Always have enough b-roll with this 9-shot rule
It can be easy to get overexcited about a shoot, thinking you’ve got it all in the bag, only to get home and discover that you forgot to capture certain shots or angles. For this reason, a shot list is always an excellent idea.
But what if you’re just shooting on the fly and need to make sure you capture enough footage? In this video, Jeven Dovey breaks things down into just nine essential shots that should keep all your bases covered. Never be short of B-roll again!
The Nine-Shot Rule Explained
The nine-shot rule basically just makes sure that you capture enough diverse footage to keep your audience engaged and your storytelling on point. Although it’s aimed at videography, it could just as easily be applied to still photography if you’re going for a story-telling or documentary style.
Let’s have a look at what Jeven says are the important shots.
Two Establishing Shots: These shots provide a wide, open view of the scene, giving your audience a sense of the location. Use a wide lens, a drone, or a landscape shot without a specific subject to establish the setting.
Two Wide Shots: Capture your subject or scene in a broader perspective, showcasing the action or surroundings. For instance, if you’re filming a person, go for a head-to-toe shot that captures the entire action.
Two Medium Shots: Zoom in or bring the camera closer to your subject to capture a tighter perspective of the action. This adds variety and detail to your footage.
Two Close-Up Shots: Get close and personal by focusing on your subject or an element in the scene. Fill the frame with a small and specific object, providing intimate details.
One Unique Angle: This shot adds an extra layer of creativity to your video. Experiment with different perspectives, movements, or angles to capture a unique and eye-catching moment.
I mean, let’s not pretend that this is reinventing the wheel or anything. When you read that list, the gut response is to go, “Uh huh, I always do that”. We all know that’s what we should be doing, except that it’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and completely forget to capture, say, a really wide pulled-back shot or a particular drone move around the subject.
Watch the video because Deven illustrates each shot in a real-life situation, which really helps drive the point home. I will certainly be incorporating this list for my next video shoot!
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe