What makes a professional videographer?

Amateur vs. professional videography, what’s the difference?


What is a videographer and what separates an amateur from a professional? Is it money? Is it their skill? Is it time dedicated to the craft of video making? We discuss in this article. However, before we do this we first need to define the term ‘videographer’. A videographer captures video, whether this is a wedding, christening, party, or business advert. However, the action doesn’t end here. Videography involves both pre and post-production, both recording and editing the footage captured. There are many different types of videographers, but the most common are event videographers. Other worthwhile mentions include entertainment and one on one person acts e.g. comedy. Think of a videographer like a one-man band, they show up to the event, find the right shots, capture the footage, and also edit this footage to your specific requirements. What is an amateur videographer?  If you look up the term ‘amateur’ you will be presented with keywords such as ‘self-taught’, ‘informal’, ‘independent from source of income’. Generally speaking, an amateur is someone who is either still learning the skill and charging little to no money for their services, someone who does this for fun, or someone who is currently not making a full-time income/their main source of income from videography. However, the line between amateurs and professionals is very thin. What amount of money must we determine the threshold towards becoming a professional videographer? Is this a set amount or is there a better way to measure this? You could argue this to be entirely opinion based, however, if you’re unsure whether or not a videographer is an amateur of professional we can also base this on skill. Let’s first discuss what makes a professional. What is a professional videographer? As we looked up the term ‘amateur’ we did the same for ‘professional’, to give you a feel of the different terms used to describe these levels. The word ‘professional’ contains connotations such as ‘paid’, ‘full-time’, and ‘executive’. We can interpret this as a videographer who earns their main source of income through their line of work. While a professional videographer can also be self-taught, they are generally more skilled in both pre and post-production. As we previously discussed, the line between amateur and professional videographers is thin, however, we can also base this on skill level. Professional videographers were once amateur videographers, they were still learning, a little unsure of certain filming or editing techniques, and perhaps a little shaky with the camera. However, the term professional comes with a whole new responsibility of delivering consistent high-quality content over and over again. The keyword here being ‘consistent’. What are the benefits of hiring an amateur videographer? Hiring an amateur videographer should be cheaper than a professional, after all this is not their main source of income. However, speaking from a wider standpoint amateur videographers are often less skilled in the industry – they’re making their way towards the professional ranks. What are the benefits of hiring a professional videographer?  If you’re looking for the highest quality production/video, whether this is a crowdsourcing campaign, training video, or wedding video hiring a professional videographer is the right move. There are many benefits to hiring a professional, much like in any other industry the quality of a professional vs. an amateur is monumental. Benefits of hiring a professional include: ⦁ High-quality equipment ⦁ Excellent storytelling ⦁ Expert video editing ⦁ All-round professionalism A professional videographer often has more money to spend on higher-quality equipment. This is because this is generally their main source of income, they do this for a living and can only afford the best quality production – they must WOW their clients with each and every aspect of their work. Secondly, the professional videographer should also have excellent storytelling skills. This is also a key dividing factor between amateurs and professionals. A professional videographer should be able to create an immersive experience from the beginning to the end, shifting through the story in a succinct and timely manner while keeping the audience engaged. Thirdly, we have expert video editing. Professional videographers have generally worked in videography for several years. Over this time they have developed their video editing skills from the ground up, they know what works, they know what doesn’t work, and they know how to combine this editing with their storytelling. Finally, we have all-round professionalism about professional videographers. This isn’t a part-time gig for them, they must treat their job with the utmost professionalism – it’s not something they only do on the weekend (in most cases anyway). With years of experience also comes fruition for ideas, a creative mindset, and a dedication to their craft. Gaining an outside perspective  Whether you choose to hire an amateur or professional videographer they will be able to bring a creative outside perspective to the table. Think of this as the director, the man behind the screen. Although they may not be directing all events/films, for example, weddings, they can craft the film in a way that best represents your qualities, you as a business or you as a couple. A professional videographer will most likely be able to bring a greater creative flair compared to an amateur videographer. This is just something to keep in mind if the quality of the production is the top priority for you or your business. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for.  The bottom line  There is a fine line between an amateur and a professional, especially in the creative world such as videography. However, technically speaking we can separate these terms based on two key pointers: experience and income. Amateur videographers are often less experienced and do not make a full-time income from videography, whereas professionals are much more experienced, often with years behind their craft, and also do this full-time. This is their main source of income. Likewise, professional videographers also have the higher-quality equipment, they can produce stunning videos utilizing their skills with the tools they have available.

© 2019 by Vlad Lapich

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