A Guide to Navigating Wedding Videography Costs and Quality

Discovering Options, Evaluating Choices, Wedding Video Advice


A Tale of Two Videographers: Pricing, Value, and Your Wedding Day

Finding the perfect wedding videographer can often lead to a moment of stark realization about the costs involved. Many couples experience a wave of sticker shock, but you’re not alone in this.

This article dives into the nuanced world of wedding videography, comparing the experiences offered by a range of different types of vendors which will give you clarity as to why some vendors charge you very little while promising the world while others seem to charge you an arm and a leg while delivering very little.

Why are videos so expensive?

Understanding the pitfalls of prioritizing price over experience

Most couples only know how to use price as their guide. Honestly, when you’re just starting out in a space where the only thing you feel you fully understand is price—it’s the first place you start. Reverse engineering a budget by contacting a bunch of vendors and averaging them is real—it’s not a good way to do it… but it is A way to do it.

This does create a lot of hidden pitfalls right from the start, though.

This will mean the difference between, “Wow, they were more money than I initially thought we’d spend on a film, but worth every penny,” and “I can’t believe I spent a couple thousand dollars on this—I should have bought the couch for our new house.”

Let’s talk this price disparity meaningfully. But at first let’s talk about it through the medium of coffee because everyone knows what it’s like to have splurged on their favorite coffee and how good it makes them feel. But I promise it’s relevant.

A coffee is more than just a coffee

For some it’s part of their personal brand. For others it’s a lifeline.

Either way, the coffee you choose tends to be a deeper reflection of who you are and how you want your day to go. So without further adieu.

Welcome to “Choose Your Own Adventure” Coffee Edition.

You can jump into a gas station to grab a cup of coffee or you can take a little extra time and order a cold brew from The Snowy Owl in Brewster. They’re both COFFEE but those coffees aren’t REALLY the same are they? Even if you KNOW that, sometimes situations dictate your choices. Sometimes you just have to go for quick and cheap—let’s dive in.

(Choice 1) You choose the quick and cheap gas station coffee

“I need a coffee right now… this will be FINE.”

Cheap, easy, conveniently located right by the highway so you can easily pop in and pop out right before jetting onto the road back to work. You decide to get a large gas station coffee.

You dash and and come up with an extra large—it was only about half of what you normally pay so why not super size it? More. Is. Better.

The cup is enormous and comes with that top that always leaks and spills on your shirt and pants. And it’s handed to you from the clerk who’s looking at you weird but never says anything—ever. You get to your car and take a sip nearly spitting it out, it tastes so burnt and bitter you can barely drink it. Five more sugars ought to help it. Yep, coffee’s on your shirt already. Freaking lid.

Your stomach starts to protest the sweet acidity as you sit in traffic and all you can think about is that creepy dude who just gives you a weird feeling. This choice doesn’t ruin your day but it’s off enough to make an impression on it and you can’t help but make Mr. Creeper part of your conversation for the rest of the day. It’s just something about those eyes…

(Choice 2) You choose to support the quaint local boutique coffee shop

Time to go to work but before you do you stop off at your favorite local coffee shop. It’s a little bit out of the way but just leaving your house knowing you get to drop in quickly puts you in a good mood.

Something about that shop just makes you happy. You can’t quite put your finger on it but something about it always sets your day off right no matter what mood you started out in.

Your Snowy Owl cold brew is delivered to you by your favorite barista who knows your order without you having to say anything. They hand your coffee to you with a warm smile and when they tell you to have a great day and they look forward to seeing you tomorrow, you feel like they truly mean it. Honestly, you’re looking forward to seeing them tomorrow, too. So you make a mental note to wake up 5 minutes earlier just in case.

You sip that glorious smooth, naturally sweet cold brew and smile as the caffeine starts to warm your brain. Today’s gonna be a good day.

The obvious different here is the product quality but…

That cold brew takes 12-18 hours to make and the gas station coffee—no more than 5 minutes. But that extra effort delivers a remarkably better coffee. But it’s also the service that delivers the product to you that affects how you receive it.

Even if the service was reversed and your glorious cold brew was delivered to you by Mr. Creeper, while it’s still delicious that weird experience is going to leave an impression on your day—and now that memory is cemented there. Will you go back? Maybe. Eh, maybe not.

Wedding videography options

Two distinct experiences you’ll face

You’re not sure what the difference is but one experience is so much more affordable than the other. Let’s walk through the parts of videography that you need to navigate

1. Bargain Videographers

On one side, there’s the bargain videographer. Their allure lies in their seemingly unbeatable price and the promise of delivering a wedding video. You’re tempted by the savings, thinking, “This will be fine for just capturing the day.”

So many videographers are promising you the world (so much coverage, so many films) and they’re going to give it to you for anywhere between $500 and $5000. The videos look good enough. Their website seems professional. They post on social media enough to show proof of life. So far so good.

There are three kinds of bargain videographers. (All have their place—no shade.)

High volume, low quality videographers

In the bustling marketplace of wedding videography, there exists a category of vendors who operate on a simple, yet risky premise: high volume at budget quality. They’re the most affordable option, tempting with rock-bottom prices, but here’s the unvarnished truth about what you’re really signing up for.

Cutting Corners With Music (click to expand)

These vendors often operate at the edge, skimping on essentials like legal music licensing. They might ask you to provide the soundtrack to your own wedding film. Exciting? Picking your own music—sure is! Convenient? Perhaps. Risky? Definitely.

In an era where AI can easily flag unlicensed music, playing fast and loose with copyright laws is a gamble you’re unwittingly taking part in. The likelihood of facing legal repercussions is low, but is it a risk worth taking?

The Experience Equation

Your wedding is an experience—not just for you, but for everyone you’ve invited to share in this momentous day. Opting for a videographer who sees your wedding as just another booking can detract from the elegance and emotion of the occasion.

Imagine a vendor who doesn’t match the tone of your event, showing up in attire more suited to a casual errand than your meticulously planned black-tie affair. It’s about more than just appearances; it’s about respect for the significance of the day.

Why It Matters

When you receive your video, it feels generic, a bit like the gas station coffee—technically it serves its purpose, but it lacks the depth, warmth, and flavor of what you hoped to remember from your day. It’s a video, certainly, but it doesn’t quite capture the essence of your unique story.

Big-Name Videography Companies

The allure of large, well-marketed companies. They present an image of seamless professionalism, with polished websites and copy that speaks directly to your dreams. Their prices are a bit steeper, justified by a portfolio designed to dazzle. But here’s the reality you need to consider:

The Local Illusion

These companies often tout local expertise, regardless of your wedding location. The truth? They’re likely to contract a freelancer from your area. Sounds convenient, right? But here’s the catch: the experience and reliability of these freelancers can wildly vary.

The Experience Lottery

Will your videographer understand the unique dynamics of a wedding? Can they collaborate smoothly with your other vendors, navigate the unexpected, or capture the essence of your day beyond just the standard shots? Their ability to blend into your celebration, anticipate moments before they happen, and deliver a product that resonates with your personal story is not a guarantee—it’s a gamble.

Last-Minute Scrambles

Behind the scenes, these companies might be frantically posting on vendor boards, seeking anyone available—even the night before your wedding. It could be a seasoned professional, a college student, or anyone who can “stand, breathe, and hold a camera.”

Especially on high-demand dates (2nd or 3rd Saturday of September—anyone?? hello?), their priority is filling the slot, not ensuring the perfect fit for your wedding.

Why It Matters

I’m not sharing this to break some unspoken vendor code but to arm you with the knowledge you deserve. These companies bank on the hope they’ll find someone to cover your wedding, prioritizing their booking over your peace of mind. It’s a business model that benefits them, not you.

The Part-Time Videographer

In the ever-expanding universe of wedding videography, there’s a burgeoning group that’s hard to overlook: part-time videographers. Often balancing a full-time job with their videography ventures, these newcomers offer attractive pricing but come with their own set of considerations.

The Balancing Act

Part-time videographers are juggling their passion for capturing weddings with the demands of a primary career. This dual commitment means their availability and focus are split. While their enthusiasm is undeniable, their priority to their full-time job can sometimes impact the energy and attention they’re able to dedicate to your wedding.

Experience in the Making

With cameras in hand and dreams of growing their portfolio, part-time videographers are at the beginning of their journey. Their experience, while growing, is limited. This nascent stage in their career means they’re learning on the go, which can be both a fresh perspective and a gamble on your big day.

A Question of Longevity

The wedding industry is demanding, and not every venture stands the test of time. Wedding videography is a fun, but very difficult job that’s SIX full time jobs rolled into one (cinematographer, audio expert, lighting technician, editor, colorist, and client support).

Part-time videographers, with their split focus and emerging business models, face a steep climb with little to no profit. Statistics suggest that many such endeavors typically do not make it past the three-year mark.

Why It Matters

This potential for transience is an essential factor to consider, especially when thinking about future interactions, additional edits, or even referrals for friends.

Option 2: The Boutique Videographer

In the realm of wedding videography, the boutique videographer stands out as a beacon of personalized storytelling. Much like the barista who knows your order by heart at The Snowy Owl, boutique videographers bring a personal touch that transforms your wedding film into a masterpiece.

A Personal Journey from Start to Finish

From the moment you begin your journey with a boutique videographer, their dedication to understanding your unique story is evident.

They dive deep into the fabric of your relationship, not just to chronicle the events of your day but to capture the essence of your bond. This isn’t just about filming a schedule of events; it’s about bringing your love story to cinematic life in a way that’s unique to you.

Investment in Excellence

Yes, choosing a boutique videographer is an investment, reflecting the premium on their time, talent, and the tailored experience they offer.

However, the value of their work extends far beyond the monetary cost. It lies in their commitment to creating something truly bespoke, a service that’s sculpted around your vision and dreams for your wedding day.

Seamless Integration, Unforgettable Impact

On the day of your wedding, boutique videographers operate with a blend of intuition and discretion. They’re present yet unobtrusive, capturing the raw, unscripted moments

The Decision

It’s often said when you buy into the bargain, the BEST YOU’LL FEEL about it is when you pay for it. And when you pay for your established videographer, the WORST YOU’LL FEEL about it is when you pay for it.

Choosing between these videographers isn’t just about the end product; it’s about the journey there. Opting for the bargain videographer might save you some budget in the short term, but could lead to regret if the video fails to encapsulate the depth of your wedding day.

On the other hand, investing in the boutique videographer is like choosing the cold brew from your favorite artisanal coffee house; it’s about savoring the quality, relishing the care taken in each shot, and knowing that the experience of watching your wedding film will always bring back the warmth and joy of your day.

Your decision lasts a lifetime

As you journey through the myriad choices for capturing your wedding day, remember that your decision on a videographer will influence how you relive those cherished moments for years to come. Whether it’s the spontaneous laughter, the tearful vows, or the quiet glances of love, each moment deserves to be captured with the care, expertise, and artistry it warrants.

At Harborview Studios, we specialize in boutique videography, crafting bespoke narratives that resonate with the depth and uniqueness of each couple’s love story. Our dedication is to the art of storytelling, ensuring that every film we produce is as authentic and individual as the relationships it portrays. We take pride in our personalized approach, seamlessly integrating into your day to capture the essence of your celebration without intrusion.

Serving Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and available for travel across the East Coast, we’re committed to bringing the highest level of dedication and craftsmanship to weddings that demand nothing less. If your heart is set on a wedding film that truly reflects the beauty and uniqueness of your love story, we would be honored to be a part of your day.

Choosing the right videographer is choosing how you’ll remember the most heartfelt moments of your life. If you’re drawn to the idea of a boutique videography experience that prioritizes personal connection, artistic excellence, and memorable storytelling, we invite you to reach out to us. Let’s explore how we can capture your day with the elegance, emotion, and authenticity it deserves.

Contact us today to begin the conversation about your wedding film. Together, let’s create something beautiful, timeless, and uniquely yours.

Hi, I'm CINDY.

As wedding videographers, we specialize in filming the heartfelt moments of best friends in love, eager to relive their day through our lens.

Our philosophy? Every story is unique. We excel at making even the most camera-shy couples feel at ease, ensuring our films reflect the genuine honesty, strength, and real moments of your wedding weekend.

Our films are more than memories; they're a legacy of love, alive and vibrant, providing a timeless narrative of your special weekend. Let us help your story live on.

For 18 years, we've been capturing love stories on Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and along the East Coast. 

For 18 years, we've been capturing love stories on Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and along the East Coast.