This may seem a bit strange to you at first. Why would we need to talk about photography if you’re interested in making a video? True, they are two different formats: one still, one moving. But coordinated properly, they can mesh together to give you a much better final product, and to give you more options for getting out your message than you may have initially considered.

First, let’s look at the focus of your video.

Are you offering a product that relies on visual appeal? This can cover a wide range: savory hors d’oeuvres from your catering company, stunning new dresses from your burgeoning fashion house, elegant handmade jewelry from your boutique, or gorgeous houses in the most sought-after part of town that have been listed with your real estate firm. Including a series of professional photos in your video can allow you to highlight them perfectly, using just the right backdrop, composition and lighting techniques to make them shine.

The photos won’t just be useful for the video. You can use them in any number of supplemental ways including social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest (we can help you set up those accounts and devise campaigns for them)  You can repurpose the photos for print ads, your website(s), blog posts, brochures and mailers. You can have them enlarged and hang them in your place of business to highlight your best successes or to entice customers to inquire further about your products.

We don’t just have to highlight your products in the photos. Let’s consider that the product may be you. Your expertise, your skillset. We can take shots of you at work that you can include in press releases and PR packets. If you’re invited to speak at a conference, the organizers will appreciate having professional photos of you to include in their programs and publicity. If you contribute to the media as an industry expert, most outlets like to have a high-quality photo of you on hand which they can use on websites. Television networks like the pictures so they can make a graphic identifying you if you have to do a phone interview. The same principle applies if you do guest blogs or guest articles for websites or publications. Having your photo as part of your byline helps the readers identify with you. Of course when you write your next book, good photos are a must for the book cover!

During the video shoot, the photographer will be capturing separate still shots as the shoot progresses. These are great if you want to do announcements about your shoot on your blog or website. Nothing says “Action!” like a photograph of you right in the middle of your pitch. The photographer may also want to set aside time to have you do a series of posed shots so you have plenty of variety to choose from when selecting pictures for different projects.

“Wait,” you say. “Can’t you just pull a still picture from the video I’ve commissioned?”

You’re absolutely right. It’s possible to do that. These are known as still shots, although nowadays they are sometimes referred to as screen grabs, which is technically the term for capturing a still image of something displayed on a computer monitor. A good video editor can capture a still shot of you or your product that can be saved as a picture. With the digital equipment now used for shooting and editing video, the quality of a still shot can be fairly good. They can be augmented and refined to a degree by photo editing software, just as any picture.

However, there are certain things to consider before deciding to go with still shots from video instead of professional still photographs. Chief among them is quality. There are different requirements for still photography and video such a lighting and scene composition. Video camera operators and still photographers will each optimize the setting for their particular medium, and the standards are not always interchangeable. A still photographer is focused on capturing a single moment in time, whereas a cinematographer has to juggle multiple dynamic elements.

Here’s an example: suppose you are a realtor and as part of your video, you are including shots of a house you’re representing. It has a marvelous New Orleans-style courtyard complete with a three-tier fountain. The shooter captures the fountain from an angle that allows the viewer to see the sunlight sparking on the falling water. It looks wonderful in motion, but when the editor tries to capture a still shot it’s difficult to get a good frame where there aren’t distracting bits of flare from the sunlight. The interplay of light that looked so good in moving video doesn’t translate well to a still shot.

A photographer would be able to accommodate for the varied lighting situation in a sunny garden, perhaps composing shots so the sun wasn’t glaring on the water while ensuring that the fountain itself was nicely framed against the garden’s red brick wall with blooming jasmine on either side. A video camera operator might be able to capture the same shot, but would perhaps want to do a slow zoom to the fountain to keep the video from looking too static. That would reduce the number of useable frames for still shots.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is quality. When making a video, you’re investing your time, which is valuable in itself, and putting the prestige of your business, your product and your expertise on the line. You deserve a final product that highlights all of these in the best way possible. Adding professional photography to your production package is one of the soundest investments you can make.

Now that we’ve explained the importance of photography in our overall process, you may want to read our posts on makeup, storyboarding and location scouting.


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