To steal a line from The Buggles, “Video killed the radio star.” Remember?

Is video killing photography now as well?

While I’m sure video will never take the place of photography, it is becoming more and more prevalent in the industry. Not just from a professional standpoint, but also for those on social media who only want to share their images and work.

From TikTok videos to Instagram Stories and Reels, more and more I’m seeing marketing “gurus” touting how you need to have video, share more video and create more content that way. In one conversation on a social media post, a wedding photographer asked what the best way was to handle the ever-rising requests for videography to be included in their photography packages. 

Attention spans are shorter than ever

It seems like our attention spans are continuing to get shorter and shorter. Do a search for articles on this and you’ll find plenty from reliable sources. So, how do you capture your audience’s attention with so much information being put in front of them every minute of every day? 

Video can help by capturing attention. As long as you are putting content out there that is relevant and interesting to your audience. 

Everyone else is doing it

You know the saying, “if everyone else is …” Fill in your own scenario. I’ve been seeing this an awful lot lately. Just by watching someone’s posts, Instagram Stories and the content they are putting out, I know exactly what website they are using to sell their fine art photography. All of a sudden, these artists (not just photographers) are posting videos showing their studios, how they create their work and sharing stories about their work. 

I’m not saying this is wrong or bad, it’s great and your audience gets to know you as a person beyond your art. But, when it is recognizably the same “program” as others, is it unique enough? 

Is it just a trend?

In a recent Instagram Live, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri shared that video is “driving an immense amount of growth online for all major platforms.” He stated that video will be a key focus area for Instagram over the coming months.

Is video just the next “thing to do?” How you look at using video in your own work, your online presence and for your business is going to be unique to all of us. We are not all doing the same thing with our work. Do you want your work to be noticed more on social media? Are you trying to gain clients for your photography business? Answering these questions will allow you to determine if you really need to follow the crowd. 

I am not interested in learning video

Personally, I forget that my camera even has this capability. That’s how far from my mind learning and using video is. Because of mobile phones, it’s gotten easier and more convenient to create them on the spot. That does help a bit, but you really should still be fairly deliberate about what it is you are putting out there. 

If you are a wedding or event photographer and clients want video included, you’d better be prepared to hire a videographer yourself. Or, learn how and include it as part of what you offer. 

Best practice tips for adding video to your content

If we’re going to jump on the video bandwagon we may as well do it right. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you keep your video content interesting and relevant.

Before you start

  • Have a plan. Figure out what you want to accomplish with your videos. Increase brand awareness? Engage viewers? Increase sales? The goals for your videos should be in sync with your business goals.
  • Do research. Who is your target audience? Who are your competitors? How much will this cost? Can I schedule videos to social channels?
  • Figure out what type of videos you want to create. Educational, behind the scenes, interviews, entertainment or testimonials. Use a mix of these that work best for what your goals are.

Creating your videos

  • Videos should be short. Keep only the most relevant and engaging videos. You can get your message across in 15-20 seconds. If you need more time to tell your story or get your message across, break it down into several shorter videos.
  • Grab their attention right away. You have about eight seconds to stop someone from scrolling right on by your posts. Ask questions, use powerful imagery, quotes or music to make them stop. 
  • Include subtitles if you are speaking. Think worldwide. Including subtitles allows non-native speakers and hearing-challenged people to easily understand your content.
  • Have good lighting. As a photographer, this is a bit of a no-brainer. 
  • Use an external microphone. Make sure your sound is clear.
  • Use a tripod if you can. Unless you’re purposely recreating the “Blair Witch Project,” a nice steady shot is appreciated.
  • Storytelling is just as important in videos as it is in creating images. Use that to get the viewer interested and invested in what you have to say.
  • Repurpose your video content. Use your videos across multiple platforms, your own blog, website and emails.
  • Be yourself. Relax and allow your audience to get to know you. 
  • Use your record screen function. I use this to share new blog posts or content, it’s an easy way to create a short piece.

If you want to learn more about the world of video, check out our video section.