Last week I attended the WPPI 2014 Conference + Expo at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The top creative photographers from all over the world gathered to learn, share and discuss the latest tips, techniques, trends and technologies in their industry. This year they had a full track of sessions dedicated to hybrid photography, defined as the skillful blend of still photos, video and sound. I was impressed with the creativity of the hybrid photographers using this new medium for commercial shoots, family portrait sessions and living business cards.
Driving the hybrid trend is new mirrorless digital camera technology which enables quality still photos and videos to be captured at the same time with independent focus capabilities. Panasonic is leading the way with a line of DSLM cameras that make it easy for the photographer to make the jump into video. The new Lumix G4 and its predecessor the G3 are quickly becoming the standard. The G4 shoots video at 4K which gives photographers the ability to print just about any size from a single frame.
Giulio Sciorio, a creative innovator in this emerging space, says hybrid should be shot like a photograph rather than a video. A videographer is trained to tell a full story, while a photographer is equipped to capture the moment, he continues. Hybrid photography is simply small clips or animated portraits (2-8 seconds) that convey emotion, bringing a deeper context to the subject matter that makes a stronger connection with the audience. Giulio says that he uses hybrid on every commercial shoot even if it is not requested. His clients are always blown away with the results and, since capturing video is happening as part of his normal workflow, it doesn’t add any extra time or resource requirements during the shoot. It only requires a few minutes of post processing to create an entire set of licensable creative products. More products equal more revenue opportunities for his photography business. Giulio is an award-winning advertising executive that left the corporate world to quench his creative thirst as a photographer and follow the transformation of imagery from print to digital screen. “It’s all about the screen and we, as photographers, are responsible to fill it with great image content.” Hybrid is the natural next step in this journey.”
Suzette Allen, owner of A Picture of Hope, showed her line of living Christmas cards that she delivers as part of her holiday portrait sittings. They contain a mix of beautiful still images and well placed video clips that provide a fun addition to the traditional printed holiday card. Her customers share the living Christmas cards on their social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. She is adding even more hybrid products to her offerings including e-business cards, product promotion and senior videos.
Hybrid photography is a great example of Flex Media and shows that it has both commercial and consumer applications. The take away from this year’s WPPI show is that photographers continue to lead the way in creativity because they are on the front lines everyday working with their customers and providing what they demand.