Ok, so as a filmmaker I like working with moving images but occasionally I'm forced to work with still photos which can be a challenge to integrate into a film effectively and in a way that maintains the viewers attention. Ken Burns did this well enough to have an actual effect named after him but there's an even more engaging way to add dynamism to still images. It's been termed "The Kid Stays In The Picture Effect" after the film of that name that really brought the effect into the limelight.
I recently took on a project for some local caterer putting together a Kicstarter Campaign for a cookbook they want to publish. The budget and schedule were minimal (free lunch, 4 hour 1 person shoot) but we have some really nice photos to use. I've wanted to use this effect for some time so I decided to slog my way through the learning process.
I'm a novice at After Effects and Photoshop at best but I actually found this effect very easy to implement. The biggest key is choosing photos that lend themselves to the effect. I basically watched this video and dove in and while maybe I haven't mastered it, I feel like I'm competent and efficient at using it. Take a look at the video and don't be afraid to add it to your arsenal as well. Let us know if you have any interesting ways to implement photos into your films as well.
And here are some things I learned in actually implementing this:
1. Editing Paths is not intuitive.
2. Many pictures are in portrait and not landscape, which ads complexity to framing.
3. Make sure your photo resolution is large enough for your video resolution.
4. If you aren't getting the depth of field you want, try adding gaussian blur to the background or foreground.