Skip to main content

What About Photos? How to Switch Back and Forth

Lesson 19 from: Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

What About Photos? How to Switch Back and Forth

Lesson 19 from: Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

19. What About Photos? How to Switch Back and Forth

Next Lesson: Client Prep


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


The Spark That Inspired Me


What Are Family Films?


Gear for Family Films


Camera Settings for Video


Frame Rates & Slow Motion


Picture Profiles & Color Grading


Settings for Audio Capture


Lesson Info

What About Photos? How to Switch Back and Forth

Photos and video. Why to switch, when to switch, and how to switch. So... This is something I think people really struggle with a little bit is... They get, oh I don't know which one to shoot of what. Right? And so you end up missing some stuff of one or the other. And you need to understand, you're always gonna miss something of one or the other. But there's gonna be a million different moments that happen, just move on and go to the next one. Okay? The important thing that helps you have confidence at the beginning of the shoot is to know the priority before the session. So if you have marketed yourself as your selling the films, and the photos are a bonus, then you're pretty sweet on this, right, it's expected that the video is the priority. But if you're going into it as, I'm doing a photography session for you, and I'm also gonna give you a video too, then probably the photos are the priority. But I would speak to the client and ask them, and get a really good understanding betwee...

n yourself and them. And also decide what you wanna do, right? Decide for you whether the video is gonna be the priority or the photo is. It doesn't matter which one it is. If video is the priority you're gonna have a lot more options, it's gonna be easier to edit. So I always lean towards video as a priority. If I can get some photos of the same scene, or the same moment 'cause it's happening again, then I will switch to photos. But I'm always gonna miss something. Okay? When to switch. So shoot the priority first, and then switch to the other. So if I'm shooting videos first, usually what will happen, can I just grab my camera? Thanks. Usually what'll happen is I will have, 'cause you know, I'm a photographer still, so I've got my photographer's hat on, I'm still composing, everything is great. I've got it set. So let's say mom and baby are here, and I'm shooting this, and I've got this great moment of whatever's happening between them. I've done one shot over the top of them, I've gotten enough shots of other things, I just flick right over to photos, grab the still. I don't move or try to bring it to my face, it's composed already. So I just flick it over. And I think Nikon is the same, but it's just a toggle. So you just toggle back and forth. Should turn my camera on for that. So you just toggle back and forth. I also have the Fuji X-T2, that's a little trickier 'cause you have the dial on the other side. But it's really great if, like this is super easy, I can just be here, use my thumb, flick it over, grab the still, then go back to video. 'Kay? Sometimes if I know I've gotten a lot of video of something, then I might be like, okay I'm gonna shoot photos for a little while now. 'Cause I know I've gotten a lot of this same scene, of this same moment. Things like, I'm talking kids are jumping on the bed. Right? So you only need so much video of that. You've shot it from a couple of different places, now you can spend some time shooting photos of it too because they're still doing it. (chuckles) Sometimes for too long. And then you walk away, 'cause you're like, I'm done shooting that. And then how to switch, so every camera is different right? So you just need to check your camera and see what it is for you. A lot of people, again, get hung up on the settings, oh my shutter speed, oh I gotta change that, blah blah blah, be mindful of that. I don't usually worry too much about that, because again, I don't go too far below 1/200. So you saw that whole film, and this was a longer time that I spent with this family. But this is the gallery that they got. So you can probably recognize some of the scenes that you saw, and then there is gonna be stuff that you didn't see as well. But when we first opened the reveal slide at the beginning, I shot photos of that as well. There was a lot, well there was a little bit of her little boy playing, that I didn't include. This was a moment that was happening, that I just wanted to get a still of. I just chose to shoot that as photos instead of video. What made this... Different than the session that I did on Sunday, is that these kids were nowhere near as active. They weren't running between rooms, and running from inside to outside. So I had a lot more time of each of the things that happened. So I could shoot a lot more of both for this session, so I'll just let you know that in advance. This whole little part I didn't include in the film. Right there. And a little bit of that was just because the light, I didn't like the light as much in that area, and I knew that it probably wasn't gonna be something I included... Then we go outside. So the moment where he's like swinging on the thing, there was shots that I got where he did it for a long time, so I had a lot of time to shoot video of it. And then this, he spun a lot. This is one of my favorite photos. And he spun a lot and so I had plenty of time to get photos. This they've moved into the playroom. I didn't include any bath stuff in the film. Only a little bit of them jumping. I decided to shoot them reading stories as photos. And then there was a mixture of this part where she's telling him stories, just laying there. They're such a snuggly family, it was incredible. They were very easy to follow around and shoot. And then when we got to the location, I grabbed the opening shot in this location where they were swinging him up. I knew I had that, so I didn't need to shoot any more of them walking. 'Cause I knew I had that one moment, and I was like, great I'm good. So now I can switch to photos and I'm just gonna grab that photo, that still. And then them going to sit down. This stuff right here, I also, there was little bits of footage that I shot through it but I didn't include it in the film. So there was a mixture. Probably because I shot so many photos of it the footage wasn't as good. This part where they're doing the blanket... Up and down, they did that several times. So, you know, if they're repeating it, and you've gotten the footage of it you can switch to photos and grab a still of it as well. They just keep doing it. Then I moved to my tilt shift, and there was, she specifically, this client, there was probably a little bit more guidance that happened during this session, I'm gonna go into that later. But she specifically wanted some images of her and her husband where she could see the love that they had for each other. She really wanted that, and she's like, 'cause she knows how I shoot, which is really hands off, and I don't give guidance. She knew that, and she was like, I really just want some photos where there's a little bit of guidance, 'cause he won't do this just normally. And so I was like, okay, at the end of the session we can do that. So, I just had them talk to each other and yeah... So that was at the end of it. And then she also wanted some photos with the wrap that she uses to wear her little one in. So that's a gallery. I was with that client for a while, they're not always that big, and they were a pretty relaxed family. So there was a lot, like I said, just a lot more opportunity to do both. When a family is really active, and they're moving around places to places, I usually end up with less photos because I'm so focused on making sure I have enough footage of those transitions, to be able to then edit with later. So I get less, but it's why I always, and this is what I've learned with my clients, is to just reiterate, it's not about the activities that you're doing, it's about the connection that you have with each other. It's just about hanging out together. It's not about what you're doing at all. So... We're gonna just, go ahead, question. I had a question earlier that is related to that, if you miss a moment, do you ever ask them to redo something? No. It didn't seem like you would. No, I don't. I'm not saying that you shouldn't but I don't. And a lot of that is just as soon as I start saying, "Oh can you do that again," then... We shift into a, now I'm in control of giving guidance now. And then that's not a place I wanna be, 'cause I don't enjoy that as much. So, and I'm gonna talk about my approach in a little bit, so I won't get too in depth with that right now. Alright, so we'll head back over to the keynote. And... Strive for progress not perfection. Right? So don't, like her hair. It's not perfect, we're getting there. (laugh) Strive for progress not perfection. All that you need to do is just be a little bit better than you were last time. You don't need to worry about it all being perfect right now. And that's what I want to reiterate to you, is that every time you do it you're going to improve, and so work towards doing a little bit better than you did last time. And for the next film just a little bit better than you did last time. And for the next film a little bit better than you did last time. It's steps, layers. Strive for progress not perfection. Because you can get too hung up on everything being perfect, that you can get frustrated and overwhelmed and give up, and that's not what I want you to do. I want you to work towards just being better than you were last time. Yeah? So I think we've got time for any questions that might have come up. Following up to the question about, how you deliver the videos and the photos. So you deliver your photos through a gallery, how do you combine them with the videos? Do you present them all into one? So later, and I don't have it on this gallery because I need to tweak the video a little bit in order to do it, but I use Pixieset galleries and you can have the cover be a video. So it's not hosting the video, you still need to host the video through Vimeo or somewhere else. I use Vimeo. So it's hosted through Vimeo and then I use the link, and then when I deliver the film as the gallery, usually I deliver the gallery of photos first, I will get into that later. But then I add the video into it. I just haven't done it for this client yet. But later I'm gonna show you a gallery where the video is the cover, so you can see what that looks like. So they do get a cohesive product that gives them both, which is awesome. So I think Pixieset, and then there's probably, I think there's one other one that does it. They just introduced that and I just think it's great. So yeah. When you deliver it, are you with them? The video seems so emotional, and then how do you just like let it go to them, and they like look at it? ♪ Let it go ♪ Yeah. So, that's hard. I mean, I want to be there, but I let it go. I give it to them. Usually what I do is I send it to them first. Like, I don't share it anywhere else, I want them to see it first. And then I send them the link, and then usually they gather their whole family together and all watch it together at the same time. And then they come back to me and they're like, "We loved it," or you know, whatever. And so it's that way. I would love to see them, I don't think I've yet seen any of them watch it for the first time in person. I want to. In fact, one day I wanna film one of them watching it for the first time. But yeah, a lot of that has to do with time. And for me, in Sydney, we're driving, it's a long distance usually to my sessions. So if I'm traveling an hour to them just for the session, it's just not feasible to do. And I only get 15 hours of childcare a week. Like, I'm running my business with my daughter in preschool five hours a day, three days a week, and that's pretty much it. So, I get help on the weekends and it's usually when I do my shoots. So extra time is hard right now, and my kids are little. When they're bigger then I can probably do some evenings where I do that with families. But yeah, it's a good question though. I think everybody should do it, you should show it in person, 'cause it's amazing. Yeah. A couple questions earlier. Leslie asked, and another person asked as well, "Do you ever capture still images from the video?" So this is when you were talking about switching back and forth, but will you ever-- Pull. Yeah. No, no. Because I would be pulling like a JPEG basically. So I wouldn't be able to edit it the way that I could a normal photo. It would also be a different aspect ratio than the others, and also it wouldn't print. I couldn't give that to a client and be like, you can print this big on your wall. I don't want them to be confused. I don't wanna have to say to them, "Okay these photos you can print big, this one you probably shouldn't." You know? So I don't. But yeah, there have been times during, I filmed a birth, and during that moment I asked her what her priority was for the actual birth, and it was video. And so I pulled some stills from that, but that was just for her and that wasn't going on the wall, so it was okay. But yeah it's rare. It was only in that situation I've done it. Great, thank you. Yeah. And Missy Turner asked, "Do you use live view "during viewing during both photographing and filming? "And if so, why or why not?" Yeah, well live view is what when you're filming it shows up. I do a lot, I'll flick it over, and I like live view especially if I'm... I shoot photos in live view a lot, the only issue with it is that it's slower. So if I need it to be fast then no. But if I'm okay, like if it's okay to shoot it in live view, and it's okay if it's a little bit slower that's fine. Then yeah, so it's a mixture, yes and no.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Shot List Worksheet Template
Shot List Worksheet Example
Ideas for Your First Film
Discount Code

Ratings and Reviews

Adam Nicholls

Worth a watch! Courtney provides a clear and organised class, she is also very passionate about what she does which is always nice to see. She has a great back story which is fantastic. This course is good for beginners who have some knowledge in photography and want to learn more about video. I would recommend that people do not refer this class to the bible of filmmaking as I feel you can expand further on what Courtney teaches. Some useful tips for beginners but some methods I personally feel can be taught differently. I feel a gimbal is a useful bit of kit if used correctly. You can still use a gimbal when in manual mode providing you follow the basics rules! Obviously if Courtney prefers not to use a gimbal then that's also fine but I wouldn't discourage students from exploring useful filmmaking tools. Slow motion can be achieved with 50/60fps however I feel other frame rates should have been discussed like 120fps. I liked that Courtney engaged with the students as it gets them involved and will help them remember what they have learned during the class. Thank you for taking the time to share some of your knowledge

a Creativelive Student

Courtney's work is absolutely amazing and inspiring. I feel lucky that she has chosen to share her process and that this class is available! After watching all the videos and trying my hand at this video thing, I am feeling really encouraged and inspired to do more- both personally and professionally. I appreciate the way that she breaks things down in the video and that she shares her thought process. A really great course!


Courtney’s course completes me! I have storytelling “holes” in my film previously, but this course helped fill those holes to create a flow and a film with emotion. Not only is the course wonderful (and well worth every penny) but Courtney is wonderful as well! I had such an amazing experience at Creative Live!!!!

Student Work