Intro by Skip Cohen
Suzette Allen and I have been friends for a lot of years, and I was thinking about everything she teaches in her workshops and her blog, along with all of her images and videos I’ve seen over the years. She’s not a photographer, but the ultimate storyteller. Everything she shares, together with the techniques she teaches are all about helping you tell a better story. And, that’s what your clients are hiring you to do – tell their story.
All of you are looking for ways to make your work stand out from your competitors. You’re looking for new ideas to exceed client expectations and enhance your storytelling skills. Thanks to technology, video is easier than ever to capture, and it’s also never had so much diversity in its purpose, especially with “hybrid” – still images, video clips and great music all put together in one presentation.
In today’s post, Suzette shares a series of easy to remember tips for your client videos, but I want to add one more. While a well-written bio on your “About” page is necessary, a 2-3 minute video of you working with clients, combining your still images with short video clips will be even more effective. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then a video is a match for the complete works of Shakespeare! It’s a chance for you to show your expertise as an artist, and even better, share your heart.
So, whether it’s for marketing or a client, follow Suzette’s advice, and with each event, session or sitting start shooting a few seconds of video. Build up a small library with each client and then take the time to put everything together to tell their story. We’re a word of mouth industry, and nothing helps spread the word faster than customers who love working with you!
By Suzette Allen
Creating a ReelStory or Hybrid video with portraiture does not need to be complicated or difficult. In fact it can be so seamless, you may not even feel like you are doing much extra work! It becomes an extension of the storytelling process when you get into the habit of just doing one short clip with each location or grouping or pose variation. Of course it is easiest with people who are interactive and lively, like families with kids, but couples in love are an easy choice as well, and a great place to get started.
After I position the couple in a location, or pose, and take a few still photos, I roll a few seconds of video while they are still in position, coaching them to interact with each other, usually not looking at the camera. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just looking together in the same direction and leaning together is effective, or laughing together.
Simple interactions like kissing or putting foreheads together work great too. For variety, you can choose the transitions between locations if you are outdoors, too. Simply walking together looking at each other (or something besides the camera) is great.
Using a tripod makes it far easier to get steady video, and it is a good idea to let go of the camera once it starts rolling so it doesn’t shake as you talk, direct or laugh. I also remind couples we are shooting video when they kiss, so it is a short natural kiss instead of a pucker-and-hold one for a still shot. (Awkward!) Also plan on muting the audio with the videos and just add music for mood. (So you don’t have to worry about your booming voice on the videos as you direct your clients).
In the process of shooting your session, you will build a natural story, with a few stills accompanied by supporting video, then a few more, and another video. It is literally a painless process and flows very naturally, even if there are extreme locations, clothing changes and variety in the session.
Trimming the videos to 5-10 seconds (in Lightroom or iMovie) is just about right and then it is a simple job to combine them into a romantic and storytelling video with ProShow Web! Just upload the video trims along with the stills and arrange as needed.
Telling your story is easy with select videos as either supporting material (posed similar to the stills) or transition material (between the sets/background/clothing changes). Just like in shooting stills, you can experiment with shooting angles too – low or high vantage point, wide shot or extreme closeups give great touches of interest and variety. Keep it simple and shoot moving subjects instead of worrying about moving the camera and dealing with gimbals, slides or steady camera gear, too.
The main goal is to start shooting bits of video to give your visual stories a boost and train yourself in a new habit that will become invaluable in the near future! These love stories make great Save the Date videos and can be played at weddings, too. Of course, you can use them to tug on the heartstrings and set the mood when you meet for the portrait sale as well!
Skill building with purpose goes a long way toward insuring your success, so focus on learning new skills that will benefit your future. Video is certainly a vital topic, and ProShow Web makes it so easy to ramp up and even impress clients as you learn!