Are You a DP or a Hybrid? – What’s the Difference?

I’m searching for “the word” the “title” of what I am these days.  I’m a photographer.  I also shoot video but I hate the word “videographer” because it sounds a bit cheap to me or at least dated. I generally think to myself that I’m a “visionographer” but I tend to “title” myself as a “media producer”. With all the talk recently about getting into video, I feel the need to make a distinction between being a shooter or a DP as opposed to a producer.

There is nothing new about still photographers moving forward in their careers and segwaying into commercial motion work.  Traditionally they take on the role of the DP (Director of Photography).  Many times they don’t man the camera but direct the shooter instead.  Generally speaking they work in large crews and with agencies.  The biggest distinction is that most times it’s a “work for hire” situation because the production company owns the finished product.

With the explosion of video and in particular web video, come new buyers for this medium.  Buyers from the corporate world as well as institutions and even ad agencies that may have been historically just “print”.  With the advancement of technology and being able to deliver a high end product because of it – leaner and meaner small production companies have come along.  When you have a shooter using the RED and able to deliver not only the motion part of the job but able to pull stills from the shoot, once again still photographers feel threatened.

When I got started in video, I made a conscious decision to take on the producer’s role.  I could choose to shoot or edit or I could delegate these roles to outside contractors.  I could also form partnerships that were fluid as the needs may be.  But more importantly, I maintained ownership of the final product – which was what I was used to coming from my still photographer background.

Still photographers are essentially producers anyway so it’s not such a mental leap.  So when your client comes to you and asks you if you shoot video (and you don’t) think before you answer that with a NO answer.  It may be better to form some partnerships with people who do and not only keep the money in house – but not send your client off to someone who does.


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