Expert Advice: A Guide to Hiring a Tampa Bay Wedding Videographer

Expert Advice: A Guide to Hiring a Wedding Videographer

Videography is one of the fastest-growing segments in the wedding industry. More couples are placing an importance on preserving the memory of the day, and wedding videography has evolved into cinematic movies that capture the elements that make your wedding so cherished.

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

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 interviewed our preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay videographers to share their insight on what you need to know about hiring one.

How is Wedding Videography Different from Photography?

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 I believe 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 of Mars and the Moon Films (formerly Bonnie Newman Creative)

“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 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

“Let me start by saying that photo and video are both incredibly and 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 can take you back to exactly what was said, 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 and inevitably 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

“Video is different from photography because as a wedding videographer we look to capture movement and raw emotions as naturally as possible. Videography requires proper lighting, setup, and breakdown that the majority of couples aren’t aware of. On a wedding day, wedding videography is literally a mini commercial production shoot with the couples as the stars” -Bonnet Charles, owner, Priceless Studio Design

Lena + Anthony | Ybor City Elopement from Mars and the Moon Films on Vimeo.

When Should I Hire My Wedding Videographer?

“Before 2020 and the pandemic, I might say six months before your wedding would be safe for some, but with the demand and volume of inquiries coming in, you should hire a videographer 12-18 months before your date. Especially if you have a date in peak times or popular dates like 11.11.22. Many vendors are already fully booked for 2022 and filling up for 2023 as we speak. With the increased demand, many are also limiting the number of couples they book so that they can better serve each one. It's always ideal to book video at the same time you would be booking photo!” -Shannon Kelly, owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“A videographer should always be hired during the process of hiring a photographer, however, this isn't the case 95% of the time. Videographers are often an afterthought, and, if the budget, permits they will add a videographer. I would encourage all couples to hire at the same time if possible and not wait.” -Bonnet Charles, owner, Priceless Studio Design

We hear this question all the time. Iit comes down to how important it is for you and your significant other. We tell our couples to list out their 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 between 6-8 months out, at least. 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 of Mars and the Moon Films (formerly Bonnie Newman Creative)

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

“Someone who is patient, has the ability to tell a story that fits with your vibe, and who will get to know what your personality is. Always read reviews, even read comments on their social media. Reviews and how they post on social will give you a good pulse on their personality and work ethic.” -Shannon Kelly, owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“Qualities of a wedding videographer should be their style of work and ethics. See what others are saying about them, from wedding planners to venues and past clients. Also, look into their reviews, those always help.” -Bonnet Charles, owner, Priceless Studio Design

Shannon Kelly Films

How Many Hours of Wedding Day Coverage do I Need?

“Typically we always suggest at least being there 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

“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 of Mars and the Moon Films (formerly Bonnie Newman Creative)

“Eight hours is the average, but this is going to vary on your timeline and what's important for you to capture. A good rule of thumb is to have the same amount of coverage for video as you do for photos, this way you don't have to double back to recreate any moments that may have been missed if you have less coverage for one vendor. At the minimum, it's good to start coverage two-and-a-half hours before the ceremony, but if you're doing a first look or have any important traditions taking place prior, you'll likely want to bump that time up. As the day goes on, you'll want the first dance, parent dances & speeches captured, no doubt! But, I personally don't think it's crucial to stay to the end of the reception unless that is important to you or you have a fun exit planned! At a minimum though, you should have at least 1 solid hour of coverage once your dance floor opens.” -Shannon Kelly, owner, Shannon Kelly Films

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

“First and foremost, you should hire a videographer that is a good fit for you. 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? Do they offer advice and recommendations? After all the work that goes into planning your wedding, you want to look back at your film and have it feel like you. A videographer should take the time to get to know what that means. Each couple is different, and each story is different. No film should be a copy and paste from the last couple; you want to feel seen and heard! Look for a videographer that listens and gets to know you.” -Shannon Kelly, owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“After you’ve vetted a few videographers that you like, schedule a call to get a feel for personality and style. If a couple isn’t the videographer doesn't explain how they will capture the day after you have provided information on the venue, if there is a first look/touch, letter reading, etc. then you may want to look elsewhere. You’ll know if you have the right one if the videographer can take your dream wedding inspiration or vision and tell you how they plan to tell your love story.” -Bonnet Charles, owner, Priceless Studio Design

“Look for someone who meshes well with your personality. Ask to grab a coffee or drink with them before you book, stalk their Instagram 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 (formerly Bonnie Newman Creative)

Iyrus Weddings

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

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

“Expect to spend an average of $3,000-$6,000. 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 package. Certainly, stick to your budget and prioritize spending based on what is important to you, but don't forget that photo and video are the only things you get to keep after your wedding day, and they will also preserve the memory of it and all the hard work and details that went into it.” -Shannon Kelly, owner, Shannon Kelly Films

“Expect to invest anywhere between $4,000-$9,000 for a QUALITY videographer. Post-pandemic, videography is something more and more couples are placing as a priority rather than an afterthought, and many videographers are finally charging a fair value for how much work and time is involved in their craft. It's also becoming increasingly expensive to live in Tampa Bay, and that trickle-down effect is in full swing for everyone. Our average package investment is $5,200 for 9 hours coverage and includes all kinds of edited films and goodies.” -Bonnie Newman, owner of Mars and the Moon Films (formerly Bonnie Newman Creative)

What Factors go into the Cost of Professional Videography?

“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 of Mars and the Moon Films (formerly Bonnie Newman Creative)

“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

“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 on 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 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, 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

“Gear is one of the main factors; videographers attend weddings with more gear to be able to capture different angles during the ceremony and reception. Audio is also important, and audio equipment is expensive provided that you are using a product of quality.” -Bonnet Charles, owner, Priceless Studio Design

Emily + Cash Wedding Sneak Peek from Priceless Studio Design on Vimeo.

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 8-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 of Mars and the Moon Films (formerly Bonnie Newman Creative)

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

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.