Archive for the ‘Stock Photography’ Category

Cross Media – the new trend in stock photography

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Last summer I introduced you to one of my personal experiences with stock photography through my blog “Stock Shoot Kids ‘N’ Balloons”.  As a pro photographer, I find it amazing how much has changed in the industry even from the previous summer.  The latest trend in the stock industry is the sale of cross media packages comprising of a collection of stills with matching footage all produced from the same shoot.  For those of you who are asking, “what is stock footage?” well essentially it’s a short high definition video footage lasting between 10-15 seconds that is not custom shot for a particular use such as in a movie or commercial but rather to be sold to multiple potential clients through stock libraries.   So now you ask, “who buys this footage and why”?   The answer is quite simple:  Everyone in the moving picture business who wants to save money and time.

Now let me elaborate on that a bit.  For example, both television and movie series as well as commercials and news programs frequently use stock footage as a way to keep costs down and save on production time. Footage of city landscapes, famous landmarks, and historical events are frequently used over and over again.  I once met the photographers who shot the areal footage of New York City, which was featured in the beginning of every episode of the series “Sex and the City.” Talk about a great sale!  A movie or television series will also reuse footage from previous installments adding minor modifications as a way to reduce filming time and costs associated with re shooting similar scenes. Many websites are moving towards using stock footage as well as stills in their online marketing and advertisement thus creating websites with rich media content.  Footage is even starting to appear on electronic billboards!

Stock libraries have realized the incredible sales potential that the footage industry has to offer and as a result, they have created cross media packages providing their clients with a large selection of both stills and footage.  I recently photographed a cross media stock shoot for Image Source, a London based stock library.  Working side by side with their art director and videographer, we simultaneously shot stills and footage of each scene/topic on our shoot brief.  Check out some of my stills featured in this blog and to see the full cross media package, follow this link (soon to be published):

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

See the finished products at Image Source http://www.imagesource.com/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox&VBID=2FAO8LJN2N2N&VBIDL=&SMLS=
1&RW=1282&RH=629

Stock shoot Kids ‘n’ Balloons

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

OK, so shooting stock photography is somewhat of a gamble.  Even after working out the details of each shoot and the various concepts ahead of time, and after you’ve shot 1500 images in a day and then had your editor cut your day’s shoot down to a mere 20 to 30 shots, you still don’t know if they’re going to sell well.  So now you ask, why do it?  Well from my experience, when you produce a successful stock shoot, the financial return can be great._S8R0336

The old adage “never work with kids and animals” is true, so why, do you ask, did I choose to gather 7 squealing 5 to 7 year olds and their respective mothers on a boiling hot July day?  Insanity?  Masochism?  Well, truth be known, kids are fun, full of surprises, and lets face it the stock libraries and their clients love images of kids. _S8R9952 In planning a shoot with kids, we needed to consider topics that not only are real and believable, but something that the kids will enjoy doing and will hopefully keep their attention.  You need to be prepared to get the shot right within the first few minutes as that asking a kid to repeat a process or action over and over will quickly arouse temper tantrums, loss of interest or both.Once a kid decides that he or she has had enough then that kid will simply walk away… or worse.  Therefore when working with kids, I recommend having a bribe available to motivate them to continue (Mums tend to use threat tactics which tend to work even better!)._S8R0132

The day before the shoot I had purchased and quietly hidden in my garage a “pricey” collection of 20 bright red and 2 yellow helium balloons as well as a giant heart-shaped balloon so that our own kids wouldn’t steal or burst our volatile props.  My stylist and I prepared a precise shoot list expecting to use only 10% of the concepts, as that kids tend to create their own shots for us as opposed to following our directions. Still, a list such as this is important as to not waste time on the day of the shoot.  We also notified each of the Mums to bring 2 sets of clothing for each child to the shoot and according with our specifications relating to style and colour.LX-2009-08-05-000-0073

On the day of the shoot, the first hour allocated to shooting was spent waiting for the kids to arrive and final wardrobe checks.  To stop the kids from just letting the balloons go during the shoot (and believe me this happened quite a few times) we tied transparent fishing line to the balloons and had an assistant (Mum) hold the other end (we would remove the visible line in post production in photoshop).  _S8R0435My assistant in the meantime had set up the Profoto portable flash system and the California Sunbounce reflector for extra light on our subjects.  Even on a sunny day, the extra light provided by the flash and reflector is essential to properly light our models by opening up the shadows. All in all, we spent 3 grueling hours laughing, sweating, consoling, cajoling, and photographing a great bunch of kids and finally, we ended up with a lovely selection of photos.

The whole idea of RF (royalty free) stock is that it should look believable and that the models (ranging in age from babies to seniors) should look like they are actually doing what they are showing in the image and not acting. This is easier in kids as they naturally tend to ignore the camera, but harder to control.  The RF market is still in high demand and libraries are working hard to expand.  For a photographer, the RF market enables a high exposure rate and opportunity for multiple sales of the same image.  A win-win solution for all!

Here are few of the resulting images for our fun and somewhat chaotic morning. These images will soon be available in the RF collections of Getty Images, Corbis, Alamy, Masterfile, Jupiter and another 30 or so mid-size libraries.