From Webkinz Videos to Wedding Videography : How I Made a Hobby Into a Side Hustle

If you’re a college student interested in photography or videography, getting involved in the wedding industry can be a great side hustle. Even though you’ll have to work on the weekends, you only have to work one day a week and you can edit your photos and videos from your dorm room, in a coffee shop, on the road, anywhere!

 

When I was nine years old, my best friend and I made amateur YouTube videos with our Webkinz stuffed animals. With the help of my mom and sister, we edited our videos with Windows Movie Maker, which crashed every 30 minutes or so. During our time on YouTube, we had one of our videos reach 150,000 views (which was a lot in 2007), met Rhett and Link, and even had one of our videos shown at an exhibition at Carnegie Mellon University.

 

Rhett and Link were the entertainment at my grandfather's grand opening for his coffee shop, which we made a YouTube video about.

 

Fast forward a couple years later, my cousin was planning her wedding and knew I had an interest in videography. She asked me if I would film her wedding and I agreed. Little did I know, this opportunity would lead me to a future career. After I delivered her final product, my other family members saw it which led to my other cousin asking me to film her wedding. This happened a couple more times until I realized I should make it into a career. Since my first wedding in 2012, I have filmed 11 weddings and have several weddings booked for 2020. Here are some of my tips on how to get started with wedding photography and/or videography:

 

1. Buy equipment

Before you photograph or film a wedding, you want to make sure you have reliable equipment that you are familiar with. When I decided to upgrade my equipment, I went with a Sony camera and lenses. Here is a list of some of my equipment: 

 

2. Advertise

When I first decided I wanted to film more wedding videos, I made a post on Facebook. I asked my friends and family to share it to spread the word and was able to get about three offers just from that one post. Once I started filming weddings and posting them online, people starting finding out about me through word of mouth. I highly recommend using social media to advertise when you're first starting out. It's easy, free, and you can reach large audiences.

 

3. Listen to podcasts and watch videos

A couple months ago, I started listening to the Wedding Videography School podcast. The host of the show, Michael Lee Ring, has filmed over 100 weddings and offers his advice on how to get started with wedding videography. He also brings other videographers onto the show to talk about their experiences. This podcast covers everything from getting clients, the contract process, equipment you'll need, filming on the actual wedding day, editing the video, and so much more.

I also like to watch wedding videos from other videographers. This is a great way to find inspiration and see different styles and methods that you may not have thought of on your own. My top two favorite wedding videographers are Pen Weddings and White in Revery.

 

4. Practice

Weddings days can be stressful and unpredictable. The last thing you want is for your camera equipment to not work. One of the best ways to become familiar with your equipment is to go out and practice with it. Practice the different settings. Practice filming your friends. Practice switching quickly from indoor to outdoor settings. This will help save you a lot of stress on the wedding day.

You should also practice with an editing software and, if possible, try to master it. I use Davinci Resolve as my main editing software. When I was first learning it, I watched YouTube video tutorials on the basics of the software. I also have a friend who is very familiar with Davinci who I go to if I have any questions.

 

 

5. Film your first wedding for free

I started out filming a family member’s wedding back in 2012. Since I had no wedding videography experience, I did not charge for it. This led to more family member’s asking me to film their wedding and me getting more experience. Once I felt comfortable with my videography skills, I started charging for my services. A good starting point is to do your first wedding for free or charge about $200 for your first couple weddings. After that, you can start increasing your price by $200-$300 for every video after that until you reach a price that you believe equals the amount you should be getting paid.

 

Buy equipment, make social media posts, get out there, and start filming weddings!