So You Want to be a Paid Videographer

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If you want to make money with your camera you need to know this.

High quality Video Cameras and DSLR’s cost a lot of money so at some point the thought of making money with your camera is very appealing. As you learn more and get better at shooting the chances of starting to get paid jobs increases but there is more to this than you may know.

Attitude - Yes, nothing to do with your camera or skills. Many years ago I met and worked with a fantastic old Director who explained this very well.

Imagine a long, hard days shooting, many setups, difficult talent, difficult lighting, and many challenges to getting the job done well. A good cameraperson should be able to get the job done to a satisfactory level under all these challenges.

However, the thing that will get that client and that Director coming back to you for future work is how they feel at the end of that day.

If they are still smiling and feel great about the day and the results you have achieved, they will want to work with you again.

On the other hand, if you were stressed, irritated, and made the day even worse, they will use someone else on the next shoot.

With a positive, friendly and supportive attitude, you will get more work from them and they will recommend you to others.

Word of mouth is huge; I have had many great jobs and clients from a recommendation and not even needed a CV or showreel.

Here are some other things you need to have a good understanding of, to get paid work.

- Good Composition - how making a shot more dramatic can add a different emotion to the shot. But, it needs to be relevant to the story so it does not distract the viewer from the story.

- Crossing the Line - you need a thorough understanding of this or your stories, sequences, interviews and dramas will not make sense. Spend a lot of time working this out so you do not make this mistake. Even if you want to do it for an effect, you first need to understand it.

- Sequences - learning how to know all the shots to take to be able to edit a story that makes sense to the viewer is vital. If you need help understanding this read this post about camera shots.

- Good Sound – there are now many low budget jobs where you will be required to also do the sound. Learn and practice these skills so you are not supplying footage with bad audio. If you do, you will not get another job from that client. Always use headphones and learn how and where to place your microphones. When listening to the sound on your headphones, also listen to the background sounds that you do not want in the final result.

- Fill Light – Many times when you are shooting, the light falling on your subject will not be as good as you would like. Move your subject to get it as good as you can, and then use a reflector to fill some light into the shadow areas of the face.

There are many skills you need to have to shoot well and they will all improve the more you shoot, so pick up your camera and shoot as much as you can.

Do simple low budget jobs first to gain experience and always take care of your client. Being paid for your videography is a fantastic way to live, go for it.

Please leave me a Comment or ask a question so we can start a conversation.

Check out some of my other posts to get more skills information.

Tips to use your Camera 4 Storytelling

The Four Biggest Mistakes when Shooting Video

Why You Don’t Know What Shots to Take

You May be Destroying the Story with Your Camera

Wow! Check out These Camera Angles

If you want to fast track you shooting ability check out the Online Video Camera Course

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  1. John

    Did you do any study to do what you’re doing?

  2. Geoff Stock

    Hi John. No, when I started in the Television industry over 30 years ago the path was to get a job as a trainee cameraman at a TV station and then you learned from an experienced cameraman. Complete on the job training. Then for me it was about watching and analyzing other peoples work that I admired and finding any books I could that gave me more information. You could do a basic job quite quickly but then it took time to hone and improve the skills. In the course I have condensed the skills you learn over quite a long period of time as a full-time cameraman and presented them in an easy to learn sequence so as to substantially shorten the time needed to learn them. If you are not working as a full-time cameraman you will never get to learn some of this material. Thanks for your interest. Geoff Stock

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