Kevin and Pascal are two friends from Germany making their mark in the stock video footage market place. Not only does their business, Photolyric, enable them to chase the sunshine year round but pursue in addition their love of visual media. We were lucky to get a chance to speak with them (although sadly we weren’t able to visit them whilst on location in Cape Town!)…..
1. Can you explain how you first came across the stock image industry and what spurred you into pursuing it as a potential business opportunity?
Kevin: As for so many it was more of an accident than a planned event. I was in my first photography apprenticeship and my income from that wasn’t something to call home for. So I looked on amazon for books that covered the theme “earning money with photography” and stumbled upon one of the first books that covered microstock. It was still one of these “take a photo of an Apple on white and get rich”. Outrageous from today’s perspective but back then it totally inspired me. And there my microstock career started, whereby after two years my friend and business partner Pascal joined and we’re now running and owning this company equally.
2. Where can you attribute your interest in visual media? Was there a particular moment that sparked it or has it been something that you always found of interest?
Kevin: I think my first conscience contact with visual art were the Video Games I played in the early 90s. Sonic and co. left a mark in my memory since it was amazing Japanese pixel art. The spark for photography came from my first Lomo LC-A. I remember vividly going out in night shooting long exposure on old factories or supermarkets. Good old times.
Pascal: My interest in visual media was sparked by photo journalists like Henri Cartier-Bresson, James Nachtwey and Robert Capa. The power to trigger emotions through images fascinated me and is still the driving force today. We want to create imagery that touches us and other people.
3. Why do you think more businesses are turning to stock sites for their visual media requirements?
The online media outlets are growing in numbers by the day, the viewing habits change from traditional TV and newspaper to online media. There are big opportunities nowadays for smaller to medium sized companies to target even very niche groups online. And those companies find high-quality, unique content for affordable prices on stock sites. It’s a perfect fit and I’m sure this trend will continue until the next big disruption.
4. What is your favorite piece of equipment that you use?
Kevin: Ohh I’m pretty much a gear head, so this question is pretty tough. I think I have to go with the Sony FS 700 in combination with the Convergent Design Odyssey 7. It gives me RAW video and the image quality is stunning. I’m able to alter white balance and recover highlights and shadows if needed after the shot. Which is a nice luxury.
5. Can you show us some of your favourite video footage from your Fotolia portfolio?
I think I speak for Pascal and me: this is the Video that is the most fun looking while it gave us so much grey hairs at the same time. Many factors came together: we were quite inexperienced with large groups plus it wasn’t a good idea to allow the party crowd to order drinks on our behalf. But looking back it was a good experience.
Pascal shot this video, and it shows that unstaged B roll often turns out to be the best of the day. We were basically wrapping up and going back to the cars when this footage was taken. We love the mood that it shows.
The model we had the most fun with was this one, period. Just have a look at the other footage from this series and you’ll know why.
6. You’re based in Germany, do you concentrate all your filming there or do you travel outside?
We have the luxury of producing in different countries. To be honest we just follow summer. Since we figured that at every time of the year there is a beautiful summer somewhere on the planet nothing can hold us back. Beside Germany we mainly produce in Spain and South Africa (Cape Town). All of these three places have advantages and disadvantages. Germany has a great infrastructure, we can order basically everything that money can buy online (props and gear mainly) but the weather is pretty shi**y. For Cape Town it’s exactly visa versa. And Spain is pretty much a mix of both.
7. What attributes in a model do you look for when casting them for your videos?
Kevin: We don’t look for the most perfect model in terms of beauty, we are looking more for a positive energy. A good indicator for me is would myself and even my Mom like to have a beer with this person. If so, it’s most likely that most people would consider this model a nice person. People have vibes and it doesn’t matter if they are the nice girl next door or rough looking metal head. If the energy is right it will work for stock.
8. What tips can you give to someone looking to enter the stock photography/video industry?
Kevin: Stay away 😉
I’m joking, if you are really ambitious there’s still enough space in the stock business for you to have a good income.
Pre-plan. Use what you know. Be brave, take risks and don’t complain on Facebook. You also would be surprised of what you can achieve if you let your inner MacGyver out sometimes. Most of the stuff that big productions pay big dollar for can be done in a DIY (do it yourself) fashion for close to zero budget.
9. Can you explain what kind of themes you specialize in and how you decide what kind of subjects to shoot?
Early on we decided to shoot only what’s fun for us. Which is lifestyle and everything that is visually appealing to us. That guarantees that we will continue loving our job in the future.
10. What themes do you think we will be seeing more of in 2015?
Of course there is fashion that changes overtime, which was the Hipster look and might be the Boho look in 2015. If you look at themes then you will notice that they are only changing marginally in the lifestyle sector over time. People always want to be healthy, wealthy and with good relationships, I think that is and always will be mirrored in the visual media. The trend we see is the way it’s captured, people basically want more realness. After so many years of white background images and extremely staged scenes it’s time for sun flares, bokeh and a shallow depth of field.
A big thank you to both Kevin and Pascal for speaking with us. For more of their work you can find it in their Fotolia portfolio.