How to Shoot A Quality Music Video on a Budget

shoot a music video

You recorded a new track and it’s ready to go. Now you’re thinking “what’s next?” Well, the next logical step is to shoot a music video. But, Videographers can be pretty expensive right? Well, there are ways to get around that.

You never want to disrespect anyone’s profession by asking for them to do something for nothing. A Videographer paid for school and spent the time and energy to learn how to shoot quality videos. Don’t ask them to shoot your video for free. It’s kind of rude. There are ways to shoot a music video on a budget.

Check out this list of tips:

First, where are you going to find a Videographer?

There are a few different ways that you can find a good Videographer. Of course, the best route is to Google “Videographer near me” and see what comes up. You can also check out Facebook groups. I would check out the videos that other Rappers are posting and ask them about their Videographer. Ask them how the process of shooting the video went and what kind of fees they were charged.

Once you find someone to shoot your video, you’re going to want to make sure that you ask them for some references and samples of their work. You don’t want to pay someone to shoot your video, only to find out that they weren’t honest about their capabilities.

How to Negotiate with the Videographer to shoot your music video

Just like you, the Videographer is likely looking for a way to make some extra cash. Most of us are these days. You can probably negotiate a fair fee that works for both of you.

By the way, if you’re interested I just published an article about the five top paying side hustles for Indie Rappers. Check it out here.

When you approach the Videographer about shooting your video, after you have checked out their references and samples, ask them about their fee. Do they charge hourly or are they asking for a set price for the project?

If they are looking to get paid hourly, you need to make sure that you are really ready to shoot the video and that you can maximize your time to get the most out of your money. If they’re charging a set price, you will have more time to discuss the shoot and get creative.

Talking Money

Don’t be cocky when you start negotiating price. That’s most likely going to turn them off and you won’t be working with them at all. Be sure that you have done your research about what a reasonable set price and hourly price are ahead of time. A simple Google search will help you to determine average prices.

Now, be honest. Let them know that you’re working on a budget, but you’re impressed by their work and you would like to work with them. Offer them a lower fee, but be reasonable. If you have a realistic number in mind, you’re more likely to get a “Yes” out of them. If that doesn’t work…

Try Bartering with them

You’re a Rapper. We know that. But, what else are you good at? How are your promotion skills? Do you have a day job that might benefit them in some way? Do you have equipment that they could use? Be creative and work out a deal with them to give them some money and do something for them that will make up for the rest.

What if these Tactics don’t Work?

Well, you tried to negotiate and you tried to barter and they wouldn’t budge on their fee. It happens. You can try to find another one the same way that you found that one and start the process over, or you can find a Film student that will do the job for much cheaper than a professional Videographer would do it.

How do You Find a Film Student?

Back to the Facebook groups. Join groups for film students and check out the posts in the groups. Find someone that posts videos that fit your aesthetic and your creative views. Then, approach them with your idea and see what they say about a fee. A student should not charge professional prices. So, you’re most likely going to be able to work out a deal with them.

Again, be sure to check their references and watch their samples. You want your music video to be professional and represent your creative vision.

What if You Can’t afford to Pay Someone to Shoot Your Music Video?

Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to shoot your own music video and have it turn out great! When I was just starting out writing Nevernaire Blog, I shot a music video for a Rapper named Black Rasa in Jupiter, Florida. I used my phone camera and we went to an abandoned building and shot the entire video that way. And it came out great! I’m not a Videographer and a phone camera is not ideal, but if you are creative and smart about it, you can definitely do it.

The Right Equipment to Shoot Your Music Video

As I said, a phone camera is really not the ideal way to shoot a quality music video. You might not be able to afford a Videographer fee, but I bet that you can afford this camcorder. It’s on sale on Amazon for $74.99 with an extra 5% off coupon! And it is super nice.

music video

You’re going to need more than a camcorder though, you’re also going to need to buy a tripod. This Kingjoy tripod is on sale for $32.99 on Amazon.

Now that you have your tripod and camcorder, you’re going to need a location (or several) and at least one friend that will help you out. You can do this on your own, but a friend will help get your creative juices flowing and they can do the actual recording for you.

Video Ideas

You’re shooting a rap video. How can you make it look lux on a budget? My first idea is, rent a really nice car. You can rent a car for less than $100 for the day if you look in the right place (Avis) or, try the Turo app. If you’re lucky, you’re in an area that has a lot to choose from on the app and some of those cars are really dope! It’s also much cheaper than renting from a company like Avis.

Now that you have your equipment and your fancy car, what about some girls? Don’t know any hot chicks to put in your music video? Go back to Facebook groups and find some! Post in the groups that you’re shooting a video for your latest track and trust me, the girls will come.

Location Ideas for Your Music Video

Now, throw your equipment, your friend and the girls in the fancy car and drive to your first location. Are you having a hard time thinking up ideas for locations? Here are a few:

  • Abandoned buildings (somewhat risky, but quiet and secluded)
  • The Beach (always a great idea)
  • A park
  • Your house, your friends house, one of the chick’s houses (who has the nicest house?)
  • Rent a recording studio for a couple hours
  • A parking lot (shoot the whole video in, on and around the car)
  • Use a greenscreen and record in your house
  • Use footage from a live performance
Record at the beach AND use a greenscreen!

Wrapping it up

Alright, you’ve honed your negotiation skills. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t. But, you tried. Give yourself a pat on the back! Whether you found a Videographer to record your music video, or you decided you’re going to do it on your own, you now have some great ideas for equipment and location. Go give it a try! When it’s all set and ready to publish, email it to me at and let me know that you read this article. I’ll check it out and maybe I’ll publish it on the blog.



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