How to Master Being a Freelance Videographer

How to Master Being a Freelance Videographer

Becoming a freelance videographer and actually making money off your hobby is a dream for many but only becomes a reality for a select few who work hard to keep clients happy. While customer service is key when running a freelance business of any sort, professional videography requires top notch equipment and industry knowledge so you must know your stuff!

We’ll show you how to master being a freelance videographer. Whether you decide to specialize in sporting events, weddings, commercials or birthday parties, turning your hobby into a high paying career is possible. If you are dedicated and take the initiative to learn how to price your services, how to schedule your time, and what steps you can take to make your workflow start to work for you, you can make a living in this industry.

Perfect the Art of Scheduling

Much of your time running a freelance videography business will be spent scheduling. Scheduling clients, scheduling shoot locations, scheduling time to review shoots, and scheduling time to edit the work you have prepared. If you properly schedule your time out, you won’t waste time on unnecessary tasks and you’ll get more done. 

A proper film production requires several working parts to come together at just the right time. Otherwise, things get complicated, confusing, and downright messy. Organizing your shoot requires an early breakdown of the shots, setups and pages that will go into the overall production. Even if you’re filming a special event, early scheduling of the shots, setups and pages to makeup the production will be key to a professionally finished project.

Consider the following tips to perfect the art of scheduling your video:

Begin by creating a shot list to define the footage that is expected to take place before changing or adjusting your setup for another shot. Next, define the setups which will represent the various arrangements and placements of your camera through the production. Be sure to properly allocate time for each setup as these can take more time than individual shots.

Finally, define the number of “pages” for your project. Each page is representative of the page of the script. For events, you may not have a script and therefore would not have a defined set of pages to work with. In this case, consider the total amount of time you have to film and edit the video before returning to your client. Then, breakdown the project into workable parts and determine how many or what “parts” must be complete each day or hour in order to provide the customer with a finished professional video, on time.

Know Your Workflow

In order to know your workflow you must define details related to the video production that you are working on. This includes determining:

  • What needs to be done.
  • When it needs to be done.
  • How it needs to be done.
  • Who needs to do it.

If you’re a freelance videographer that will work solo, your workflow becomes your daily schedule. If you’re going to work with others or hire freelancers to support your business, your workflow is adjusted slightly to include tasks such as hiring and scheduling freelancers to cover the tasks that you will not handle.

If you know your stuff, defining a work flow and an appropriate role for each person involved will be rather simple. Properly planning out the workflow helps to prevent confusion and mistakes. Defining the workflow upfront ensures that anyone involved in the production knows upfront what work is being done, how it is being done, and who is expected to complete the task.

Don’t Get Burnt Out

Working by yourself can quickly cause burn out. Even if you know your stuff, and you master the art of scheduling, and you do everything you can to define an appropriate workflow, the work of a freelance videographer can be demanding and exhausting.

Take the following steps to ensure you don’t get burnt out:

  1. Don’t overlook the warning signs of potential burnout. Exhaustion, stress, frustrations, and falling behind are early signs of burnout. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, hire help to pull things up to speed!
  2. Learn how to say “No.” You may not want to say no to a project, but if the budget isn’t right, or the pay will not be enough to make up for the tasks involved, say “NO.” A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have 3 months or more of savings to live on before you become a freelance videographer. This way, you can be a little bit more picky with the projects that you accept without feeling like you MUST take on each and every one in order to survive.
  3. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. So many tasks come with freelancing. There’s the scheduling and the time looking for jobs and providing estimates and tracking down your payments and…the list can go on and on. If you become so busy that you are letting certain tasks slip or you find yourself losing motivation to perform, consider delegating tasks out. Save your time for the tasks you enjoy most and let someone else handle the tasks that aren’t fun.
  4. Sleep is vital and often overlooked when freelancing. Stress can interrupt our ability to sleep well. If you’re staying up through the night to edit footage and then kicking back into gear a few hours later, it’s bound to catch up with you in time. Take a break and get some sleep!

Define a schedule for work. As a freelancer it’s easy to get caught up in working at work and working at home. Before you know it, you’re working around the clock! Stop taking work home and start defining a set schedule of hours during which you will work and hours during which you will be “off” work. If you have to, mark the dates and times on your calendar–and stick to it! The business will survive if you take a day off, but your mental health may not survive if you don’t!

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