It’s not uncommon for photographers to go from shooting stills to shooting motion. It can be a tricky transition, but with the right attitude, tools, and advice, it can be done smoothly. Maryland-based photographer Clark Vandergrift recently shared with us his new Director’s Reel and gave us some insight into his experience of adding video to his career.
Around nine years ago, Clark started shooting video when the Canon 5D Mark II came out. Initially, he thought it would be easy since he already knows his way around a camera, and assumed the video capability worked similarly. Clark assumed you just flip the switch and you’re good to go, but soon realized this was not the case. Prior to exploring the world of video, Clark strictly snapped stills. With the assistance of fellow photographers and creatives who are familiar with the medium of motion, Clark found himself learning the ropes and becoming more familiar with different shooting techniques in no time.
Clark loves the storytelling aspect of his job. A lot of his still work has an imaginative and narrative element, so transitioning to video seemed like a natural next step for Clark, creatively speaking. However, the creative aspect is oddly enough one of the more challenging parts Clark has faced, realizing everything must work together. The technique, editing, and writing need to flow cohesively, which at times can be difficult.
Shooting video requires so much more in so many more ways. The actors move, the camera often moves, the lighting can’t override ambient the same way strobes do and many other things like good quality audio field mixing/recording!
All around, the art of video requires a lot more out of a person, both financially and creatively, but in the end, the reward pays off. Many clients of Clark’s are in the market for both video and still work, making Clark very desirable in the industry. There are time and cost efficiencies when being able to shoot stills and motion simultaneously. Clients tend to find themselves choosing creatives who are capable of shooting both still images and motions videos, plus acting as a director, which shows an extra layer of dedication to the client.
As a still-photographer, Clark handles most of the retouching and post-production. As for his motion work, Clark finds himself completing the editing about half of the time, though sometimes the client dictates who is in charge of the editing as a whole.
I enjoy cutting a piece together. It can be an arduous process, but so much creativity happens during this phase. If I’m doing the timeline edit, then I’m also assuming the role of the colorist.
Most of the time Clark is behind the camera, but he has also found himself directing some projects. He hopes to gain more assignments in this medium because he loves the collaborative process and wants to have more opportunities to learn from other professionals. Since adding motion to his portfolio, Clark has worked on many exciting projects. He continues to shoot stills and motion, and, on top of that, tries to soak up as much information about the industry as he can along the way!
See more of Clark at clarkvandergrift.com!