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Photographer John Lund flips his wig in this humorous self portrait and stock photo.
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Adding Motion Footage to Your Stock Photography Shoots

Why shoot motion for Stock? The primary reason, from a business perspective, is that motion is a growing and lucrative segment of the stock photography market 

A young boy energetically shakes the water from his hair illustrating vitality, fun and youthfulness
A young boy energetically shakes the water from his hair illustrating vitality, fun and youthfulness.

  A still picture captures a moment when a Latina woman's hair is swirling around her smiling face
Her hair billowing up around her head, this picture of a Latina woman can be used to illustrate concepts and issues around health, beauty, spa treatments and for hair products.  

  A White dove is released from a magician's hands symbolizing peace and freedom
Peace, Freedom and Purity can be illustrated with this image of hands
releasing a dove.  The slow motion video of it is truly mesmerizing.

  Stock photo of a light bulb at the moment it explodes in a cloud of dust a debris
A light bulb is a rich symbol for concepts such as ideas, creativity and
vision. Add to that the drama of an explosion and you have a recipe for
stock image that can help a wide range of advertisers promote their
products and services. Sparkling water drops are frozen in the air as a woman splashes water on her face in a stock photograph showing beauty
Captured in the act of splashing water on her face, this image symbolizes purity, natural beauty, and healthy living.  

 

 

How to add motion footage to your Stock Photo Shoots.


Motion Footage Is In Demand

Why shoot motion for Stock?  The primary reason, from a business perspective, is that motion is a growing and lucrative segment of the stock photography market.  The use of motion is exploding.  We see it everywhere, from the gasoline pump to billboards to pervasive use on the Internet. Every major, and quite a few minor, stock agencies are now offering footage.  In a recent survey of stock photographers who participate in both motion and still photography, all but one respondent indicated that stills sales were dropping while motion sales were on the rise.  In my own experience five out of my top twenty selling stock images over the first quarter of this year were film clips!


More Video Cameras, More Distribution

Getting in to motion has never been easier.  Canon, Nikon and other camera manufactures now offer 35mm cameras in the mid-price range that shoot High Definition Video.  Additionally, an entirely new camera is available called The Red One that shoots video with feature film quality and from which individual frames can be pulled for still images.  That Micro Stock agencies now offer video means that getting distribution has become much easier as well.


Hiring A Director Of Photography

For the still shooter who wants to get into motion there are two distinctly different avenues.  You can hire a DP (Director of Photography) who will usually furnish the camera and supply all of the knowledge needed, leaving you free to use your creativity as you take on the role of Director.  If you want to go the extra mile you can hire a production team that will take care of all of the lighting and grip needs for you as well.

I personally know of two still photographers who have forged partnerships with production companies and split the proceeds of their motion stock shoots.


Shooting With Still Cameras

For those wanting to dip their toes into the water a little more slowly you can pick up a HD Video still camera, such as a Canon 5D MK II for less than $3,000.00, and shoot both motion and stills.  Of course, you can always rent a wide range of video cameras. You will definitely want a camera that will shoot HD, and that can shoot digital files to a card or hard drive.


Spreading the Risk

A great way to work is to set up a still shoot that also can offer motion possibilities.  In doing so you can spread any risk across both mediums.  Keep in mind that motion does present some challenges that stills do not.  You can’t fix things in Photoshop. Everything has to be perfect. Shoots go a lot slower for video as well, so you have to allow more time.  And finally, if you are used to shooting with artificial light such as strobes, you will need to arrange for “hot lights” for your motion work.


Editing To Clips

Once your video is shot you will need to edit it into clips.  The premier application for video editing is Final Cut Pro.  The learning curve is a bit daunting, but luckily editing video into clips is a fairly simple process. If you need it, great place to learn how to use software is www.lynda.com.  If you are serious about video you might consider getting the best equipment and software upfront and learning it well.  In the long run the payoff will be well worth it.


A Plus For Your Career­­­­

Combining video shoots with your still shoots is a great way to move into the future of stock photography.  While still images will always be needed, motion use is on the increase, there is inherently less competition, and there is a huge need for material. You never know, you might find that motion is something you really take to and that might be a real plus for your career. Worst case, you will find that motion isn’t for you and you can move on and refocus on stills.  Either way you will be that much more knowledgeable and on top of your chosen profession.