I recently noticed something. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and about every other post was a video. I saw videos people shared, live videos, and of course ads. There were still plenty of images and text, but the videos really got my attention. From what I’ve read, roughly 75% of the internet traffic is video. Video is starting to take over and we need to be onboard!
3 ways Photographers can use Video to make more Money
Yes, this is a photography website, and yes, we are all photographers, but we all need to start using video. Now, don’t freak out or get worried. I’m not saying you have to completely change and learn something new. I am going to share 3 ways photographers can use video to make more money. Feel free to do a little of it or all of it!
Many of you might be brand new to video. Check out this article that explains the basic of video to learn about equipment and how to actually shoot video. Some of the things I will be suggesting can be done with a cell phone or webcam, but for others, you will definitely need a solid understanding of how to shoot video and the equipment.
One thing I struggle with is finding new clients. Maybe everyone else is overrun with business, but I would like to find more leads. Marketing has a lot to do with this, and adding video could be the booster shot your marketing needs.
During Your Sessions
One of the easiest ways to start with video is to shoot some video during your photography sessions. You’re already out there and you already have a phone or DSLR, so it shouldn’t be that hard.
Behind the Scenes videos have become very popular. It shows not only what are you doing, but people get to see who you are and what you are like. Simply place your phone somewhere or have someone there video it for you. People are often worried about being photographed, so getting to see everything beforehand can make them feel more comfortable or even excited!
Another option is making a quick video for your clients as a gift. It just needs to be three or four clips and give a general feel for the shoot. As you’re doing photos, simply switch to video and capture a few clips here and there. In this case, I’d suggest using your camera, so it will be higher quality. These gift videos are great for marketing. It won’t take up a bunch of time, and your clients will love that you gave them a gift.
As an added bonus, when you post these videos from the session, not only will the people in them be grateful, they will will most likely share them. This means you’ll reach all of their family and friends and have a greater chance of booking new clients.
Vlogging, Webinars, and Instructional Video
People love getting information, and most people prefer video over having to read. You can leverage this to get in front of hundreds of new people.
Blogging is something I do on a regular basis, but honestly, I don’t know how many people actually read each one. I think people go there to look at the photos, but I imagine only 50% read it. People would be much more likely to hang around to watch a video. I’m not suggesting you stop blogging, I’m suggesting you add video to each one. It can be something simple like you talking about the session or about a random subject. Don’t worry too much about the production value or editing. Once you’re done, you can post the video itself, and then also add it to your regular blog post.
Webinars and Instructional videos are a bit more involved than vlogging, but they are much more valuable. When you start doing these, people will start to view you as an expert, which means they are more likely choose you over another photographer and you can charge more for your expertise. You are also providing something of real value since the information will help the clients. This last summer I put on a three day webinar with five other wedding vendors, and it did take a good chunk of time, but several of us booked a new client from that webinar.
Where Should you Post these Videos?
There are a lot of options for posting your video. The most popular are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. My suggestion would be to use the social media platform that works best for you. Some use Facebook and some do everything on Instagram. The big point is that you need to get as much out of your content as possible. I like the idea of going live on Facebook, so people can see as it happens. Then, that post will be around for people to view later. Next, I’d download that video file and use it on YouTube, Instagram, and my blog. The more you spread it around, the more people will see it.
Add-on for Sessions
Depending on what type of photography you do, video might be a good add-on to make more from each session. My wife takes videos of our kids all the time on her phone, doesn’t matter what they are doing. I know she would pay a little extra to have a professional video of the kids interacting during a session.
There are a few ways to go about this. One, make it something small that you can do on your own. It would basically be a more involved version of the gift video I mentioned earlier. As you're doing the shoot, you switch to video here and there to capture a few short clips. You might even have them do something special just for the video. Motion works well! Then, you edit it all together to make a minute or two video. It’s nothing big, but you could still charge $100 to $300 for it. For some people, this might be too much to try to do. In that case, you can either make the session longer to get all the video you need or take the next route. The second way is to hire someone to come do the video as you do the photography. In this situation, you can focus on the photos and not worry about the video. You will have to charge more to be able to pay the videographer and make money, but things should be smoother and you can create a longer, better product.
Before you start adding these videos to your sessions, there are a few things to consider. Make sure you aren’t sacrificing your photography to get the video. Photography should come first, and you have to make sure you deliver. Also, don’t let the video get in the way of the clients enjoying everything. If doing video slows you down and the clients have young children, everyone is going to get frustrated.
I know all of that sounds like more of a pain than it’s worth, but once you figure it out, and get some practice, things will go smoother. Just remember, you could be making an extra $300 from each session!
Add as a whole new part of business
A third option and a great way to really add income with video is to make video a whole new part of your business. Out of the three options, this is the most involved, but it also has the biggest financial reward. Unlike the other two areas, you will be expected to create something professional. You will have to have all the equipment, the education, and the skills to make sure you can deliver.
When you really start focusing on video as its own business, a ton of opportunities will open up. Businesses want professional video, but they don’t want to pay for the expensive commercials. You could come in, get footage of their place and their product, interview a few people, and be done in 2 hours and charge a third of what it would cost for a commercial. They’d love it. The housing market is another huge opportunity. Realtors have to show off their homes. Think about how much they would love to have a virtual walkthrough to post online! Then, there are all types of events happening. You could video birthdays, Quinceaneras, or any kind of special event.
Another big one is weddings. I’m a wedding photographer, and after about five years of just doing photography, I decided to add videography as well. It has taken a lot of work, time, and investment, but now, about half of our clients book us for both photography and videography. It’s added roughly $1000 or more to each one of those bookings, and I book about two weddings a year that just want videography. It’s been well worth it to add video.
You can spend as much time, energy, and money adding video as you want, but I highly suggest you start doing something. You can just use your phone and do some live video here and there, or you can make a big leap, spend thousands of dollars on equipment and start producing professional videos. Photography should still be your focus, but video can be a very helpful tool for growing your business. I’d love to hear what everyone is doing right now with video. Please comment below.