I’m pleased to welcome Birmingham pet photographer Liz Young with a terrific guest post on incorporating video into your session!   Thank you for sharing Liz!

I’ve recently added video to my client previews and wow has it made a difference. I’m not talking about a purposed 3 minute well-edited polished product, I’m talking about video clips that I insert into my preview slideshows put to music. My clients love this and I have actually sold more than a few of these photo/video fusion pieces with no intent of even doing so.

Here’s how I do it. During a session, particularly an outdoor session, I have in mind several vignettes in which to get different shots with different textures—a stone wall, green grass, a brick walkway—you get the picture and probably do something similar. But at each vignette after I have gotten the images I need, I will set my camera to live view, hold as steady as possible, and roll maybe 10 seconds of video. Usually I’ll say something along the lines of “Awesome – we got it. Now hold it there for a sec and let me do a little bit of video.” I do this as I move through the session so by the end I might have 8-10 videos that I can trim into multiple 3-5 second video clips and upload to Animoto, mixing my still images with these video clips to create the final preview piece.

We all know that adding music to a slideshow of still shots enhances any client’s experience. Music adds emotion and let’s face it, we’re selling on emotion. Adding video bumps that emotion up even more and provides your client with an unexpected and much appreciated surprise—particularly when the session involves a puppy, as puppies grow and change exponentially over a very short span of time.

Here’s an example of a client preview using a combination of still and video in Animoto:

I also like to place a second camera strategically on a ground-level tripod and let it roll on its own to document parts of the session. (You really never know what you are going to get!) I’ve had great fun creating short teaser videos that I upload to my YouTube account and send the link to my clients before they come in for their formal preview session.

Here are 2 recent very short very silly videos where I did just that:

Are these videos perfect? Not even close. Do my clients love them? You bet, and I’m starting to think that this documentary style of video is what folks are used to (think MTV’s Catfish). Maybe one day I’ll learn to do some gorgeous cinematography, but right now just turning any video camera on in order to add motion it to my slideshow previews is already making a difference.

Equipment used: Nikon D4, Nikon D3s, GoPro Hero 3, Gorilla tripod
Software used: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Animoto

If you have questions, feel free to contact Liz at liz@lizyoungphotography.com.
Liz loves nothing better than to talk about dogs and photography!