The Best Ways to Add Photos to a Video

Photo by Nicolás García via Wikimedia Commons.

First things first. In video, it is always preferable to use video, rather than photos, to illustrate your subject. The word “movie” is actually short for “moving picture.” But, on those occasions when you must use a photo in your video (i.e. historical images, deceased persons), make the photo move to keep the audience’s attention.

#ProTip: Use a moving picture in your moving picture.

There are multiple methods to make this happen. The most common is called the “Ken Burns Effect” after a famous documentarian. When you use “Ken Burns,” the editor slowly zooms in or out of the photo, and may move it left or right, to keep the image interesting. Another more complicated method is to create parallax. This requires cutting part of the image out, then layering the two pieces together and moving them at different rates. The Ken Burns Effect is relatively easy and often overused, so audiences tire of it very quickly. If your project relies on photos to tell the story, it’s worth the investment to use parallax instead.

Katie Rutter is the executive producer of Thing in a Pot Productions. She has received multiple awards for her videos and the overall quality of her work, including being honored as Video Producer of the Year in 2018 by the Catholic Press Association. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive our video Pro Tips in your inbox every month!

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