[by Jay Kinghorn]
If you’re thinking about adding video to the services you offer clients, be sure to give the subject some deep thought before jumping in with both feet. Here are three concepts you may want to think through before you start marketing your video services.
How are you different?
There are thousands of talented and capable video professionals in the country today, many facing the same tough economic landscape as photographers. While I believe there is ample opportunity for photographers to successfully add video capture and production to their still photography business, you’ll want to make sure you’re offering services that play to your strengths and offer something different from the other video production firms already in the marketplace. Whether through your shooting style, workflow process, additional services (CGI, motion graphics), personality or vision you’ll need a distinctive set of services to attract, and retain, clients.
Draw up a budget
There are no two ways about it; video hardware and software tools are expensive. Photographers may initially be drawn to shooting video because photographers can shoot HD video with their dSLR. No doubt, this is a fantastic technological development, but to get a true sense of what you need to charge to shoot video profitably, you must look at all the equipment necessary to complete the type of video job you wish to shoot.
Don’t overlook the costs of audio equipment, tripods, fluid heads, professional editing and post-processing software and lighting. These add up quickly and can eat into job profitability. Be sure to budget effectively to purchase, or rent, the equipment you need to shoot and deliver a professional product.
How much time will a project take?
This is one of the more difficult video-related questions to answer accurately, and one that often takes multiple rounds of trial and error. To estimate a job accurately, you’ll need to know how much of your time and resources will be required to complete the job successfully. Most photographers will find the post-production work for a video project takes significantly longer than a still project. It helps to go through the full workflow on a couple of test projects to get a sense of how much labor goes into the production of a video project. Be sure to track your time and leave allowances for client review and additional iterations.
For me, I’ve found the world of digital video to be both creatively and financially rewarding and I’ve spoken with several other photographers/filmmakers who feel the same way. Yet, this transition is not without it’s challenges. Taking time to plan can be the deciding factor between video success and failure.