REDEFINE | Photography + Films feature by Stacey Ilyse

“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “

Why are you passionate about films along with photography ?

These are things that can’t be posed or contrived. But they are also things that may be easily forgotten, lost in the shuffle between activities and milestones. There is something precious about being able to see the moving memory of your life – to SEE the stroke on someone’s cheek, or the way the pullback their hair into a ponytail, the way someone loves another person, or the way siblings squabble… to HEAR the sounds of laughter, the voice of someone possibly no longer with you… the stories about how you met, or the words “I LOVE YOU” ..

When did you start making films for your business?

I officially started to offer films about 1 year ago, May 2016

Has it been a hard sell to clients?

Surprisingly, NO! I know that many have struggled but I feel that films were almost an “obvious choice” for many of my clients. It was something unique, new, and really special. EVERYONE who’s seen them (and especially those who have booked) have understood the value in them almost immediately… even husbands (who generally are hesitant to be in photos, or find it tedious to do a session are on board – or fall in love with a film afterwards if they were not beforehand and have booked another!)

How do you blend photography + films seamlessly ?

Most clients can’t tell the difference between when Im shooting photo or video and they become so involved with being with their families that it becomes easy to switch back and forth. I don’t actually include my still photography INTO my videos – (unless they are for a newborn or fresh 48) I do always include documentary, candid still photography as part of my packages for all video clients – they receive those separately in an online gallery and view them with me during our video/photo in-person reveal – which is SO fun for me to do – I love seeing my clients reactions when they see the films and photographs for the first time – most of them cry!!

Tell us about your film editing?

I create the films using Adobe premiere pro and try to keep my actual footage edits very simple and without many filters or presets, etc.. I want them to look and feel timeless and classic.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to start filming? (aim for at least 5, but any are welcome)

Im going to do 2-3 technical and/or 2-3 biz related
Stabilizing your camera is KEY. You don’t need any fancy gear to do it – a good neck strap and steady hands are a must
you don’t NEED to follow your subjects every move, sometimes it is best for them to come in and out a frame… it creates interest and it’s less jarring to the viewer
Create personal work too! I found that my personal projects engage my audience just as much – if not more then my client work. People like to get to know who I am, what my life is like – and see that it is just like their lives – makes me more relatable… Also, personal projects fuel your soul and help you grow as an artist!
I dont think there is any “magic button” that someone can press and POOF clients come running – BUT I do think it is important when you are first starting any new business venture to privately offer to do 1-3 projects gratis to clients or friends that you feel would not only help build your portfolio, but also promote the S**T outta you afterwards. I know there is no guarantee about how it might turn out, but know your audience and know WHY and WHO you are picking for a reason.
DO NOT price yourself too low! These films are HARD WORK – and take A LOT of time to create. If you need to, offer an introductory discount off your ideal price point. This gives your clients the info off the bat that eventually you will be charging XYZ for this service.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

1. Balance. It was very hard to find balance between booking photography sessions vs film clients… besides the fall rush, I had almost ZERO photo sessions – video took over my calendar… I was beyond grateful, but also completely overwhelmed by it… I also felt I was losing myself to video and needed to find my photographers voice within all these sessions too!

2. I had to re-wire my brain to see things in video vs photography and ALSO at the same time learn and remember to switch back and forth between the 2 during a session and it was hard at first! – Some of my earlier sessions def did not have as strong a photo portfolio as my sessions do now. I practiced a lot on my girls… which helped. It is seamless for me now – I see the moment in video – take the clip and then flip the switch for a photo…

3. Remembering that IT IS OK TO MISS A MOMENT. There will always be another one!

4. Workflow and music selection were (and sometimes still can be) hard. These films take 20+ hours to create – people don’t realize it… but us video folk are devoted and passionate about our craft.

ABOUT THE ARTIST :

“In a world full of Mary’s be a Rhoda” Stacey Ilyse, a documentary photography & videographer focusing on families and real life moments. Stacey is based in Northern NJ where she pursues her 365 passion project – documenting her life with her 2 little girls, crazy doodle and extremely patience husband.

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