Daniele Carrer, the Founder of microstockguru.com, a blog where contributors can learn how to sell their stock footage online recently approached me to review his course.
Daniele has recently launched a new comprehensive video-course called “Sell Your Photos and Videos Online” [affiliate link] and has asked to provide a no-holds-barred review [does this eccentric Italian guy really know what he’s getting himself into?]
Stock Revenue Diversification
Life is funny. If you recall from my New Years’ Resolution post, one of my goals for 2018 was linked to creating and uploading more stock footage:
“Upload 10 footage videos a month (at this stage, I’m more concerned about improving technically which should lead to downloads)”
Although income from stock photos is supposed to be most contributors’ bread and butter (it is mine), we cannot be complacent and must look towards ways to diversify our income, be it fine art photography, print on demand or working directly with clients.
The next logical step is closer than you think since most DSLRs already shoot footage. I would recommend transitioning into the role of a stock videographer, where footage royalties are on average 10x stock photo royalties (subscriptions) and considerably more for 4K resolution.
I attest that on a scale of 0 to 10 in terms of expertise I’m probably a 2 in stock footage, making me a good candidate for this course, especially if my motivation to learn is 9/10.
Daniele is a successful videographer based in Italy. He earns on average $3,000/month with his stock footage business, evidenced by the following screenshot of his earnings at Pond5:
So, Daniele getting in touch with me with this course came at a perfect time and I was eager to draw knowledge from start to finish.
Daniele’s comprehensive course is neatly divided into the following 27 chapters (in parenthesis is the duration):
Lesson 1 (7.47) – Introduction to the market.
Lesson 2 (10:43) – How to use microstock search engines to sell more.
Lesson 3 (7:03) – How to find a profitable niche.
Lesson 4 (15:14) – How to shoot a big city.
Lesson 5 (16:11) – How to shoot a small town.
Lesson 6 (17:15) – How to create a time-lapse.
Lesson 7 (7:48) – What to do before editing your time-lapse photo sequences.
Lesson 8 (10:21) – How to edit a time-lapse photo sequence.
Lesson 9 (10:20) – How to create the tilt shift effect in a time-lapse.
Lesson 10 (6:08) – Common mistakes of videos with the tilt shift effect.
Lesson 11 (23:16) – How to create a hyper lapse.
Lesson 12 (10:51) – How to correct flicker from your time-lapse.
Lesson 13 (11:55) – The secrets of real-time shooting.
Lesson 14 (6:24) – How to organize your files to avoid problems when uploading in microstocks.
Lesson 15 (7:02) – How to convert videos.
Lesson 16 (19:46) – How to create stock footage with Adobe Premiere.
Lesson 17 (11:20) – How to create stock footage with Final Cut Pro 7.
Lesson 18 (8:37) – How to create stock footage with Final Cut Pro X.
Lesson 19 (14:54) – Technical requirements of images and footage on microstocks.
Lesson 20 (10:39) – What are the best microstocks.
Lesson 21 (9:31) – The secrets of Storyblocks/Videoblocks.
Lesson 22 (10:04) – The secrets of Pond5.
Lesson 23 (8:28) – The secrets of Shutterstock.
Lesson 24 (11:44) – How to describe and keyword stock images and stock footage on Pond5.
Lesson 25 (9:48) – How to describe and keyword stock images and stock footage on Shutterstock.
Lesson 26 (9:28) – How to transfer descriptions and keywords from Pond5 to Shutterstock and Storyblocks.
Lesson 27 (6:41) – The best mindset to make more money.
Total course duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes
A summary of what to expect:
“In these 27 lessons I will try to put you in the conditions where you will go straight to the point, in order to earn the maximum, depending on your skills; however, you should never think of doing like those friends that join a gym thinking it would suffice to pay the subscription to have the body of a model. If you just think that you are so good that you will be able to beat your competitors with no effort, you are only wasting your time and you will sell much less than what you would be able to.”
Develop a strong business mindset
Personally, the key takeaway from the course is to develop a strong business mindset.
“Technique is not the only important thing to be a profitable contributor on microstock. You have to understand what the market wants, and you need to produce the content that your competitors can’t produce.”
“If you decide to shoot a city, it will be a good practice to use as much time as you will spend shooting in front of your computer, planning your trip. This stage must always start from an analysis of what already exists and is selling from that location, and of your ability to learn from this data.”
Creating Timelapses, House of Cards Style
If you’re like me and ever binge-watched House of Cards, you’ll have seen the dramatic introduction sequence with some fast-moving time lapses. Did you really think the producers of the show made them?
Of course not! These were licensed off StoryBlocks!
According to Daniele:
“The time-lapse is still the most profitable type of footage in microstock, so if you want to shoot a subject, especially in cities, you can make more money with a time-lapse”
Daniele will show you which are the most profitable types of time lapses. These are not the sped up video types but using 100s of actual images later combined using Adobe After-Effects.
Daniele doesn’t stop at time lapses…he explains how to create the popular tilt-shift (miniature) effect and creating hyper lapses!
If you get bored of the above (like ever you would), he’ll explain how to capture, edit and upload a profitable classic real-time shot.
The Future is 4K
Daniele did an excellent job at explaining the differences between using different frames rates, resolutions and export settings. I have to admit that many of these were alien concepts coming from a photography background.
However, in my opinion, the most important lesson came to shoot 4K in order to future-proof your footage. He outlines some compelling reasons why it’s preferable to shoot in 4K rather than Full HD:
- “Higher resolution (over 20MP)
- Sometimes you need to re-do the framing in post-processing, including zooming and moving the frame and this may cause you to lose some resolution which you’d have more than enough shooting 4K
- Better to correct vibrations
- Royalties are 3 to 4x as much
- Less competition from other contributors”
Who is this course aimed at?
This course is aimed at beginners and intermediates. Ideally, the contributor already has a basic technical knowledge of photography and is looking to make a logical transition to footage.
All you need is a basic DSLR that can shoot footage, a tripod, ND filter and editing software!
What is the total investment?
The total investment is worth $297 / Eur 256, which is a fair price for the amount of content available.
With the knowledge you’ll gain, you’ll quickly be able to recoup this investment.
Since this is a brutally honest blog, I’ve been looking for something constructively negative to say about the course. I’m really struggling though since I found it extremely well put together and useful.
If there’s anything negative it’s for myself in that that I wish I got into footage years ago when there was less competition and instead combined it with my photography business. However, it’s not too late largely thanks to the knowledge I’ve learned from Daniele. Grazie mille!
I hope that you’ll also take this unique opportunity.