When a camera operator or a novice enthusiast is considering a career as a wedding videographer, one of the first things that will cross their mind is, can they actually make a living from it? I know this because I’ve been there and asked myself the same question when I was starting out as a wedding videographer.
What is a Wedding Videographers Salary? Wedding videographers in the United States make an average of $81,565 annually. According to a recent survey, the median salary for wedding videographers was $56,424 in 2019. 31.0% of wedding videographers reported earning a salary above 6 figures. The same survey shows 28.7% earn less than $50,000.
Read on to learn what I’ve discovered from my research that delves into the expected salaries and earnings for videographers.
Wedding Videographer Salary | How much do wedding videographers make?
This was a question on my mind so I decided to conduct a survey among my wedding videography peers across the United States. I wanted to see how much a wedding videographer can expect to earn as a salary. This information might be useful for any budding enthusiast or beginner videographer who is considering when is the best time to go full-time as a wedding videographer.
I’ll share my full findings below but the first and most significant conclusion that I came to is that the overall average of $81,565 with a median of $56,424 is much lower than what I would have expected. As a comparison, the median household income in the US was $56,516 in 2015 according to the US census.
A few disclaimers for my survey include that it is unofficial, does not have a large sample size and it doesn’t consider the location of the videographer or whether they are full-time or part-time. The last part is important because a part-time wedding videographer is likely to have a supplementary income and their portion from the videography earnings is likely to skew the data.
Nonetheless, the results are in and I believe it gives us a rough idea of wedding videographer salaries. I could not find more accurate or up to date information online when I looked for it.
Highlights from my wedding videographer salary survey
- All data in the survey is from 2019 when wedding videographers were asked, “how much did you earn from wedding videography within the 2019 calendar year?”
- The majority of respondents (26.4%) earned within the $50,000 to $74,999 annual salary bracket.
- 31.0% reported that they earned 6 figures and above, annually.
- 28.7% reported earning less than $50,000 from wedding videography in 2019.
- The average wedding videographer salary in the United States was $81,565 in 2019.
- The median salary for wedding videographers in the United States was $56,424 in 2019.
- Given how far apart the average and median values are, there is not a normal distribution of salaries.
- 87 videographers responded to the survey.
Why are the average and median salaries so far apart?
This happens because there is not a normal distribution of values. The median is a more overall representative value here. There was a small number of outlying respondents who reported high earnings. This is probably accurate because there are some very high-end videographers out there.
However, including earnings from these high-end wedding filmmakers has arguably artificially inflated the overall average. Or perhaps not, we’d need a larger sample size to know for sure.
The median is a more representative value and in my view, gives a truer picture that will more relatable to most wedding videographers. Interestingly, as noted above, the median is very similar to the median household income in the United States in 2015.
I’ve had countless conversations with other wedding filmmakers around this very topic and my gut feeling is that the survey is representative of the real situation.
As with any survey being carried out, its accuracy is affected by sample size. A much larger scale survey would provide more accurate data.
An overview of the salary ranges of wedding videographers in 2019
Annual Salary Range of Wedding Videographers in the United States
$175,000 to $199,999
$150,000 to $174,999
$125,000 to $149,999
$100,000 to $124,999
$75,000 to $99,999
$50,000 to $74,999
$25,000 to $49,999
Why is there a relatively large group of wedding videographers earnings below $50,000?
I think the real reason for this is because a large portion of wedding videographers are working on a part-time basis to supplement their main income. This is how many of us started out in our careers. I was no different, it was the very same path that I took myself. Unfortunately, the survey didn’t ask videographers to specify if they were full or part-time.
It makes sense that the data from the lower end of salaries is highly skewed towards part-time videographers.
How much do wedding videographers make per wedding video?
We know from WeddingWire that the bulk of wedding videos cost within the $1,000 to $2,500 range in the United States. However, a wedding videographer will never get to keep all of the earnings! Running costs will need to be deducted to arrive at a net profit and then this income will be taxed.
I wrote an excellent primer that explains this in more detail in this why do wedding videographers cost so much blog post.
How much can the higher paid wedding videographer earn?
We know from the survey carried out that approximately 1 in every 6 wedding videographers in the US earns $150,000 or above each year.
So, what conclusions can we draw from all of the above? I think wedding videography is an excellent career path. The financial rewards are there if a videographer has talent, some basic business skills, and an ability to avoid shiny new object syndrome (SNOS). What do I mean by SNOS? Specifically, I mean cameras and gadgets.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have spent much more money than I ever needed on camera gear that I don’t really need.
It’s so easy to become obsessed with the latest new camera tech. Do we really need it? No. It took me years to finally accept that our cameras and gadgets are only tools for the job. Most clients won’t notice that we’ve upgraded our two-year-old camera to a brand new one. My advice to new wedding videographers is to avoid unnecessary spending and maximize your earnings instead.
A decision can literally come down to purchasing an additional lens or a family holiday. The additional lens could very well remain in the camera bag on a permanent basis.
Wedding videographers can earn good money if they focus on what’s really important and what actually moves the needle within their business.