When looking at photography and video shoots, you can usually group cameramen (and women) into one of three categories.

The first is the professional. I use this term for them not necessarily because they get paid to shoot, but because they know what they’re doing. Professionals take lighting and other factors into consideration, and have an artistic reasoning for their on-screen message.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the consumers. Consumers simply push the record button and go. You remember those painful-to-watch home movies your Aunt Edith used to show? That’s what I’m talking about.

photo by sean dreilinger, via flickr

photo by sean dreilinger, via flickr

The third group are the ones I call “prosumers,” and it’s my hope to convert as many of the consumers in the world into this kind of shooter as I can.

Prosumers utilize techniques for personal videos. They build a story and give viewers a reason to watch. Their videos, although “homemade”, are actually entertaining to watch. These prosumers give dynamics to the shoot and aren’t afraid to used forced perspective or shoot “challenging situations” like snow falls and sunsets.  People’s actions and offhand comments can’t be relied upon to make a video interesting.

The key thing, though, that changes a consumer to a Prosumer is the desire to try new things. And to discard them if they don’t work. A prosumer has a lot more takes than you’ll ever see. Because he needs to see if it worked. But if it doesn’t, he picks up and tries again. Prosumers will try audio and effects. And maybe even download some shareware to edit the videos into something more enjoyable for everyone.

Best of all, Prosumers are the ones whose videos people look at and think, “Wow! I wish mine were that good.” All because they expended just a little extra effort.

So the next time you’re shooting something, please act as a prosumer. It really only takes a little effort to liven up your content – and not only will you want to show your work to others, but they will actually want to watch it.