"Trevor, I see that a lot of people are visiting my site, but no one is contacting me for business. What can I do better?" I get this question quite a bit either via email or at the workshops I teach and while there is no magic solution that will work for everyone, I'd love to share what has been the biggest game changer for me in my business.
More often than not the reason potential clients do not hire us for a job is because they have a fear that we will not get the photos they want. This is especially relevant as a wedding photographer. You got one chance to get it right. So the key is helping clients feel comfortable getting to know us on a more personal level. By getting to know us, they will ultimately feel more comfortable hiring us. There are lots of great photographers out there, and some really incredible websites featuring their work, so you need to do something that will make you stand out from the rest and feature who YOU are, not just showcase your photos.
So, this takes us to the title of the article, "The Best Marketing Dollars I Have Ever Spent On My Business." Back in 2011, I hired Kale Fitch Films to create a promo video for me that I inserted into my website. To this day I still get comments about it all the time when meeting potential clients. I have even had bridesmaids at weddings bring it up and mention things from the video such as, "Hey Trevor, I can't believe you have 5 kids! I saw your video." While it would be next to impossible to measure the ROI of the video, I can confidently say that it has been the best dollars I have ever spent on marketing.
Here is my video Kale produced for me back in 2011. I am in need of an updated film which I plan to do later this year by hiring Kale again. I have also shared many more photographer promo videos below.
A video allows your website visitors to really see who you are, a peek into your life. They get to see you in action, working with clients or playing with your family. As they watch the video they get to see the real you, not just a professional photo of you that has been retouched to perfection. When people see the real you they begin to feel more comfortable, their insecurities go away and they can suddenly imagine themselves working with you to capture the photos they want.
In addition a video will help scare away the clients that are not a good fit for you. If they watch your video and think, "Heck no, I'd never want to work with that person." Well then you just saved both of you the frustration of trying to make it work.
Here are a few tips I would suggest you keep in mind when putting your video together.
- Keep it short and sweet. I think a good range to shoot for is 2-4 minutes.
- Share your personality in the video.
- Show yourself working with clients.
- Use the video to really showcase you. Don't just make it a slideshow of your favorite photos.
- Hire a professional. This will be a reflection of you and the quality of work you put out.
- Work with your videographer on ideas or a storyboard ahead of the shoot.
- If you want to showcase more than one client shoot, plan mini-shoots with clients (30 minutes each) and bring a different change of clothes to change into between shoots.
- Be inspired by other videos, but don't copy them. Remember this is a time to really show who you are.
- When possible, choose your music ahead of time with your videographer. Some great sites to license music include The Music Bed and SongFreedom.
- Choose a videographer that has a style you are looking for. Don't pick someone and then try to mold them into what you want.
- In addition to putting your video on your website, make it easily accessible on YouTube or Vimeo.
In the last couple years, making a video has become very popular. There are literally hundreds out there to watch and maybe even get some ideas from. Here are some of my favorites and what I love about each of them.
Jaime Delaine's video is full of fun. Any shoe loving bride will fall head over heels for her. Video done by HelloTomorrow.ca.
Fer Juaristi takes a different approach in his video. It is a wonderful look into his life and beautiful wife and kids. His work is very unique and this video reflects it perfectly. Video by Funky Cinema.
Looking for something a little more spunky. You've got to check out this video of Elizabeth Langford, shot by Christopher Leigh Studios. Elizabeth is a ball of energy and this video shows it!
One of my very favorites is from Brandon Scott Photography. The video was done by Iris and Light. Rather than show Brandon and Jessica shooting or talking about themselves they decided to do a shoot having fun in the Sierra Nevadas. If you are the type of client that loves to camp for instance, you'll immediately relate with these two and will be so stoked to hire and hangout with them on your wedding day.
Brooke Bakken has a video that really shows off what's special in her life. I love the part in it where she talks about her kids and even then quirky line about strangling her husband. It is little things like that which show off the imperfections that we all have and make us so much more easy to relate with. Video by Kale Fitch Films.
Justin and Mary Marantz hired Still Motion to create a wonderful video that uses a great mix of HD video and Super 8 clips of the two of them together. Mary has a wonderful way with words and in this video she is able to interweave the words in with the story which keeps you wanting to watch more.
Jennifer Chaney is a photographer that specializes in shooting family life. She loves shooting the family in their own home in a low key environment capturing the little moments that pass by ever so quickly. Her video is a perfect reflection of exactly what she does so her clients can tell if they are the perfect match. Love this. Filmed and edited by Photographers Reel.
Kale Fitch Films produced this great video of photographer Kacey Luvi. In just 2 minutes it walks you through a senior shoot and does a perfect job showing the amazing experience from start to finish that Kacey gives all her clients.
Here's yet another video that just blew me away. Mike Olbinski hired Imaginale Design to produce this great video showing him with his family, shooting clients and even storm chasing. Seriously love this.
Jeremy Ellsworth took a whole new approach I have never seen. Not only did he put together a great video showing him doing a number of shoots but he wrote the music and lyrics to the song in the video. At about 30 seconds in Jeremy busts into a rap. Love this catchy tune and you can tell Jeremy loves to have fun with his clients. Video by Motivity Films.
Heather Richardson has a video that is very heart felt. I can imagine a bride-to-be watching this and immediately relating to her and the different belief statements she inserts throughout the video. Video by Robert Ingraham.
One video that many people have already seen, but definitely worth mentioning is the incredible promo produced by Hailey Bartholomew to advertise the portrait experience with Sue Bryce. Any woman watching this is able to relate and then wish for the same exact experience that is portrayed in the video. If you haven't see this yet, you must.
It's important to get a great song choice when putting together your video and I believe Julie Wilmes nailed it with this one. The video is upbeat, fun and shows lots of aspects of her shoots and life. Video by Imaginale Design.
Kaitlyn Noel Photography took the approach of sharing the entire client experience from them searching for a photographer, sending an email, meeting Kaitlyn, shooting together and even delivering the images all in just a few minutes. Very innovative and the video does an amazing job showing off her fun personality. She even included some great outtakes in the last minute of the video after the credits. Video by Christopher Leigh Studios.
As a wedding photographer you want to learn about the story of your couple, how they met, what they like to do etc. So what better way to do it then share your story first with them. Amy and Jordan did this perfectly in their video by David Altizer.
I would be remiss not to share any videos done by the person who I believe was one of the innovators of doing photographer promo videos Anton Lorimer. His work is always so clean and professional. Here are a few of my favorites that Anton has done for photographers.
Jim Garner Photography
Even videographers should be stretching themselves outside of just putting up a video of their best work. Check out this incredible promo by Life Stage Films. What a great way to show off their team and create a viral buzz around their brand.
And finally what might be the shortest promo video ever, Dan Dalstra pulls it off in 19 seconds. It is the witty intro into his website. Video by Motivity Films.
So which ones did I leave out. Let me know about some of your favorites that I have missed by leaving a link to them in the comments below.
Your promo video is really great. It makes me want to hire you, and I dont even need a photographer for anything.
Seriously. I agree.
Hahaha, so true. Love it!
I def loved the video. I think it could be cut down at least 2 minutes tho (at least, that's when my ADD started to kick in - personal opinion of course). A little too much of the couples for my tastes. But still very wonderful :)
These are all great concepts. I'm partial to the one I produced for Peter Hurley. http://vimeo.com/49551182
This video is awesome Peter. I love the part at about 50 seconds in when you are talking to the camera and it's beeped out. Hilarious. Definitely well done!
Thank you! Hurley is always fun to be around. That is one of my favorite parts, too.
Peter this is awesome!
A fantastic article! Thanks so much for sharing Jamie's film!
Nice post, something I never really considered. After watching a few of these, what I did realize that if I was a client out to a hire a photographer, I'll be flipping through these like a HR department flipping through resumes. I think 45 seconds - 1m30 seconds would be an ideal length, beyond that point, most of these videos tend to repeat similar shots and ideas. Just like a commercial, audiences get the point fairly quickly. All that being said, great videos. I instantly like all these photographers, haha!
We just posted ours last month, I booked a wedding last night and was told that the video made all the difference.
Mine needs updating (you think yours is old??! you have nothing to worry about!), but I still love it: http://barefoot-memories.com/sitem/ (mobile-friendly version). What I recommend is showing ACTUAL IMAGES resulting from the shooting, like Jennifer Chaney up there. I didn't watch all of them, but hers was the first one I saw that showed the actual results. It's fun & cute to show the people looking at the back of the camera and "ooo-ing and ahhh-ing," but 1) you're showing every potential client that you're going to let them look at the back of your camera all the time (cool, if you're OK with that expectation) and 2) you don't show the actual photography for which they're really hiring you.
Well done Carey. Your video is great. Yeah I think you make a good point in sharing images.
Add this video of photographer Kirk Mastin https://vimeo.com/33919163 and the video is done by Moetic http://moeticweddingfilms.com/
It's one of my favorite.
This was awesome. Thanks Fahad. It is a great film for Kirk to share with his clients so they can understand his choice to shoot film.
honestly... these are soooo cliche. every single one was really no different than the one before. except the last one. the last one was fantastic.
If you had to estimate the cost for any of these videos, what would you guess the photographers paid (assuming there weren't any special deals or bartering of services)?
Ryan, just like photography there is all kinds of ranges. But I'd say for a good video it would be somewhere between $1500-$3000. Maybe some videographers can comment and let us know what they typically charge.
BRILLIANT!! Like BDWT said, short and sweet 2min MAX. This gives the client the opportunity to not only get to know the potential hire, and people simply like watching fun little videos. I'm watching this through the clients eyes, running into the kitchen and grabbing by better half to show them the fun little video of this photographer i want to hire for my wedding. the end.
Awesome-sauce! I couldn't agree more! Capture the Moment Media did a super great job with mine - kept it on brand and my clients LOVE it :) The link in case a look is desired :) https://vimeo.com/64580059
Love it! P.S. You have the coolest logo!!!
what are your thoughts for photographers that service corporate clients for events and headshots? Do you feel a promo video would appeal to this type of client? If so, what would you recommend to be different about the video?
Hey Jason, I absolutely think so. It would depend on the type of corporate clients you want to serve but I'd say just come up with a promo that matches the style of your ideal client. I'd also keep it short, less than 2 minutes. Typically corporate clients have lots going on in their schedule - they don't have a lot of time to sit around and watch a commercial.
A friend of mine, Eric Herrmann shot our promo video. We collaborated on the story boarding and shot different clips of my wife and I doing what we do in our free time around our home, the Central Coast of California. It turned out it pretty cool. http://ericherrmann.com/news/jakenecia-promo-video/
I thought Lee Morris's video was great as well..
Maybe some more sex appeal. https://vimeo.com/43328989 Denise Nicole Photography
I was just working on one of these for myself when I read this! It's really just a sit-down interview, but I tried to keep it interesting (I'm usually really outgoing, but can feel awkward when I'm being filmed...and talking to myself out loud). I'd probably update this again in the future, but I'd appreciate any feedback on this, since it's what I have right now!
Perhaps it's a cultural thing, but this kind of stuff wouldn't fly here in Australia, all of these videos just come across as being massively cheesy.