How Videomaking Improves Photography

Being a newcomer to the “vlogging” and filmmaking scene, you have to start somewhere.

Having no prior “formal” education with video production, my only experiences are of an AV club in elementary school and an afterschool video club in high school.

Yet neither really dealt with nature or the outdoors, or vlogging or talking or jump cuts or b-roll or..

You get the point, I was started from ground zero, point A, from essentially nothing.

So then I looked to streaming videos online of my favorite photographers for inspiration. From there I began eruditely consuming content of the photographic greats.

I had been watching some of them for years and realized how much one can pick up on, extracting those editing details and nuances became the launching pad for this next creative outlet in my visual medium.

After mulling over the idea for a couple of months, I started a YouTube channel on New Years Eve of 2018, to be a tad bit cliche (and mildy OCD) this became a new year resolution. Unsure of my total commitment to it would satisfy.

I waited a couple more weeks before committing to putting something out there. See it below.

The very first video I uploaded, a simple slideshow set to music with images from the previous year.

The (real) first video of me in front of the camera was taken a local park I walked to during the peak of winter. Cold and unsure of myself, I simply wanted to film a few bits talking in brief of my background and what I wanted to accomplish with the channel. The camera propped on a tripod and no script in sight, I fumbled over my speech a dozen times before leaving at dark feeling unaccomplished. Almost ready to throw in the towel before I began..

I was reluctant to see myself talk again, so I waited a solid two weeks before even touching that video footage, however this became an important lesson in persevering.

This first step became a lesson in embarrassment, which in turn is a reflection of fear: the fear of being judged. Anytime you put a piece of art out there, there is the agonizing sting of rejection (or even compliments) that await from friends and peers. Yet the main takeaway is that the embarrassment is a sign of growth, it’s humbling! Pursuing a new creative avenue that I never sought to delve into.

If you asked me even a year ago if I wanted to stand in front of the camera rather than stay behind it, I would’ve laughed at you. Yet here I am, making short scripts, planning out visits and having the video workflow move seamlessly with the phototaking and post-processing. At the time of this writing, I am only six months in!

You can't just go waist deep, you have to go over your neck.

So one could say I am creating these videos to push my limits (both creatively and personally) and overcome my fears. A little dramatic to say but it is with sincerity. From shooting on location to editing at home, these projects can be massively exhausting. Pushing through all these uncomfortable feelings towards the the goal at the end. The results are worth it when you and others can enjoy the production.

To see the (fairly mediocre) intro video, look no further.

Six months (and counting) later, I am much more confident when explaining things and talking to the camera, almost to the point that it comes naturally. A monotone inflection is tossed aside when speaking excitedly about the incoming sunset or a potential bird photo. Speak even if your voice shakes!

Besides all this expository rambling, why am I telling you all of this?

Because videomaking gave me the confidence not only in that. but in shooting stills more.

If I could verbalize what I am seeing, then I should be more likely to correctly expose it on a camera, no?

The feeling of recording yourself talking about the subjects helps in slowing down and creating more of a story.

And photographs are about the story after all.

I shoot more with a purpose, as I want to share what I am feeling in that moment to the viewer. If I’m just on burst mode with no rhyme or reason then the photo feels empty.

Another question: Just at what point does a photographer become more of a videographer?

What about a YouTuber?

For me, the photos are always first and foremost as the main focus. Any supplemental footage (called B-roll by filmmakers) is secondary to “the shot.”

Let’s not forget to mention the editing that goes along with the visual creation, this can seriously take up valuable time spent on editing photos and, well, going out with the camera.

As a “one-man army,” all the shooting and editing is down on my own too. We must eventually strike a balance between video and stills, both when in the field and when processing it on the computer.

Obviously YouTube in particular is not a moneypot for most videographers, making only a handful of dollars in ad revenue per month. I view it less as another stream of income, but rather another tool and platform to share my work. This visual format gave me a voice.

Some photographers would argue that a video medium is essential in this day and age to market your work. To some extent I would agree

If you’re still with me up to this point, here are some playlists with which I have made video content. And of course, feel free to subscribe for future uploads. Thanks!

Start from the beginning to see my progression and skills improve, or watch them in whatever order you please.
Editing photos at the home office.
Strictly B-roll footage interwoven over nature scenes, sometimes with music.

Do you believe photographers should dive into video production on top of their regular photos?

Do you have a YouTube channel? Share it with us in the comments.

Good luck shooting (or filming.)

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