How I Became a Full-Time Wedding Videographer
Let me just say… this story didn’t just start the day that I jumped in and said yes in January of 2021.
Let me set the scene … it is December 2016. I am about to finish up my intro to telecommunications class and Gateway is looming – the test to see if you will be able to study Video at Ball State University. If you don’t pass this intense series of tests, you have to change majors. And for me, an introverted, hard-working student… that just wasn’t an option. I am in the shower that I share with 4 random strangers in my dorm + an idea pops in my head. I knew what I had to do to get ahead of everyone else: get some real-world experience. So, I hurriedly rinse out the soap from my eyes, grab my phone, and offer my services free-of-charge to my friend who was getting married in 3 weeks back home.
I “successfully” complete that gig (and by successfully, I mean that it happened. We can talk about the quality another time LOL). I am then referred to another gig a week after that. My mom shares on Facebook to all her mom friends. And boom. Word of mouth. I receive 3 more bookings for that summer… and I am on my way. No advertising. No equipment other than a Canon T3I + some determination. And about $400 in my pocket, to be split between my boyfriend (at the time) and I.
Years go on, internships happen, but my word-of-mouth marketing keeps me consistently booked up with weddings. I never found any sort of wedding booths to be helpful, just simply sharing my work through social media + letting my brides speak for me.
So, now it’s December of 2020. I have graduated college with my degree in Telecommunications + I am headed to Orlando with my dream job in hand: I am the newest Content Creator for Disney’s Yellow Shoes. I have an apartment, I have my fiancé coming down with me, + our wedding awaits. Until we get a call from my recruiter + Disney shuts down all new hires. And I scramble.
My entrepreneurial spirit kicks in + I went straight to work applying for new jobs. I find myself on a call with The Wedding Wire / The Knot. My husband is sitting next to me. “Hey, it’s $2800 for the year… we book one wedding + pay it off. Are we in?” “Yeah, Joce, we are in.” And that’s it, that’s the moment I decided that my side hustle was going to be my full-time career. I did all the things to set up my business + started sneakily offering my services to friends for over half-off, just like in the very beginning. I’m talking $600 for everything I had. But it worked… brides’ posts about us spread, their reviews make us shine, our Instagram posts gain traction, + we booked up a years’ worth of clients in a few months.
To close, let me sum up my strategy here:
- I didn’t let the pressure to book get to me + I didn’t compare where I was (at the bottom) with the most successful vendors in the area
- I immediately started putting myself out there, sharing what little content I had with the world. We may have had 100 followers, but after using find-able hashtags like #orlandoweddingvideographer + #floridaweddingvideo, brides immediately started to find our little page. And it grew!
- I worked with local vendors at styled shoots. This was huge for us – connecting with planners + photographers, sharing share-able posts to our story so other vendors could find/follow us, + being able to have some really professional content made that initial leap really nice.
- I joined Facebook groups + second shot for local vendors. At this point, I didn’t have my own legit gigs so this was a way that I was able to 1) get work to share on my feed and 2) pay the bills.
- I consistently posted on my channels until my first Reel went viral. We doubled our following after that!
- I was honest with my followers + potential brides. I didn’t shy away from being raw + genuine about where I was at in my business… I messaged brides on Facebook after seeing their posts about looking for a vendor, I saw a cute engaged couple on Insta + followed or sometimes messaged them, + I didn’t shy away from any of that hard but embarrassing work!
After all was said and done, 2021 was a great year for us financially. After buying 2 new cameras, a new drone, and paying for new ways to advertise, I was still able to make more than what I made at my last job. So don’t think you can’t make a livable salary doing this. You can. Believe in yourself.