A Photographer’s Guide to Videography

The lines between photography and videography have begun to blur. At this point, almost every DSLR available has at least some video capabilities, and more and more so, employers are seeking photographers with experience handling moving media. Luckily, with the help of Kristine and Calen Rhome of White in Revery, the folks at Mango Street Lab have compiled a few considerations every fledgling videographer should keep in mind while learning the ropes:

Frame Rate

Generally, digital cameras offer three base frame rate options: 24, 30, or 60 frames per second (fps). Photographers usually opt to shoot at 24 fps, which is often utilized by filmmakers and offers a “cinematic” feel. However, if you’re trying to capture a moment in slow motion, you’ll want to shoot for 60 fps, then play back at a slower frame rate.

fps in camera

Shutter Speed

In videography, shutter speed makes a bigger difference than you might expect. A certain amount of motion blur is necessary to keep everything looking fluid and natural. A good general rule of thumb is to set your shutter speed to double your frame rate.

Picture Profile

When a camera records video, it compresses each still frame of the film, resulting in resolution that may not live up to your still photographs. Picking an appropriate picture profile goes a long way in preserving your colors and tonal dynamics despite compression. Instead of sticking to automatic or standard settings, most photographers like to use a neutral base.

standard vs neutral side by side

Aperture

Lots of the time, videographers must focus in on a scene manually while a subject is in motion, making working with wide open apertures incredibly difficult. Even though it’s tempting to blur out distracting details in a still photograph, keep in mind that you may not be able to successfully replicate the same effect while shooting video.

Sequencing

As photographers, it’s easy to identify and capture a “money shot.” However, successful videos often tell stories rather than focus on one singular scene. Use short sequences to guide your viewer into a moment; by visually explaining to your viewers how a subject gets from point A to point B, you create a more compelling tale.

storytelling with videography

Stability

Last but not least, keep your camera stable. Tripods, monopods, and gimbals are your friend. Bringing one along will take away any unintentional jitteriness or motion blur, and the smooth movement and still framing will instantaneously up your production value.

Of course, there’s a lot that goes into becoming a professional videographer. Thankfully, the art of photography cements many of the base concepts necessary to get ahead. So take the time to do a bit of experimentation. With these tips on hand, you may just find that the transition from photograph to film comes quite naturally!

“Movement and action are two incredibly crucial elements of a video…the more and more that we filmed, the more we realized how important it was to lead into a moment with multiple perspectives and dwell in each beautiful angle.”

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Comment

Personalize your comment with an avatar from Gravatar.com!

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever