Expert Advice: A Guide to Hiring a Wedding Videographer

Wedding videography is no longer an extra service; it's become a standard part of the day as couples make preserving the day's events a priority.

One of the biggest regrets of couples after their wedding day is not hiring a wedding videographer or not budgeting for a professional videographer. While you may have a photographer to document certain aspects of the day, it is not a substitution for videography.

So that you can be educated on what to look for in a wedding videographer, why you should hire one, and how much to budget, we asked our preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay videographers to share their insight.

How Does Wedding Videography Different from Photography?

“Although videography is just another form of documentation for your wedding day, the impact of it is completely different. Imagine wanting a family member to watch and experience your favorite movie, but all you have are photos from it. A wedding video has a plot and story to tell through the words of both you and your loved ones. You get to hear the emotion in your voices as you read your vows together, the joke your Maid of Honor or Best Man makes in their toast, or even something as small as the cheer that follows your first kiss. It’s a completely different experience and an irreplaceable one. Your wedding video will be exciting right when you receive it, a year into being married when you’re reminiscing of the good times, years down the road when you have children to share wedding stories with, and further years when you want to cherish a loved one who is no longer with you. There’s nothing else that can provide that.” -Jennifer Reed, Owner, J&S Media

“Video allows seeing all the emotions leading up to the big moment, the sounds, the expressions, and feelings. Photography is great because it freezes a moment in time, but in the video, we capture the before, middle, and end of that moment so you can relive it again and again. We hear time and time again that when the couple sees the live emotions and hears ambient sounds from their wedding day, it just brings them back. This is why video is so important. Music and hearing raw emotion have so much power when it is put together perfectly!” -Will DeCosta, Owner, Iyrus Weddings

“Wedding videography and photography both capture the beauty and emotions of a couple's special day, but they do so in distinct ways. Photography freezes moments in time, creating still images that highlight the essence of each instant. In contrast, videography adds a dynamic dimension by recording continuous footage, allowing for the capture of not only the sights but also the sounds, movements, and speeches that unfold throughout the wedding day. While photography excels at preserving individual moments, videography provides a cinematic storytelling experience that captures the entire atmosphere and chronology of the event, making it a unique and complementary choice for couples seeking a comprehensive record of their wedding day. This is why it’s really important for couples to book a wedding videography for their wedding day.” -Bonnet Charles, Owner, Priceless Studio Design

“Let me start by saying that photo and video are both equally important. They are the only things that you truly get to keep from your wedding day (besides your spouse, of course), but they both serve two different purposes. Video captures the toast your father gave, the emotion in your partner's voice as they read their vows, and the anxious and excited laughter after a first look. When the years pass and as your family grows, these moments become a part of your family legacy. This part is hard to talk about, but when you unfortunately lose loved ones, these moments matter even more. You can't hear their voice in a photo or look to it for comfort in their movements the way you can in video.” -Shannon Kelly, Owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“Videography gives you everything photography can't. One of the biggest, and arguably most important elements of your day, are the words spoken: vows, toasts, and first-look reactions. These pieces of your day can't be captured through photography, and it's crucial for couples to consider how important capturing those words are to them. Consider that your parents or loved ones won't be here forever. Will a film of their voice speaking kind words about your marriage provide value and comfort to you in the future?” -Bonnie Newman, Owner, Mars and the Moon Films

J&S Media

When Should I Hire My Wedding Videographer?

“A couple should ideally hire a wedding videographer as early as possible in the wedding planning process. Do not let this be the last resort; always budget for a videographer. Wedding videographers often book up quickly, especially during peak wedding seasons, so securing their services well in advance can ensure you get your preferred choice. Additionally, having a videographer on board from the beginning allows them to collaborate seamlessly with your photographer and other vendors, ensuring a cohesive vision for capturing your special day. The sooner you secure a wedding videographer, the more likely you are to capture all the meaningful moments and details of your wedding day.” -Bonnet Charles, Owner, Priceless Studio Design

“It's always ideal to book your videographer at the same time you book your photographer! If you have a date in peak season or a popular date, try to plan 12 months in advance. On average, my couples book with me 6-12 months before their date.” -Shannon Kelly, Owner, Shannon Kelly Films

We hear this question all the time. It comes down to how important it is for you and your significant other. We tell our couples to list out the most important things for their wedding. If video is high on that list, then I suggest finding someone you like early. We have been booking out 1-2 years out for video.” -Will DeCosta, Owner, Iyrus Weddings

“Book your videographer 8-14 months prior to your wedding day. More weddings are happening now more than ever, and there may be a lot of demand for your favorite videographer.” -Jennifer Reed, Owner, J&S Media

“Videography is becoming more and more popular, yet the number of experienced and awesome videographers out there isn't growing at the same pace. If you're looking to hire an experienced, awesome videographer, you may not be able to find one if you start looking two or three months before your wedding.” -Bonnie Newman, Owner, Mars and the Moon Films (formerly Bonnie Newman Creative)

“The best time to hire your videographer is when you hire your photographer.” -Sabrina and Ryan Massmann, Owners, Sabrina Autumn Photography

What Qualities Should I Look for in a Wedding Videographer?

“The first things that come to mind are the quality of the finished product, the story, and the audio quality. But another quality that gets overlooked is the vibe and connection with your videographer. Just like the photographer, you spend most, if not all of your wedding day with us. You should find someone who shares the same vision as you, someone who wants to tell your story. We believe that having the same vibe with our couples allows them to be themselves in the video and look as natural as possible. This will make you feel comfortable and look natural in your wedding video.” -Will DeCosta, Owner, Iyrus Weddings

“When searching for videographers, I think it’s most important to keep an eye out for how well they tell the story of the wedding day and the overall quality of the video. The ability to tell a story is an imperative trait of a good videographer. Most couples can’t necessarily pinpoint what exactly makes them love their chosen videographer versus others because it’s the combination of many elements that results in a quality video they find appealing. To be more specific, these are some things we’d recommend keeping in mind: the flow of the story, transitions, overall mood/feel, coloring, music selection, video quality, variety of shots, the inclusion of important moments of the day, etc. Outside of their videos, just like any other wedding vendor, they should be very communicative and responsive! They should want to get to know you and your fiancé — your wedding, your style, and your personalities – as a result, your video will represent you that much more. Reviews are also an excellent way to verify that the videographers you’re interested in are well-regarded by their past couples. Reviews often share more about the videographers, their workflow, and what couples specifically enjoyed from their experience.” -Jennifer Reed, Owner, J&S Media

“When selecting a wedding videographer, couples should look for several key qualities. Firstly, they should have a strong portfolio showcasing their style and expertise. Communication skills are vital, as a videographer should understand the couple's vision and preferences. Professionalism, reliability, and the ability to work seamlessly with other vendors are also essential. Creativity and an eye for capturing emotional moments are crucial for crafting a compelling wedding video. Finally, couples should consider the videographer's equipment, ensuring they have high-quality cameras and sound recording equipment to capture both visuals and audio with excellence. Also, check out their reviews to see what others have said about their work, and if vendors and venues have worked with them in the past.” -Bonnet Charles, Owner, Priceless Studio Design

“Look at their Instagram and watch their featured films on their website; do their films align with your vision? Are they able to tell a story that is unique to each couple? Do you see yourself in some of their couples?” -Shannon Kelly, Owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“Much like photography, I never suggest companies that hire out their editors or videographers. The reason why is how could someone edit a day as it was if they were never there to begin with? Also, if I’m hiring someone for my wedding, I want that person to be the same person throughout. I don’t want a stranger showing up to my big day.” -Sabrina and Ryan Massmann, Owners, Sabrina Autumn Photography

Iyrus Weddings

How Many Hours of Wedding Day Coverage Do I Need?

“We are big fans of full-day coverage. With all great stories, there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is definitely not universally true — you can have a great wedding video without the getting ready process or without the party or special exit, but many of our couples want it all. Most of the time, this means 8-10 hours of coverage.” -Jennifer Reed, Owner, J&S Media

“Typically, couples opt for around 6 to 10 hours of coverage to document key moments such as pre-ceremony preparations, the ceremony itself, the reception, and important highlights throughout the day. However, some may choose more extended coverage to include additional events like rehearsal dinners or post-wedding brunches. Ultimately, the right amount of coverage should align with the couple's vision and the story they want to tell through their wedding video. We normally ask for around 8 hours of coverage; however when couples decide to book 5 hours or less, that lets us know that videography is not as important as photography.” -Bonnet Charles, Owner, Priceless Studio Design

“Eight hours is usually the minimum, but this is going to vary on your timeline and what's important for you to capture. You should always have the same amount of coverage for video as you do for your photographer; this way, no moments are missed or rushed if you have less coverage for one vendor. I don't think it's crucial to have coverage until the end of the reception unless that is important to you, you know there will be a great dance floor, or you have a fun exit planned. But at a minimum, you should have at least one solid hour of open dance floor coverage.” -Shannon Kelly, Owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“Eight hours is a good ‘goldilocks' time frame for covering most weddings. It just depends on the wedding itself. If you're getting ready one place, having the ceremony somewhere else, and then having the reception at another location, you may need more because timelines as three location weddings tend to be a little more spread out.” -Bonnie Newman, Owner, Mars and the Moon Films

“Typically, we suggest at least being there in the same time frames as the photographer. But depending on how elaborate you want the video, we sometimes are there for rehearsal dinners or a few hours before the photographer even arrives.” -Will DeCosta, Owner, Iyrus Weddings

“We can’t make a video without telling somewhat of a story, so we need getting ready through reception. The sweet spot would be an hour before the ceremony to at least an hour after dances in the reception (if no exit).” -Sabrina and Ryan Massmann, Owners, Sabrina Autumn Photography

How Do I Know if I'm Hiring the Right Videographer for Me?

“A couple can determine if they are hiring the right videographer by considering a few crucial factors. Firstly, they should review the videographer's portfolio to ensure their style and previous work align with the couple's vision. Open and effective communication is key; a videographer who listens to their client's preferences and ideas is likely a good fit. It's also essential to gauge their professionalism, reliability, and experience in the wedding industry. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations can provide valuable insights into the videographer's reputation and past clients' satisfaction. Finally, a personal connection and feeling comfortable around the videographer can be a strong indicator that they are the right choice to capture the couple's special day.” -Bonnet Charles, Owner, Priceless Studio Design

“You might have similar personalities, styles, or values. Do they listen and take the time to get to know you, your relationship, and what's important to you? You want to watch your film and have it feel like you. Each couple is different, and each story is different. No film should be a copy and paste from the last couple, and the right videographer will get to know you and reflect your personalities in your film.” -Shannon Kelly, Owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“Look for someone who meshes well with your personality. Ask to grab a coffee or drink with them before you book, stalk their Instagram or TikTok, and find out if they're cool people to you. It's so important to feel comfortable and relaxed around the people who will have cameras on you that day. If you watch their videos, you're in love with most of them, and your personalities mesh well together, you've probably found the one.” -Bonnie Newman, Owner of Mars and the Moon Films

“Videography is super subjective. It’s not just how you take footage but how it’s assembled. Do you like that slow, romantic feel? Upbeat and fast-paced? Hype video? Watch lots of wedding videos. Get an idea of your style, then look for that, but make sure you watch a lot of their stuff and get comfortable with wedding videos. Don’t hire a professional based only on their Instagram; always look at full galleries and full videos.” -Sabrina and Ryan Massmann, Owners, Sabrina Autumn Photography

Jennifer Reed, of J&S Media adds:

“Finding quality videographers is just the first step in the process, but the most important step is finding the right videographer for you. You should determine what your style really is and see which videographers fit that. What storytelling style do you like? What color-grading style do you like? Let’s say you want a more sentimental video — are any of the videographers on your list particularly good at pulling on your heartstrings? Or, if you want a more fun, upbeat video — do any of the videographers on your list have videos that really captivate you?

Another factor is the individual(s) who will be with you on your wedding day! It’s imperative to get a feel for who you are hiring and their personalities to ensure that they’re compatible with your own! Your videographer is with you through most of your wedding day — they can either be just another vendor or a friend who makes your day that much better.

Lastly, you should find a videographer that has offerings that align with what you want. Do you want a short, cinematic video? A longer, documentary-style video? Full videos of your ceremony and/or toasts? These considerations can be even more specific — if you love drone footage, do they offer that? If you want to share your video sooner rather than later, do they offer a reasonable turnaround time? It’s important to discuss these options so that you’re getting the most from your investment!”

Shannon Kelly Films

What is the Average Cost of Hiring a Professional Wedding Videographer in Tampa Bay/Sarasota?

“$4,000-$10,000. I know that's a bit of a range, but the final cost will be dependent upon how many hours/days of coverage and what is included in your collection. On average, our couples invest $5,000-$8,000 for their film collections. Prioritize spending based on what is important to you while keeping in mind the quality of the film you want to have.” -Shannon Kelly, Owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“Pricing can be all over the place. Professionals in the area are between $3,500-$9,000. Remember, we are making a mini-movie of one of the most important special days of your life. Music, audio, and video editing take hours and hours to go through to make sure we tell your love story perfectly!” -Will DeCosta, Owner, Iyrus Weddings

“The average cost of hiring a professional wedding videographer in the Tampa Bay/Sarasota area can vary depending on factors like the videographer's experience, the length of coverage, and the services included. On average, couples can expect to invest between $3,000-$7,000 or more for wedding videography services in this region. Prices may fluctuate based on the specific requirements and preferences of the couple, so it's essential to request quotes from several videographers to find one that fits both your budget and your vision for capturing your special day.” -Bonnet Charles, Owner, Priceless Studio Design

“The average cost of a quality videographer is between $3,000-$7,000. This varies quite a bit simply because all videographers structure their packages and pricing differently. Some videographers whose lowest package is $6,000 could also include a full ceremony video, full toasts videos, and raw footage in that package. However, some videographers choose to have a base package (just a short film, for example) and let their couples choose their add-ons.” -Jennifer Reed, Owner, J&S Media

What Factors Go into the Cost of Professional Videography?

“A single wedding film takes a lot of gear and hours, hours of time, education, planning, and research. A single-camera body is at least $3,000, plus $1,500 or more for each lens. Add on $1,000 for a gimbal (stabilizer), plus tripods, another $1,000+ for a drone, continuing education to stay on and ahead of trends and industry-standard applications to edit in, a $4,000+ computer, paying second shooters, advertising costs, operating expenses for client management and taxes, and the list goes on. Then there's the cost of time; it's not just the hours of coverage on a wedding day that you are paying for. It is so important to get to know each couple before the wedding, what music do they like, what are their hobbies, what movies do they enjoy, how'd they meet? That time communicating with couples is crucial. Based on their personality and vision, we begin assisting with timeline coordination with planners and photographers and maybe even do some location scouting prior. Prepping gear and traveling to the wedding are a small part, but they take time nonetheless. The editing process begins with sorting the footage, keeping every beautiful and sentimental moment, and syncing multiple camera angles, multiple microphones, etc. Once sorted and organized, we can begin listening to speeches, letters, vows, and every moment in between and begin shaping a story that fits the couple. Once we play around with storyboarding and have the story laid out, then the search for the perfect pieces of music begins. Many videographers subscribe to music licensing sites that cost $500-$1,000/year. Finding music can truly take hours. Once the music is in and trimmed up, there's adjusting of audio levels and color correction to be done to the footage to bring it to life even more. This is all just skimming the surface of what goes into the cost.” -Shannon Kelly, Owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“We spend hours prior to your wedding ensuring that we’re ready for your day — assisting or going over your timeline with you, getting to know you so that we can tell your story that much better, or even something as small as cleaning and prepping our equipment. When investing in a quality videographer, the wedding day experience is a large part of what you’re investing in — a team that’s personable, experienced, efficient, creative, and cooperative with your other vendors. Great videographers know how to work well alongside your photographer. One of the biggest factors that most couples don’t consider is that the majority of our work happens after the wedding day — culling through footage, listening to your vows and toasts to storyboard for your video, choosing music, and all of the little things that add up like coloring, audio levels, and more. Overall, we’re not just wedding videographers, we’re editors, audio technicians, lighting technicians, drone operators, and that doesn’t even count all of the roles we need to fill to maintain our business.” -Jennifer Reed, Owner, J&S Media

“The amount of hours spent editing after the wedding is usually longer than what a typical photographer spends, so time editing is the biggest cost factor for videography. We also spend a lot of time once the video is edited, uploading to various sites, rendering your video, so it fits on Instagram, submitting it for publication, and adding it to our website and social media. Other factors include equipment costs (staying up to date with tech, repairs, upkeep), hiring second videographers or assistants, cost of purchasing licensed music for your video, paying business taxes, online costs like websites, email, and Quickbooks, paying full price for our own health insurance (being an entrepreneur means I have to pay for all my benefits), and so many more little things that add up. Being a full-time videographer, or any entrepreneur for that matter, is more expensive than it might seem. That's why we always tell people you really do get what you pay for. If you've found a videographer who is charging you $1,000 for 10 hours of coverage and making you a highlight film and full ceremony film, and a full documentary film, something is not right, and they most likely don't know what they're doing. At the end of the day, you're the one stuck with regret that you didn't hire a professional to capture that one day in your life that means so much.” -Bonnie Newman, Owner, Mars and the Moon Films

“Hours on the wedding day, the number of shooters, and the final product all change the cost of videography. For us, we always bring out our best video and audio equipment to make sure we capture the entire day in the best quality we can! What people forget is the editing portion. Editing for us isn’t about throwing clips together. It’s about telling the story and having the music blend perfectly with the video. On average, we take about 30-40 hours of editing to complete a wedding film.” -Will DeCosta, Owner, Iyrus Weddings

Priceless Studio Design

What Should I Expect to Receive from My Videographer?

“Support, communication, advice, and to be seen! You want someone who is going to get to know you and craft your film to your personality. You should receive a film that tells your story and preserves the memory of the day, but also your love story as a whole! Including a full ceremony edit is also important because that is what the day is for, after all! From there, you can add on full edits of speeches, dances, raw footage, etc. It's all a matter of what is most important to you!” -Shannon Kelly, Owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“Our most popular package includes eight hours of coverage, a highlight film (which is always 6-8 minutes and is included in all of our packages), and the raw footage. We offer all kinds of additional video upgrades as well. Sometimes, the raw footage can be a little overwhelming, and couples don't know what to do with it, so we offer what we call a ‘full documentary edit' where we edit that raw footage into a longer, more ‘traditional' wedding film that includes the full-length ceremony, first look, toasts, first dances, and other clips from throughout the day. Chat with your videographer if there are any other video requests you have. Most of us are always open to new ideas and suggestions! For example, some requests I get are for rehearsal dinner coverage, cocktail hour ‘well-wishes' videos, boudoir videos, and engagement videos.” -Bonnie Newman, Owner, Mars and the Moon Films

“This depends on what you book. Normally, our clients choose a 4-minute highlight video and 1-minute trailer. Some, like us, include full ceremony and speech videos too.” -Sabrina and Ryan Massmann, Owners, Sabrina Autumn Photography

Sabrina Autumn Photography

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Vendor Credits


Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pros

Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pros are highly respected by our local wedding community and have been personally vetted by our editor.

  • WD9 8700 E1
    Iyrus Weddings
    Photographer and Videographer
  • Wedding Party Walking Down Road in Downtown Tampa Inspiration | Black Tuxedo Suits and Neutral Cream Satin Bridesmaids Dresses | Tampa Bay Wedding Videographer J&S Media
    J&S Media
    Photographer and Videographer
  • Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer and Videographer | Priceless Studio Design
    Priceless Studio Design
  • Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Sabrina Autumn Photography
    Sabrina Autumn Photography
    Photographer and Videographer