Every so often there is a new technology, or way of combining existing technologies, that captivates the imagination of creative minds and provides a stimulating experience for viewers. Hybrid photography has been around for a little while but is still in its infancy and new to many creatives. For those not familiar with hybrid photography, it is a technique in which stills, video and audio are used together to create effective and engaging content.

One of the great things about hybrid photography is that it’s very accessible to most people that have a relatively current camera (or camera integrated into a mobile device). As long as your camera has the ability to shoot video you are able to create hybrid content. Since your creation will be displayed on TVs and high resolution devices, you’ll want a camera that can at least shoot HD video. However, what has really put hybrid photography into the industry limelight is the power and quality of the mirrorless camera systems and ultra high resolution 4K video / photo (3840×2160 or 8.3 megapixels). There are a lot of powerful features on cameras that offer 4K technology as well as reasons to shoot 4K; the major one being future-proofing your work. Some of the 4K features and benefits (not all features on all cameras) include the ability to select the focus point after capture and save that frame (thus the ability to also focus stack them), shooting speeds of up to 30 frames per second and getting much higher HD video quality when scaled down. With the introduction of 4K video / photo, hybrid photography has now truly become a professional tool.

The process of creating hybrid photographic content can be as simple or as complicated as your final product requires. Some cameras have features which allow you to do some editing through the in-camera features but to get the most out of the final product you’ll need to use photo / video editing software. There are many of these editing applications on the market to choose from, both free and commercial. The whole concept of hybrid photography is that content is created to be viewed on as many devices as possible. Considering mobile technologies such as phones and tablets are mainstream devices and account for the majority of online interaction and purchasing, there is a huge benefit to creating multi-device targeted media.

Some examples of where hybrid photography can be used to enhance the excitement and delivery of a product, service or event include artists portfolios, product advertising, real estate listings, training content and important life events. The main techniques for delivering this content are through slideshows and cinemagraphs. Most people are aware of what slideshows are, but when combining stills, video and audio interchangeably, there is a significantly higher impact than just a photo only presentation. Using hybrid photography techniques in your slideshows allows you to not only show the general scene but to also incorporate detail shots to fluidly immerse the viewer into fully appreciating your story. The term cinemagraph may be new to many but they are gaining some real traction in the industry. You have most likely seen an example of a cinemagraph. At first glance a cinemagraph appears to be just a static single image, until you notice portions of the image are actually moving. This is the effect of combining a still image, such as a frame grab from a video clip, with a video loop in a selected portion of the image. Cinemagraphs often have a surreal effect with plenty of impact. Cinemagraphs can also be created with photo / video editing software and there is also dedicated software for assembling them.

Hybrid photography has begun to have a real impact on the industry. It is a technique that is not only highly capable of generating attention and sales for your organization but also one that is enjoyable. Some photographers had a difficult time switching to digital from film as the industry evolved, and it cost a lot of them their careers. The ability to shoot video on still cameras has been around for a long time and there are still photographers who scoff at this capability. Why not try your hand at creating some hybrid photographic content? It’s beneficial to become familiar with this technology and it may help push you out of your creative comfort zone. The reason most of us got into this industry is for the love of creativity. Investing some time into enhancing your creative vision and portfolio can have many rewards.

Jason DiMichele

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