Wedding videographers can appear expensive in the Bozeman, Montana area for many different reasons. The biggest reasons they are “expensive” is due to the overall costs of running a business and the years of experience needed to become a great wedding videographer.
Most of the highly desirable photographers cost at least $4,000 in Bozeman and Big Sky, so paying the same or less for a videographer is actually reasonable, because wedding videos require many more hours of labor and more equipment than photography.
Imagine a wedding videographer charges only $1,500 per wedding. And the business films a wedding every single weekend during the prime wedding months in Montana (June to September). That is only four months and 16 weekends. For the entire season, the business is only grossing a total of $24,000. After expenses and taxes, it’s not possible to run a business this way and support even one person. That’s a poverty level income in Montana not sustainable.
Seasonal businesses have to charge more because the majority of their income is constrained to only a handful of months out of the year.
When you see wedding videography costing $3000, $4000, or even $5000, what is contributing to that “expensive” pricing?
- You are paying for experience
- You are paying for an insured business
- You are paying for a business that has enough reliability to actually deliver
- You are paying for a business with professional equipment
- You are paying for many more hours of labor than simply the wedding filming (professional video editing usually takes 5-10 times the amount of footage filmed). If the company captured four hours of video footage at the wedding, it will take about 20-40 hours of work to edit that footage.
- You are paying (hopefully) for multiple videographers to film your wedding
So what if the $3,000+ price range is just unaffordable for you, and you’d still like your wedding to be filmed. What options do you actually have?
Let’s review some alternatives to hiring a wedding videographer for $3000 to $4000:
- Use a service like Wedit and your guests can film the weddings with five HD cameras. The mobile cameras arrive in a prepaid box and all you do it ship them back after the wedding. You receive a highlight video and a longer video, depending on the chosen package. (As of summer 2023, this service costs $700-825.)
- Hire a college film student. You’re rolling the dice with this one, but it’s not the worst option. Some film students are very talented, and you may get a great video. Students have a tendency to get overwhelmed and you may not see that video for many months, unless they are being paid well that they can focus on the editing. This might cost about $1000-1500.
- Setup a few phones on tripods to capture the wedding. While this may seem like the easy button, phones that are too far away from the altar will capture quiet sound, and you’ll probably be blocking the view of some loved ones. Phones that are more than a few feet from the bride and groom will capture audio so quietly that even
- Have a relative film the wedding. Uncle Bob may be excited to film your wedding, and it might be free, but you’ll be removing Bob from actually participating in the wedding because he will be focused on capturing the wedding. If Uncle Bob does not have professional gear, option #1 for a sub-$1,000 service like Wedit will give you a much better video because several people are filming for you.
- Have a friend film the wedding. This should be your last resort because it can ruin friendships and chances are good that if this person is not a professional wedding videographer, it will take them months or even years to actually give you an edited video. I’ve heard many stories from couples whose friend filmed their wedding, it’s three years later and they still don’t have a wedding video, because their friend keeps saying ‘they’ll get to it’.
What about live streaming my wedding to social media?
Live streaming can work great for events, but there’s a few reasons why it’s actually a terrible idea for your wedding (if you are not hiring a professional wedding videographer)
- You’re stuck with whatever is recorded to the live stream. If the data signal gets too weak or drops out completely, your video will be worse than if you recorded a regular video clip on your phone.
- Only a few carriers have a strong enough data signal in Montana to even do a live stream (primarily Verizon and T-Mobile)
- Live streaming should really be done on Wi-fi (and most venues don’t have a strong wifi signal that would reach the altar)
Instead of live streaming, record a video clip on your phone and upload it later. The quality will be better and you’ll avoid the signal dropping, causing lost moments of your ceremony or other special moments.