I know how intimidating it can be for photographers to make the leap from still imagery to creating travel videos.
For me, making the switch from photography to video took some soul searching… but specializing in video marketing has made all the difference in my freelancer lifestyle.
I started out as a travel and lifestyle photographer, but today I work with my clients to develop video marketing campaigns that tell the story of the business in a cinematic style.
It was an ambitious leap, but I had already been training without realizing it. About 10 years ago, I started making videos with iMovie that were basically slideshows with music. A couple years later, I started adding video footage to my slideshows.
I stepped up my game by learning how to use a more professional video-editing software, and I’ve gotten quite good now that I’m doing more challenging projects.
Nothing develops your skills like taking on projects a bit outside your current skill set.
Here’s my advice for beginning…
Shoot b-roll (and don’t worry about audio).
For photographers looking to add video, don’t even worry about adding audio. This kind of footage without audio is known as b-roll and is by far the easiest shot to take. Lots of buyers look for video without audio because they want to add their own audio later. You can submit short video clips along with photos to stock agencies, or use them in your own projects.
Focus on short, simple clips.
Start by getting used to making short video clips (10-30 seconds). The simplest way to shoot video is to keep the camera stationary on a tripod and let the movement happen within the frame. In time, you can practice making camera movements by tilting vertically and panning horizontally with a video head on your tripod.
Next level tip: Add some fun tools for fancier shots, like a slider that lets you make sideways motion or a handheld gimbal to create stable shots while walking.
It’s (still) all about composition.
The best advice I received was from Tom Reissmann during a GEP video workshop in Paris. When you want to make a camera movement, think about the composition at the beginning and end of the movement. The movement is just the transition between these two “photos.” It was the perfect advice, reminding me that capturing an image, be it still or moving, isn’t really that different. Ultimately, it’s always about the composition and the story.
Creating promotional videos for businesses has given me the opportunity to develop story-driven videos that in some ways are just an extension of lifestyle photography. The story isn’t just one frame: it’s a two-minute mini movie.
I even love the editing, combining on-camera footage, b-roll, voiceover, animated graphics, still photos, titles, and music to tell my client’s unique business story. The work is fun and rewarding in and of itself… but it’s also quite lucrative with larger projects earning $2,000-$5,000.
Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about where you might go with video. Instead, just start playing and experimenting with making small clips and editing them… then see where it goes. One day, you’ll find the niche that’s perfect for you.