It is now the norm to see anyone and everyone taking photos on their mobile phone. It is impossible not to notice the mobile phone invasion. From “selfies” to impromptu photos of news events to the dreaded flashing light at concerts.– they are used everywhere. In the past it was obvious if someone had a camera and was taking photos. But now anyone with a mobile phone could be an “undercover” photographer. For professional photographers the occasions where they used to be to “main attraction” everyone is snapping their version of events. So does this destroy photography or mean that professional photographers are a dying breed. I examine this thought and give you my views, as a Leicestershire Professional Photographer, below…
There is no doubt that over the past 100 or so years, conventional photography has become a highly developed art form and profession. We have seen the camera evolve from a simple pin-hole in a box to complex electrical, digital computers with lenses on the front. This evolution has spawned the digital camera embedded into mobile phones – it might be said to have democratised photography. It is now easier to bring a competent level of photography within the bounds of most people. Professional photographers can now deliver high quality photographs to their customers with greater ease because of decades of evolution of their craft. But it is also true that it is possible for anyone to become an amateur photographer with their mobile phone that is always with them.
So back to the question: “Will Cameras on Mobile Phones Destroy Photography?” I think that the question needs considering across three audience types:
- The professional photographer – is this the end of the world and your profession? Is it possible that the humble, but highly technical mobile phone will destroy your customer base and make you obsolete?
- The aspiring photographer – do you have a future? Is it worth your while investing in training or sophisticated equipment; after all we have been led to believe that makes a professional photography so superior. Is it worth all the bother if mobile phones are going to make all that training and investment obsolete?
- The consumer – can you avoid hiring a professional photographer and get the same quality of photographs using yours or a friend’s mobile phone?
Obviously as new technology appears to make inroads into a profession many of the traditionalists in that profession are going to feel threatened. Remember the cry that television came along and the media predicted the demise of radio. In the music industry, digital recording has caused shock waves, but you know these industries don’t necessarily die? They evolve. These industries adjusted, evolved, got better and prospered all the more – I think the same will happen with photography.
Let us examine the situation in more depth. I think there are sensible reasons to think that cameras on mobile phones are not going to destroy photography as we know it:
- Cameras on mobile phones may be able to increasingly take better quality images, but they are unlikely to be able to achieve the same levels of quality as a larger format camera with all the lighting and ancillary equipment that a professional photographer brings to the party. The reason a professional photographer invests in highly, sophisticated equipment and a studio is that he or she can bring high quality imagery to the client. And let us not forget, no matter how good the equipment, it still takes the knowledge and experience – as well as the trained eye, to produce a stunning photograph. The difference between a technically correct photograph and a stunning image is easy to see. Photography is more than a camera – it is a whole range equipment that has precise instrumentation to allow the photographer to handle lighting issues and frame each photograph correctly. It is in scenarios like weddings, portraits, commercial photography that customers do not want “just a technically competent” photo – they want a stunning professional quality outcome. Do you really think that forensic photography, fashion photography and photography for publication will ever accept the lower standards of quality that are produced on mobile phone cameras.
- Let’s face it, when see people holding up their camera phones at a concert to steal a picture with their mobile phone, it is not going to result in a professional quality shot. At a live event like a concert there are going to be a heap issues like lighting, visual noise and many other problems that require a level of sophisticated instrumentation that a mobile phone will not have. So let us be clear, mobile phones are an amateur photography device that allows the amateur to get better, and as such they are great for that niche.
- I believe that mobile phone cameras are great because they allow the amateur to take better photographs and it encourages more recording of events in our world. But their limitations, and the limitations of the amateur photographer mean that without a professional the standards of the final product will be compromised. What customers and professional need to focus on is that high standards of quality will continue to be what make professional photography of supreme value to its customers.
So I do not believe that it is time to read the funeral rites of professional photography, nor do I wish to cast mobile phones in a negative light. Mobile phones have their place and they provide great fun for people. Professional photography only has something to fear if it does not adapt and continue to work out how it will continue to be valuable to customers. Customers will continue to demand quality for those important shots and that is where the professional eye and equipment will continue to be required.
Posted on Monday, August 11th, 2014
Like hiring a photographer, choosing a videographer can be fraught with pitfalls. Again, like commercial photographers, commercial videographers come in all shapes, sizes and standards.
I want to help you have an idea about how you can ensure that you pick the right videographer for your needs. So here we go, my list of tips to help you make the right choice:
1. What type of video style do you want? What style and approach do they have to filming an event, a business or a promotional film? I have heard no-end of labels for videographer styles: interview-style, artsy, documentary, short form, avant-garde, documentary or journalistic, cinematic style – to name but a few. Be careful they are not using, labels to impress you. Find out what they mean by their defined style. Do they have a standard shot/set-up list? Do they tend be more directorial in approach, using interview techniques and styling in order to get the shots they want – are you going to spend endless time “being posed” and “acting”?
2. Talk to them. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to three to five possible candidates, give them a call to discuss your requirements. Then, if it is a substantial commission, set up a meeting to ask the rest of your questions. Make sure they know what you want from the video. Do you want to have anything about the proposal, funny stories, little details so that the video portrays your story. Discuss the style in which you would like it shot and edited (e.g. humourous, formal, straight to camera, interview style etc.) and show them examples of similar videos that you like.
3. Testimonials and References. The videographer’s website should have testimonials from satisfied clients, but you may want to ask for references. A videographer who is confident about his or her work will be happy for a few clients to give some personal feedback
4. Are they full-time professionals or part-timers? Do you want your video produced by an enthusiastic part-timer or a full-time professional videographer? There are plenty of people who provide videography services as a hobby and their work is sometimes good, but not always professional.
5. Do they understand the legalities of video? Many videographers retain copyright of the finished product and they may charge extra for additional copies or usage fees. What are your rights about using the video for your own ends? Do they have public and professional liability insurances cover? Accidents can and do happen.
6. Do we choose our own music? Perhaps there is a certain song you. But it is important to know that videographers are breaking copyright law by using other people’s music. Just as important they are leaving your film susceptible to incurring a large fine. A professional is able to source licensable music that is beautifully composed and legal. Generally, chart music is too expensive to buy the licence to use in most commercial videos for small and medium sized companies. Only the large companies with big budgets can afford to use chart music in their videos and that tends to only be in high-end commercials.
7. When will they deliver the video? How long before you get your finished video? Each video will take a professional videographer between many hours to edit. Until it goes through the editing process the video is in raw state and it is the editing stage that gives the video it artistic touches. Don’t think that as you only want a 3 minute video, it won’t take long to edit, as the shorter the film, the longer it can take to edit. Discuss any deadlines with your videographer to ensure your deadlines can be met.
Please don’t forget your responsibilities because your videographer can’t start editing your video until you given them any still photos, logos, music and anything else you want including as part of the finished film.
8. How much input do you need to give? That is up to you, but it is always helpful to be up-front with your expectations to be fair to the videographer. They will want to make sure that they understand you and your expectations of style.
9. How will the video been edited? .Experienced videographers will use a variety of professional techniques to edit videos in order to deliver a high quality final products. Now you do not have to understand the technicalities – but it does help to know that they are going to refine the raw video to produce a finished film. Will the final production flow like a feature film or will it a series of broken up sequences? Take a look at examples of their work so you understand their capabilities. See how well one scene moves to another, do they include sound bites from the day, is the footage just set to music? Is their use of music complementary or distracting or overbearing or just plain inappropriate? Do any special effects work?
10. How will the videographer work with your photographer? Has the videographer worked with your photographer before? If not, ask them how they dovetail their work with the photographer – a bossy photographer and a bossy videographer could spoil the end results for both. The advantage of using Martin Neeves is that you get an experienced professional who can produce high quality video and photography – the Commercial Videographer Leicester.
11. How will your final video be delivered? Will they deliver your film on a DVD, Blu Ray disc, USB stick or can it just be downloaded? Are they intending to supply you with a draft to view and make changes before they give you a master and/or DVD copies? What format the video will be shot and supplied in. I suggest that you ask for wide-screen high-definition if possible. Note that this might be viewed as not being a normal request and it is better not to surprise the videographer after the event – so make sure you ask before they film.
12. Who will be videoing your event? Daft question? No, it is not if the person you’re talking to an assistant or salesman as they not be the actual videographer. Make sure the videographer you are speaking to is the one who will be shooting your video. It is not uncommon for the “A” Team to do the meeting, but the “apprentice” to do the shoot. Also if they intend to use an assistant – will that cost extra?
13. How much and how do they charge for services? Hourly? Project-based? Videographers often have prices and packages, whilst others will price individually dependent upon the circumstances. If you are comparing video packages from different companies, make sure you are comparing like-for-like. Check the overall quality on offer, are they using comparable equipment, is their experience appropriate plus check the terms and conditions
Ask about the payment structure and if there are any hidden or additional costs. Is there a deposit and under what circumstances is it refundable? Is the deposit part of the overall cost of the video and does it guarantee the date? When will the balance be due?
14. Can they show examples videos they have shot? Watch previous videos to make sure you are happy with what you’re going to be paying for. Try not to just watch quick montage videos they have put together to music but ask to watch a full video so you get a better idea of what your finished product might be like. In my opinion there is no reason to not to supply a demo; if they say they can’t for privacy reasons then that should raise concerns. You might also like to ask for references from previous customers.
15. Has the videographer done much commercial videography before? How many other videos is the videographer shooting at the same time? How much experience do they have? How good is the quality?
16. What equipment will they use? Most videographers use domestic or semi-professional equipment whereas others use professional or even broadcast quality equipment. Many professional videographers have switched to using DSLRs these days as their larger chip size gives a much more film-like feel than conventional video cameras, however sound normally has to be recorded on a separate sound recorder to get professional results. You may not understand all aspects of the technicalities, but it helps to have a sense of whether they are using quality equipment of cheaper, less capable equipment. Will they have backup equipment should something go wrong? Will a backup camera be on hand for the event?
17. Will they use lighting? Videographers often use natural light to record videos, but if the quality of the ambient light is not sufficient, do they have access to lighting equipment? If additional lighting is to be used, extra time must be allowed in the shooting schedule for the set-up and breakdown of the lights.
Hopefully this has given you a clear idea about what to look for when you chose your videographer.
Please call Martin Neeves for top quality video production by the Commercial Videographer Leicester on 01455 271 849 or 07973 638 591 or email me.
Here are 3 examples of my videos, click here if you want to see more.