How to Become a Videographer Without a Degree

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Key Takeaways

  • Master key skills like camera operation, lighting, recording audio, editing, and storytelling.
  • Adopt a business mindset for financial management and marketing to sustain your videography career.
  • Use online platforms like Upwork and LinkedIn to find freelance work and build professional connections.
  • Develop a strong portfolio showcasing your creativity and technical skills to attract new clients.

Becoming a videographer is a dream for many, but it requires more than simply buying a fancy camera.

Video content creators often wear multiple hats, handling camera operations, sound recording, and editing. This makes it a multifaceted profession that requires technical skill and creative vision.

It includes various skill sets, from shooting video footage for events, documentaries, and commercials to editing and post-production work such as color grading, sound mixing, and more.

There isn’t a single clear path to success, but constantly leveling up your skill set is essential—and that goes for self-taught videographers and those with college degrees.

What is a videographer? What do they do?

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A videographer records videos for TV, films, or online content, often working on smaller-scale projects like weddings, commercials, and documentaries.

Career opportunities also exist in television, film, news agencies, and various public institutions.

Different types of videography niches to pursue

Here is a table of common videography genres that you can use as inspiration for pursuing your specific path of interest:

Videography TypeTypical Tasks
Wedding VideographyCaptures all the moments of a wedding day, from the preparation to the ceremony and reception, creating a memorable and emotional video that couples can cherish for a lifetime.
Corporate VideographyIt focuses on creating videos, including promotional videos, training videos, and event coverage videos, to support businesses and organizations’ marketing and communication efforts.
Event VideographyEncompasses capturing live events such as concerts, conferences, and ceremonies, requiring skills to deal with changing lighting, unrepeatable moments, and capturing the essence of the event.
Documentary VideographyInvolves telling real-life stories, covering topics from social issues to historical events, and aiming to inform, educate, or persuade the audience through a factual narrative.
Music Video ProductionCombines visuals with music tracks to produce creative videos that promote the artist and enhance the song’s message, often involving storytelling or abstract visuals.
Real Estate VideographyFocuses on creating compelling videos of properties for sale or rent, highlighting their features and benefits to attract potential buyers or tenants.
Sports VideographyCaptures the intensity and excitement of sporting events, from local games to international competitions, often used for highlights, promotional materials, and athlete portfolios.
Travel VideographyCenters on creating videos that showcase destinations, cultures, and experiences, aiming to inspire viewers to explore new places or document personal travel adventures.
Fashion VideographyFocused on the fashion industry, including runway shows, behind-the-scenes, and fashion films that highlight clothing, styling, and trends.
Aerial VideographyUtilizes drones to capture footage from the air, offering unique perspectives for real estate, events, film production, and scenic videography.
Product VideographyCreating videos of products. Often used for commercials and ads. Related to product photography.

How to find your first clients and build your portfolio

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Have camera. Want clients!

Finding clients as videographers has never been easier, thanks to sites such as Upwork and Fiverr. These sites are a great way to land a few contracts while earning money for your work.

The latter part is important because you should take your work seriously from the start. This means taking yourself and the client seriously, and the client also takes you seriously.

I would advise against working for free just because you’re just starting. You might have to take some low-paying jobs to build your portfolio initially, but I would advise raising your prices as soon as you have some quality work to show.

In my experience, moving to higher-paying clients also leads to clients paying the bills with less hassle overall. To find higher-paying clients, go where they are (hint: they’re not on Fiverr!). I’ve found LinkedIn to be a great resource for finding good clients.

Key skills and qualities of a successful videographer.

You don’t need a degree to become a videographer; you need a broad skill set to be successful.

Before starting your own videography business, you should check out this article, where 40 professional videographers share tips and tricks.

Here are the traits I find most useful in my daily work:

A business mindset

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You might have the most expensive camera in the world, a closet full of vintage lenses, and the ability to pull off all the new trendy transitions in After Effects.

But what good are those if you don’t have any clients?

You must learn to sell yourself as well as your product!

– Me!

You must develop a business mindset. This includes all those things we creatives usually hate: cold canvas calls or emails, business meetings (in person and online), keeping track of income and expenses, filing taxes, and making a budget.

Creativity and Imagination

This is probably the easiest one to achieve because you will likely already have developed these skills if you want to become a videographer.

You must be able to visualize the final product even before the camera starts rolling. Use your creativity to help you tell stories, find unique angles, and generate fresh ideas that can set your work apart.

Technical Expertise

video editing on wide screen

Understand the technical aspects of videography. This includes knowledge of cameras, lenses, lighting, audio equipment, editing, video formats, and color grading.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to video lighting.

You must know how to manipulate camera settings and gear to achieve desired effects and be adept at using editing software to piece together the final product. This includes staying updated with the latest technology, trends, and techniques in the field.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to video camera settings.

Strong Communication Skills

Videographers often work with various people, including clients, crew members, and subjects. Effective communication is essential to understanding and meeting clients’ expectations, clearly directing others, and collaborating effectively.

Listening and adapting to feedback are equally important for refining work and ensuring client satisfaction.

Also, remember that what you’re selling is a piece of communication. Get the message out there!

Attention to Detail

Paying attention to the smallest details can significantly improve the video quality. Your eye for detail will help create a polished, professional final product that stands out from the rest.

This can range from ensuring the lighting is just right, and the sound is clear to catching continuity errors during editing.

Time Management and Organization

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Videography projects often involve tight deadlines and multiple tasks needing simultaneous attention. This includes meticulously planning shoots, systematically managing files and footage, and editing within deadlines to deliver the final product on time.

Good time management and organizational skills are necessary to manage these demands efficiently.

Adaptability and Problem-Solving

The ability to adapt quickly to changing situations and solve problems as they arise is crucial in videography.

Keep calm and carry a big lens!

– Me!

Whether it’s changing weather conditions, technical difficulties, or last-minute changes from clients, you must remain calm and find solutions to ensure the project’s success.

Passion and Perseverance

Lastly, a deep passion for videography and the perseverance to tackle challenges head-on is essential.

Keep pushing through the hard times. If one niche isn’t working for you, try a different one. Team up with others to take on bigger projects.

Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Wrapping up: It’s time to spark up your passion for videography!

Whether you get a degree in videography or prefer to go the autodidactic route and become a self-taught videographer, working with film and video is an exciting career that offers many different opportunities.

You can shoot weddings, become a documentary filmmaker, make a living from shooting corporate videos, do vlogging-style travel videos for YouTube, or move on to big TV productions or a series for, e.g., Netflix or HBO. You can work alone as a freelancer, as part of a larger crew, or even pursue a career in Hollywood.

No matter the path you decide to pursue, you’ll have to put in the hours to know your gear, know how to edit, know how to utilize social media, build up a network of industry professionals, get clients, know about lighting, and know about a lot of other aspects of filmmaking.

In short, you have to work hard to make your videography career take off, but you won’t regret it once it does. I sure don’t!

Up Next: What Are Lower Thirds, And Where to Find Them

Author

  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

    View all posts

5 thoughts on “How to Become a Videographer Without a Degree”

    • Hi Luke.

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, it IS hard work, but fun! I hope you’ve managed to get through the current state of affairs. It’s hard to maintain a business when everything gets shut down.

      Best, Jan

      Reply
  1. This is a beautiful content on the becoming a videographer.This article is very helpful and informative. I loved reading this article. I am sure many people will come to read this article in future. Keep sharing such informative articles in future, will be appreciated.

    Reply
  2. As an individual who have age against him with no prior training or experience. I got onto doing personal videos to help make a product for my lady and become a rather high influence as to her having the “guts” to produce her own live singing performance. We did 3 local shows in 3 years pretty much at our OWN expense. I first acquired a few small Sony camcorders to began with but soon realized that I needed a higher grade of professional cameras in order for her production to be taken seriously by others. Putting a nice video product together for public viewing was want I made wanted to do and then have it placed on YouTube for people all over the world to see, and that is exactly what happened. While some parts of some of the videos were not so great, there were others that were well worthy of a high caliber presentation to whereas YouTube had placed them in the same category along side other high videos of quality (visual and sound). Since then I have acquired more equipment than I ever thought I would bought, I even got a professional studio broadcast tripod worth a 1k or 2. I have no regrets in investing my hard earned money in it and I found this tutorial here to be even more help to me than I could imagine. Thank god for this piece, it only encourages me more to continue on this path without the pressures of success. You see, I do this at my own pace within my own ability. It’s not a hobby but an incurable interest to get better at it. I did this to help another, not myself.

    Reply
    • Hi Charles

      Congratulations on your journey. Luckily, there are many roads you can take to become a videographer. But if you’re just starting out it can be difficult to know which way to go. So this article is meant as help and provides some ideas of different paths to take. Thanks for sharing yours.

      Best, Jan

      Reply

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