From Photographer to Director

Photographers who want to dabble with video and have some apprehension will learn from this post. While video and photography are not identical, they have great overlap in concepts and it's likely that you know more than you think.

This blog post covers why you should consider video. The YouTube video will go into the unique roles on set, who has more power, and in what order you should get things done!

You Know the Film Set

You've already worked with half of the people on the list (see the video) and have a relationship with them. For example, you have experience guiding the glam of the shoot. You already know how to move the team members in the direction that you need. You've already worked with production assistants, producers, and clients. 

Adding video to your repertoire would not mean a start over for your business. Before I started directing commercials and music videos, I struggled with the concept of adding motion to my work. Then I decided to have a conversation with myself about what it really takes. I only need to add a few more titles to my set and build a relationship with those people. 

After that, I realized that I wasn't about to direct a huge spot overnight. I would likely start with tiny steps and add the crew members based on my levels of comfort. I offered smaller concepts to my clients until I had felt well-versed in my skills. You are allowed to grow, but growth will come when you take your first step. 

This video covers my steps. Another director might change it up a little, and that's fine for them. I can only share my method and since I book jobs, you know it works. You can always adapt and amend to fit your personal style. 

Many Clients Will Agree to Video

It makes sense to agree to video. And when I suggest a video, that could mean a fashion film or a commercial. That could be a highlight reel, documentary, or any other form of motion. Video is the future but the photo is not dead. Just like every other person can call themselves a photographer, you can also move towards video and win. 

Here is why the client will agree to add video on their project:

  • They've already paid for hair, makeup, and wardrobe. They could either create a separate day for video and one for the photo, or they could spend a small amount more and get both. Add video to photography is a smaller cost than starting over on a different day. It makes sense!
  • Many times they assume you only create photographs and video isn't in your wheelhouse. Let them know that it is, and it's something that excites you!
  • Video is growing! They know the value of video and that of photography, which is why they called you in the first place. Many times the client has a bigger budget than they let on. Ask them about video work because you're now providing a solution for their problem. They can ultimately say they want it or pass on it. 

You Can Do Anything You Want, Including Video and Photo

Here's the lovely part of having comment sections on the internet. It allows every negative person to throw their darkness on you. Photography is not dead. Video is not dead either. People are making good money from offering either service. Yes, things have changed in the industry but people are still spending money on media work. Step 1: Avoid the negative trolls of the internet. They likely made some bad decisions and now they want to spread their misery to others. If they didn't go far, they'll make sure everyone else suffers. 

You can make money from photography and you can make money from videography. You can create videos for personal clients like weddings and family portraits. You can direct commercials for brands who seek your commercial photography. How do I know this? Because I'm booked and working. Generally, the people booking the jobs don't have time to scare people online. We encourage and help others do well. 

You have the skills to do this! I never attended a day of film school but I'm booking jobs. You have enough skills to start and to build up, at least. That's why I created this video for you. You can add talented people to your team and build up together. You don't have to know everything. In the video, I discuss all of the roles and how I work with each of them, and in what order. 

Walid Azami's picture

Walid Azami is a Photographer/Director and creative consultant from Los Angeles. He got his start working with Madonna + Co by contributing to her many projects. It was then he realized his place in the creative world & began teaching himself photography. He has since shot Kanye, Mariah Carey, Usher, Bernie Sanders, JLO, amongst others

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