Michael has over 16 years photographing commercial photographs that have run in magazines, television, on product labels, billboards and online for clients of all sizes from local Mom and Pops to National and International clients.
I've been working with lots of clients lately to create photography and videography for them that reach their end marketing goals. The tough part is figuring out what those goals are. Where do you begin to figure out what your end goals with photos and videos are if you don't have a brand style and know where these assets will be ultimately used? What are you trying to achieve with these assets and how will they eventually be used to help your brand? Will they be used on a website, social media, advertising, YouTube, television or some other outlet? Each one of these end uses has a different format and will need to be created to fit that specific format.
Photography on the Scrub Daddy website that I created for horizontal applications.
Below is a photo I created vs the video that another company created. You can see the difference in style.
For instance, say you are a global company working to rebrand and have photography and videography updated for your website. You have the photography done, but the photographer never asked where they would be used. You get the photos back and they are 75% vertical because the photographer you used was the cheapest due to the fact that they don't regularly shoot commercial work, but the problem is that you needed mostly horizontal photos for headers on your website. Now you have to do a reshoot which will cost extra time and money to get enough assets to cover where you need the imagery. You might also be shooting for an ad in a magazine where the format is vertical, but maybe you only told the photographer the photos would be used on the web or headers which were horizontal.
Having a discussion with your photographer up front and making sure they know where the photos will be used is key. If you are planning to use the photos in multiple applications which are different formats prior to the photoshoot will allow the photographer to be prepared to capture both horizontal and vertical photos during the shoot.
Below is a website of photography I did for the brand Invisible Glass. As you can quickly tell, they did not use me for other product brands of theirs.
Another brand I photographed for was Motsenbockers Lift Off. Again you can see the difference in my photography on their website vs the videography on their commercial.
Another thing to consider is if you are planning to have video created as well as photographer for the marketing project you are working to create. If you are even considering having both video and photo done for your project, find a company that can do both. It will save you time if they can be done at the same time, everything will be more consistent because it the same company creating things as well as things will be done at the same time with the same lighting, products, models, etc. The company may even give you a discount to do both as well.
If you are considering both photo and video production, remember that consistency in marketing is key. Also, if you do one and not the other, then come back later with a different production company, you are more than likely going to get different results and have visuals that are not consistent. Keep this in mind when you are looking to schedule your visual productions.
Have you said to yourself, my portrait photo is outdated? I have used and reused my portrait from 10 years ago enough! A portrait that speaks to people and looks amazing is easier and quicker than you might assume! And now, you have the chance for a free one!
Starting on January 7, 2019 and continuing to January 11, 2019 at midnight, post a comment on my Instagram account photos from this week, saying why you need a new Portrait and tag 3 people. You will be automatically entered in a random drawing for a new awesome portrait!
Portrait photos done with an interesting background are my favorite, they give life to a person and add context to who they are or what they do. While portraits photos with a simple background are great and we can certainly accommodate them, isn't it more interesting to see something that adds personality to a headshot?
Photos of yourself are extremely useful across all of your social media and website locations. But wouldn't it be great to have professional looking portraits instead of a selfie or poor quality one that was taken too long ago?! Enter now and a drawing will be held on Monday January 14th on my YouTube channel. MMVisuals YouTube
Rules and terms. Photo must be scheduled for a location inside Lancaster County, PA, USA. Post one comment per photos and tag 3 others who might be interested on MM Visuals Instagram between the week of January 7 and January 11, 2017 to be entered. You may enter once per post during the week. Be sure to "Like" us on Instagram. Lighting, styling, and general overall feel of the portrait will be determined by MM Visuals. No purchase required.
Being a photographer for multiple magazines over the past 16 years and then going to none for a short time made me hunger to shoot editorial work for a magazine again. Then I was contacted by Mt. Saint Mary's University to photograph their Alumni magazine. It is published bi-annually and discusses not only what's going on currently at the school, but it also focuses on great things alumni are doing for themselves and in their community.
Now that I'm back in the swing of shooting for some editorial sections, I wanted to share a few tips of things I had remembered when I got back into it and other things that just help to make the days of shooting go that much more smoothly.
1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
If you don't have a plan going into an editorial shoot or you are walking in blind, you may not get photos that mesh well with the story being written. If you have the opportunity to photograph after the writer interviewed the person or can give you a sense of what the article is about, you have a much better chance of getting photos that will make people better understand the story they are reading.
2. Roll With It
After I just got done saying to have a plan going in, sometimes things don't work out how you'd like them to go. At that point, it's best to not get frustrated, and just keep looking around for another shot or idea. The cover photo below was a last second shot I did as we were leaving the office where we did this photoshoot. We were literally walking out, I stopped and said, can we take one quick photo here? My art director and the subject were both like, "Sure." I snapped off about 10 photos and we continued on our way. As you can see, it turned out to be the cover shot!
3. Equipment Prep
After all of your planning, be sure to bring all of the equipment you think you'll need, and then some! Always be prepared for just a bit more. You never know when you're going to need a tripod, extra light or extra reflector! Also, you may be shooting in different locations and conditions may be different for each scenario.
Pay attention to the weather!!! Don't ever depend on Mother Nature! That is something I always consider. She is a fickle crazy one who can change on you at the drop of a dime! It's great to be able to shoot quickly without having to set up lights, but never trust her!
Bring some snacks, and while you're at it, bring liquids!! I suggest Snickers and water! The Snickers have sugar and protein to keep you going and the water will keep you hydrated. Also, Snickers = Chocolate!!
6. Keep your eyes up
As I mentioned before, plans change and the photo you think you might want in your head doesn't work great. So, keep your eyes peeled for other options and locations where you might be able to tell your story.
7. Tell A Story
You are in essence telling a visual story. Keep in mind that most people are compelled to read something in an editorial fashion my first looking at compelling photos and then deciding that they need to find out more about the subject. Try to tell a story with your photos by photographing action or in a location that compliments a part of the story.
8. Bring Help
You won't have an art director or stylist on every shoot, but you need to have someone assist you if you want to keep on track and get all of the photos you need to tell the story. You will inevitably gloss over something you needed and it's a good idea to have someone helping you keep on track.
9. Scout Locations
If you can, I always suggest scouting locations! It will make things go a lot more smoothly. If you can't scout in person, have someone try taking a few cell phone photos of the location or use Google maps if it's an outdoor shoot. Do whatever you can to be the most prepared for anything.
10. Extra, Extra!
Always take extra shots, of people of objects, of whatever you can around you. You never know what they might be used for that is included in the story. Below I snapped a few portraits of these athletes because I thought they looked pretty cool, and they ended up mentioning them on the page.