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.


Behance Tips from Michael Chaize

Behance, the online portfolio site, is a place where you could get hired to design an album cover for Pink Floyd.

That’s what recently happened to Ahmed Emad Eldin.  At 15, this talented young artist had his Behance profile, where he posted his original artwork, discovered by Vice. Can you imagine being asked to use a piece of your art for a Pink Floyd album cover? This boy obviously had no idea as he created a Behance profile that this amazing thing would happen to him, but he benefitted from the unique opportunity that the site allows for anybody– anywhere in the world! — to share their talent and make a name for themselves.  If you’d like to see Ahmed’s artwork, check out Vice’s article about the album creation.

This story was shared to me by Michael Chaize of Adobe, who recently hosted a super informative webcast on the facets of Behance and some guidelines for success.  Hopefully this webcast will be available to view online eventually, but he gave some great tips on using hidden features of the site. Check it out below!

Behance Best Practices

from Michael Chaize, Adobe CC Evangelist.

To succeed on Behance:

-Tell a story

Give your work the exciting foundation it needs to shine by letting your viewers explore the story of your art- how your idea came about, what the artistic process looked like, how the idea changed along the course of the project, and how the finished product shone.  Demonstrate that your work was professional and solved a problem-this is the result that potential employers would expect from an employee.  If your work is great enough to show off in public, it deserves a little unofficial marketing from you as the project advocate.  Share any good reviews the work got from clients.  Round out your story and the whole project will look a little more impressive.

-Use a teaser thumbnail

Your thumbnail picture, a small preview, is the gateway to your project for users on the site. The thumbnail needs to be great: beautiful, enticing, leaving just a bit of the story to the imagination of the viewer. Michael used this as his positive example from the site.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 11.36.42 AM

-Be genuinely active

Behance plays by social network rules, which means activity, activity. Comments, shares, appreciations- these are the things that build the artistic community between artists from all corners of the globe. So once you have a Behance profile, leave your own page and start exploring the world of artistic creations that are shown on this full site.  There are so many artists and art pieces you can explore for hours and hours. And when you see a picture that you love, do something about it! Let the artist know!  If you click on a piece thumbnail, you can see the full project. From here you can do many things to connect:

-Appreciate the work. (It’s a “like”)

-Leave a comment. Michael’s tip on comments is to keep them great quality. Write genuine praise, and be specific so that the artist can see that you mean it.

-Follow the artist or go through to more of their work

-Add the piece to a collection of yours (You can theme these, and other people can see them and follow if they like them.)

-Curate your portfolio

According to Michael, your work and your image are what will help you succeed on this social site. So think about the message your artwork selection and general tone are sending to the users who may visit your page. What you want is to be seen as a highly talented, professional artist with constant projects and a fascinating workflow. So only submit your best work, not every single piece you worked on in Illustrator recently.  Also, you can share a project gradually by using WIP (work in progress) galleries.  This means that you post iterations of a project along the course of its life, and invites other professionals to see and critique your work.  Each iteration should be worth commenting on, so plan out your WIP posts and finish what you start.  This can be a great place to become friends with the designers who are willing to help you and leave meaningful comments.

-Attend events

Behance offers real-life opportunities for artistic community through its area portfolio reviews. Attend one (and hopefully more) to get veteran advice on your portfolio, and to meet some of the great community members face-to-face.

So, if you are creating good things, share them on Behance! You will get exposure, and also be exposed to important artistic trends and talent. You may find a new muse in the U.A.E., or a great teenage cultural artist in Belarus. Art is made to be shared and worked on in community, and Behance allows you to connect in a deep way to the artists near you and in countries around the world. So grab your best pieces and work on your Behance portfolio today!

p.s. These tips were shared by Michael Chaize.  If you liked them or want to ask him any questions about Behance or Creative Cloud, you can find him at @mchaize or at his website, Creative Droplets.




Six cool things you can do on Behance (that you probably didn’t know about)

1. Create a website, (called a Prosite) automatically from your Behance works

2. Embed audio from SoundCloud or video as part of a project

3. Upload a custom background to display a project

4. Submit your image as a WIP directly from IllustratorCC

5. Curate and share collections of projects

6. Find artists in a particular city

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.