Video 101: More ways to use still photos as video

Ten things to keep in mind when shooting stills
Photos tell stories through composition, lighting, and subject. Last time I discussed using video software to make movies with still photos. Here I’ll talk about elements of good still photography necessary to tell our video stories.

Below is a top-ten list of examples of lighting, composition, and subjects to keep in mind when shooting stills.

1. Movie and tv screens are horizontal. Shoot your scenes in a horizontal format.

2. Use a small aperture for greatest depth of field. Some automatic cameras do that for you when a wide-angle setting is selected, while DSLR cameras allow manual selection.

3. Steady your camera. Use a tripod, steady the camera on a rock, or lean it against a tree. Use built in image-stabilization software if you have mounted an action camera to a flatcar.

4. Zoom or pan using your movie software, not camera-zooming lenses. There will be plenty of pixels available for television or computer viewing by leaving zooms and pans for the editing process.

5. Shoot in early morning or twilight for the best natural lighting.

6. Create an image to establish the scene. Work from that with close ups, details, and movement.

7. Capture “peak action”—crossing a bridge, moving across the horizon, crashing off the trestle.

8. Photograph titles from nearby signs and buildings to provide context for your images. Get a picture of the railroad owner with his/her equipment.

9. Capture something unusual: an unusual angle or subject, or alter the image with software. Work this into your program for impact and variety.

10. Know the “rule of thirds” (see the video example). Point the action inward and leave room for the subject to “move into the picture.”

11. Break the rules occasionally.


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