Are You Embracing Video?

adrian johnson

In today’s fast moving and highly competitive digital marketplace, it is more important than ever that you and your brand make a good first impression on a potential client. Despite the numerous ways to connect with people online, it’s still very much true that nothing quite sells like a real person, and having a genuine connection or affinity with the person you’re talking to. In fact last year Liene Stevens of Splendid Communications published the results of an extensive survey of thousands of engaged and newly married couples which reported just that. 97% of couples said that a potential wedding supplier’s personality was either ‘very important’ or ‘mattered’.

So how can we utilise this knowledge and better get our personalities across online? As we all know, potential clients are more than likely to check out our websites and blogs before making any actual communication. Of course we can wax lyrical in writing about how fantastic we are and tell them why we’re the perfect wedding supplier for them, but there really is nothing like actually showing them. Unless you’re a fantastic writer, it can actually be difficult to convey yourself or your business in the best way with text alone. Copywriters can be great of course, but in an industry where being personable and authentic is so important, having someone else write about you will never be the same as you speaking to your clients directly.

So today I want to encourage you to do something scary. I want you to think about the using video to do it. We all know that the actual words you say are not the most vital part of communication. Body language, tone of voice and inflection are just as, if not often more, important when showing people who you are. So what could be a better tool for showing off your best bits than a video?

There are numerous statistics to back up the theory that the use of video online is on the rise. According to Forrester Research only 20% of web visitors will sit and read the majority of the text on a website, whereas 80% will sit and watch the same content when presented in the form of a short video. They also found that adding video to your website makes your site six times more likely to convert a ‘browser’ into a paying customer.

So you’ve decided that you want to take the leap and put yourself on camera. There are a number of ways you can go about this. Webcams and smart phone cameras are a super easy way to start filming yourself, and of course the video function on a DSLR is there for a reason. However I’d encourage you to think about getting a professional to help you. Just as you’re selling a professional and slick service, you’ll want your video to come across in a similarly slick manner right? Having it put together by a professional will not only make the video look visually better, but it will mean that its one less thing to worry about. After all, psyching yourself up to be on camera can be scary enough without having to worry about the technicality of it all as well!

Devlin Photos – Lisa’s Promo from FX Films on Vimeo.

Richard Wakefield of FX Media has made a number of promotional videos for wedding photographers including Lisa Devlin, Jasmine Star, Sarah Vivienne and Lola Rose Photography as well as corporate films of businesses ranging from lingerie companies and boudoir studios to venues and book publishers. He’s also filming The Blogcademy in London for us which I’m super excited about! Having a video of exactly what goes on at our workshop is the best way to sell it to people… without having to do a hard sell at all. We can just show them how much fun it is!

I decided to ask him a few questions  for this piece about what a wedding professional should be considering when it comes to making a promotional film.

“The first thing you need to decide what the aim of the video is”, he explains. “Will it be an ‘about me’ video which perhaps conveys your personality… or will it be more of an educational behind-the-scenes piece, maybe displaying to potential customers how you work? After that is decided, you should then work out a storyboard (whether a bullet-point list, or actual drawings). For an ‘about me’ piece, I’d definitely recommend doing this (you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget ideas on a film shoot) however for a behind-the-scenes promo, which is more unpredictable by nature, just a rough schedule may be required.”

Jasmine Star – The London Workshop, July 2011 (Wedding Photography Training) from FX Films on Vimeo.

“It’s vital to think about what you want to get across and why”, he continues. “Perhaps ask previous customers what they most liked about the way you worked. What are your strengths and USP? What makes you different to other suppliers and why would someone want to book you? What is it about you and your personality that will attract a certain type of client? Maybe you’re have amazing attention to detail… or perhaps you’re great at making your clients laugh or feel at ease… or you’re good at keeping things stress-free? There is no point saying you’re something you’re not and even more so when you’re on camera!”

“Of course you don’t have to talk to camera in your video; it doesn’t always help you, especially if you are particularly nervous. If you are shy, or this is your worst nightmare, then try to sum up points you want to get across in what you are actually doing in the video or with the use of occasional overlaying titles.”

My favourite kind of ‘about me’ videos are those that actually don’t really focus on that the supplier does, but who they are as a person. There’s no point sitting there citing all your achievements and why you’re so great at what you do. It can be boring and is only likely to put people off. Potential clients won’t be wowed by awards they’ve never heard of or gear that does things they didn’t know they wanted. Of course you will want to let them know these things if you’re proud of them at some point, but don’t let these be the things that define you. They are not your main selling points. They do not make you different or stand out from any of your competitors. Use your video as a way for potential clients to get to know you – as a person as well as a business person.

Storry Photography Promo from FX Films on Vimeo.

Richard agrees, “You could try to pick out your hobbies and quirks and include them. Maybe you love cute kittens, or running in the rain, or icing cakes? Imagine how interesting and fun these could look on camera, and make you stand out from the crowd!”

So, what about the ins and outs of coming up with a video concept and knowing where to start? “We all have short attention spans”, Richard continued when I asked him about the biggest mistakes people make with their videos. “I see too many of them that are just too long. Try to capture your audience in the first 10 seconds (a snappy title or strapline… or a couple of interesting or fun shots), then try to keep the pace throughout for a further 1-3 minutes. Anything over 4 minutes can start to lose people’s attention. It’s also really important to mention your company name, website and contact details. A lot of people forget this, but remember people might not only see the video on your actual website. Some people may just stumble across it on YouTube or Vimeo.”

“Music is also incredibly important”, he concludes. “If you match your personality or working style with a suitable track, then you’ll be on to a winner. Music accompanied with fantastic images is one of the best ways of getting your viewer to emotionally connect with you and what you do. Avoid using copyrighted and licensed tracks as this can get you in trouble or you’re your videos blocked (in certain countries) or taken down completely. Instead use royalty-free tracks from fantastic sites like themusicbed.com and audiojungle.net.”

So what do we think? Have you ever filmed an ‘about me’ video or behind-the-scenes piece for your business? If not, would you consider it after reading this article? Are you brave enough?! If you’ve done some already, I’d love to see them. Why not post a link in the comments?

Graphics: Adrian Johnson

11 comments

  1. I haven’t ventured into video as yet, although it is something I’ve thought about. I am, like many photographers, absolutely allergic to appearing in front of a lens. It would have to be a whizz-bang-amazing production, I think, and not a homespun effort on my behalf. Then, I could turn my boring guff about vintage cameras and greyhounds into something that’s not ruined by my scary fizzog.

  2. A very appropriate post as I just launched my first promo video for my wedding photography business and I love it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XN8OpqLK28&feature=youtu.be

    Having read this post, and I also sought advice from Richard before the filming of the video, I really believe it gets my personality across and shows clients what they can expect from me if they book me as their photographer; energy, fun and a natural, relaxed experience!

  3. Totally agree, personality is so important and video is a great way of showing this, I would love to have an ‘about me’ video. I’ve just added a film page to my website which has wedding highlights and behind the scenes from a couple of shoots and it’s had a very positive response.

  4. Great article – thanks Kat! Being a videographer myself, I’d recommend themusicbed.com for some good backing tracks.

    Would it be an idea to show a few good examples to further inspire people? :-)

  5. Alexandria

    This is brilliant!As a bride, the videos are so helpful to getting to know a vendor’s style and personality (and have been a deal maker for choosing a vendor)! I would love know, what are vendor’s perceived barriers to having an “about me” video on their website? Thanks!

  6. Really love the idea of an about me video, it’s so difficult to write something original that doesn’t sound the same as every other photographer. I really want the romance and passion that I have for wedding photography to come out when people visit my site, it’s definitely something I need to work on and I think a video could definitely help that. Thanks Kat for again having something really relevant in the green room! Tx

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