Top 5 Business Mistakes Photographers Make With Video

In the last couple of years in the photography world, it seems like everyone is scrambling to learn video.  In particular, still photographers are jumping into this “genre” because their hybrid cameras have the capability of shooting motion.

There are hundreds of seminars teaching the gear, but few point out the differences, when it comes to the “business of video”.

Here’s 5 mistakes I see still photographers make when they leap into motion:

  • 1.  They throw in video as part of the deal and don’t charge for it.  I hear about this a lot.  A client and photographer are on a still shoot and the clients sees that the photographer is shooting with a hybrid camera and asks the photographer to shoot some video clips.  The photographer obliges because he/she can and the money is left on the table.  Remember when still photography went digital and photographers became the labs but didn’t charge for the post-production?
  • 2.  They don’t update and upgrade their insurance policies.  Video production shoots are not covered on most still photographer’s policies.  Be prepared for a jump in what you need to spend on insurance to be adequately covered on video production jobs.
  • 3.  They don’t consider the ramifications when they are working with SAG or AFTRA talent and they are asked to also shoot some video of the talent on the job.  This crosses the line as far as the unions are considered.  While it may be OK for SAG/AFTRA talent to work on a “still” set – when you go into video mode – it’s not OK.
  • 4. They think of themselves as just shooters.  This is typical and is fine in the still photographic world, but in the collaborative world of video production, a shooter is a hired gun with no ownership in the intellectual property.  I like to position myself higher up the ladder as a producer and maintain control over the job and the content.
  • 5.  They look at video as a separate genre.  That’s changing radically as video is no longer a separate niche and genre, but part of almost every photography market from editorial to architecture. Even ad agencies are starting to merge their motion and still departments.

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5 thoughts on “Top 5 Business Mistakes Photographers Make With Video

  1. Steve October 3, 2011 / 7:56 am

    Therefore what are the implications and/or your reaction to #5?

    • Gail Mooney October 3, 2011 / 8:36 am

      I don’t have a crystal ball but I think to be a “photographer” in the very near future – you can either embrace shooting video, work in a collaborative effort with someone who does or look forward to the day when still images are frame grabs from “video” type cameras.

  2. edmcdonald October 3, 2011 / 3:36 pm

    Great post, thanks Gail, for your insights and willingness to share your knowledge in this growing field.

  3. Charles Love October 5, 2011 / 7:49 am

    Thanks Gail for your informative comments on this subject. A couple other questions:

    1) Do you have the new scalar web site offered by Livebooks? Looks like you might.

    2) What wireless labs would you recommend. The two offered at B & H are the Sennheiser EW 112 G3 and the Sony UWP-V1. Have heard good things about both—but maybe you like another variety?

    • Gail Mooney October 7, 2011 / 3:07 pm

      We have the Kelly/Mooney website with livebooks.

      As far as wireless – check out the frequency and range. Get the best range for the buck. Not quite sure as far as the particulars you mention – technology changes too quickly to keep up. I have the Sennheiser G2 series.

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