How to Shoot an Effective Photographer Promo

Last December I offered a special rate on our photographer promo services as long as I would be allowed to do something different than the many promos I had done before. One of the photogs that took me up on that deal was Ed Diaz of Diaz Digital Discoveries in Massachusetts. My style tends to be more on the warm fuzzy, “Tito-pass-me-a-tissue” emotional side. That actually works out great for most of our wedding photographer clients because as you know, “when they cry, they buy.”

But Ed gave me an opportunity to do something on the opposite end of the spectrum. A fun, light-hearted promotional video that may make you cry…from laughter. Well, okay. It’s not THAT funny. But, I think it’s a great example of the power of video to express and illustrate the personality of the photographer, and what it’s like to work with him. And judging from the comments Ed has gotten on his Facebook wall regarding the video, I think we nailed it.

GETTING THE GOODS

Three tips on making what I feel is an effective promotional video (for any client):

  1. Questionnaire: I send all my promo video clients a questionnaire via ShootQ that asks them important questions, the answers to which will help me craft a video that will achieve their objectives. Questions about their experience, education, branding, etc. One of my favorite questions is: “If your promo were to play on cable, what channel do you envision it on? Lifetime? HBO? A&E? MTV? Spike?”
  2. In-depth interview: you have to get an in-depth interview with the photographer (or whomever the video client is). The audio from that interview makes up the voice over, and will also give you direction in how to produce the video. It is also how the people watching the promo will get to know who subject is. It still baffles me when I see promo videos that are all music, with absolutely no voice over or commentary from the client.
  3. Get them in action: lastly, you gotta get them in action doing what they do. The more action shots, the better. And don’t be afraid to direct the action at times. By this time you should have the information from both the questionnaire and the interview to determine what kind of shots you need to get in order to visually tell their story.

Obviously, there is much more than just these three things that go into a good promo. Directing style. Production values. Music. Etc. But, for what we do, these three are the key to a successful and effective promo video.

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