the competition is much lower than the traditional videography niches. On top of this, due to the nature of social media marketing, you can also see what restaurants in your local area have sizeable social media followings and if they are already using the services of a videographer to help advertise their food.
Putting a few hours into checking the followings of the local restaurants in your area can allow you to laser target your pitch to a small number of restaurants and help to increase your conversions by being able to take the time to come up with a custom pitch for each restaurant.
Professional level sports videography is another very competitive field but amateur level sports can be an excellent way for you to build up your portfolio and reputation in your local area while also getting a free ticket into the venue to watch your favorite team. Depending on where you live, college football can be a massive local even and get thousands of people out to the games and you are often able to offer to record the games, usually for free but sometimes you may get a small fee.
You can then make highlight reels for the team to share on their social media and if you are working for free, ensure that you specify that you are doing it to build up your portfolio and that you will also be using the highlight reels to show off your work.
Wrapping It All Up
That brings us to the end of our article and we hope that we have been able to offer you some inspiration when it comes to ways you are able to earn your first few commissions and start to build up your reputation as an entry-level videographer.