Stock video has become increasingly popular to clients on Fotolia and who better to speak to than Fotolia ruby ranked Contributor, Pressmaster Productions. We jumped at the chance to get an insight into their expertise and discover more about how a stock production company works (and by the looks of their team photo below, it’s a lot of fun!).
Can you introduce yourself, where you’re based and explain a bit your journey into how you started selling your photos on Fotolia?
Pressmaster Production Studio has been working in the stock photography market since 2007, and the stock video footage market for the past few years. Currently there are two different teams, each of which is responsible for a corresponding stock department: photography and footage productions.
We are located in the middle part of Russia, in the city of Chelyabinsk. The Pressmaster team started to create stock images more than eight years ago with a team of five people. We analyzed the market before and, for sure, Fotolia had been on our list of market leaders from the beginning. Our main goal was to produce high quality images every day and upload them every week. We wanted to make a strong business structure from our creative work. And we’ve got our results. Pressmaster was gaining through the ranks quickly.
And we actually still follow the same standards. We organize four photo shoots and three footage shoots every week.
You have a sizeable portfolio on Fotolia, currently over 56,000 image and video files – can you explain what kind of themes you specialize in and how you decide what kind of subjects to shoot?
We aspire to cover a range of everyday life situations and to add more of exotic places and events as well (from business, relationship, lifestyle, sports to travel, celebrations and special events).
Pressmaster Production team is extensive, consisting of an art-director, shooting administrator and casting manager, photographers and videographers, stylists and designers, submitters and more. We perform all production stages in-house.
All team members analyze the market, predicting what our clients need and suggesting ideas for shootings. But the main person to take the final decision is an art-director. He analyzes the marketplace, customer needs and monitors the work of other authors. The thing is, the subject should be relevant, urgent and desired. What’s more, we are guided by our specific resources and environment we work in. For instance, we can’t shoot summer topics during a long and cold Ural winter. But we have great outdoor locations during the summertime as the natural surroundings of the city are variable and picturesque.
An art-director holds meetings with the creative team every week. They discuss previous shootings, what was done well, and what leaves much to be desired. Moreover, the shooting team discusses new ideas, future shootings and makes a shot list.
What is it about your photos do you think that has made them so popular?
Good question. We are strongly committed to image authenticity and tend to capture true-to-life situations, not forced ones.
Has your photographic style developed since you started in the stock industry? If so, in what ways?
Our vision has not changed as such. However, when you put your heart and soul into work, you get invaluable experience and learn a lot. And when expertise comes, your photographic style develops into a more complicated one. For instance, we have sharpened our technical skills, such as image definition and quality, improved upon light schemes and camera movements for footage. What is more, our characters have grown more authentic and emotions more true-to-life. Finally, we are open to experiments and always eager to bring something new to stock photography.
To make a fantastic photograph, take an idea figuratively, add idea precision and top it all with some zest, so that the result grabs the audience. Fantastic video consists of thorough preparation, teamwork and a bit of magic dust.
When did you start contributing video files and how did you make the transition from photography?
We launched our video project in 2011 and that was quite a challenge. We started to shoot footage on a photo camera, using photography equipment. That was a lot of fun actually. And we received great experience then, which has consequently helped us build a strong team.
In 2013 we invested into the high quality professional video equipment, organized a separate footage production team and began to create video on a new level.
So we didn’t need to make the transition from photography to footage as there are just different professional guys working in our photography and footage production teams.
Regarding videos, what subjects have you found sell well in this market?
Most relevant subjects are business, shopping, aerial, relationship, lifestyle, travelling, sport and childhood. Nevertheless, even most relevant topics would not sell, if shot in an untalented and mediocre way. Less staged, more natural situation and subjects videos sell best.
What is your favorite piece of equipment that you use?
I would rather say that we use various types of equipment now and try to take advantage of each team member’s strong points to create high quality media.
What are you favorite images and/or videos from your Fotolia portfolio and why?
Most of the images can be regarded as favorites, but the ones that really stand out are those which reflect real life and sincere emotions.
10. When choosing models what is it you look for in particular?
First of all, we look for the ability for them to transform and get into character. Naturality in performance is essential. Secondly, we appreciate activity and commitment.
We don’t work with model agencies, our casting manager finds new talents for our shoots every day. On one one hand, it is generally more difficult to shoot people without experience, on the other hand, we have a great deal of advantages. We have real people with real emotions, we organize different steps for them to get more experienced in shootings. So finally they feel comfortable during shootings and give us great emotions and a natural performance.
11. What themes do you think we will be seeing more of in 2015?
The themes would probably stay the same but the approach to shooting will change. We’ll see more of true-to-life images. A basic trend for footage could be around travel. Furthermore, we think we will be seeing more aerial videos in 2015.
12. What tips can you give to someone looking to enter the stock photography/video industry?
Two pieces of advice, you choose which is handy to you personally. First: learn from the ones you like, but always follow your heart. And second: think more, do better!