The ASMP surveys photogs who also shoot motion


By 2012, 90% of Internet content transmitted will be motion video. —ASMP


By now, people in the industry have moved beyond whether photographers need to add video/film to their skill set—the consensus seems to be yes, and the sooner the better—and the conversation has turned to how one should go about it. “Secrets of Video Production for Photographers,” an APA/NY seminar led by Lee White last night in Brooklyn, was standing room only. And the ASMP has just posted a massive video “tutorial,” the culmination of its survey of 14 of its members who are now shooting motion as well as stills.

The interviews in the ASMP’s survey were conducted by Gail Mooney, the chair of the trade group’s Motion/Video Committee, and the responses are organized into six categories: General Observations, Getting Started, Roles, Rights & Licensing, and Technical. There’s a wealth of material there, a tiny sampling of which I’ve posted below.


Is there a steep learning curve?

• New skill set needed for thinking, shooting and telling “the story” with motion and sound.
• Learning how to capture good audio—audio is everything in video
• Huge time investment in learning editing software
• Some skills are transferred over from stills such as lighting and composition

“Whether it’s obvious or not, the paradigm is different — it’s like speaking a slightly different language, even though many of the words sound the same.” —Walt Jones


When producing video, who is involved and what are their roles? [Please note that I’ve excerpted only two of the 15 roles listed.]
Director of photography: This is the person who’s going to be responsible for translating the concept into raw footage, taking care of lighting design, camera equipment selection and pretty much anything else involved with getting usable images captured. They may serve as their own camera operator, or they may simply direct other camera operators to get the style and look they’re after.

Director: The person who will oversee all creative decisions on the project. Ultimately this is someone who will direct the DP, editor and other members of the team as to their vision. The director, when separate from the producer, is generally not responsible for any financial or schedule-related decisions.

Do you market yourself as one “production company” or separately as a still photographer and media producer/videographer?
“I market myself as one company. If you deliver quality photography, then clients will expect quality video from you even though most have no idea how complex it is.” —John Trotto


Where do you think the opportunities for video are?
“I think video has immense potential as the prime building block of visual story-telling, going forward. Most companies are recognizing the value of story-telling as a means of engaging an audience and building a brand reputation. They want the ability to use visuals and audio as a means of connecting their stories with the audience. They found that story development means supplying information, and data, inside a contextual package that is expressed with emotion. The finished product must support a brand promise and connect with the audience’s intellect and emotions. Audiences are demanding stories that help them understand the world and make wise choices on issues that are fundamental in their life.” —Tom Kennedy




  1. Posted 02/12/2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    That stat seems a little extreme to me. And I actually disagree still shooters can’t and shouldn’t try to be everything to everyone at the same time. Many still shooters will be better off not trying to cross over and staying focused on their brands as they already are.

  2. Posted 02/14/2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I agree with you Clark, it’s like everything else, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. For some photographers it makes sense to add video to their repertoire. But for others, it is not a natural progression, and will dilute their ability to produce strong, stand-out work. If it is something you are really interested in doing–great. But if you force yourself into doing that, the work will look like everything else that is forced, and that will work against you.
    I recommend all photographers to think long and hard about what their career goals are, what they really want to be doing, and what they think they’re capable of doing. Jumping on a bandwagon isn’t the thing that will distinguish you in this world.

  3. Posted 02/15/2010 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    In the last year I started offering more ‘video products’. Time-lapse films are becoming a significant part of my business. That all started with a job I did for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority – they had me create a time-lapse of the construction of two wind turbines on Deer Island in Boston Harbor. It’s called SEVEN DAYS IN FOUR MINUTES and it you can see it here:

    I’ve also been shooting some ‘hybrid’ videos for real estate that has a short segment of live video showing the real estate agent with a static shot and then the audio is used as narration for a ‘Ken Burns’ presentation of the still photos of the entire house.

    I don’t see myself doing what most people consider ‘videos’ and the biggest reason is lighting – it’s easy (for me) to use flash for the exact lighting effects that I want, but creating that same look using continuous lighting becomes a nightmare. Now adding sound recording and jobs go from one or two people to half a dozen and a budget balloons by an order of magnitude.

    I love what Vincent LaForet is doing, but these are BIG productions and he’s not recording audio. Audio mixing and adding Foley are art forms all to themselves. So now you’ve gone from being a still photographer to DP to Director, Editor, Sound Editor, Music Editor, Foley Editor, Sound Recordist….

    If one doesn’t take all of those elements into consideration, one becomes a ‘dude with a camcorder’ shooting weddings.

  4. joe
    Posted 02/18/2010 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    this is the stupidest thing i have ever seen. decide: take pictures or make movies… don’t pretend this is some bizarre bridge to cross. act like you’ve been there before. or don’t. “New skill set needed for thinking, shooting and telling ‘the story’ with motion and sound.” are you in 1918? do you want to learn about colored motion pictures? technicolor? if you are figuring this out now, please never make a movie. just shut up and go to bed.

  5. DAN
    Posted 02/18/2010 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    by 2012, 90% of the internet will be clogged by you clowns making time-lapse cloud videos on your DSLRs.

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