Lights, Camera, Career! How to Become a Videographer and Land a Job

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Mar 14, 2019

Mar 14, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Imagine the famous standoff in "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" without the famous close-up of Clint Eastwood. Or "Citizen Kane" without its famous deep focus shots.

It's likely that these films wouldn't be nearly as impactful if it weren't for careful shot choice and precise editing.

Cinematography matters. Proper framing and the right lens selection can communicate a great deal of information and evoke emotion.

If you're someone who wants to balance your love of technology with your passion for cinema, a career in videography is a great choice. Not only will you make an estimated $27.99 per hour, but your work will be instrumental in helping businesses reach their audiences.

And since the popularity of video marketing is quickly growing in the corporate world, you'll enjoy career stability for years to come.

Ready to make your dreams a reality? Here's everything you need to know about how to become a videographer.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of a Formal Education

Formal education isn't necessary for a career in videography. However, that doesn't mean it isn't something you should consider. A degree from an impressive school can make your resume stand out to potential employers.

Still, attending a traditional four-year program comes at a cost. Namely, you'll likely have to take out loans to complete your education. Aside from the monetary cost, most four-year programs offer less hands-on training than you may hope for.

At the very least, enroll in a certification program. These programs are shorter, cost less, and will allow you to get your hands on a camera as soon as the first week of classes.

Study Film and Corporate Video

Videography is a craft akin to painting or dance. To understand it, you have to dissect it.

To sharpen your videography skills, begin watching TV and film through a different perspective. Instead of passively taking in the story, study the scenes. Everything that makes it into a film or commercial is there on purpose.

Note things like camera movement, shot types and framing. As you're watching, ask yourself what they add to the particular scene. Over time, this will allow you to pick up on the nuances of videography.

Study how different types of videos are shot. Corporate videos, for instance, often use softer lighting and close-ups to accentuate familiarity. But if you were to watch the latest Marvel movie, you'd notice sweeping pans and fast-paced editing.

Read up on the differences between shooting for the corporate world, film, and television. You'll likely begin your career in the corporate field, so learn more about corporate techniques.

There are a few essential books you'll want to check out, too, such as:

  • "Rebel Without a Crew" by Robert Rodriguez
  • "Cinematography: Theory and Practice" by Blain Brown
  • "The Filmmaker's Handbook" by Ed Pincus

Each book offers insight and advice on the trials and tribulations of making it as a videographer while offering expert career advice.

Practice Camera Techniques

Whether you're working with a DSLR, point and shoot camera, or you have your hands on a gorgeous 8K RED camera, a videographer is only as good as their intuition.

Some of that intuition will come from experience. Learn everything there is to know about your camera.

Practice shooting as often as possible, even if the subject is something mundane. Work on your framing and experiment with different lenses and F-stops.

The more comfortable you feel behind the camera, the better.

Network

While videographer careers are stable, they can be hard to come by. Part of landing the perfect job comes down to who you know. A recommendation from an employee can improve your chances of getting an offer by up to 6.6%.

Since having a well-padded resume isn't always enough to land a job offer, you'll want to complement your resume with a steady stream of networking opportunities.

If you plan on enrolling in a certification or degree program, talking with professors and asking about local groups is a great start. Making a good first impression can help you land a recommendation or at least point you in the right direction.

If you intend to forego a formal education, finding networking opportunities can be a bit harder. Search for local videography groups on Facebook or use sites like Meetup to find events near you.

Get On Set Experience

No one starts their career in videography working on blockbusters. For now, take any opportunity to get on set and learn.

While you probably won't start out as a camera operator, working on small crews gives you the opportunity to experience a variety of different roles.

Most newcomers start out as a production assistant. A PA is responsible for helping out around set in any number of ways. You may get coffee for the crew one moment only to set up a shot the next. It's a hectic job, but it can be exciting all the same.

Remember, you're on set to learn. A willingness to work a variety of jobs, even if they're menial, shows dedication. Don't feel discouraged if you don't get to start out with your preferred crew position.

Create a Reel

With a few projects under your belt, it's time to show the world what you're made of. A resume is a good start, but most companies are more interested in your reel.

A reel is a collection of clips designed to highlight a videographer's specialties.

Like you would with a resume, tailor your reel to your desired job. Your reel for a freelance editing position should look a lot different than your reel for a directing position.

As you add projects you may want to change which clips you use. Keep the raw video files on your computer or an external drive for easy access even after your reel is online.

Begin the reel with an introductory title card. Include your name, contact information, and the total running time of your reel.

Between each clip, add a title card with the project's name and a short description of your role on the video.

How to Become a Videographer: Final Thoughts

Whether you're looking to work in Hollywood or would rather help local businesses grow, a career in videography is a fantastic opportunity to show off your creative skills.

If you're wondering how to become a videographer, understand that it takes patience, dedication, and hard work. You may have to work long, odd hours, but it's more than worth it to have a career you love.

Create an account today to find videography jobs in your area.