Top 5 Mistakes Photographers Make Moving From Stills to Motion

1.    Give it away – One of the best opportunities that still photographers have when expanding their businesses with video is to offer their new services to their existing clients.  I hear from so many still photographers who squash this opportunity from the start by throwing in the video clips for free  because they are still learning.  First of all, I’m not a fan of learning on the job, but more importantly if you give your new skills away because you’re still learning, then the question is “At what point will you be good enough or have learned enough to charge for it?” Who decides that you or your client?
2.    Audio is an afterthought – Capturing good audio is more important than making a great  image.  If a viewer cannot understand the dialog, they will walk away.  Don’t make audio an afterthought.  Hire a good sound person.
3.    Position themselves as “just” a shooter – If you position yourself as just a camera person, then you will not only lose a lot of creative control, but you will leave money on the table by not making a profit on the other aspects of a video production.  I position myself as a producer.  That’s not to say that I don’t also shoot a job, but I oversee the entire production and charge accordingly for pulling together all the pieces.
4.    Don’t collaborate  – Get over the one man band, solo creature model and surround yourself with a crew of experts that will make you look good.  Build a team of editors, sound mixers, motion graphics artists etc.
5.    Forget about the story – Every good product, including commercial videos have a great story.  You can have the best production values in the world, but if you don’t tell a good story, it will not resonate with your audience or your client.

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5 Replies to “Top 5 Mistakes Photographers Make Moving From Stills to Motion”

  1. Dear Gail.

    Your comment about leaving money on the table bu undercutting-while-learning is by far the biggest business mistake, as not caring about sound before shooting is by far the biggest technical mistake in this rather new field for photographers.

    I have been branding myself as ” Creative Producer” for years now, as to make a clear indication about my involvement in both the Production aspects as well as the Creative issues in every project I get involved in. It applies the same for both Photography and Video.

    For some reason, I have found that many people like the One-Stop-Shop approach to get all the conceptual/creative/production processes in one place, so this branding also brings added/perceived value to the mix.

    Best wishes


  2. These should be carved as Commandments in stone and delivered by the God Luminous to every photographer smart enough to know which button to push. Thanks for the great posting. I hope they will be widely shared and internalized throughout the photo universe.

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