Our photography makes our clients emotional, right? When they see images of their beloved pets, it’s not uncommon for our clients to get a little choked up, if we’ve done our job right.
If you aren’t already doing so, take your photography to the next level with a slideshow and then leap up to the next one with video. Live action brings more emotion.
Even though I produce and edit video as part of my freelance work, I’m here to tell you it isn’t that difficult to add snippets of video that will really make an impact on your presentations.
First of all, I am a huge proponent of in-person sales presentations. When one of my clients took every image off of my online gallery, I decided to shut that door for good. Now I set an appointment to show my beautiful images of the owners’ beautiful pets at their homes.
And those images are first presented in a slideshow – with video and with music, often called “fusion.” But it’s a photo shoot, how do I get video? Well, first of all, you have to remember to get video and that’s not always easy to remember when you’re shooting fast and furiously.
Even though my Canon 5d Mark III and II both shoot video, I don’t use them to shoot video and here’s why. You have to change the settings! While that may be easy for a lot of people, it’s hard for me to get in the mindset of shooting fast action photography to switch over to video.
Yes, I could switch it fast by using custom settings but they don’t get me all of the way there. With DSLR video, I generally shoot 24 frames per second (fps) at 1/50 and whatever f-stop I that will give me the look I want. You still have to fiddle with those settings. Video isn’t an automatic process.
And then there is stabilizing it. I shoot pet photography without a tripod, usually, so I don’t have a stabilizer for video (though in a pinch, your neck strap pulled taut will greatly steady DSLR video footage).
My trick is to use my iPhone! I bought an iPhone 5s specifically because it shoots slow-motion video at 120 fps (and the iPhone 6 shoots even slower at 240 fps). You would be surprised how steady you can hold your iPhone to capture slow motion.
And the footage looks great! I recently purchased an iPro lens system that attaches to an included iPhone case and it gives me new options… telephoto, macro, and super-wide angle. Now I just have to whip out my camera and take video footage with my phone (and you can do a lot with Android as well so you don’t have to own an Apple product).
When you download your footage, it will be in slow motion if you shot it at a slow-motion setting. Here’s the great thing about slow-motion footage. You don’t need a lot of it! Footage shot at 120 fps is about four times slower than normal speed. So say you shoot a minute here, a minute there. One minute of video is actually four minutes. Are you going to show all four minutes? Of course not, you’re barely going to show 5 to 10 seconds snippets of slow-motion footage at a time. So you’re going to have a lot of video to choose from.
Now in this article, I can’t really tell you how to edit video but you can edit video in iMovie, Photoshop, Lightroom, PremierePro, and my own favorite editing system, Final Cut Pro X among many others. You can also add it to Animoto and I use a slideshow program called Fantashow (dumb name, you don’t need to tell me).
The life you add to your already beautiful images is enhanced by the video.
I believe all artists should be paid for their work and musicians are no exception so I license all the music I use in slideshows. Yes, music can be costly, watch for sales! I have a lot of music but a lot of music can be used more than once. There are many sites that offer free music. (Side note from Nicole: Animoto Pro now offers a great selection of complimentary properly licensed music from Triple Scoop Music that you can use for any of your Animoto videos!)
My personal favorite places to license music are from The Music Bed, Song Freedom (fairly recent popular music at a decent price), Triple Scoop Music and Premium Beat.
Here’s an added bonus – my go-to pet playlist and where I got the music and what I use it for.
Happy Music (General Slideshows)
“Brighter than the Sun,” Colbie Caillat – Song Freedom.
“I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz – Song Freedom
“Counting on You,” Mikey Wax – Song Freedom
“Happy as the Sun,” Tyrone Wells – Song Freedom
“Beating My Heart,” Jon McLauglin – Song Freedom
“California,” Mindy Gledhill – Triple Scoop
“Just You,” Amy Stroup – The Music Bed (good for sunset images)
“Run Run,” The Rival – The Music Bed (good for dogs in action!)
Dogs with a Little Attitude (and funny with puppies or kitties)
“Love Bomb,” DizzyX – Triple Scoop
“I Should,” Phontaine – Song Freedom
“Goddess,” Super Estela – Triple Scoop
“Good Life (Clean Edit),” One Republic – Song Freedom
“Secrets,” One Republic – Song Freedom
“This Love,” Tyrone Wells – Song Freedom
“All We Are,” One Republic — Song Freedom
“All About Your Heart,” Mindy Gledhill – Triple Scoop
Terminally Ill Pets (caution: these will bring on the waterworks)
“Lovely Day, “Kathryn Ostenberg – Song Freedom
“Hero,” Rose Ranger – Triple Scoop
OK, finally, why go to the trouble? Your clients will love you. You will stand out and you will make a memorable difference. And, not to be crass… you can make money at it, too. Decide on a price and if a client wants to buy your video-enhanced slideshow (and your music is licensed), let them! If my clients hit a certain price point, I create a mobile app with selected images and then add a link to the video. These things get looked at and shared, trust me.
Most of all, once they’ve seen your beautiful work, it will make your sales process that much easier. I am not a pushy salesperson. But I do let my work speak for itself with my slideshow and the excellent products I offer. Adding video to my photography slideshows just makes a lot of people happy, including myself.
Diana Lundin is the owner of Modern Pet Portraiture in Los Angeles. She has been a photographer since high school many moons ago and has been shooting video professionally since 2011. She was just voted Los Angeles Pet Photographer of 2014 by the Los Angeles Hot List.