Practice In Context – Production Diary

MY PLAN

I have chosen to build an advertising campaign for myself, i am focusing my time on newborn photography at present and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to create something that is relevant to my business.

Since opening our studio in July 2016 i have only advertised through leaflets and Facebook, and the next step is to create videos to show prospective clients a little bit more of behind the scenes. Taking your newborn baby to a stranger for photographs can be a daunting thing, it has to be done within the first 2 weeks after birth and i know myself as a Mum in those early days i didn’t even want to put my babies down…never mind let someone i don’t know hold them for hours!

For that reason i want to base my 2 videos around what happens in a newborn session, so clients can see my studio, see how i am with babies and get a glimpse of what they are paying for. I searched the internet for anything similar to what i wanted to do and i found lots of photographers studio videos, but the majority of them seem to focus more on it being a ‘studio tour’ Showing everything from their table of albums to what coffee mugs they use like this one –

Cass Davies Photography

And they are all quite long, between 2 – 5 minutes long, i have to get my message across in a max of 45 seconds so i have to be really strict with my content and make sure it conveys my message.

I would like my Advert Images to show my photography style so i will use a couple of my edited baby images for that.

PLANNING VIDEO PART 1

I arranged for Kamila to help me film my first video, as this was going to be showing me at work i couldn’t film it alone. The other hurdle was finding a client in the time frame that i had that was happy to have their newborn session filmed, i asked several but only one agreed so i was nervous that i would get the right footage first time round.

FILMING VIDEO PART 1

Kamila used her Nikon D750 to film me throughout the arranged newborn shoot, We didn’t set up and lights and just relied on the natural light through the large windows in the studio. Baby Ieuan was adorable and very well behaved which was a relief… some babies just don’t want to sleep but he slept really well so we were able to show him in different styled props throughout the shoot and got some parent shots in at the end as well which i was over the moon about because i had a vision of mum & dad cuddling their baby to end the video.

EDITING VIDEO PART 1

There was a lot of footage to go through, Kamila had filled a 16GB card so it took some time watching back through all of the clips and choosing the right ones. There was a lot of it that i couldn’t use because it was either too out of focus or too shaky, we didn’t want to use a tripod and have very static footage because i wanted it to be more dynamic, up close and personal so handheld was the best option but we would of benefit from using a glidecam or something similar to reduce the camera shake.  I felt like i needed the right music first before i was able to put the clips together in After Effects but i didn’t have it, i spent hours trying to find something that wasn’t copyrighted that i could use but really struggled so i used a piece of piano music just as a base so that i had something to work with until i found something else. I put the footage together so it showed all the different stages of the shoot with some of the final images mixed in with the footage. The music that i used for it in the end was a something my husband put together for me in Cubase, it’s just a piano loop and nothing too distracting from the video, we played around with the melody until we had something that fit quite well and felt emotional when it was played over the video.

The font i used throughout the video is Moon Flower Bold and it is what i use for my business name and i wanted to keep that within the theme running throughout. It looks handwritten so i wanted the first part of the video to start with PERFECT MOMENTS PHOTOGRAPHY looking like someone was writing it on the screen. I didn’t know how to do this so i watched several videos on youtube until i found this one which is the one i followed:

Animated Handwriting In After Effects

It still didn’t look like it was actually being written until i added a handwriting audio that i also found on Youtube and that made it much better. It still needed something else that was related to babies, and i played with different colour text, backgrounds, faded images but everything made it too fussy. And then i came up with the idea to animate one of the letters in time to a baby’s laugh, this was time consuming but it was worth it and i really liked the end result.

PLANNING VIDEO PART 2

I had 2 ideas for this one, i either wanted it to show what happens after the session – clients coming for their viewing appointment / choosing their images / collecting their products / showing how happy they were etc OR show what goes into the preparation before a session, i hand-make outfits & props so there is a very bespoke element to each session and i think that would interest clients.

I wasn’t able to go with my first idea because of when my clients viewing appointments were booked in it didn’t  fit in with when i needed to film so i went with my second idea to show the preparation before a shoot.

FILMING VIDEO PART 2

To film i used my Nikon D750, i set up lots of outfits, accessories & props in the studio and i filmed them all really close up. I wanted to show how how intricate and delicate everything was, lots of planning is involved in creating each piece and this dedication carries throughout from the making of each item right through to the final edited images.

EDITING VIDEO PART 2

When i brought all my footage into After Effects i used the same music as my first video for continuity. I also wanted to keep the beginning the same with the handwritten text but i did change the colour of the font, the baby’s laugh and added another animated letter so that it was a progression from the first video. I wasn’t sure about what text i was going to include throughout the video but when i started putting all the clips in i decided to include some basic information that i always get asked – When can newborn photos be done & why, and people always ask about bringing clothes and props so i wanted to make it clear that i provide all of those. I ended the video with a final edited image of a baby in a prop set up, i thought this brings all the bits that i have just shown them together and it ends in the same way as my first video.

2 IMAGES

I chose one of the images that was taken when we filmed the first video, showing the baby in a nest photographed from above. It’s really natural and the colour tones are the ones i want to associate with my brand so i went with that and after many many hours of writing a strapline (all which went in the bin because they were ridiculously cheesy) . I ended up with:

“It’s the little things in life that make us happy”

“It’s the little things in life that matter”

And i went for “It’s the little things in life that matter” It’s pretty much the moto that i live by, and it really fit this image because from a parents point of view there is nothing more important than their little baby in that nest….

…. and i need to capture that…so you need to bring your babies to me!! I left that bit out but hopefully thats how they will feel after they watch my video 😀

The second image i chose was of a little boy cuddling a teddy, its a close up so i thought this worked well in contrast to the baby in the nest. The messages on my videos are saying that you need to make the most of that time when they are little, and that photos are so important because when we get older our memories fade and we forget which is all quite intense so i wanted something lighter for this image. I whittled it down to:

“His teddy might not last forever….but his photograph will”

“Photographs that last longer than teddies”

I decided on “Photographs that last longer than teddies” purely because it was shorter and quirkier.

CONCLUSION

In the beginning i thought that choosing to advertise what i already do was going to be easier than trying to advertise something i knew nothing about. But i found it harder, i definitely was over thinking every element because if i was going to use it for my business it had to be perfect and i had to be convinced that it would appeal to viewers and attract more clients that like me and my brand.

If i was to do it again i would:

~ Put more thought into the camera equipment & supports to ensure sharper footage with less shake.

~ Wear less distracting trousers!

~ Spend more time on creating the music.

~ Improve my editing in After Effects.