Deanne Fitzmaurice – storytelling, pictures and motion

There was one last WPPI speaker review that I wanted to cover earlier but couldn’t fit it in until now. This year at WPPI I tried to cover a range of different speakers much broader than I normally do. I happened to meet Deanne on the tradeshow floor (she is also one of the owners of ThinkTank photo bags) and after talking with her for a little while about her work I was interested to learn more about what she was creating. Her talk was on storytelling, pictures and motion and mixed photojournalism and DSLR video coverage. Deanne was a photojournalist for many years up until recently when she went off to pursue her own freelance career. Since my background started out in Photojournalism and I have been very interested in DSLR video coverage for the past year I thought this would be a great talk to attend. Deanne also won the pulitzer prize and has a pretty impressive resume to back her work up. Here is a overview of the talk from WPPI:

The digital revolution has arrived and photographers are embracing new ways of visual storytelling with DSLRs that can not only capture stills, but can also record audio and shoot HD video. There is demand for photographers who not only know how to create storytelling images, but who have multimedia skills. Deanne will show her Pulitzer Prize winning photo story and talk about the importance of strong storytelling, no matter the assignment. Deanne’s clients include Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, MSNBC, Target and Microsoft. Deanne will talk about the importance of evolving as a photographer and the opportunities that will create. Her style involves making a connection with your subject, building trust and capturing real and authentic moments.

Deanne talked about 3 main topics that she has used in her photojournalism and in her new documentary pieces she is creating with stills and dSLR video.

Storytelling – the single image.
Always looking for layers in her images. When telling a story with a single image the image needs to have depth and impact. Went through some of her single images that really told a story and gave us the background to those images and what her thought process was with creating the image. I would go and check out her website at: http://www.deannefitzmaurice.com/ to see some of these storytelling images.

The photo story
Relationships are key. Sometimes little relationships can open up doors. She talked here about a photo story she did for Barry Bonds and his journey to capture the record home run. With this she built up a relationship with him over time that in the end really helped to get her access to certain types of images that other photographers weren’t able to get access to. I think this really can be key for many types of photography. Even with weddings I feel that having a strong relationship with my brides will allow me to get access to certain parts of the day that I couldn’t without first establishing that relationship. It also gives your clients a comfort level and trust with you and when you need them to do something for a shoot they will always trust you and allow you to be creative.

Multimedia fusion videos
This was the key of what I wanted to hear her talk about and she showed some cool multimedia storytelling pieces that she has created. One thing that she really stressed though was not anything about shooting the actual video but how audio is key. In her mind it is the backbone of the piece. “People will watch a video with poor visuals and good sound but not vice versa.”

It was really interesting to see how much emphasis she placed on audio and for me opened up my eyes to how important the audio is for a well created fusion video. Watching the videos she shot the sound bites that play over some of the stills and video coverage are really key in engaging the viewer and drawing them into the video. I have also been looking at lots of great wedding videos lately for some inspiration for my own work and have noticed that the ones that really draw you in are the videos that have amazing and emotional audio to accompany the video and still images.

She uses Lavileer mics for interviews and records to a recorder (Olympis Ls11 or the Marantz 660)
She also gets room tone to splice it later, this helps to add background noise sometimes to the fusion video.
Also you have to wear headphones so you can hear exactly what you are recording.

Check out some more videos on her website under the multimedia section at: http://www.deannefitzmaurice.com/

Also here is a great example of how even though the light in this church is really bad for shooting video having that crystal clear audio to bring the viewer in really makes it an engaging piece and I am sure that the bride just loves this multimedia piece.

Some cool websites she talked about for some inspiration:

Planet 5d
Ny times lens blog
Still to motion lens blog

I do think that dSLR video can be a great way for wedding and portrait photographers to set their work apart and offer something very unique and new to their clients. It’s something I have been working on the last year and will be sharing some posts coming up soon on fusion photography so if you are interested in it stay tuned! Also let me know what you think of DSLR fusion videos, just leave a facebook comment below.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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