How to Make Your Photos Look Great in Video

We often have photos submitted to us by our Candidio Producers that are less than ideal for use in video. This may be due to the low resolution, the aspect being portrait-style, rather than landscape, or something else. Below are some guidelines on ensuring your photos look great in video.

Resolution

How to Make Your Photos Look Great in Video image 1280 720 example 1024x576How to Make Your Photos Look Great in Video

Most cameras nowadays take photos at .9 megapixels or larger (and this includes smartphone cameras). Most video content is displayed in 720p or 1080p, with the former being more common.

Since most modern cameras shoot in at least 1280×720 which is 1280 pixels wide by 720 tall and equal to .9 megapixels, this means that as long as you’re using a modern camera or smartphone you will likely meet the necessary resolution to fill a 720p frame.

Of course, having extra resolution certainly makes for better looking pictures – and it’s especially important if you plan to do any type of zooming or scaling on the picture in a video (think of the last photo slideshow you’ve seen). Keep in mind that you’ll lose resolution (quality) anytime you zoom or crop, so it’s best to choose shots that are already framed up the way you want them to appear in the video.

Ultimately, as long as you’re using photos directly from your camera, with no additional compression involved, your photos should look just fine on video and have enough room to zoom in if desired. Issues usually only occur when you post the photos to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., then download them and use them in a video. This is due to the compression that is involved with most photo hosting and social media websites.

If you’re unsure of how to tell the resolution of a photo, transfer it to your computer and (on Windows) right-click on it, select “Properties,” then click the “Details” tab. You should then be able to see the width and height of the photo.

Aspect

How to Make Your Photos Look Great in Video image Portrait style photo 1024x576How to Make Your Photos Look Great in Video

Have you ever seen a video that was shot portrait-style (taller than it is wide)? Not so pretty. You got giant black bars on both sides, with the video squished into a tall rectangle on the center of the screen. When you have a photo that is portrait-style, you run into the same issue.

Going back to resolution for a moment, if you shot the photo in a high-resolution format, you may be able to zoom in on the photo to fill the frame. But, chances are the subject of the photo will be completely or at least partially cropped out.

When shooting photos for video, I would recommend 99% of time you shoot landscape-style. This will allow you to easily fill the frame and not lose the subject of the photo.

Format

How to Make Your Photos Look Great in Video image PhotoFormats 1024x576How to Make Your Photos Look Great in Video

There isn’t one photo format to rule them all. They all have different pros and cons. Keeping video in mind, it’s usually best to stick to the standards, which are:

  • .jpg
  • .png
  • .tif

RAW photo formats, which are available on DSLR cameras, are not generally accepted by video editing programs, which means they’ll need to be converted to an accepted format.

Quality

This one may seem obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. You can have the right resolution, aspect, and format but if the lights in the room were turned off when you snapped the pic there’s not much hope for it looking great in a video. Choose photos that look amazing as photos to help to ensure they add to the overall quality of your video.

Follow these guidelines and your photos will look great on video. Got questions? Post them in the comments!

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