Looking for some advise from people with experience. I recently had 2 kids and am looking into freelancing as my primary source of income so that I can be at home while my wife works. I currently work at a University athletic department but the hours are hard for the amount of pay. My experience includes 4 years FCP editing, 4 years of ENG and live broadcast camera work, and 1 year of studio camera work. My main question is, what kind of income should I expect starting out and what should I be charging at my skill level? Thanks everyone for the help.
I think there was a time years back when wedding video was a commodity. A video of your wedding was worth $500 for a short one, and double or triple that for a long one. Today a competent wedding video is not a commodity - its more like a painting than a porkbelly.
There are many people with all sorts of equipment and software, who are prepared to work for nothing/experience/starting out/demo reel.
For the person who wants a video that's in focus and has an intelligible audio track, they can find such very cheaply.
Conversely there are a growing number of brides who are shifting more of the media budget over to video.
To be in business you must produce a style of video that people are willing to pay a premium for.
There is no answer to your question, it's like "I've been playing guitar for 4 years, how much can I expect to make if I turn pro?"
Send samples of your work to local video companies.
If scheduling is already a problem for you, why kill all your family weekends competing on over-supplied weddings, I would suggest instead looking to join up with a legal video firm instead. The pay is better, you work days, not nights, and the work is less drama-filled generally. Shooting depositions, or helping shoot a prospectus video, was a great part-time gig for me after college, and lord knows there's got to be plenty of demand, since the number of lawyers is not declining... The downside is that these days you probably need some certification thru one of the related associations like WEVA or others before someone takes you on to their firm, but it can't hurt to ask around.