Choosing a video production professional to hire can be just as difficult as picking any other service or tradesperson. You may have done a Google search and found dozens of people to choose from and it could all seem a bit overwhelming. I know that feeling; where on earth do you start? Well, there may be a wealth of talent out there but if you go with the wrong person or company it could end up being an expensive mistake. So, assuming that you'd prefer to use a freelancer over an agency, I've listed here a few key qualities that you should look for when choosing your videographer:
1. Honesty & integrity.
If you're new to this business hiring a videographer for the first time could be quite a daunting experience, particularly considering the number of people offering these services. What's important to determine early on, and of course this is most easily done in a face-to-face meeting, is whether you feel that you can trust the person you are hiring. Can your videographer deliver on time and within budget? Will they communicate effectively throughout the process? What about their punctuality? Only you can be the judge of their character and this is a reason why speaking directly with them or - where possible - meeting them before commissioning them is a good idea.
2. Customer service experience.
This is without a doubt one of the most important qualities to look for in a potential candidate. Whilst video production is a creative and exciting industry that doesn't mean that those working within it should lose sight of the basics. Us videographers need to provide excellent service, communicate effectively and show general manners and respect just like anybody else in any other industry should do. If you decide to meet a prospective candidate before you commit to a project, get to know them and their background. Have they ever worked in customer service in the past? Will they go above and beyond for you? Think about it; you could potentially be hiring them for weeks or months at a time and especially as the video content will be tailored to your requirements it will be a much more positive experience for you if they know how to look after you.
3. An avid learner.
Many of the greatest people to work with are those that continually strive to up their game, develop and improve on their past work. However, it's not just about them; in this business it's about you. A good videographer will be someone who wants to work closely with you, who wants to get to know you and your business and truly understand what it is you want to achieve. We can't claim that we'll ever be experts in your field, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from you. Whether it's picking up the industry lingo or learning about your target audience, the point is the more we know about you and your field of work the better we'll be able to make your video content. In the long term this can be more cost and time effective for you and can bring some job security for the freelancer.
4. Someone who will seek to give you good value.
At some time or another we've all experienced a shark trying to make a quick buck out of us, so make sure you don't get caught out here. A good videographer will look for ways to help you increase the value from your video content such as maximising shoot days to release multiple videos (where appropriate), scheduling shots in the most efficient way possible or simply looking for little ways to increase the production values to create a more polished product overall. If you're a small business or start up and your budget is limited then this may be particularly relevant. Remember though that there is a distinct difference between getting good value and going cheap; you are paying for the videographer's experience as well as their skills and equipment and sometimes cutting corners can actually cost you more in the long run. Do you really want to take a chance with your investment?
To get the best value you'll want to hire a videographer who genuinely loves what they do, who values your time as well as theirs and at their core has a clear client focus; because we're happy when you're happy.
5. A creative eye.
Don't worry, I wasn't going to forget this one! If you're looking into hiring a creative of course one of the first things you'll probably look at is the quality of their work. In a videographer's case - have they captured nice footage with good coverage? Do their videos have good pace? What's their sound like? Do they have a showreel of their best work?
It is far more beneficial for clients (i.e. you) to hire someone who knows how to get the most from their equipment. The reality is anyone with enough money can buy a great camera, but that doesn't mean they know how to use it! In most cases, particularly with online video requirements, you won't actually need a prospective candidate to own the newest equipment on the market. Sometimes it's just not economically viable to buy certain equipment outright. If they can meet your technical requirements (which for most online purposes is still HD), are able to make it look good, sound good and have strong storytelling abilities then these are far more important attributes. In addition, if you do need something that they don't own you still have the option of hiring them and renting the appropriate kit. If you've found the right candidate they'll do their homework and will get the best out of this equipment too.
6. A proven track record.
When you go on holiday you may check out some Tripadvisor reviews and if you're looking for a plumber you may visit Checkatrade, so if you're hiring a videographer it's probably wise to do the same. Here are some things to look for: does your videographer have any customer testimonials on their website? Do they have a testimonial video? Have they listed their previous clients? What about recommendations on their Linkedin page? If they don't have any of these things then how do you know that they are going to do a good job for you? Reading or hearing it directly from their clients is crucial and shows that they care about their reputation. Of course, you can always ask them to provide some references too.
7. A strong support network.
I spoke about the importance of having a strong support network in an earlier article and I want to reiterate this point here. Just because you may be hiring someone who's self employed that doesn't mean they always work alone! In fact, as a freelancer, being well connected is essential for those moments when we might need additional expertise to collaborate on a project or someone to stand in for us when we are unavailable. Whilst you might not always get your first choice, most freelancers will only refer those whom they trust dearly as poor work will only reflect badly on the person who gave the referral. So, hiring someone who is well connected with other experienced professionals in the industry can give you more reassurance on top of everything else. Once again the best way to find this out is to speak with a prospective candidate directly about their experience or take a look at their Linkedin page and recommendations.
The Bottom Line:
A good videographer will want to form a long lasting working relationship with every client they ever work with. Strong relationships in business mean that everybody wins; you - the client - get better value and reliability and we - the videographers - get security and a greater understanding of your industry. They say the best business is repeat business, so if you can see yourself working with your videographer in the long term then you've made the right choice.
To find out how I could help you with your video requirements and to capture your business in the perfect light get in touch today.
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