Why Photography is essential
The value of having a photographer attached both at various stages of production can not be overstated.
During Pre-Productionproducers will be looking for key locations in which to stage the various scenes of the video. By having a photographer visit the location, not only can you document its features but you can pre-visualise its potential.
Whether the storyboarding process has already begun or is about to begin, a solid set of accurate location shots can seriously help in avoiding costly mistakes, whilst also suggesting creative solutions that might not have been considered. This can run to a director blocking out a scene differently to a DP or gaffer changing their approach to a lighting setup.
It’s normal to have a casting call or casting session for any production that’s going to involve actors, actresses or presenters. On most occasions, those being interviewed will bring their own photos. However, sometimes things don’t always go to plan and it’s good to get photographs during the session.
One of the key advantages of this is that all the photographed interviewees will have the same look and feel to their images. This helps create a more level playing field in trying to determine who would look best in your production, rather than an actor who’s brought professionally photoshopped images (which in themselves can be misleading) versus an equally talented performer who just has ‘photo booth’ snaps.
On-Set / Continuity
Having a photographer onset can help enormously on set. With a properly spec’d camera which can take silent shots, a photographer can document not only key dramatic moments but also crucially help in documenting continuity.
By photographing the end of the take, the photographer can help the script supervisor/continuity assistant so that all the elements are exactly the same in-between takes and breaks in filming.
Documentation / Promotion
Both in development and promotion, a production can depend upon imagery. To sell a video, it is often highly desirable to have behind-the-scenes (or BTS) imagery on hand for press kits, marketing materials and social media campaigns. This way you can crucially alert the audience as to the impending arrival of your production.
In The Edit
Rarely spoken about but often the life-saver of a documentary edit, a series of still images can fill parts of the stories that were missed. Whether used for dramatic effect to change the pace of the edit or include aspects of the story that weren’t shot (or are unusable), photographic still images can prove invaluable.
With DSLR images quite often being in higher resolution to even that of 4K video and beyond, photography can often offer a variety of creative opportunities to increase production value during the edit and later marketing of your production.