Why is “The Beauty Shot” Important in a Video?

“The Beauty Shot” – you probably already know what that is, even if you don’t realise that you do. Every time a model swishes their hair,  every time light glints from the facets in the glass of a perfume bottle, every time a dusting of sugar falls onto a decadent pudding, you are seeing a beauty shot. They are there to entice and to tantalise and to make viewers want whatever they are being shown. You need to know about “The Beauty Shot” because they build desire in your target audience. As the name implies, the point is to make your product look beautiful, desirable, valuable. Let’s talk about just a few of the different types of beauty shot available and how they are used.


beyoncelorealAn actress or singer or model flicks their long lustrous hair towards and then away from the camera to let you see just how glossy and stunningly beautiful it is. Or perhaps a model spins to let her skirt flow around her in a wide arc. In a variation, a famous actress scatters pearls across the floor of a sumptuous mansion house to advertise perfume. These shots will all inevitably be in slow motion. What is the point of the swish? The point is to add action and movement and pizazz to something that lacks it. A dress may look good but it does kind of just hang there. The model’s hair may be amazing but if you want it to really look amazing you want to light it in a studio where she won’t be walking in the park or running around so the movement is not lifelike. Solution? Do a Swish.

Do you know what 'The Beauty Shot' adds to a video? Click To Tweet

Slow Burn

For a Slow Burn, you pause on a beautifully lit shot of your product, or someone enjoying your product – and just hold it. You can have some movement in your lights, or dolly the camera slowly around the product. The point is just to show something that is stunning, sublime or ecstatic. You can combine the slow burn with other techniques. Something that has been quite fashionable and therefore is in danger of being overused is the…

Lens Flare

chanel-no5-brad-pitt-whereveryougoA lens flare naturally occurs when a direct light source interacts with your camera lens to create a flare of light across your shot. There was a time when professional film makers considered lens flares to be a mistake and the mark of an amateur or the incompetent, but then something happened. Cinematographers realised that lens flares were beautiful. Directors realised that lens flares happened in news reports of live events where the camera operator was only concerned with covering the story not the correctness of their shot which meant that audiences subconsciously recognised a degree of authenticity in shots that seemed to be capturing reality. Lens flares are lovely to look at and lend a perception of honesty or truth. Important tools for advertisers.

Focus Pull

burger smallerThe focus pull is my personal favourite beauty shot. It may sound simple but when an object is out of focus and then the camera operator brings it into focus it’s very interesting visually. It’s beautiful to look at. You can also use the focus pull to bring different areas of a shot into focus. You can sweep your focus, and therefore the viewers’ attention, across the length of a car, or between two people sat across a room or between a flickering fire and the crystal perfume bottle standing in front of it.

What Is The Point Of “The Beauty Shot”?

Your beauty shot is a statement. It should not be thrown away, it should not be rushed. The point is to draw your viewer’s desire towards your product. You will most often see the beauty shot as the centrepiece of an advert. I don’t mean the middle section I mean the defining moment. If you think of a Marks & Spencer food commercial you think of that voice over and the glorious shot of that not just a food item but a Marks & Spencer food item. If you think of a L’Oreal advert, you picture a stunning actress swishing her hair and telling you it’s “Because you’re worth it”. When you think of Chanel No.5 you think of a huge crystal bottle on a white or out of focus background with the light glinting on the perfectly formed edges of the bottle and the expensive-looking chunky stopper. The Marks & Spencer shot takes up the whole advert. The L’Oreal swish usually comes half way through, separated from the tag line. The Chanel shot is always the close of the advert. No matter where they come in the commercial, they are the defining visual moment of each.

These shots aren’t for the faint-hearted or the novice videographer. The technical aspect of creating these shots is something that needs to be seriously considered in terms of the time, set-up and cost involved. As an advertiser working with a film maker to engage new customers you have to decide whether it is worth your while to go to the effort involved in this level of advertising creativity but if you do, and when these shots are used effectively, their impact can be magical.