Shooting Natural Light Video Portraits

For several years now, many of us have used Instagram as our primary outlet for sharing and viewing images. However, Instagram has made it clear that the platform is shifting its focus to video. If you haven’t been practicing capturing portraits on video, now might be a good time to start learning how to do so.

In this video, Chase Madsen walks us through the process of creating video portraits on a Sony FX3 video camera. To simplify the process, Chase chooses to shoot in natural light. This does, however, require Chase to pre-plan specific locations and times that will be best for the shoot. Although the video is only 10 minutes long, it provides quite a bit of information, including recommendations for frame rates and camera movements. There is also a segment on how the final footage was color graded. Perhaps the most useful information, however, is the reminder that it is important to capture shots in wide, medium, and close-up compositions. Having this variety is useful when editing the footage.

Videographer Chase Madsen with model Alaina Tamaki Makaurau. (Photograph courtesy of Chase Madsen).

The video includes a look at the final footage, which includes a voiceover from the model. The voiceover is an interesting addition because it shows the potential value of offering a client a video portrait. If you were working with a poet, you might have that poet read a poem over the footage. If your subject were a dancer, perhaps they could talk about the importance of dance in their life. If your subject is someone who just moved to your city, they might talk about embracing change. In this manner, you can use video to give a deeper insight into your subject’s personality than would be possible using only photographs.

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John Ricard is a NYC based portrait photographer. You can find more of Ricard’s work on his Instagram. accounts, and

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