How To Become a Videographer (With Skills and Salary)

Updated February 3, 2023

Videographers record memorable and important moments on film. They're often creative and have technical skills that allow them to execute their vision using a computer. Knowing how to become a professional videographer can help you decide if this is the right career path for you.

In this article, we examine the videographer role and what they do, explain how to become a videographer, list key skills they often develop and share how much they typically earn.

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What is a videographer?

A videographer is a person who uses a video camera to record footage for:

  • Wedding videos

  • Documentaries

  • Training videos

  • Commercials

  • TV shows

  • Infomercials

  • Live events

  • Corporate promotions

  • Legal depositions

  • Movies

  • Other types of film

The films they make may air in theaters, on television or on the internet. A videographer works alone or with a crew, depending on their preference and the production level. Operating a camera is not a videographer's only job duty, as they're also responsible for other aspects of recording a film, including:

  • Lighting

  • Sound

  • Maintenance

  • Equipment repair

  • Video editing

Related: What Is a Staff Photographer? (Definition and Duties)

What does a videographer do?

Videographers do several tasks related to making films. Recording and editing videos of events and providing them to clients and employers are just a few of the things you'll be responsible for as a videographer. In this role, your duties may vary depending on the specific field in which you work. Some of the tasks you may regularly complete as a videographer include:

  • Filming videos on location or set

  • Working with clients and creative teams to plan video shoots

  • Ensuring that the proper equipment for a video shoot is available and that the equipment is working properly

  • Directing and working with other videographers to obtain all the footage necessary for a video shoot

  • Editing videos when they complete recording

Related: 15 Careers in Video Production To Consider

How to become a videographer

While starting a career as a videographer may seem simple, it's important to take the right steps toward this career path if you want to succeed. A love of filming and a desire to help people capture their most significant moments are good reasons to choose this job. To become a videographer, you can follow these basic steps:

1. Pursue a videography education

A formal degree isn't necessarily required to qualify for a position as a videographer, but obtaining one can help you develop the foundational knowledge and skills you need for the role. Many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree, but with the right experience, you can still obtain a job in this field.

Start by identifying the industry that you want to work in, and then evaluate the educational requirements employers want to see within that industry. You can determine this by reviewing current job postings from different employers in the industry where you plan to work. If you choose to pursue an associate or bachelor's degree, you may want to take courses in:

  • Cinematography

  • Communication

  • Broadcasting

  • Sound editing

  • Video editing

  • Visual design

  • Film theory

  • Media ethics

  • Computer science

  • Media research

  • Screenwriting

  • Media law

  • Script analysis

If you determine that enrolling in film school isn't necessary to meet your goals, you can prepare for a videographer career by taking individual courses related to film. These courses are available through your local community college and online. Consider attending relevant conferences that provide you with a certificate if classes aren't available in your area. If you're currently in high school, you may be able to take courses in broadcasting, film, journalism or technology, all of which are relevant for aspiring videographers.

To become a freelance or corporate videographer, you can be aware of the education requirements for these specific industries. Your videographer education can start in high school or your first years of college, where you can take classes that prepare you well for a career as a videographer.

Related: 5 High-Paying Film Industry Jobs To Consider for Your Career

2. Consider certifications

Certifications are another aspect of becoming a videographer that you can consider. They aren't a requirement to qualify for a videographer position, but having a few shows employers that you can perform the skills required for this role. You're more likely to get the position if you demonstrate that you possess the specialized skills they may be looking for in a candidate. Certification can set you apart from other candidates and make you more appealing to employers.

Related: Videographer vs. Cinematographer: What's the Difference?

3. Gain experience

Internships and apprenticeships benefit videographers, giving them the hands-on experience needed in the field. These opportunities can also help aspiring videographers gain familiarity with specialized equipment and software that professionals frequently use in the industry. Internships are typically short-term programs that last from one to three months, while apprenticeships are more long-term and can last anywhere from one to three years.

Related: Videographer Resume Template (Plus How To Write One)

4. Build a portfolio

The last step in becoming a videographer is to make a demo reel or build a portfolio to show potential clients and employers what you can offer. A demo reel often contains several samples of your work and style. For example, if your interest is in a role as a wedding videographer, then your demo reel may include different videos you have captured of weddings. When first starting, you may provide your services for free to create a solid demo reel.

Another thing you can do is create a portfolio tailored to fit your desired job as a videographer. For example, if you're interested in becoming a videographer who films sporting events, focus on projects you worked on related to sports and include any skills and knowledge on the subject along with photos and videos you've taken.

Related: What Can You Do With a Photography Degree?

Related jobs opportunities available for videographers

If you like some aspects of becoming a videographer but not others, you can choose a career in another related industry. Gaining the skills and knowledge it takes to become a videographer allows you to excel in these other career options and different film and video industry sectors. Holding a degree in video or film production gives you technical knowledge of lighting, cameras and other videography-related aspects. Your related career choices include:

  • Film director

  • Video editor

  • Broadcast engineer

  • Broadcast journalist

  • Location manager

  • Product designer

  • Camera operator

  • Lighting technician

  • Visual effects artist

  • Television floor manager

  • Television producer

Related: How To Become a Cinematographer or Director of Photography (DP)

Skills and requirements needed for a videographer career

Before applying for a videographer role, you may need certain skills and to meet some requirements, such as:

  • Computer skills: To edit videos effectively, it's helpful to be familiar with using editing software, such as Photoshop and Cinema 4D.

  • Interpersonal skills: Camera operators need excellent interpersonal skills as they work with people of different ages and backgrounds to help them feel comfortable in front of a camera.

  • Time management: Good time management skills are necessary to ensure you meet deadlines and edit footage on time.

  • Multitasking: Because videographers have many duties to fulfill, they can often multitask, capturing various moments and expressions on camera while ensuring good sound and visual quality.

  • Communication skills: A videographer provides direction for capturing the perfect moments on film and has good verbal communication skills to communicate effectively and clearly.

  • Physical fitness: To transport, set up, move and break down various pieces of video equipment, a videographer is often physically fit.

  • Creativity: Videographers are often able to visualize the end product they want to achieve and then look for creative methods to achieve that result.

Related: 15 Filmmaking Jobs in the Entertainment Industry

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National average salary for videographers

The average base salary for a videographer in the United States is $31,436 per year, but many videographers work hourly and earn about $30.78 per hour. Some primary factors that impact a videographer's earning potential include their experience level, the industry they work in and their location. Some of the highest-paying cities for videographers include:

  • New York, New York

  • Boston, Massachusetts

  • Los Angeles, California

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click the link.

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