Easy DIY Tips to Add Video Clips to Photography Marketing

Moira West


Sacramento portrait photographer Mayumi Acosta was already creating video slideshows for her clients, but wanted to add video to her marketing mix, too.

So even though she’d never filmed footage before, she set out to incorporate short video clips into her behind-the-scenes marketing video. The result? A gorgeous glamour session captured with mood and movement:

We asked Mayumi how she taught herself to add video clips into her photographer’s toolkit and managed to create such a stunning video on her first try. She came back with lots of tips for first-time videographers to make the leap into recording and editing video a little easier:

Before the shoot

Preparation was a big part of how Mayumi was able to create such incredible video clips on her first try. Here’s what she did to get ready:

  • Research: Mayumi did some research prior to filming, looking up behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube (Sue Bryce’s videos were a major source of inspiration).
  • Practice: “Since I had zero experience filming, I practiced filming some short, handheld videos at home to test my camera and also practiced some movements with the camera on my monopod.”
  • Find a good model: That doesn’t mean you have to find a professional model, though. “I asked a friend who collaborated with me in a previous studio shooting, and she was not only willing to be photographed but also very excited about filming a behind-the-scenes shoot.”
  • Find the right location: Mayumi wanted to use a big indoor space with lots of natural light. She lucked out when she found a small winery close to her studio, called the Old Sugar Mill that let her use their warehouse.
  • Plan the shots you want: For the shoot, Mayumi wanted lots of different angles and movement to keep the video dynamic.“The idea was to have a video clip for each still and also show the beautiful location.”

During the shoot

Mayumi told us that recording the video clips was easy, and the most enjoyable part of creating her video. But she still offered a few things to keep in mind:

  • Get b-roll and closeups: Detail shots of clothes or props can add interest to a shoot and help with transitions. Mayumi said, “Before the shoot, I filmed some intro clips of the dresses. I also filmed some close-up clips of [my model] smiling.”
  • Take behind-the-scenes photos: “At the end not all the clips were usable, but we also took some behind-the-scenes shots. So it’s good advice to have a good number of behind-the-scenes stills in case you cannot use the footage.”

Post production

Since she had a particular look in mind, Mayumi had to edit some of the video clips before creating her video. She also slowed down her footage and made color changes that required advanced editing. But she still tried to keep post production from getting overwhelming:

  • Use tools you’re comfortable with: Mayumi had little experience with iMovie, so she figured out how to edit her video clips in Photoshop, which she was more familiar with. Once the clips were edited, she put her final video together in Animoto, since that was even easier for her to use.
  • Save money where you can: Having already hired friends to model and be a second photographer/videographer, Mayumi managed to reduce a lot of her outlay. In addition, she used Animoto to cut back on music costs. “I don’t have licensed music in my library, so Animoto has been a great tool when it comes to sound. It has amazing music and artists you can use; the variety is great. This was actually the reason why I chose to get the Animoto in the first place.”

Overall, the best advice Mayumi offered is keep pushing yourself* to try new things. “You don’t need a professional videographer, a fancy microphone or equipment — just the willingness to try something new, be in front of the camera and have fun in the process. I have done a number of videos with stills but I can definitely say that the impact of footage is huge, and it really makes a big difference when it comes to telling a story.”

Mayumi shared her video with us in our Facebook group. Visit the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community to post your own videos and see what other photographers are doing to market their business.