Last week I posted a phototip titled Travel Photography Is Dead. It attracted about 40% more views than is normal and resulted in a bit of confusion amongst some, with a couple of people who contacted me asking exactly what I meant. Perhaps I didn’t explain it clearly enough, but what I was essentially saying is that travel photography of the get there, shoot it postcard style and move on has seen its time come and go. Sure, there’ll still be a few working photographers who are able to make a bit from that style, and non-working photographers and holiday makers will obviously keep producing mostly that style of work, but for the photographer who wishes to make a living in the field, something more needs to be done. It’s not enough to simply go somewhere, shoot the sights and expect to sustain yourself on that alone.
One of the methods I mentioned that you could consider if travel photography is your calling is creating multimedia pieces. I’ve been dabbling in it for a year or so now and find it a very rewarding way to approach a particular subject. Key to multimedia is the need to tell a story. You’re not simply looking for a single image to go on a postcard or guidebook cover. It’s more involved than shooting 5-10 images to accompany an article. A short, 2 minute multimedia piece made up only of photos will require 40 images if they’re on screen for 3 seconds each. Obviously, the longer the piece, the more images you need. Although it hardly needs explaining, every shot in a multimedia photoessay needs to be good enough to stand alone. It is definitely not a case of taking 10 strong images and adding another 30 or so of filler to make a piece. That is a recipe for failure. You need a piece that is full of strong photographs.
With software like Soundslides Plus and the easy availability of high quality audio recorders, these days it’s simple to get started creating multimedia pieces. From there, the sky’s the limit. You can add video, longer interviews and more to your work but key is always the story. In that sense, starting off simply is probably better – maybe create a short piece that is backed with music only. From there move up to adding ambient sounds – traffic, waves on a beach, birds etc – and gradually increase what you are offering.
There are a number of photographers and organizations that are working in the field. Probably the first place you should visit is Media Storm. They produce some stunning multimedia pieces covering a range of subjects. They’re by no means the only people doing this, but if I had to choose just one site to get inspiration from, it’d be Media Storm. Below, I’ve embedded one of their pieces entitled Black Market by Patrick Brown. It’s not for the faint of heart as there are some images contained within that may be distressing to some viewers. It looks at the black market animal trade. As someone who has shot work for the local SPCA and the Jane Goodall Institute and has a degree in Environmental Science, animal welfare and the natural environment is obviously a subject that resonates with me, which is why I’ve chosen to feature this here.
Other organizations producing strong multimedia photography pieces include
Individual photographers working in the field include
Multimedia offers great challenges to photographers but with great challenges come great rewards. If you haven’t already considered dipping your toes in the field, now is the perfect time.
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