Conversations with Jonathan Knowles: Shooting Video as a Stills Photographer

As video has become a big part of stills photography, many pro photographers have had to expand their skill set to include film and video production.

Award-winning product photographer Jonathan Knowles is one such example, having filmed campaigns for Schweppes, Twinings, and Costa, to name a few.

Jonathan once again joined Karl live, this time to talk about the importance of video and to take a closer look at some of his work and how it was achieved. Jonathan also shared some valuable insight into the commercial process and what clients expect in this multimedia age.

Jonathan and Karl also discussed Jonathan’s equipment and lighting, how COVID has affected his business and what tips he has for those looking to get started in video.

Topics covered in this show include:

  • Shooting video as a photographer
  • Lighting for video & photography
  • Equipment for film work
  • Challenges associated with film & directing
  • Tips for filmmaking & video
  • The future of photography & video

If you missed Jonathan’s first live interview, you can watch it here. You can also find out more about Jonathan and his work on his website.

Other guest interviews you might be interested in include:

If you have any questions about this show please post in the comment section below.


  1. Hi Karl and team thanks for all the great work!
    it would be amazing to have some content about tools and ways to setup a remote shoot with clients

  2. Fabulous, very inspirational and packed with great advice. Of Course, I’m late to the game by watching it in replay. Never to late to learn on this platform. Thank you Karl and thank you Jonathan. …constellation, Grolsch was one of my favorite beers. I use to keep four empty ones in my portfolio, then fill them with sand at the beach, they make great paperweights for the windy beaches, then become light again, when you empty them out.

    1. Thanks and good idea on the paper weights. Could also take full ones to the beach, realise the beach isn’t that great and you don’t need them as paperweights. Drink them and walk home happy 🙂

  3. Please excuse my ignorance but, what do you mean by a “treatment”? I’m not familiar with that term.

    1. Hi, no worries it is a bit confusing and some of this terminology didn’t even exist 5 or 10 years ago, a bit like ‘Bokeh’ was a word that wasn’t around 20 years ago either! A ‘treatment’ is a detailed plan and set of mood boards that is presented to the client by the photographer (and sometimes agency) to demonstrate exactly how you are going to handle the job, who’s going to be involved, provide examples of previous similar work and give an overall feel of the project and how you will execute it so that the client will be confident in the money to be spent. It’s essentially the photographers response to the ‘brief’ but as detailed if not more detailed than the brief itself. More paperwork! 🙂

        1. Hi ELizabeth, there may be more covered on this in talks with Barry Makariou or David Lund, however in basic form it is simply a presentation put back to the client that goes into a bit more detail than the brief they originally put to you. So essentially they give you a brief and then you go back and give them a detailed explanation of that brief, how your going to do it, the style your going to shoot, examples of work etc – it’s all a bit of a nonsense if you ask me and more waffle created by advertising agencies, it’s mostly used for TV commercial and video production but unfortunately has seemed to make it’s way into stills too. The sad part about it for photographer pitching for a job is that it can take them as long to prepare ‘a treatment’ (presentation of the project style) as it does to actually do the shoot and therefore for the photographers that don’t win the job they have just wasted lots of valuable time. Personally I won’t do it, I’ll put a quotation together and I’ll explain to them in a video recording form whilst showing examples of my work as a quicker solution. If the job you’re pitching for is worth and absolute fortune and then there may be advantages in doing it but it seems the request for it has started to come into much lower budget jobs which just seems excessive to me. I can sum up the requirements of any advertising brief for you in a few words: Is the message clear, is the product the hero, is it on brand with the clients image, are the images impactful and effective. If yes to all of those then that’s all it needs to be!

          1. Thanks Karl I have been asked to
            produce treatments quite often in recent years. Appreciate your detailed reply.

  4. This is like a dream job! To be on set like this, work and not realize time until you were done, the excitement of getting it right.. the frustrations of something not working…..I was excited watching this whole darned live!

    1. Hi sshowalter73, thanks and very glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully you’ve checked out the previous interview with Jonathan in the studio where we look more at his stills work and early history. Thanks Karl.

  5. Always great when Karl gets together with Jonathan, two huge talents. Only problem is that it made me realise just how far I have to go to get anywhere near the standard of video work that Jonathan produces. It does however provide real inspiration to keep working and learning. Thanks guys.

    1. Hi Andrew, yes he’s very inspiring. I hope to produce some class content for you guys with Jonathan in the not too distant future.

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