Felix Kunze has a secret: He doesn’t like dressing up for Halloween. Doing so would distract from his tradition on that last night of October—photographing those who hit the streets dressed to the nines. Preferring to observe rather than partake in the revelry, the Manhattan-based photographer tapes up a backdrop and shoots late into the night with his camera system and a single strobe. He later composites the portraits to create a human tableau that reveals a colorful cross-section of New York City culture.
This Halloween, three years into his personal project, he set up near the Morgan stop on the L train in Brooklyn, where he captured people coming out of a Bushwick warehouse party—85 to be exact—and amassed a heap of good content.
Instead of posting single images, the portrait photographer decided to try something new to portray the breadth of his work: convert his stills into motion.
Kunze understands the importance of video promotion, but he doesn’t have the time for the steep learning curve required of more complicated video-editing software (he travels so much that he has Twitter and Instagram accounts dedicated to his whereabouts, @whereisfelix). Animoto fills that niche. “I don’t know what magic they’ve spun, but it feels robust and fast and like it won’t ever crash,” he says of using the web-based app.
Kunze says he was surprised at how quickly he was able to pull all of his footage together into a slideshow: he shot on Saturday, October 28 and by Halloween day he was ready to post a dynamic promotional piece.
He was also impressed with the way he could search by keyword for a haunting soundtrack to accompany his images without having to worry about music licensing. That’s because Animoto, aside from having more than 30 pre-built marketing storyboards, makes more than 3,000 commercially licensed tracks available to its users.
“If you want to improve your social media presence, you have to feed the algorithms in a three-step process,” he explains. “One: make content; two: make a video; three: boost it a little bit. Then you’ve fed the hungry mouths of a social media platform and you get boosted back to the top,” he says.
He posted the resulting Animoto video to Facebook and Instagram, where he reached 18,000 and 10,000 viewers, respectively. And, from this single campaign, he received a new opportunity he wasn’t expecting: a major fashion brand inquired about him doing a similar project at one of their corporate events.
He says he’s thrilled with the audience engagement he’s experienced from posting video content and asserts that Animoto is the latest staple in his marketing strategy. He already has plans to create a video teaser for his twelve-part lighting series with co-host Sue Bryce (be sure to follow @felixkunze to see the final result). “As a photographer doing a personal project, being able to throw a video up and get thousands of people to see it—that’s gold,” he says. “Video is what revitalized my whole social media presence.”
—Sponsored by Animoto