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  • Writer's pictureDuane Saunders

From Hobbyist Videographer to Full-Time Professional



Becoming a full-time videographer is something I never thought would happen when I got my first video camera when I was 16 (21 years ago). What started as a simple hobby over time transformed into a burning passion. However, the journey from being a hobbyist videographer to embracing videography as a full-time profession was not without its challenges. In this blog post, I will share the hurdles I faced, the self-doubt I had to conquer, and how I threw myself into the craft to make my dream a reality.


1. Discovering My Passion:

Like many others, my journey began with a simple interest in capturing moments on film. For me I think it started with seeing the Matrix for the first time. I immediately wanted to create my own film with my friends and the obsession with storytelling began. I started writing scripts, planning scenes and movie trailers, all of which where really bad. The more I learned, the more I realized my love for the art of storytelling through video. But it took another 15 years before I would seriously consider making it my "job".


2. Confronting Self-Doubt:

Transitioning from a hobbyist to a professional videographer can be daunting. I've always had a high level of self belief, but this art requires you to make mistakes in order to improve. And as Mandela said, "I never lose, I either win or learn." If you're at this stage of questioning whether you have what it takes? Or whether your work is good enough, and if people would actually pay for your services I would encourage you to get out there and film till doubt is not an option. Overcoming imposter syndrome was a crucial step in my journey, and gave me confidence in knowing my worth and pricing myself higher than I could ever imagine when I started.


"I never lose, I either win or learn."

3. Seeking Education and Improvement:

To build confidence and enhance my skills, I committed to continuous learning. I enrolled in workshops, online courses, and attended industry conferences. By investing in my education, I acquired technical knowledge, learned new techniques, and connected with other videographers. This helped me develop a vital support system and opened doors to opportunities I would have never found alone.  



4. Building a Portfolio:

One of the biggest challenges I faced was building a strong portfolio as a full-time videographer. I had to start from scratch, showcase my best work, and demonstrate creativity, versatility, and expertise. Initially, I took on various projects, even if they were unpaid or low-budget, to gain experience and create a diverse portfolio. I filmed everything and everything in my first year as a videographer from Cooking videos, gym videos, weddings, to travel videos, corporate interviews.


5. Networking and Collaboration:

The power of networking cannot be underestimated in any industry, especially videography. I attended meetups, joined online communities, and engaged with fellow professionals. Collaborating with others not only exposed me to different perspectives but also opened doors for new projects and referrals. It often led to valuable friendships as well. Youtube was a great way for me to connect with fellow creators with the same level of expertise as me, and challenge and encourage me to learn and push myself to the next level.


 "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

6. Embracing the Art of Marketing:

As a full-time videographer, I quickly realized that having amazing skills alone was not enough. I had to embrace the art of marketing to reach a wider audience and secure clients. I established a professional website, started a blog to share my expertise, engaged in social media marketing, and reached out to potential clients. While it required effort, consistency, and adaptability, effective marketing strategies helped me grow my business.


7. Persistence and Perseverance:

Becoming a full-time videographer demands persistence and perseverance. It is essential to keep pushing forward, even when faced with setbacks or challenges. I learned from my mistakes, refined my techniques, and adapted to the ever-changing demands of the industry. With each project, I aimed to improve and provide the best possible service to my clients. I don't think I have ever completed a project and been 100% happy with my work, but that is what pushes me to be better next time. When I look back to my first paid gigs I often cringe at where I was compared to where I am now.


Conclusion:

Transitioning from a hobbyist videographer to a full-time professional is a journey of passion, challenges, and self-discovery. By conquering self-doubt, seeking education, building a portfolio, networking, embracing marketing, and persevering through adversity, I was able to turn my passion into a rewarding career. If you are a hobbyist videographer with dreams of going full-time, remember that the journey may be challenging, but it is not impossible. Believe in yourself, invest in your skills, and keep pushing forward, because your dream is within reach.

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