If you’re a stock photographer and would like to maximise your earnings when out shooting, my suggestion would be to consider also capturing footage. This is one of the tips I gave towards the end of the chat on Guilheme’s Creative Income YouTube channel, see below.
By the way, you can check out Creative Income blog here.
You’ve got (almost) all the equipment
Most cameras these days will be able to record in at least Full HD (1920 x 1080), which is a good starting base for your stock footage adventures. However, before making the transition on the spot, you’re going to need two vital pieces of equipment and a third special commodity.
If you’re shooting during the day, especially during the summer months, you’re going to need to block out some light using a Neutral Density filter. Anything from a 3-stop to a 12-stop should do the trick. More details on this link on which may be right for you.
I’ve settled for a variable up to 9-stop which is more than enough for what I want to achieve in both long-exposure stills and footage.
Tripod or Gorillapod
For obvious reasons, if you’re shooting footage or long exposure stills, you’ll need to have a stable base. I prefer shooting with the tripod, but have recently purchased a Gorillapod for $60 for situations when using a tripod are challenging, such as places that they’re just not allowed. They also come in handy if you’re traveling by plane and not checking in luggage.
Some airlines don’t allow tripods as carry-ons, just avoid having to pay a fortune to check-in next time by contacting the airliner ahead of time.
Shooting footage naturally takes longer as you’ll need to set up the tripod, put on the ND filter and choose the best (manual) settings to capture both real-time and especially timelapses. This may be a deal-breaker for some who travel with others, but I believe it’s well-worth the investment when capturing the same scene using different mediums.
Capturing the scene
These days, in scenes where there’s enough movement (more on this later), I’ll go for the holy trinity of:
- Real-time footage
- Time lapse
I’ll be shooting all three of these three at pretty much the same spot, as per the following example captured captured two days ago in Cascais, Portugal:
The plus side of already having your camera on the tripod with an ND filter is that even if it’s day-time you can shoot long-exposure stills. This frame was captured at ISO 50, F10 and a very cool 1/2 seconds. I believe a long-exposure day-time shot will help to make the image stand out from the crowd!
Using the exact same settings as above, I shot a quick timelapse over 3 minutes for a 7- second video (1 second interval) worth of “video”. 7 seconds at 25fps = 175 stills
I noticed a juggler on the foreground so titled my tripod ever so slightly to include him with the beach background. A simple real-time shot to end the scene.
How long did the above take?
Including the 3-minute timelapse, I was there about for 10 minutes. Not bad and I think I managed to take the most out of the scene until moving onto the next subject (the beach after that curve next to the house). Sure, I could have done a 3-hour day to evening to night timelapse but why would I? Onto the next scene.
I did the same for about 4 beaches along the coastline for a total of 12 stills, 12 timelapses and 12 real-time footage. A productive afternoon.
Keywording the batch
Keywording drives me crazy so I want to spend as little time as possible doing it and still get the best results. I won’t aim for perfection but if I can get a good result I’ll be happy (keeping in mind that I still have about 200 images and 20 videos to keyword from my Iberian adventures).
Now, putting together a similar scene of these three mediums makes my keywording life much easier since I’ll be naturally using similar keywords! Ah Ha!
As for post-processing, I know I know theo that my footage horizons aren’t straight and I’ll fix them, but for now I upload these for sale direct to agencies. I’m looking to upgrade my equipment soon to shoot 4K and post-process these, so stay tuned.
Not all scenes are made for footage
Bob Marley sang “No Woman, No Cry”…in this industry it’s “No Motion, No Footage”.
Some scenes do not lend themselves to realtime / time-lapse! For static / locked-down scenes you need motion; be it people, clouds or cars! Or sometimes you just don’t have the time or patience to set up a tripod, put on an ND filter and get to work.
I’ll end this piece with a cool time-lapse I captured also in Cascais, Portugal, which I of course captured also stills and real-time.
I’m an eccentric guy on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images. I’m determined not to waste my life away as a corporate drone and have devoted five years to making it as a travel photographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others before it’s too late.
I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography
Check out my new photo review service, where I’ll help take your images to the next level and get them sold regularly!