Love Video Marketing?

Guest post from Tim Gebhart from Business Design Guys.  Content originally posted September 9, 2014 by Oswego Creative.

Avoid these common video production mistakes!

Many businesses try to save money by self-producing their marketing videos, but this approach is often fraught with problems. Often, amateur videographers finish a piece, view it, and think it looks great. However, upon showing that piece to a professional, they can quickly identify many mistakes. A professional videographer finding issues is understandable but the most common mistakes made by amateur videographers are also identifiable to the public including potential clients. Mistakes can happen with any video production, but years of experience provide professional videographers with an understanding of common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Some of the more common mistakes amateur videographers make:

  • Poorly executed cuts and transitions

  • Poor choice of background

  • Bad lighting

  • Inferior acting or poor speaking abilities

  • Too long, too much information

  • Poor continuity

  • Poor scene composition, known as the “pole growing out of someone’s head problem”

  • Ignoring the audio component of the piece

Self-made videos still come at a cost and still require specific equipment and resources. Self-produced videos require a significant time investment and can quickly devolve into a gigantic time suck. That time could be better used managing and growing your business. Amateur videographers also rarely take into account additional costs for items such as post-production locations, and logistical details. Amateur videographers report that cost is the number one reason people produce videos on their own. But after all of the costs are tabulated and the time lost is factored in, the final product often doesn’t deliver the intended results. You may have spent all that money for nothing.

Non-professionals are often unaware of all the things that a video production requires. Experienced professional video production companies have years of experience. They know the most cost-effective, efficient and productive ways to do things during video production. In other cases, amateur videographers may have an understanding of production principles and equipment – and then that is all they think about. Your message and purpose of the video can be forgotten.

Amateur videographers often forget to answer basic questions such as:

  • What is the message you want to impart, the audience you want to reach, and how you would like it to come across?

  • What is the budget?

  • What is the structure and narrative tone of the video?

Investing in professional video production returns the money you invest by saving you time and aggravation. Additionally professional film crews make a huge difference in the ultimate success of a marketing video. It is helpful to think of it as a business investment. While it initially takes some money away from the business for its production, a great marketing video can increase profits by reaching many new potential clients. When considering using a professional videography crew versus doing it yourself, think of all the costs and time commitment before making that decision to go it alone.

The Secret to Capturing a Candid Portrait

“Say Cheese”!

A priority for me in portrait sessions is to capture my client’s BEST expressions.  The expressions they make in everyday life, that are so integrated with their personality that it makes up a majority of what they look like to us. Who doesn’t love to have that captured- to see a beautifully composed picture of their child in the midst of a laugh, or of their elderly parents, eyes clear and shining with memories and love?

But what do you get when you ask a client to “say cheese”?


The “photo smile” is something we develop, right?  Forced, non-emotive, and totally fake.

However, the cheese smile is hard to drop. It’s automatic.  So how do you keep your clients from putting a fake expression on their face every time you take a picture?

Take your real pictures in the moments between.  Between the fake smiles. Between the stiff poses.  Between the overly angry “serious” poses.

Because that moment of relaxing after the pose, of laughing at the awkwardness of the hand placement you just posed- that’s when your model looks most like themselves.

Here are five tips to help you capture your “moments between”:

  1. Keep your camera raised immediately after a shot.  Announce that you’ve gotten the picture, but stay poised to snap one more right after they relax, while they’re still mostly posed. (If you feel like this is making your model self-conscious, explain your process of weeding out unflattering shots.)
  2. Say something funny to your client, and capture the laughter or suppressed giggles.  This works really well with serious poses.
  3. Encourage your model to make a funny, extreme pose or expression to stretch and relax their face or body in between shots. Capture both the expression and the moments following.
  4. Pose your model, then tell them to hold the pose but look away from you.  Then call their eyes back to you and catch their expression just before they finish fully “reposing”.
  5. Bring another person on the shoot!  Preferably someone the model is comfortable with.  Encourage interaction between the model and the assistant, and snap a few shots of the model looking at the assistant, instead of straight into your camera.

If you prefer, candid, natural portraits, try using some of these techniques to add some “between” moments to your photography sessions.


Combining Typefaces

Sometimes I want a recipe to pair fonts.

Two cups of Serif + one cup of Sans + a sprinkling of bold?


This article on some easy ways to make font decisions is just the best!  If you have a hard time (like I do) choosing fonts to combine nicely for print or web, browse this quick read for some easy tips.

A Crash Course in Typography: Principles for Combining Typefaces



Library of Congress Set

Who likes free photos??


I learn a lot from tutorials. New skills, refreshers of ways I learned to work once upon a time, and a little constrained creative freedom. All of that is so fun and is my reward for finding a working on those tutorials. But another great benefit of following tutorials is the challenge of finding great free photos to work with. I think today I’ve stumbled across something that will keep me supplied with complimentary and beautiful photos for quite some time. 🙂

"Las Tejas," Oakleigh Thorne house, 170 Picacho Road, Montecito, California. (LOC)



Sticker CD tutorial from Mary Winkler

Did you know you can make DIY mac icons!?



This morning was spent following a simple tutorial by Mary Winkler on Tuts+.  This cute little sticker could lend itself to diverse icons, using any image or shape.  Following tutorials can sometimes be a little boring ( Who wants to spend a lot of time trying to exactly replicate someone else’s style of work?) but I say that they are a great way to uncover helpful tools, techniques and styles that you may not be using in your daily work.


Click on my icon to view the tutorial.



Mark O’Toole’s advice for new job seekers.

Mark O’Toole’s advice for new job seekers.

“Over the past 20 years, I’ve been in hiring roles and have received thousands of resumes from new college graduates. I’ve interviewed many for real jobs and done my share of informational interviews. Sometimes I’ve hired people into entry-level positions. More often though, I haven’t.” -O’Toole



This is a great presentation to view if you are job seeking, especially as a new college graduate.  Some of it is funny, some harsh, but all of the content he presents is common sense, direct, and extremely helpful.