9 Tips From Corey Rich to Transition From Still Photography to Motion

9 Tips From Corey Rich to Transition From Still Photography to Motion

This piece originally appeared in our guide Building Your Outdoor & Adventure Photography Business – for the full article download the guide here.

When Nikon launched the D90 in August 2008, the world’s first video-enabled DSLR camera, Corey Rich ran out and bought one immediately. He saw the Nikon D90 as a sort of gateway into a second stage of professional life as a visual storyteller. Indeed, over the last six years, Corey has spent a majority of his time directing motion projects for commercial brands including Apple, Mazda, New Mexico Tourism, Nikon and Polartec. Here he shares his 9 tips to transition from still photography to motion.

1. Still and Motion Photography are Simply Different Forms of Storytelling

“At the core level, still and motion photography are both formats for creative storytelling,” says Corey. “Motion starts the same way as still photography. We refine what we see in a rectangle, and we’re responsible for that entire piece of real estate whether we flip that camera vertically or we hold it horizontally,” says Corey. “The photographer must pay attention to what’s happening in the corners of the frame, the composition, the light, the moment portrayed; the layers, the foreground, midground and background.”

Corey Rich – Director+DP Reel from Corey Rich on Vimeo.

2. Understand the 6 Elements of Motion

When thinking about motion, says Corey, you have to consider six different elements. The first three to consider are the visuals: still, video content, and graphics and animation. The last three elements is sound: music, ambient (natural or environmental) and voice. “Early on in a discussion about TV spots we go through a list and ask: Will there be still images? Just video? Ambient or natural sound? The answers to all of the questions ultimately affect how your story is told.”

Photo by Corey Rich

Photo by Corey Rich

3. Create an Extensive Production Document

Whenever Corey begins a project, he creates a production document. It could be a book or a binder—essentially it’s a list of everything that will be needed to complete the project.

The production document should detail how your time will be spent on the ground. Corey says that when his team is prepping for a shoot, they schedule how they will use their time, down to the minute, filling hours from before dawn to after dusk. “One of the realities of production is you don’t get to sleep much,” he admits.

4. Great Productions Require Great Crews

“I’m really adamant about working with people I’m comfortable working with—people who I know will do a great job and not cut corners,” says Corey. “There’s no ‘I’ in team, and when you get into the video world even at this level, which is a pretty low level, it’s all about having the right people around you. I’m one piece of the equation, I’m directing the spot, but every person on this crew counts.”

5. The Budget Gets More Complicated

“Make sure you’re not over-spending,” says Corey. He keeps the budget on a piece of paper in his pocket so that during production, if something has changed and he finds that they’re suddenly spending more money, he can whip it out to make sure they’re still in the green.

6. Don’t Forget About Insurance

When considering the budget, you have to also consider insurance, including equipment insurance, general liability, property coverage, etc. And keep in mind, insurance goes up when shooting video because the crews are larger and the production is in general riskier. “A good rule of thumb is that usually insurance is between two and four percent of the budget.”

The Making Of: DEDICATED from Corey Rich on Vimeo.

7. Motion Means More Gear

For his film “DEDICATED,” Corey and his crew traveled to seven locations, spanning from San Diego to Salt Lake City to Tampa to the coast of Ireland over 21 days. They traveled with 21 pelican cases of equipment, including the prototype Nikon D4s. To make sure everything ran smoothly, the production team came equipped with an exhaus- tive amount of gear. Take a look at all the gear here.

8. Define How You Will Deliver the Project

Depending on the job, you might be delivering content to clients in different formats. Make sure everyone is clear from the get-go on what format and delivery method is needed. Will it be by DVD or hard drive? What resolution? What format—for use in Europe or U.S.?

9. The Three Ingredients of Success 

What does it take to make it in this career? “Whether it’s video or still photography, or anything in life, there are three things that go into success,” says Corey. “Talent, passion, and being a good person who others want to work with and be around.”

For a more extensive version of this interview, plus many other tips from the pros check out our guide Building Your Outdoor & Adventure Photography Business. Download it today:


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Marketing associate at PhotoShelter

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