Adding Motion to your Repertoire: Is it Necessary?

Mara Serdans Posted By Mara Serdans on Jan. 14, 2014 / Comments


One of the discussions that seems to be popping up more these days is whether or not a photographer needs to know how to shoot video. It’s a relevant topic given that we’re creating more share-worthy web content.

So how do you decide and how do you navigate through the territory? If it’s something that you truly enjoy or want to explore, by all means, include it in your repertoire.But if it’s not for you, don’t force it or fake it just to get a job.

Word on the street is that there’s been an uptick in hiring photographers who shoot video. At my agency, we’ve seen a slight increase in requests, however, some jobs require that we keep still photography separate from a video shoot. Sometimes it’s due to a matter of timing. We might have an aggressive shoot schedule that requires a lot of still imagery and we may not have time for the photographer to retouch image and edit videos simultaneously. Other times, an art director may want to hire the director who shot the TV spot for sake of consistency. Knowledge is key as well. We want to work with someone who has experience producing and creating a motion asset. While there are similarities between the mediums, they’re still different animals and when a lot of money is on the line, we need to hire someone who knows the in-and-outs of both.

Knowing how an agency parcels out projects within each team will also help you get ahead. Our agency has a separate broadcast and art production department and if a client is only shooting video for a project, broadcast will more than likely take the assignment. Broadcast producers will also lean towards hiring a director or someone already in that circle as opposed to looking at photographers. A video project may also get fielded to a digital producer. So if you’re looking to branch out and move into shooting video (or directing), make yourself known to those folks. Before you decide to market yourself as someone who shoots video, however, make sure that you have enough strong examples of work to show us.

If all this seems a bit overwhelming, try taking baby steps. Lately I’ve also seen some photographers experimenting with Instagram videos. And no, they’re not shooting cat videos! I recently met with LA photographer Jeff Minton who showed me some new Instagram videos that he created with hopes to spark commercial interest. NY photographer duo Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg have been shooting video for a while but they recently took advantage of what Instagram has to offer by creating some cool 15-second videos for about Paris and NY Fashion Week.

Here are some links to their work:

So how do you feel about this trend? Have you transitioned into shooting more video? Are you trying to incorporate Vine and/or Instagram into your work?

Image credit: Jane Celine for Olivier Pojzman Photography