Magazine Article


The Buzz About DVDs

Text & Images by Joe Photo

It's a fact: The DVD format is the most successful packaged media launch in consumer electronics history. Since its introduction in the spring of 1997, nearly half the homes in America now have at least one DVD player or DVD-ROM available to view DVDs. And it's estimated that by 2006, 70 million households will have a DVD player.

What does this all mean for photographers? Until very recently, we could not apply this technology to our businesses. Today, however, we can use the medium to our advantage. I would like to suggest three possible ways to capitalize on the DVD's quality and popularity.

Promotion a la DVD

As I said earlier, DVDs are the coolest. What better way to promote yourself to an out-of-town bride or vendor that you'd like to impress? By putting music to your images you make a very emotional statement. The impact on the viewer is powerful and memorable.

Start by selecting 50 to 80 images and your music tracks. I recommend that you hire a videographer to edit for you. However, you can do this yourself in Final Cut Pro (harder) or iDVD (easier).

Once edited, this can also be a terrific presentation to perspective brides during your consultation. Imagine the impact of showing your work on a large TV or projecting it onto a screen with Surround-Sound music. Just imagine how impressed your brides will be impressed.

Archiving's a Breeze

From a purely practical standpoint, DVDs are awesome for archiving huge numbers of hi-res images you shoot at a wedding. With a storage capacity of 4.7 gigs, you no longer need to break up the event on multiple CDs for backup. All of the day's images can fit on one DVD, making your workflow smoother and quicker.

Lastly, the DVD format is perfect for educating and communicating visually. Until now, many photographers have offered educational series on videotape. This medium made it difficult to study with clarity, though, due to the inherent limitations of the format.

Now, with DVDs you can enjoy all the goodies and features of motion pictures.

In fact, I just recently completed my first educational project: a DVD for showing photographers the digital advantages and techniques I use to capture story-telling images at wedding.

Shot completely digitally, I have combined live wedding footage with beautifully sharp still images that can be paused and studied without the hassle and interference of tape.

Chapter headings can direct the viewer immediately to points of interest, and instructive audio voiceover tracks can be turned on or off according to your preference. This is truly a breakthrough for our industry.

As visual artists, there is much for us to explore in the exciting world of multimedia. Enjoy the trip on the DVD freeway.

For more of Joe Photo's images or information about his new DVD, visit