Video for Photographers: Three Quick Tips For Photographers Shooting Video

Video For Photographers:
Three Quick Tips For Photographers Shooting Video

By: Faith Fuller

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Bob Krist is a longtime National Geographic photojournalist who recently transitioned to video/documentary storytelling.

He admits the transition came with a steep learning curve, however he says photographers are uniquely qualified to shoot video and simply need to add a few new skills.

He shares his top three tips for making the transition from photography to cinematography.

Three Quick Tips for Photographers Shooting Video

Tip #1: Learn Sequences

Krist says still photographers tend to go for that one big shot and then the next big shot. But as a videographer, he says it's important to think (and shoot) in sequences.

"Still photographers come with a highly developed skill set in terms of composition light and all that," says Krist. "But what we have to learn is the sequence to not only get that broad shot, but then to break it down into its pieces." 

He says it's necessary to not only shoot the wide shots, but to also make sure to get the medium and close up shots. In addition, he says it can sometimes be a challenge to shoot fast enough to capture the same action from different angles so that they all match up in a sequence during editing.

"That is to this day the hardest thing for me... is to shoot that one great shot, that one overall shot, and then say okay now I need five close-ups," says Krist. "I need the face, the hands, the over the shoulder shot and all this kind of thing and then you have to hope that whomever you're shooting is going to be doing the same thing long enough that you can have the time to capture everything needed for a sequence."

"In The Chapel of Jimmy Ray" By Bob Krist

Tip #2: Frame The Action

Krist says that still photographers have a tendency to follow the action wherever it goes, whipping the camera back and forth. 

"You see a lot of beginning photographers getting into video and they firehose wherever that subject goes."

So another important lesson he recommends to photographers shooting video is to let the action come in and out of the frame. He says it makes it much easier to cut sequences during the editing process.

Video For Photographers: Frame The Action

Tip #3: Audio, Audio, Audio

The third big lesson Bob says is the importance of audio, which he admits continues to be a struggle.

"You don't realize the audio pollution all around us until you sit down and try to do something like this (an interview outdoors)."

Krist offers the following pointers:

  • Don't rely on the camera's built-in microphone for interviews which will provide sub-par audio quality. Instead, make sure to record audio with an external recorder hooked up to a professional mic.

  • Make sure your microphone is positioned no more than 1-2 feet away from the person talking.

  • Be aware of surrounding noise. Even the hum of a refrigerator can be a major distraction during an interview.

For audio, Krist uses the following set-up:

Bob Krist's One-Man Documentary Film Crew Gear Kit

Bob Krist's One-Man Documentary Film Crew Gear Kit - Read Full Article & Gear List

About Bob Krist

Bob Krist

Bob Krist is a lifelong freelance photojournalist who recently transitioned from photography into filmmaking with a focus on creating gorgeously shot cinematic travel and cultural documentaries.

He works regularly on assignment for magazines such as National Geographic TravelerSmithsonian, and Islands. These assignments have taken him to all seven continents and have won awards in the Pictures of the Year, Communication Arts, and World Press Photo competitions. During his work, he has been stranded on a glacier in Iceland, nearly run down by charging bulls in southern India, and knighted with a cutlass during a Trinidad voodoo ceremony.

He won the title of “Travel Photographer of the Year” from the Society of American Travel Writers in 1994, 2007, and 2008. 

An accomplished writer as well as a photographer, Bob is a contributing editor at both National Geographic Traveler and Outdoor Photographer, where he writes a travel photography column. He is the author of 12 books including In Tuscany (Broadway Books, NY) which spent a month on the New York Times bestseller list.

He lectures in Washington DC as part of the ongoing “Live at the National Geographic” series. He teaches photo workshops for the Maine and Santa Fe Photo Workshops, National Geographic Expeditions, and Linblad Expeditions.

A former professional actor, Bob hosted Nature’s Best Photography, a 13-part series for National Wildlife Productions on the Outdoor Life Network, and Photography Close Up, one of Cablevision’s “MagRack” series. Currently, he can be seen as the host of the PBS special Restoration Stories.

Bob lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania, with his wife Peggy. They are the parents of three sons, Matthew, Brian, and Jonathan.

Learn More About Bob Krist:


Bob Krist on Vimeo

Learn from Bob Krist in his online course: Fundamentals of Travel Photography hosted by The Great Courses Plus.

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