Photography Spotlight: Vicki Taufer

Colyn Montgomery


Award-winning photographer Vicki Taufer fills us in on how she uses video footage–and Animoto–to enhance her clients’ experience.


Vicki Taufer is the award-winning photographer behind V Gallery studio in Illinois. Besides being published in numerous books and trade magazines Vicki has traveled the world as a keynote speaker and won several international awards.

Animoto is fortunate enough to have featured Vicki, recognized by Kodak as an up and coming professional photographer, in our ongoing print campaign. She was kind enough to give us a little more of her time so that she could share her video experience with you.


When did you start shooting with video?

V Gallery has utilized video for promotional purposes for about 7 years, but it wasn’t until we started doing weddings again a couple years ago that we introduced video for our clients. We wanted to offer something unique to our brides, so every couple received a 10-minute highlight video of their wedding day along with their custom wedding album.

With the introduction of Animoto’s new video feature we have been creating unique videos for our portrait clients. Sometimes the video is from my Canon 5D Mark II and sometimes it is just from a little point and shoot camera. Our videos and the presentation of our photography have been taken to the next level with the addition of these short video clips.

With the release of the Canon 5D Mark II, what do you see as the place of video footage in the photography industry going forward?

I think the introduction of the Canon 5D Mark II has allowed the photography industry to accelerate its use of video in business. I think people have been predicting and talking for years that video will play a bigger role in photography studios and the introduction of the Canon 5D Mark II has allowed more photographers to make that jump. I foresee most photographers using video not only for promotional purposes, but also for their clients on a consistent basis.

You use point and shoot cameras as well. How does that footage look alongside your photography?

The video footage from our point and shoot cameras works just fine alongside our photography when making Animoto videos. We usually add some sort of simple effect, like grain or turning the video footage black and white. This helps when the video footage quality is not perfect. But just like anything digital, the quality on even the point and shoot cameras have made great improvements over the years.

How does shooting video differentiate you as a photographer?

Right now the main way we have been using video footage is by creating Animoto videos for our clients to share with family and friends online. Most of the time our clients do not even realize I am taking video with my Canon 5D Mark II, so they are even more surprised and excited when they see their videos for the first time and video footage is integrated with their images.

We don’t even tell our clients they will be getting an Animoto Video. We present the videos to our clients for the first time when they come in to view their images. It’s a great marketing tool because our clients will post the video on their websites, blogs, and Facebook where viewers will be directed back to our website.

Prior to having Animoto, how did you use the video you shot?

Prior to Animoto, we only used video for weddings and promotional purposes using software like Final Cut Pro. Animoto is so easy to use we can now offer videos to all of our clients.

Any tips for shooting footage that will look great alongside a photography session’s proofs?

I love to get different angles of video during a shoot. I obviously take footage with my Canon 5D Mark II, but sometimes I will have an assistant with me that shoots a different angle with our smaller video camera or a point and shoot camera. Also, rather than shooting long video footage, it is better to shoot smaller clips and highlights of the shoot. It will be easier to edit and will add more variety to your videos.