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The 8Bit Podcast – Episode 026



In Episode 26, we discuss the power of using video and the importance of photography in content and your overall marketing. Many times we have run into the idea that photography is a place to cut a corner. Or using a variety of stock photos is the way to save some money in a marketing budget.


Video is probably one of the most universal elements in your marketing. It tends to cost the most, but the value it provides lives on for a great length of time and is more than worth the investment. A long-form video or :30 second television commercial can be edited down to be used in social media or a quick Instagram story. The possibilities are endless.

Any time custom photography can be used, do it. Nothing will represent your brand better than photography across many mediums. It is often the element that is cut out the most, but one that reinforces your brand them most.

If you tend to use stock photography, make sure to set parameters on the style that represents your brand best and stick to it. Many times a variety of stock items are used together and creates visual disarray and gives it that “stock” look even more. If your brand is best presented in a saturated style, make sure all of our stock photos represent that.

Today, our mobile society puts great emphasis on the visual side of life whether we recognize it or not. Video and photography should always be an important start to any successful growth strategy.


Jeff: Alright, really quick, alright. So hey everybody. Welcome back to the 8-bit Podcast, episode … what is this one now? 26? I don’t even remember.

Phil: Kate’s shaking her head. I see her over there.

Jeff: 25? 24? It is 26, that’s what I thought.

Phil: Alright.

Jeff: Well, to be fair, it’s been a few weeks, I think the last one we did was when we talked about the Super Bowl. When was that? Early February? Been about six weeks since we did one [inaudible 00:00:52], but in our, we always say this, we’ve been busy, but it’s the truth, we’ve been really busy lately, making things happen, saving the world through design marketing.

Phil: We should just have a graphic that comes up, ” We’ve been busy”.

Jeff: We’ve been busy.

Phil: We can reuse that statement…every podcast, we’ve been busy.

Jeff: Well its been good that we’ve been doing all kinds of fun things and now its spring time finally in Duluth so, finally had some melting going on from our crazy winter, which is funny, back in December when it was still kinda, I was like ” oh we’re gonna have a brown Christmas” maybe because it was, a not lot of snow, it was really cold, not to bas. Then finally we had a white Christmas [inaudible 00:01:41] and I don’t know, Mother Nature flipped the switch.

Phil: We got some snow.

Jeff: We got a lot of snow.

Phil: We got a lot of snow this year, although it didn’t look like we broke any records or anything, we weren’t even close really for the last…

Jeff: Right, right.

Phil: It just seemed different this year.

Jeff: Although February didn’t we say was the snowiest?

Phil: That could be, maybe that’s why I felt like so much.

Jeff: I think it was the snowiest February on record, I think. I hear a lot of towns in Minnesota that were, that did that – broke the record, so February was crazy. Only thing we’ve decided to talk about today is just the role of video and probably and photography for that. I mean for different reasons, but just the importance of it. Its such a huge…nowadays especially, I feel like there was a time maybe, I don’t know 8, 9,10 years ago where, video was.. if you weren’t doing television per say, video, again YouTube’s been around for, what, 15 years now roughly.

Jeff: I think it was kind of in its infancy, when I think of video online it was kinda the start of that, was YouTube and Vimeo, now its like, I don’t know if you could survive without it, its amazing, to, well to us, but I mean, I think lately we’ve had a couple big projects that have come up on the last two years that have been television and video online video related. We always have photography, we’re always pushing for good photography. If anything, trying to have strategy related [inaudible 00:03:19] stock photography, but yet then there’s always seems to be times where we run into where, I think, sometimes I wonder if clients are…maybe know the value of photography, having good photography.

Jeff: You know its one of those things where they say, well we have pictures, but what does that mean.

Phil: If you think about where we first starting in this industry I think video was very expensive, and you’d only do it if you’re doing these high end TV commercials really, and that was about it

Jeff: I mean there’s not even a full television crew. You didn’t have necessarily, some of the stuff now you can do and shoot with is so much smaller and compact etc.

Phil: I think some of the big huge, still use a big crew and everything and should, there’s so much more you can do with smaller crews now and, not only that but the TV placement used to be, well it still is expensive, it can be very expensive, so now we have different uses for it like you said, YouTube, Vimeo, things like that where it doesn’t have to just go on TV, if there’s so many more uses for it now and when you film it too that was one, just TV. Now, we have so many different channels and so many things you can cut it up and use it for that, the shooting for the TV was very expensive now, you’re shooting it for so many things so, to me its…the value has gone way up.

Jeff: Right, the value, I think that’s the truth, yeah you’re right, cause I think when you look a, if we were pricing out, of all the services we do, I would still say most of the time we do shoot a bigger thing where we’re still using outside vendors, which we have some great ones that we work with, quote unquote costs is maybe in the short term, maybe really expensive still nothing to sneeze at its still good, it takes a lot to do that, to shoot it.

Jeff: Especially if you’re going on site somewhere where you have to scout it, you gotta maybe work with some other outside vendors for who knows what, getting talent, there’s a lot of work involved pre production wise to get all that to happen but then once you have it, once you have that video, then it’s like, like you said if its television you’re editing a whole ton of time that you shoot down to a thirty second spot, but you need to do that in order to get all the options you need but then like you said, the portability of it, to take all of the, maybe stuff you didn’t use opt use it different.

Phil: [inaudible 00:06:03] different uses too, so not always are you gonna need that super high end TV quality production, sometimes GoPros and even cellphones can be…

Jeff: Yeah Iphones or something…

Phil: Can work for different applications especially social media and things like that, so, there’s such a wide variety of it now, now that’s also maybe a problem, that there’s such small compact, easy, inexpensive devices like the phones and lesser expensive cameras and a lot of times people will push that be used on higher quality TV or YouTube, things like that so I think there’s definitely a balance there of when you should use things and shouldn’t I guess.

Jeff: Well, the reasons to use it too, like you said it used to be really expensive now its, even if you’re spending your money on it now and using all the other things for other reasons across so many different mediums, from a brand standpoint, it’s also pretty amazing cause a lot of times you’re shooting for very specific content whether its television or not, there’s still things you can pull out so from a content standpoint, you can pull this example from a branding element too, its such a great way to round out, your brand and what people see and a lot of times the way people interact especially online, even if they’re not necessarily getting a full on message but just to see a very specific well shot well thought out video that tells their story, whether or not it includes that message or not is I think a subconscious thing where you’re like yeah I trust these people I get what they do, I understand their mission and I understand what they’re all about and it helps to differentiate yourself from [inaudible 00:08:03] competition.

Phil: Well even look at doing this right now, were doing this because A, well we wanted to do it just to see if we could do it before but now we wanna ass on some potential knowledge that we have in the area of marketing and design, advertising, things like that and a lot of people are doing that, every time I fix something on a car, I’ll look it up on YouTube and it seems like it’s a, maybe a garage trying to promote themselves to people and I watch what they do and that was one example but I guess what I’m saying is part of that branding, part of that marketing thing is to show people that you might be the experts in an area and help push that brand a little bit.

Jeff: Another thing too witch video is especially because we are online we’ve talked about this in other past podcasts about just the role of being online and etc. but, I think people are just naturally lazy to a little bit when it comes to some things where… and I don’t blame them, its always that fine line online about when you think about searching an [inaudible 00:09:07] and having enough quality content and the right key words and all those things in place that the things that go into a very good SEO strategy we found online but there’s also that length of content where, what’s people truly gonna read and what are they not gonna read and I think what’s nice in video even to supplement some of those types of..those times is the fact that in a mobile first kind of mentality now to sit and do this and you read a lot is like you just hit a video and watch it get the gist of it and move on.

Jeff: I mean unfortunately that’s kind of maybe the, it’s not really an unfortunate thing I guess, I mean it’s a good thing, again I think with video, like again it saves some time it allows you to get to some points quicker and build a brand but I think we’re just naturally lazy, so another good reason to use video, on the other side of photography, that’s nothing to do, I think its easy to have an oversight to that, again, good quality photograph, especially when you’re talking about brand etc. is imperative I think.

Jeff: So many times like I said, it’s always a place that sometimes people want to cut costs, ” Oh well we have some photos ” or ” we took photos five years ago” or ” whatever we’ll just reuse the ones we got”, to keep that stuff up to date, to have a very similar, distinct look and feel to that, stylistic attributes to that is so important to your overall branding piece, whether that’s gonna be online or obviously printed pieces or anywhere else you might use it, such a huge thing but yet so often overlooked. No one wants to pay the money for it.

Phil: Well, nothing more than a photo or video can really capture whatever you’re trying to sell or market better than great photography and video I think. People see it and you had mentioned earlier, if you go maybe onto a website or something and they have poor photography, you might think it’s a poor product or poor service and I don’t disagree with that at all, if you have two websites side by side, they’re selling the same thing maybe a slightly different cost it’s like I gravitate towards the nicely designed one with nice photos and it might be the exact same product but I trust them more cause they spent the time and effort to do that, they must be legit.

Jeff: And sometimes too, we’ll do a beautiful E-commerce site, but to reshoot products they’ve already shot with they’re Iphone, which granted like we just said they can look okay but there’s definitely a difference if it’s not well lit, if it’s not done a certain well, it just kinda makes you go, I kinda wish that was.. you know what I mean? Full experience just seems kinda like a let down then.

Phil: We’ve also seen it where we’ll be taking an old website, making a new one and they might have nice photos but they were sized for the old website very small, now we wanna have nice bigger photos for them to use and they don’t have those originals anywhere so, you can’t stretch them up and make them look bad, you want them to look good.

Jeff: The flip side too is while we need to shoot all our own stuff when we only need to have very specific lifestyle feel, and its like we need five shots we’re not gonna spend…and I get that…you’re not gonna spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a custom shoot for five or ten pics, you might but I mean more than likely..but well then its like ” okay lets go to stock” but then it’s like, you gotta spend some time and work with us to help be that eye cause sometimes, there’s so many options with stock and a lot of times when you do this, let people run with it, and again I don’t wanna sound negative towards that but it’s something if you’re not necessarily working with it all the time, you don’t necessarily know the ends and outs of looking in the right spots for the right stuff.

Jeff: What happens a lot of times is that you’re gonna have a very disjointed looking feel across and you might pull one from here one from there whatever, and they all look different and maybe it doesn’t feel that way separately but when you put them on a website or something and then you start to kinda, they kinda have a relationship between types of content, that’s when you really notice it and kinda go ” oh ” again, it’s a let down.

Phil: Well and your right, let’s say you need one photo, most likely [inaudible 00:13:47] to set up a photo shoot for that so you go look on one of those stock photo sites and I swear this happens every time, you have something in your mind and it’s so perfect in your mind seems like the easiest thing in the world to find in a stock photo place that has tens of hundreds of thousands probably, photos. You go in there and you type it in and there’s nothing like it there. I know Steven, who is behind the camera here sometimes struggles trying to find things that represent Northern Minnesota. It could be as simple as a home that we’re trying to put in a mortgage ad or something like that and you type it in just like you want it and everything has palm trees or mountains in, ocean instead of lakes and

Speaker 3: Just doesn’t look like it’s in the same area, sitting there digging for an hour to find a house that looks like it could be in Northern Minnesota, and it ends up being so much harder than you though it would.

Phil: Or you try to find someone in a local coffee shop and its like they’re dressed to the nines and definitely not this area and so you’re right, sometimes we spend more time looking for a perfect stock photo than it would be to take the photo ourselves, so sometimes we gotta weigh that also. Yet, if you want the most bizarre thing on the planet, you’ll find it in stock photos, I can’t think of a great example but they’re odd. [crosstalk 00:15:12].

Speaker 3: House on a snowmobile, jumping through the air, who would use that?

Phil: Why did they shoot that? Somebody wanted it and they were like ” well I might as well through it on this stock phot site now”.

Jeff: It can be tough and I think we understand where clients come from sometimes when it comes to some of those things, well maybe they already invested money and stuff but that was five years ago, but there’s that part too that you have to sometimes say alright this does need a refresh or an update and you wanna kinda maybe bite that off and there are too if you work with, if you know you want it to live a little bit longer there too working with professional creatives that to it all the time, and that can maybe have an eye for “hey if we shoot this, we can shoot this, this, this, this and then we can also have some extras or some of the alternatives that could make it, help it maybe last a little longer, as far as a library goes but definitely cutting corners with photos, you can tell, you can definitely tell.

Phil: I know in the past too, we’ve contacted professional photographers and just said ” Hey, I’m looking for a shot of a lake, do you have anything extra I can use as a stock photo?” And most of the time they do and they’re willing to give you a good deal on it because it’s already shot it’s already in their collection so, we haven’t done that in a while but that’s an option too sometimes, we haven’t done a lot with stock video and I think, to me that’s even more difficult to find what you’re looking for because its usually seems to be usually more mundane things like I don’t know a candle flickering or something.

Jeff: But there are too, it’s hard because a lot of times you think about stock, it’s a one, very specific subject, granted there might be a couple of variety of things but now you start to try to put video =, moving images to connect dots from a visual standpoint making it more difficult to try to match them up and like you said get the right shot so, even more so than photography. One real quick thing too with photography and/or video, when you think about how visual marketing has become, obviously there’s always been the traditional pieces etc. but now online, eben with Instagram and just social media, there’s so much more that you have to be more visual with and so again when you really start to break it down when you think about all your needs, it’s still a great value to spend the money on that stuff because it can, again, in a variety of ways, even photographs, Instagram etc. so it’s such a huge thing that I feel like sometimes just gets kind of, an afterthought.

Phil: One of the things we forgot to mention about stock too is that there’s different types of stock, there’s royalty free which allows you to for the most part use it how you want it where you want it and then you run the risk though that you’re competitor could be using the same photo right down the street on another billboard, there’s no way to control that. There’s rights managed photos that do help you control that, who uses them and where, but you spend a lot of money typically on those, they’ll ask you how it’s being used, if it’s used for let’s say print in a magazine, they’ll ask you where the magazine is, how many copies are sold, how big of the total size of the add is the photo and on and on and on and on and then you get that tiny little window to use it and then when you’re done you have to pay for it again so you might control not having someone else use the same photo but you’re gonna spend a lot of money doing that so.

Jeff: A lot of times yeah, if you’re getting that deep into stock you might as well shoot custom and you got it forever.

Phil: Now if we wanted to throw a shot of a cheetah on something, it might be a little more expensive for us to go shoot that.

Jeff: I would think so.

Phil: Than used the rights managed photo but..

Jeff: It would be more fun.

Phil: It would be a lot more fun, put you up there as bait.

Jeff: Big fat guy.

Phil: Hey man shoot this quick.

Jeff: We don’t have to keep going on about it, but if you’re out there, and you’re in charge of a lot of aspects of you’re marketing, try not to chance on it, pick your battles, I get it from a budget standpoint but when you think about all the aspects of all your other forms of marketing, it’s easy to forget the photography, very very important and then with video, the portability and the usability of it the universal aspect of it is such an important part nowadays.

Phil: Right, and I would say too, when you talk about the budget part of it, consider that part of your budget when you start the project, before you start the project, if you’re looking to talk to an agency or something like that, consider that you’re gonna have that cost, don’t be surprised by it because it should be part of it.

Jeff: Definitely, yeah, cool. Well that’s enough for today I guess.

Phil: We didn’t even point out or new location today.

Jeff: What? Oh we’re sitting in our kitchen.

Phil: Yeah, we’re in the kitchen today. We had to switch it up from the conference room to the kitchen.

Jeff: Try it out, and we have some other spots we might try over the next few months but yeah, the conference room is cool but thought we’d try something new so, well thanks Steven this was a cool idea, I know you had a hand in that too.

Phil: Thanks for shutting the dishwasher off.

Jeff: Yeah, we don’t have to listen to that so, but well cool, well until next time, we’re gonna try and get these back a little more often again, sorry if we were gone for a little bit, we just we’ll do more again here really soon,

Phil: Ask CA?

Jeff: #AskCA, yes if you have any specific marketing or design or any kind of thing related to your marketing or just something you’ve always wanted to get off your chest remember there’s #AskCA, which you can just hashtag on a variety of social media and these are questions that we’d like to use going forward in other episodes and from time to time we’ll answer them the bet we can and hopefully get you some answers to all the questions you may have about those specific things.

Phil: And that’s the letters C and A right?

Jeff: C and A, yeah.

Phil: It’s not like “see aye”.

Jeff: CA, #AskCA, not CNA, what would that be? College, News..I don’t know, #AskCA.

Phil: #AskCA

Jeff: So, cool, anything else?

Phil: I’m good.

Jeff: Alright, well till next time.