Category Archives: Editorial

Five Tips for Shooting with Video Crews

Now days it’s easy to find yourself shooting various projects in conjunction with video production crews. Agencies and companies like to do this because they can shoot both print stills and TV commercials at the same time. This not only allows for a consistent look and feel for the entire campaign, but it typically is cheaper for them to just overlap the two instead of doing two separate shoots. Photographing in these situations can be challenging for photographers. Here are a five tips to get what you need and keep everyone happy on set.

Behind the Scenes Brandon FlintOne of my favorite clients that I shoot for often is almost always in conjunction with a video production crew.  Sometimes that crew is big and sometimes it’s small. I’ve had to learn to adapt to this working environment for shoots. It can definitely become harder to get the shots you need in the amount of time you are given, in these types of shoots. Here are a few things I’ve learned with my shoots when video is on set also.

#1- As the photographer, you most likely aren’t going to have much say in things before the shoot. In my experience, the video production company and the agency is doing all the pre-production, casting, scouting etc.  As the photographer on these types of shoots, you pretty much have to bring the equipment and necessary crew you think you will need and make it happen. Generally you will know where and what types of situations you will be shooting in,  but rarely will you get to scout them out beforehand.

#2- I hate to break it to you, but the video takes precedent over the stills. This can be hard for us photographers because on a normal stills-only shoot, you are the one calling the shots, but that’s not usually the case here. Video takes more time and is more expensive to shoot, so that typically has priority. That doesn’t mean that what you, as the photographer, shoot doesn’t have value or is less important. The client and the agency still expect you to get great shots. It just means that you have less time with more pressure. You will still be able to direct talent, find the best spot to shoot to an extent, and do what you normally would do; but you usually only have about 10-20 min per shot to do it.

Behind the Scenes with Brandon Flint#3- Depending on who the director for the video is, can make your job easier or more difficult. I’ve worked with directors who tried really hard to get me the time I needed to get my shots and others where I’ve felt like I’ve have to fight for every shot, which is hard.  When that happens you still have to get the shots you need, but be respectful and good to work with, even if the director is making it difficult. Try to be flexible and not get irritated, even if things aren’t going exactly how you want. In order to keep everything going smoothly on set you just have to kind-of go with the flow on these types of shoots. I’ve learned getting frustrated doesn’t help at all. You just have to get in there, do the best you can and make things happen. Even if its not the best time of day, you don’t have the time you want, the talent are already tired, etc….

#4- There is going to be a lot of down time for you. Make yourself and your team useful and get shots where you can. Have lighting preset as much as possible. I’ve always tried to get shots in between takes or if they aren’t shooting audio at the same time they are shooting. This just gives the client more options since most of the time they aren’t exactly sure what they want or how they want to use the stills. I’ve found using a telephoto lens and just getting back and out of the way is a great way to pick up extra shots and keep everyone happy.

#5- Lastly, try and piggyback off the video lighting as much as possible. This will save you time and keep a consistent look for the client.  As much as you can, talk to the director and key grip to see when you can use the existing video lighting to shoot with. Most of them time this will work unless video is moving to a new location. In my experience, using what is there already and adding a single strobe with an umbrella or something quick can get great results quickly. I’ve found allowing video to shoot first, then me second, keeps everything on schedule. There are times when you can shoot while video is setting up, just be aware of what will work and won’t work for each set up.

Behind the scenes with Brandon FlintHope that helps and here a just a few side notes. I’ve had to put myself in the shoes of the director and try to be more understanding. Most of the time the production company doesn’t even know that I’m going to be on set shooting until sometimes a few days beforehand. They have planned the shoot out to make sure they can get what they need and then I show up and tell them I need to get shots also, which can make their jobs more difficult. Be mindful of their needs and in most cases they will do the same in return. Keep in contact with the producer. They can let you know what is coming up and what to expect. Work hard and shoot as much as you can and as quickly as you can and the client and the agency will be happy and want to use you again. When done right, shooting stills and video can be a fun, collaborative effort!

Enjoy and, as always, thanks for checking it out!

 

 

Intern’s and Shoot Preparation

This last week I brought on a new intern. His name is Bryan and I think he is going to be really solid. He is a graduate from Weber State and seems to be really knowledgeable and exited to learn. I think he will be a good asset to the team. We’ll have to grab a photo of him next week and get him on here. We had a solid day of orientation on Wed. so this next week he should be rockin.

I was able to get a good chunk of post production done and some images delivered to clients for SelectHealth and Browning. Feedback was good and they seemed to be really happy with the final shots. That is the part of my job I enjoy most. It takes a lot of work to put together and execute shoots well so when you finally get them delivered and the client is happy it is very satisfying.

Next week we have shoots with Utah Business Magazine and Good Housekeeping Magazine coming up. They should both be good shoots. I spent most of yesterday prepping for GH and getting people and locations ready. I’ve decided to, when possible, start implementing more medium format digital work on specific editorial portrait assignments. It think it is going to be great to help push the quality of my work. It isn’t always the right choice but for a solid portrait I don’t think you can go wrong. Just waiting on a few details for the Utah Business Mag shoot and I think we will be ready to go.

Lastly, I had a frustrating experience with bidding on a job this week. I was asked to to put together an estimate for a few corporate portraits and a shot that was going to used in an ad for a national business publication. It was a local company so it’s always hard to feel out what local Utah clients are expecting on price. I put it together based on the info I was given and sent it over explaining that because they wanted to use it in national magazine ad it was going to be a bit more expensive. It felt like it was a very competitive bid. They wrote back saying that they didn’t feel like the fact that it was going to be used in a national ad warranted an increase in the rate and that they were going to find another photographer that we cheaper. Classic right? Haha!

I wrote back and said that I do my best to price things out a fair price that reflects the quality of the work they will be getting and that part of professional photography pricing is based on how an image is going to used, but ultimately I didn’t get the job. It’s easy to start second guessing yourself in these types of situations but I’ve learned that if all a client is looking for a cheap photographer than your better off not getting that job and working with people that value what you do and what you do for them. You can’t fake quality but at the same time you also can’t make people see that quality and investment. Sometimes potential clients, despite your explanations and all your efforts,  just don’t see the value of your work and they don’t want to spend what it takes to get great shots. I understand that price is always a consideration for clients but if they are just looking for “a photographer” or don’t see the value you bring to the table, you probably don’t want that job. I like to work with people that see my work, like my work, see the quality and want to work with me not just “a photographer”. When they are exited, I get exited to work with them and am willing to do what I can to make it happen.

Being a freelance photographer you get some jobs and you don’t get some jobs and that is just how it goings. A friend told me one if you are getting all the jobs you bid on, your not charging enough! I think that is true. I think you just have to learn what you can from these experiences and keep going, never give up and be be faithful that you will get the work.

A parting shot from a recent portfolio shoot. Model: Chris York

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Silver Creek Outfitters-SelectHeath Ad Campaign

Last fall I had the opportunity to do a fun shoot for local healthcare company called SelectHealth. They have a really cool client called Silver Creek Outfitters based in Sun Valley Idaho that is world renowned for its fly fishing services and location. They wanted me to shoot a little editorial style portrait of the business including some actual fly fishing to use in some adverting as a testimonial piece about the quality SelectHealth. The shoot went really well and I wanted to share some of my favorite images. It was a little tricky because I had to shoot stills along side a film crew for a commercial spot. You have to kind of dance around them and still get the shots you need to get for the client, which is always a challenge. The weather was a brisk 20 degrees and I had to throw on some waders to get the shots but it was worth it. Good times!

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50 Year old Olympic Hopeful Jacki Munzel

Last month I got an assignment to photograph 50 year old Olympic hopeful Jacki Munzel for a new AARP feature called life re-imagined.  It is about people that reinvent themselves after getting older. Jacki Munzel is the perfect example. I was asked to get various shots of her warming up, skating and a couple of portraits.

Jacki is a New York native and grew up figure skating. She loved being on the ice but got pulled into other things during life and never perused her passion of skating. Then during the last Olympic games she was talking to her daughter about how she always regretted not using her talent. She felt God had given her a talent and she didn’t us it. Right then speed skating came on the TV. “Her daughter said to her pointing at the screen, why don’t you do that”. She said in that moment she knew that’s what she wanted to do and shortly after that started training. The thing that is really incredible is that she now competes with people half her age and is just as good as they are. I had the opportunity to photograph her while she was training here in Salt Lake City at the Olympic Oval the week before time trials. She didn’t end up making the team but she came real close. She is an inspiration to me and one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. Here are some of my favorite shots.

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