“I can’t wait to see your images” is a phrase I hear fairly often. I’m not complaining. It’s gratifying that people want to see my images from my travels to far-flung corners of the world, but without wishing to sound ungrateful, it makes my heart sink. That and, “I bet you got some great images”.
How do you explain to a non-photographer that your output from 2 weeks travelling to some exotic destination, that took 18 hours of your life to get to and cost a few weeks’ salary, has resulted in three square black and white images that, in some cases, could have been taken in any one of the four corners of the globe? It’s a tough one.
A fellow photographer recounted how her family said to her before she left for a trip to India, “You will take some proper photos, won’t you?”. Let’s be honest, when our nearest and dearest ask to see our holiday photographs, what they want to see is flaming sunsets, women in brightly coloured saris, azure blue skies, golden beaches, and their loved one riding a camel. However enthusiastic I try to sound about having added three images to my portfolio, I always end up feeling like I’ve failed in some way.
When I travel, I create fine art images; if I produce 3 or 4 images in a trip, I consider that to be a success. For the rest of the time when I’m travelling, my aim is to enjoy the experience: to see new things, to meet new people, to try different food, and to learn something about the culture and history of the country I’m visiting. My aim is not to create a portfolio of travel images. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my bag.
So how do I share my travel experiences with friends and family without blurring the boundaries of my fine art photography? After grappling with the issue, I think I’ve found the answer: video.
Creating a travel video ticks all the boxes for me. It enable me to capture the memories of a trip both for my own personal enjoyment and to share with friends; it’s a great way to capture the sights, sounds and spirit of a place; it allows me to portray everything from sweeping vistas to the smallest of details, as well as the social side of travelling; and it creates a clear boundary between my fine art photography and my holiday memories.
So in the words of Julius Caesar (almost), my new motto is Veni, Video, Vici – I came, I videoed, I conquered.
You can see my fine art images at www.lisakatsiarisphotography.com
I use my iPhone 8 for videos and iMovie for editing. Although I’m still a novice here’s what I’ve learnt so far:
- Make sure you record everything in landscape
- Keep your filming steady and pan in one direction, for example, side to side or up and down
- Don’t move the camera too fast – if you want a fast shot, it’s more effective to shoot at a steady pace and speed up the video clip in production
- You’ll need twice as many clips as you think – I aim for 40 to 50 clips for a 3-minute video
- Record some longer clips and speed them up in production (for example, cloud movement or street scenes)
- Think about recording clips that will work in slow-mo
- Capture footage from different angles and using different focal lengths: go wide, go low, get in close, captures details and textures – variety is key
- Unless you can zoom in very smoothly on your device (tricky on an iPhone), it’s better to take wide-angle footage and then zoom in and take some more footage
- When you edit, keep your clips to 3 or 4 seconds generally
- I usually use a 1 to 2 second fade transition between clips
- Choose your music and sync your clips to the music
- Consider the flow of your video and the story you’re telling