With so much going on in digital marketing these days, it might be easy to forget about organic search, or just dismiss it as being too difficult to execute–especially with so many updates to Google’s search algorithm. I should know. As many who read my blog are aware, I spent over a decade in digital marketing of all sorts and types, before starting the video business. So here’s my take or organic search: it still works!!
Yesterday, I shot a funeral for a family. It was a very moving ceremony and was held at Forest Home Memorial Park in Glendale. I received a call about a week before the service from a photographer friend of the family asking if I was available. He was a pleasant gentleman and I could tell that we both had the right kind of sensitivity in our approach to this unique assignment, so I agreed. Through several calls and emails, I forgot to ask him how he found me, since we didn’t know each other, but I was able to ask after the service and he said, “I Googled you!” Understanding search queries, I asked further, what search terms (keywords) he used? His reply, “I Googled ‘funeral videography orange county.’ ”
I was very pleased at this revelation as it proves positively the value and importance of good search engine optimization (SEO). I ran the same query this morning and found this search result:
First Impressions Video appeared–after the ads, that I don’t buy–in the first four positions of the search engine results page (SERP), and the map! I think it’s safe to say that I would likely NOT have received the call that turned into a nice piece of business had I not invested the necessary time to optimize my website.
No matter what your business is, taking the time to build robust SEO for your website can be…no, should be…a critical component of your overall digital marketing strategy. Do not overlook organic search…it is a cornerstone to effective online visibility!
I just returned from Palm Springs, where I went to shoot a wedding. It was a really cool occasion (though HOT out in the Desert!)–even in spite of it being a holiday weekend. I normally wouldn’t work a holiday, but the groom was an Air Force pilot, and he chose the Palm Springs Air Museum for his wedding venue!
Lots of people were efficiently scurrying around–all working their butts off to make it a memorable occasion, and it occurred to me that it is important to acknowledge the teams that make weddings happen as smoothly as possible. We’re talking about the wedding planners, venue planners, officiants & clergy, food and beverage providers, florists, cake makers, DJs, bands and other music providers, and, of course, photographers and videographers. We all have our respective tasks, but our goals are mutual: to make an extraordinary day for the bride and groom! And I don’t really like the term ‘vendors’ because it often diminishes the role we all play…I prefer the term ‘partner’ because that’s who we are in making the event special!
Thank you all for what you do!
I shot a wedding this past October. The couple and their family couldn’t have been nicer! I got this wonderful note shortly after the wedding:
“Terry, thank you for being my videographer. I don’t even need to see the video to already know you did a great job, I can’t wait! Even my guests commented on how they could tell you genuinely enjoyed your job and that will show in the quality. Your pricing was also very reasonable and the video will be the most cherished item for me so I can relive my special night, thanks again, we can’t wait to see the video!”
The wedding venue was one of the most challenging in which I’ve ever filmed, with extremely severe contrasts between the late-day western sun blasting into the windows and the interior of the venue which was quite dark. Even with my own extra light fixture, it didn’t help much, but I persevered. And because the final product didn’t meet my strict expectations, I gave the couple some of their money back. The great news came when I received the following comments from the very happy bride:
“Thank you Terry, you did a great job, made me cry. And I appreciate your professionalism, I had a feeling the venue would be difficult to work with, thank you for the refund. I will surely recommend you and provide positive reviews!”
Well, thank you, Lisa…you just did!
2014 was a great year for First Impressions Video and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to the clients that are also my friends. I value you and welcome the opportunity to serve in 2015.
Got video? Need video?
This post is dedicated to people that choose to shoot their own video. On occasion, I have been asked to take on editing assignments where, in order to save cost, a client has provided video footage they’ve captured. Nothing can be more disappointing to any editor than to find hours of footage that is barely usable because of poor camera technique, including pans, tilts, zooms and rack focus, that are caused primarily due to an unstable base from which to shoot. And while I too have watched “Modern Family” and “The Office” which popularized the “mockumentary” style of cinematography, with “whip pans” and “snap zooms,” I would argue that stable videos with smooth movements are far less jarring to the eyes. For the do-it-yourselfer, there is a simple solution: a sturdy tripod!
Tripods have been around since cameras were the weight of a Volkswagen—and almost as big, and you needed a very strong platform to support them. Now, cameras are super small and we’ve all seen them integrated into today’s smartphones and even watches. Are tripods going the way of the dodo as a result? No!
Think about this: Say you’re watching your son or daughter singing in the school choir and you’re in your seat 50 rows away from the stage trying to capture the proud moment when your child steps forward for a solo. You’ve got your Galaxy or iPhone zoomed all the way out and now your body starts to shake from fatigue in the hands and arms. You get home to see what you captured, only to discover a blurry mess because you weren’t able to keep the device steady. Bummer!! And don’t be fooled by the claims of the device’s manufacturer about “image stabilization.” At high zoom settings, any body movement will be amplified, so give yourself the best chance of getting the shot right, and use a tripod.
Tripods come in many shapes, sizes and price points, but to not use one is to invite disappointment. At the very least, get one with strong legs and a “fluid head” so that camera movement is as smooth as possible. Also make sure the tripod’s head can lock. Nothing will cause more panic than being 10 feet away from your camera when it topples over because the head wasn’t locked and the whole rig became unbalanced. The good news is that tripods can accommodate most any camera made today, including the aforementioned smartphones and watches.
The takeaway: Make the investment in a good tripod…your videos will be much better because of it!
Funerals and memorial services are tough. They are full of emotion as the families and loved ones grieve for the one that passed away. I have commented about memorials before, and the absolute need for discretion and sensitivity when shooting them. So I am always deeply gratified when I get comments like the one I just got from a family whose mother passed away last year. And the impact was truly amplified when I got a “heads up” from the officiating pastor that the son of the decedent would be seeing his own son—and his family—from whom he had been estranged for quite a number of years! Here is the testimonial:
“Words cannot express how thankful we were for your availability and to beautifully capture Marie’s memorial service last October. For Jim (Russell), as a pastor it was great to ask you to watch for certain interactions and then to let them develop. For John (and I) and Danny, it began the process of restoring their relationship which has since, been such a blessing.
Thank you again. Many blessings to you!”
Administrative Assistant to
Mike Erre, Lead Pastor
And this is why I love doing what I do!
Yesterday, I delivered the final wedding video DVD to my friends Kim and Scott Timmins. In addition to the video of the ceremony and reception were slide shows of both. It was a monster project and the slide shows required keyframing of over 100 pictures to create the “Ken Burns” effect for each one.
Feedback from the couple: “Just watched the video…it is AWESOME!! THANK YOU!! Can’t wait to show our family back east. Love it! Love it!!” And for added measure, they added the emoticon for a big smiley face! I guess you could call that a happy customer!
Here’s a shot of me just before going to work. Weddings on the beach can be magnificent, but you get sand everywhere, so I have to use brushes and compressed air to remove the sand out of my gear!