Fusion Skills Can Heighten Any Photo Shoot

We recently blogged about Dawn Shields’ fusion album here. The Fusion Album category is entirely new at WPPI, mixing still photographs with video and audio clips. We asked Dawn about the experience and sought additional tips for incorporating photo fusion into your own wedding & portrait work.

Though a fusion album wasn’t part of her initial plans, Dawn’s subject, a young gospel singer named Rhema, and her vocal gift meshed beautifully with the genre. “I was working on Rhema’s images and {my assistant} Kyla suggested the fusion album. We knew Rhema had an amazing story but imagery was not enough.” Deep down, Dawn felt the audience needed to hear the power of Rhema’s voice, so combining stills with audio and video emerged as an album choice.

Want to bring some fusion magic to your own photo shoots? Photographer Jen Bebb, author of “Photo Fusion: A Wedding Photographers Guide to Mixing Digital Photography and Video,” offers tips in making this new style work for you:

Shoot your video with the eye of a photographer. Use your knowledge of light and composition to make your video and stills blend together seamlessly. Remember your primary focus is making still images and video is designed to augment those stills. Don’t use video just because you can. If it doesn’t look good and overwhelms your stills, don’t use it.

Stabilize your footage. Because you are recording more than a split second, video is a challenge to hold steady. Stabilize your footage especially during the ceremony and speeches.

Treat Speech as a Gift. The value of your recording will grow over time so record with respect and care. You are recording a gift of words that your clients may never hear again in the same way. A portable audio recorder will run up to 8 hours, so record more than you need and then edit.

For fusion newbies, Dawn also offers this advice: storyboard it. “Go with your story planned out as much as possible. It will help you stay on track and keep focused on what needs to be photographed.” This echoes Jenn’s advice to shoot with your edit in mind. If you want a transition clip of the bride’s dress going on, shoot it in both stills and video. The video can be used to record details your clients will appreciate.

With more dSLRs offering high definition video functionality, photo fusion is a viable addition to your shooting repertoire. Give it a try. Dawn says, “It has given me another way to communicate my imagery to my audience.” We agree: not only can photo fusion give you a competitive edge, most importantly, it broadens your means of personal expression.