Three Tips: Video You Can Sell As Stock

Like many photographers I know, I wasn’t interested in video at first. “I’m a photographer,” I’d tell myself, as if that carried some special artistic weight that “videographer” lacked.

But then videos started popping up all over the web... and they told stories, featured music, and moved me in a way that photographs couldn’t.

So one day, my finger sort of “slipped,” and I switched my camera over to video mode -- something I’d never tried, even though I knew my camera could take great video.

Now I’m starting to get hooked. This is fun. And the way a video looks through an SLR camera lens -- with a sharp subject and a blurred background -- is truly fantastic.

In ways, it’s really very similar to shooting still photography. The same composition rules apply. I’m using the same camera. And I’m waiting for the same compelling stories to unfold before me.

Only now... they move.

And the best part is... even if you don’t have a client waiting to buy them from you, you can sell your videos in online stock agencies. I’m already selling my photos as stock, so why not make the jump to video and sell them in the same place, too?

While I was on vacation in Paris this week, I took a few short video segments with no recognizable people or logos in them so that I can submit them to stock agencies.

Just for fun, I combined them into this short, 30-second video and added music:

If you’d like to try this, too, and create a video you can sell as stock to an online agency, here are some ways to take video with no recognizable people, so you don’t need a model release:

  1. Get in close. You don’t need an entire story... you just need a little clip. Try getting in close on something like a hand lifting a coffee cup and filming it for just a few seconds.
  2. Find small details. For the last video in my clip, above, I didn’t want to have recognizable people, and I wasn’t sure that the carousel wasn’t copyrighted, so I blurred out all of that, leaving just the impression and “feeling” of Paris... while focusing on the pigeons in the foreground.
  3. Use a shallow depth of field. I set my lens between f/2.8 and f/4 for all three of these clips, making the background nice and blurry. That way, you get the impression of people moving, but you can’t recognize them in the background.

Video opens up a whole new world to play in and get creative. Play with it as much as you can. And of course, above all, have fun.

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[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]