This article and photos are by Christian Nachtrieb of Brighter Lights Media (website) and originally appeared on his blog.

If you’re a wedding videographer, one of the first things I’m sure you noticed after starting up your business is the importance many couples place on the price of your product or service, and rightfully so. Hiring a videographer can be a heavy investment tacked on to an already mile-high list of other expenses. This post is geared not so much towards our fellow videographers, but instead toward our eager shoppers. What should you look for in a videographer, and how much do they cost?

How much coverage do you need?

The first thing you should understand is that no team of wedding filmmakers are going to be exactly the same. Just as with wedding photographers, videographers typically base their costs on how much of a time commitment they’ll need to put forth for your particular wedding. Talk with your fiancé and discuss which parts of your wedding day are most important to you and let your videographer know this. The more they know about what’s special to you, the better they can customize a package.

What does the Feature Film look like?

Most of the videos you see posted on videographers’ websites are couples’ Wedding Trailers / Highlights. I strongly encourage any couple serious about their wedding video to ask to see a full feature film in order to properly judge the value of the product. Check to see that the quality remains consistent throughout the entire film. If you’re shopping for a new car, you wouldn’t just take a glance at it on the showroom floor right? No, of course not, you’d take it for a test drive. The same thing applies to wedding videographers, you should see what the majority of your investment is going towards before signing anything.

How much will it cost?

What may seem “expensive” to one shopper may not to another. It’s all relative. Honestly in this type of an industry, as cliché as it sounds, you get what you pay for. Before you even begin your search (depending on your region) I can tell you that you’ll find videographers that range in price from as low as $800 and as high as $7,000+. That’s a huge gap. A lot of us don’t list our package prices on our website. The main reason for that is because we want our potential couples to focus on what we feel matters most. If you’re a bride shopping for videography services and price is the #1 most important thing for you, then unfortunately in most cases quality will decrease. Here’s why. For $800, how can someone be expected to own good equipment, pay for a 2nd shooter, purchase editing software, insurance, DVDs, etc.? The only way they can compensate is in volume, sometimes 40 or 50+ to rake in the revenue they need. To be completely honest this isn’t always the case, and sometimes you’ll simply come across someone who films weddings as a side business and therefore does not need to charge as much as some of the other larger studios in town.

Your other option is to sit down with your fiancé, and talk about what’s going to be important to you years down the road. Will you regret that you hired someone who didn’t have a spare camera with them, or whose microphone battery died and there was no backup running during your vows? The single most important thing to look for in a videographer (and photographer for that matter) is their communication skills. Find someone you trust, find someone whose work you respect, someone who gets you. You’re buying their creativity and their passion, and the better you both can communicate to each other, the better the end result!

This article and photos are by Christian Nachtrieb of Brighter Lights Media (website) and originally appeared on his blog.