The Value Of Behind The Scenes Videos

- - Getting Hired

Heather Morton Art buyer blog seems to be in full swing again and she’s talking about Behind-the-Scenes-Videos today (here). Basically an Art Buyer was asking the rest of the art buyer group if they all liked it when photographers had behind the scenes videos and they all were enthusiastically endorsing them as a great way to gain a little insight into the personality of the photographer and how they behave on set. It seems like we’ve come a long way in this regard because I remember sitting on a panel in San Francisco, not long after I quit photo editing, endorsing all the great tools available to photographers and talking about all the other parts of a website that I used to check out when making a hiring decision and next to me was the photo editor from a locally based National Magazine who not only didn’t look at photographers websites but didn’t read any marketing emails. On the other side of me was a locally based Art Buyer for a National Advertising Company who regarded anything but the portfolio section of the website as a complete waste of time. Needless to say that was a huge reality check for me as I realize many people don’t view the web with as much enthusiasm as I do. It’s good to see thats changed a bit.

Now, I’m sure there’s a group of you who will see this as a sign the apocalypse has arrived, but I do think there are tasteful ways to do behind the scenes videos and subtly suggest you have the skills and temperament to handle big productions. Just don’t be the person who’s better on camera than behind the camera.

Of course it’s always better if your client makes the video:

There Are 34 Comments On This Article.

  1. Personally I think a behind the scenes video would be a great marketing tool. It’s another way to give a client insight into who you are.

    BUT, it has to be well done and professionally edited (hint: professional still photographers are not by default professional videographers). I think it’s something you need to budget for as part of a promotional marketing campaign and plan to spend money doing it. You don’t want to just set up a video camera on a tripod and record your shoot and capture yourself spilling coffee on your shoes. Also, you probably want to make sure the client who’s shoot you are recording is okay with you using it as part of a promotional video. Most probably won’t object, but no one likes to be blind sided.

  2. Rob – of one thing you can be sure, ok … more than one so here are two:

    – everyone has a different perspective and they often vary widely or there would be no need for multiple points of contact.

    – it takes time for some folks to open up to new things. You have proved yourself to be an early adopter. That’s not true for the vast majority.

  3. Thank goodness that someone recognizes that still shots do not a video make! Mind you, if the shoot is artistically framed, as in the old school of film-making, then having the eye for the ‘still’ as well as a sense for ‘motion’ will harvest an excellent tool for the professional photographer. I shoot videos for professional resumes. I might add, however, that the current trend of combining very fast paced editing with multi-media does more to conceal than reveal the personality of the photographer. If the video resume is to convey the personality, style, and method of the shooter, then it needs to portray, not overshadowed with superficial effects and highly charged music. When a video resume is developed it ought to be something that lets you in on the process of the photographer, not the videographer or their editing style.
    Petrushka Pavlovich http://factandfable.com

  4. Would love to see a post someday on your favorite behind the scenes videos … top 10 maybe … that means you have to watch a ton of them, though :)

  5. Jesus!

    This industry treats us like s*** and yet we jump through more hoops.

    “Oh hi Mr Plumber, yeah thanks for the quote that’s great but do you have some video of you actually installing the bathroom? Why? Well I need to see if you grout without singing or swearing too much and what your tea intake is”.

    By all means do a BTS video for promotion and marketing but for that to be turned into a f***** audition it beggars belief. What other industry (aside form acting) has a “lets see what he’s like in the real world” video submission attached to it?

    At the end of the day its the final image that counts. Countless excellent and innovative photographers are known to be complete assholes on set. Do we now have to give a squeaky-clean impression to even get our foot in the door?

    Final thought, how about one one the Art Buyer/ CD/ ADs site that shows whether they’re a total control-obsessed creatively challenged braindead moron on set huh?

    Works both ways.

    • @Arty Farty, intersting comments. You seem to be very combative and progress towards new ways disturbs you comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong, some changes are well thought out and others are as hair brained as they can get.

      I never thought I would buy a digital format camera to do my work, however the cost of film, pushed me in that direction. I have more opportuntiy in creative experiments to get what I want and the cost isn’t phohibitive.

      I also see that you don’t reveal you true self and hide behind the anomity of just a name with bold words.

      There is some truth in what you say, but progress is progress how do we impact it and guide it or do we just talk about it and watch it pass us by.

    • @Arty Farty, No you don’t have to do a thing arty farty. No one asked you to do this one more thing to get you foot in the door. I hire photographers daily, I have little say in what they put up as their marketing tools. All the AB’s I know are in the same boat. We have asked you to do nothing, arty farty. If you cared to look outside your dark little world of redundant (and frankly, tired) cynicism this has been happening for some time now. Many photographers have been putting up behind the scene shots on their sites for ages, well before the blog was around. Have you looked at many of these vids before? Most do not show a squeeky clean attitude. They show real life shooters on set working. Fucking heaven forbid they are actually having fun! Here is a final thought for you: Why not post on your site your thoughts on the people who hire you? A good 30 second clip on the brain challenged morons should have them begging to use you.

      Shucks. You want to remain anonymous. I get it.

    • @Arty Farty,

      ‘What other industry (aside form acting) has a “lets see what he’s like in the real world” video submission attached to it?’

      Um, how about politics?

      • @A Photo Editor, I’m only a humungous a-hole on alternate weeks… so I’d best time the video carefully. Now where did I but that Super 8 cam…? :)

  6. Its OK guys!… becos i’m SURE art buyers, creative directors, make-up and wardrobe people, the photographer’s assistants and anyone else on the set will ALSO have to prove they’re fine to work with by submitting their videos!

  7. I find it interesting after watching this behind the scense video that tells about the actors, series story line, nice to know stuff, gives you some insight into their personalities.

    So I reread the article several tims inconjuction with the video, and I don’t get the video. If the vidoe is supposed to be a behind the scenes of the photo shoot thats all great and dandy. I really didn’t see how it highlighted the photogrpher, his personality, skills, etc. it was about the show House. I get that. The main character talks about the ideas he hasd to shoot great! They all had insights into what what was being shot, but hey if this is supposed to be highlighting the photog, is hows him shooting but not how he totally interacts with those he shooting.

    Peronslaly if you want to know about a photog, isn’t a third party day in the life better, I don’t know. I think people try to be more than they really are, just be you. It comes out in the work anyway.

    • @Ed Hamlin,

      I agree with you. This particular example of a video really didn’t do much to promote the photographer. It was more about the cast of House (although anything featuring Olivia Wilde in a skimpy outfit works for me).

      The Peter Belanger MacWorld cover shoot video is probably a better overall example. If Peter could have worked Olivia Wilde into his video, it would have been just about perfect. ;^)

  8. granted the behind the scenes is a great way of getting in front of art buyers but if we were really interested in showing our humour and personality couldn’t we write a little song and comedy routine for them instead . would be slightly less egotistical and cheaper .

  9. first : house rocks.
    second : must be nice that the behind the scenes video for that was produced by the client. nice!
    third :
    i think that behind the scenes videos are great to have , even if 90% of art buyers don’t look at them. that leaves the 10% who does and whatever ‘fans’ of your work who dig them, will be the ones who will direct people to your work and might influence one of those potential art buyers / clients into working with you.

    rocksteady,
    danno~

  10. while i dont know if they help you get work or not, BTS vids, diagrams, etc are awesome for newbs like me who want to find out how a particular shoot was put together. more often than not, however, they are not helpful or interesting.

  11. It’s a great idea, I see that PhotoShelter’s recent survey says PE’s aren’t generally interested in blogs either. But I reckon if a buyer is interested in hiring you from a mailer/website he or she would be more comfortable with some inside info such as a blog or behind the scenes look at the artist at work. They obviously scan 99% of websites in a matter of moments, however they probably spend much more time on a site that they are considering spending some serious cash on.

  12. Personally, I enjoy watching behind the scenes videos that aren’t very polished. Assistants with handy cams and the like. Especially when the finished (still) product is super slick. I think the whole point of a BTS video is to offer the viewer a more intimate look behind the curtain, not to somehow pretend that production is all sexy all the time.

    This particular video is more for network than it is for the photographer, however. You wouldn’t expect less.

  13. The behind-the-scenes is very much related to reality TV. One way to look at this is that the standardized channels became too rigid to portray the information that people are seeking, and so a semi-raw video appeals more.

    On the web, this is combines with the fact that the medium has not yet stabilized enough for people to weigh the importance of the building blocks. And so again raw material provides a potentially more reliable input.

    (btw, some really surprising comments today… )

  14. Don’t know if you noticed, but this morning the Art Buyer went on a little rant. It seems she felt she was taken too literally.

    Here’s my take. Behind the scenes vids are cool – when you’re looking at the work of a seasoned shooter. They offer insight and learning to those coming up on lighting, set up etc. On the other hand, some kid with his first camera and no studio just trying his hardest to get one good shot to impress the bloody art buyer is probably not the video that art buyer wants to see.

    Word to those who purport to be wiser than the rest of us, please realize your words have weight. If you really feel that having a great body of work is what counts, focus on that – not flash in the pan background videos that make less seasoned shooters feel like they have to jump another hurdle to get attention from you that they already are not getting.

    Think before you blog people or at least use a disclaimer to explain that you don’t expect every shooter to send you site links with video sections attached. Get back to the reality please. Great work.

    • @joel, point well taken- my blog could use more of a focus on good imagery, lets try and work on this.

      But many of my readers are junior and for the most part (not in all cases) these tools:
      1. Interest them
      2. Come naturally to them
      I think these shooters need to know how these tools can help them (the original BTS question) and how they can harm them (my rant of this morning).

      Again, bottom line is great work. I don’t expect every shooter to send me links to videos. I would never hold it against a shooter if she doesn’t have a blog or a BTS section or isn’t my friend on FB. If that shooter has a fantastic body of work, and I know about it (some promotion is necessary), nothing else matters.

  15. Don't know if you noticed, but this morning the Art Buyer went on a little rant. It seems she felt she was taken too literally.

    Here's my take. Behind the scenes vids are cool – when you're looking at the work of a seasoned shooter. They offer insight and learning to those coming up on lighting, set up etc. On the other hand, skme kid with his first camera and no studio just trying his hardest to get one good shot to impress the bloody art buyer is probably not the video that art buyer wants to see.

    Word to those who purport to be woser than the rest of us, please realize your words have weight. If you really feel that having a great body of work is what counts, focus on that – not flash in the pan background videos that make less seasoned shooters feel like they have to jump another hurdle to get attention from you that they already are not getting.

    Think before you blog people or at least use a disclaimer to explain that you don't expect every shooter to send you site links with video sections attached. Get back to the reality please. Great work.;

  16. Love the post.

    I think they should a bit of personality and working style. I may not get first time clients because of either of those factors but I get tons of repeat clients because of that and the photography. I think personality has and always will be a part of the business. This just gives them a taste of that before they work with you.

    Some of our behind the scenes: http://www.jasonlindsey.com/movie.html

  17. “photo editor from a locally based National Magazine who not only didn’t look at photographers websites but didn’t read any marketing emails”

    Yikes! Sound like a hard person to reach! So they only responded to mailers?

  18. I love making of videos /making of stories.
    In general they are by far more fun to look at and much more entertainment than the outcome (the images).

    And great insight as well. As a photographer I’m always shaking head hoooow many people and hoooow much mega equipment it ‘needs’ to catch a lil pic.

    I wonder how Edward S. Curtis did it … or Dorothea Lange …

    Maybe one of the reasons why theirs are icons and the others are just ads ? :-)

    Cheers, Reini