How to direct commercials? You’ve been a photographer and now you’re ready to branch out into video. You aren’t sure how to get into directing videos or commercials and feel lost.


How can working photographers start directing videos? In this video and blog post, I’m going to give you the steps! I’m going to give you a breakdown of what the different film roles are on set. I’m also going to take show you the steps to take, and what order you should do everything.




Look at the tree above to see the general guide of characters on set, to see who is who, and the breakdown of each job title! The video on this page will give you a better understanding as I go into more detail for the video.


The goal of this exact blog post is to encourage growth for you as a photographer. I want to remind you that you’ve worked with these people and the learning curve isn’t as big as you may fear.


If I can give you the courage to start directing, dabbling with motion pictures, then it’ll be a success!


Between the video and blog, I’m going to encourage you and teach you how to direct commercials. And if you don’t have cameras or the best gear, you can always rent. I rented my Super 8 camera from ShareGrid. It’s a lifesaver because sometimes you don’t want to buy a $5K camera. Why not rent it for a few hundred instead?

Photo 1: Directing a commercial for a shoe brand


Speaking of working with many of these people, you have the experience. You already know how to guide the makeup artist, stylist, etc… You already know how to direct the talent how to move on camera. You know how to speak to the producer, the art dept. and all the production assistants.


This is a no-brainer for you and video keeps growing every single day. Video is valuable for businesses and all types of branding. That means you will be in greater demand. You can 100% do this and I 100% support you! So how do you direct commercials?



In the video (above) I’m also telling you the process of working with the crew. What comes first and what happens next. No matter what step of production you are in, I am here to help!


It is a mini-masterclass that will benefit your career.



In this blog, I’m telling you how to direct commercials. Actually, the video takes you into full depth. The blog is trying to convince you to do it!


People will talk and say you’re qualified to do something or not qualified. Those people are not paying your bills and their opinions shouldn’t have much value with you. In fact, if they’re busy judging your career moves – chances are they aren’t very booked themselves. Right? How else are you going to have all this time?


Another point: People who call you out for “directing” are ridiculous. People will always have opinions on what you do. They can’t do anything beyond that, and people will always have opinions. Let them judge you. Who cares?!


It’s actually quite easy to increase your photography income. Speaking of raising your photography income, this blog is a MUST for you.


Adding video to your portfolio is a big boost. In fact, here’s a way to look at it. You book a great photoshoot and have a budget of $5K (for example). You ask the client if they have interest in adding video to their package?


You remind them that it’s the cheapest way to get video because everything is already there. You have the location, talent, team, and it’ll take a little more effort to get this content. You will add another 20-40% to your budget depending on the needs. You’ll bill more for editing too!


Most clients will consider video once you explain the benefits. By my estimates, you should book at least 30% of the suggestions and that’s a high level of success. You can do this!


Excellent! You’ve learned a bit about how to direct commercials, you’ve seen the video and read the blog.


I help people like you have a full-time career. That’s what I do, along with my courses but I understand that you may need immediate help. You may be needing negotiating help, or advice before a big shoot. What is that comfort or backup worth?


Executive Producer

This person is not that creative, and they are likely the ones with the money. Your client could be the EP, they could be an investor or the big studio financing your film.



Think of a wedding planner and how they run the whole show, not really the creative things but they understand the creative world. That’s the producer. They have almost equal power to the director on set and they work together.



This is you! You direct the vision of the project in pre-production, production, and post-production!



They work closely with the Director, sometimes they argue, but they are in charge of the lighting and camera under the direction of the director.



They are often hired by the DP, they actually move the lights and set them up.



They work with the Gaffer. They move things like stands, apple boxes, etc… they mainly speak to the DP.



The hero on set! They work the hardest, they are the lowest paid and they need more respect. Be that set that changes their narrative.



Hair, makeup, nail artist, and styling. They matter and their expertise should be listened to.


Art Dept.

All the background artwork, the set decor, the props, etc… that’s all from the expertise of the Art Dept. /Set Decorator



They are a storyteller. Hopefully, you involved them in the pre-process so that you. They will help put all of your hard work into something that is beautiful.



They take all of the footage that is in “picture-lock” and give it an even color, stylistic approach. This is important for storytelling.


Sound mixer

All of those great sound effects, the perfect sound levels, the perfect mix of voiceover, sound effects, music, atmosphere, etc… all of that is the magic of the sound mixer (under your direction as the director).



Think of this as the optional but powerful narrator of the story. It’s a voice that walks you through the journey.