Behind the Scenes (BTS) videos are a popular item that many commercial clients as well as others desire as part of a professional photo shoot. Nearly every commercial client I shoot for these days asks for a BTS video for them to use on their website in addition to the still imagery I create for them. The reason is that these BTS videos are such an effective marketing tool.
These videos drive traffic to your website, engage potential clients and give them peace of mind when hiring you, and greatly increases word of mouth advertising.
Since I’m primarily a still photographer, I’ll hire a cinematographer to film my shoots as well as edit it afterward. If you don’t have the budget to hire a cinematographer and/or editor, you can check with local colleges to see if there are students looking to build their reels, or you can have an assistant do the filming. You may even find a wedding videographer open to collaborating in exchange for using your images on their website or promos.
To create a great BTS video, certain elements should be included:
Still Images: Include the final images from your shoot in the actual video because this shows the end result and showcases your work. I usually have the editor put the images in at the end of the video.
Interesting Footage: The more footage the better. Include all aspects of the shoot including hair and makeup, wardrobe, gear, you at work, interacting with the models or subject. Its great to have a variety of clips from wide to close-up and make sure your editor chooses clips that have the most emotion. The worst thing you can do is show a video of your shoot that looks boring. The footage should communicate the story and showcase you as an artist. Also, the more footage that’s shot, the more you have to work with when editing the final video.
Music: Make sure to use licensed background music. There are sites that sell royalty free music at affordable prices. The song you choose is important because it sets the tone of your video.
Time-lapse: Time-lapse is great tool and many of the Nikon cameras will do time-lapses right in the camera. Put a camera on a tripod before you start setting up the shoot and allow the camera to capture a time-lapse of the process. You can put the footage to music and make a great promo video out of just that. It also makes for interesting footage for your editor to add into the final video.
Graphics: Be sure and include your logo somewhere in the video. In some videos, I’ll give the editor a list of credits as well.
Voiceover/Audio: Recording audio isn’t going to make or break your video but it does add an extra dimension if you want to talk about your vision or interview your client on set.
Editing the video
Once everything is filmed, your cinematographer will be able to start on the edit. I always supply them with the final retouched images and the music before they start the editing process. And I’ll let them know how long the final video should be as well. The shorter the better—usually from one to four minutes in length is ideal. Be sure and tell your editor to choose clips that best express your personality.
You can also choose to edit the video yourself.
Promote your video and brand
Post your video on your website as well as the social media platforms you use. Adding keywords to the video with your website, name and the team involved will help it show up on search engines.
Ultimately your BTS video will serve as a way to showcase your brand in an interesting and interactive way, which will help attract new clients and take your brand and business to the next level.