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Media and You: The very blunt guide to getting the most out of visual media
In today’s society visual media is omnipresent. Whether you’re dealing with video, photography, or both, there is one thing you need to remember: YOU, and you alone, control the quality of the experience you will have when you interact with these mediums and the professionals that work in them. While the technical aspect of having your image recorded will often be outside of your control, the way you present yourself and allow yourself to be documented is up to you. With that in mind, here is a list of tips designed to help you have a genuinely positive interaction with any form of visual media.
Remember, professionals are there to make you look good.
The number one problem professionals working in any visual medium run into are clients who don’t want to be there because they hate how they look in photographs or sound on video. These clients forget that the professional is there to help them put their best foot forward. A true professional WILL NOT present a product that shows you in a poor light because it will reflect poorly on them and their business.
If there is an aspect of your performance or image that is not working for the medium the professional will offer you guidance. Please listen and understand, this is not criticism. The way photography and video work is inherently unnatural. People do not naturally stand very still and smile or speak into a video camera lens while purposely ignoring the person standing behind it. Yet in many instances this may be what you are required to do to in order to get the end result you want. Any feedback the professional is providing is designed to help make that inherently unnatural action easier for you.
Project the image you want.
If you are trying to tell your audience that you were tired, crabby, nervous, or upset at the time of your shoot, show up feeling that way. If that’s not the message you’re looking to send through your media you need to show up well rested and with a positive attitude. Also, everyone gets nervous. That’s fine; professionals are used to it and have strategies in place to deal with nerves. However, if you have something going on that is more serious than nervousness the professional will have to work that much harder to ensure those emotions are not visible in your product and that you come across to your audience the way you want to. It is much easier for a professional to create the image you want if you show up projecting it.
Pay attention to your physical comfort.
If you know you start to get crabby when your blood sugar gets low around lunch time, make sure you bring a snack. If your feet start to hurt if you wear certain shoes, wear comfortable footwear. If you get cold easily, dress appropriately. Simple forethought regarding your own physical comfort will make a world of difference in your experience and your product. If you feel uncomfortable you probably look uncomfortable, and that will translate into your images or your video. Professionals will attempt to adjust the conditions they have control over, to make the situation better for you, but there is only so much they can do. The majority of your physical comfort is going to be up to you and most people don’t want to leave their audience wondering why they look like they would rather be having a root canal than shooting a video or sitting for photographs, even if it’s true.
Communicate your plan.
In many instances, the professional you’ll be working with is someone that doesn’t know you and doesn’t know your business. They may not have a solid understanding of the function you want the media they are creating to perform or the various ways you intend to use it when it’s finished. The earlier you communicate your purpose and your expectations to them the better your product will turn out. Having this conversation right before you sit down to shoot is too late. At that point, you get what you get because the professional may or may not be prepared with the equipment or personnel necessary to capture what you want.
Leave the technical aspects to the professional.
Finally, there is one thing that will annoy your photographer or videographer faster than anything: being told how to do their job. When videographers and photographers shoot, they aren’t seeing the raw media that you are generating. They are visualizing a final product that has been professionally edited, retouched, or otherwise adjusted to achieve the desired result. They are working in such a way as to reach that conclusion, and no one appreciates being told their method won’t get them there. If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to chime in. Most professionals want to make the client happy and are willing to do some extra work to make that happen. However, making your photographer or videographer feel as if they are simply there to press a shutter or a record button because you need to be in front of the camera and can’t do it yourself doesn’t endear you to them.
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