Combining Video and Stills to Tell Stories: Profoto and Emily Dahl

When you're working, are you shooting just stills? Just video? Is there a way to combine the two to tell better stories? Can gear help with that?

Profoto ambassador Emily Dahl certainly thinks so.

I’m a storyteller and as such I want the audience to understand the whole story, from beginning to end. And the Profoto B10 enables me to make the story complete.

It makes sense to me that a storyteller would use every available means to share their vision. As part of the final product that Dahl shares with her clients, she puts together behind-the-scenes videos to fill in the blanks, to show her audience behind the curtain, to share how the magic is made.

. . . by offering a behind-the-scenes clip to the fashion shots, the viewer is told so much more.

Social Media Is Insatiable

As Dahl points out, a clients' need for content to feed the social media monster is almost unlimited. So, being able to provide a photography campaign with a side of video is something that all photographers should consider.

Using video and stills to tell a story is a big advantage since the combination gives so much more to the viewers. In this shoot I could present all the parts to capture the full story, from the model moving to the structure of the makeup.

Profoto's Solution

By using Profoto's B10 and B10 Plus Dahl is able to bring a single lighting set-up to her location and get double duty in both video and stills. Dahl raves about the B10 and B10 Plus's ability to control color temperature as a continuous light with a quick adjustment and then to start firing flashes for stills all from the same kit. Often without having to readjust the setup.

More Than a Lighting Advertorial

I love that despite the fact that Profoto is clearly in the business of selling lights that they spend part of their advertising budget on advertorials that provide a bit of creative insight as well.

Dahl talks about her approach to shooting an editorial set. 

I always make up what the headline of the shoot would be in my head, and work with that in mind throughout the whole shoot, from choosing the right lighting to building up the set and instructing the model.

Certainly photographers that are struggling to maintain a sense of cohesion through a shoot, or further, throughout their portfolio, would benefit from advice like this. Building on this idea of a cohesive shoot, Dahl also uses music to ensure her concepts all flow through into the shoot.

Even though I love photography, I’m a text-person. I find my inspiration in music, I listen to the lyrics in songs and from them I get a sense of how I want to portray the assignment at hand.” She smiles. “During a photo session, I play the song that inspired me on repeat. I believe it adds to the ambiance as well as to the final result.

What do you think about shooting video and still at the same time in order to satiate that social media monster? What do you think of the use of advertorials to sell products, do you get value from watching these? 

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Johnny Rico's picture

But if you link to the ad video, then just copy/paste the ad copy, then just say you wrote an article

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Hi there guys, This isn't sponsored. I appreciate the advertorials that Profoto puts together. I realize you have to wade through the advertisement (keep in mind they are a for-profit lighting company - not an education not-for-profit), but there is actually a few valuable lessons in there.

A serious question, would it be better if Profoto and their ilk didn't make advertorials, but just ads?

As an aside, this isn't a copy and paste, except for the quotes.