I want to give you a voice
Everyone has a voice, but how do you show that in a still image? And how does that sound and still image, become a value proposition for your subjects, sitters and clients? Take it a step further and ask yourself this too. Have you seriously yet turned that collar dial on the top of your Fujifilm camera to the video setting? If not, why?
It’s a story I’ve told a number of times at workshops and conferences across the country and for some it resonates immediately. For others it’s a slow burner of realisation, that they could be missing the one sense that has never been associated traditionally with still pictures.
In 2011 I’d been photographing weddings for seven years. I thought I had it pretty sorted in terms of my sales conversion, shooting style and post production. I was shooting 80 weddings a year and with the help of a modest team, things were pretty sweet in terms of formula. In March, right at the start of that year I was visited by a couple who I’d photographed as portrait clients with their little baby daughter a few years previous.
I’ll never forget that meeting.
The couple announced they were getting wed, the next month, and they wanted me to do my thing photographically. Then there was the kicker, the bit that changed my way of thinking. The bride to be had a particular kind of brain tumour that as she said in our meeting; “Will see to me, I won’t be able to see to it.” All I could think about at that time was their daughter who in 2011 was about five. I had children not far off that age. You do the math, as they say.
So I offered something that I hadn’t done before that wedding, I offered to audio record the day as well as make pictures, so that I could produce some kind of supercharged slideshow. This wouldn’t just feature music, and it wouldn’t simply play out as a rotation of pictures. It would be a living, breathing production that in stills and sounds, would be a total legacy piece. I made it for the couple, but really I made it for their daughter as a sound and pictures time capsule. The bride gave an emotional speech on that wedding day. It brought the house down, obviously. She talked about her family and her husband and then asked of her friends; “Look after him for me people.” That sound, those emotions, her speech and that day will live on through this film with her daughter forever. And for me, I realised, for the second time in my life, having started my working life in radio, that sound is a potent force to be reckoned with. This was the day the Photofilm was born.
Babies hear sounds from the outside world at sixteen weeks gestation. It’s noted that they can recognise a father’s voice for example from the day they are born. And it’s widely now believed and understood that sound is the last sense we experience before we pass on.
So why is sound something as photographers we don’t think to embrace? What should it be the domain of the videographer or film maker? Why can’t sound and stills live harmoniously together too?
If you’re a portrait photographer and specifically a ‘day in the life’ style shooter, have you ever thought to ask a family to read their newborn or young child a book? Imagine the power a recording may have if your parent or even grandparent’s voice could still read you a bedtime story as you yourself grow older? What I would give to hear my grandmother read me The House at Pooh Corner.
What we do is about legacy. Every time you press your shutter button, it’s about record, it’s about life, it’s about that legacy.
Extend that a little further and you may be thinking about filming. Vlogs, journal pieces for your website, commercial films, or just simply filming those you love.
In this workshop, I want to give you an edge that you may not have considered yet. The gift of understanding sound recording. I want to show you how to record, what to record with and what to do with those recordings. I want to take you on an audio journey and I want to change your business. I want to give you a voice to go with those fabulous pictures you make every day.