Meet Hero Images
After years in the stock photography biz, Hero Images is adding footage to its repertoire. The learning curve has been steep, but with the team’s industry smarts, strong aesthetic, and dedication to authenticity, they’re getting ’er done.
What’s the make-up of the Hero team?
We’re big fans of a hands-on approach, so our team is built a little differently. All the core roles are in-house, including our photographers, who also art direct each other from shoot to shoot. Everyone brings a varied skill set to the table. It keeps things interesting.
Hero Images has a strong, long history in stock photography — what prompted you to add video to the mix?
We’ve been looking to add video for quite a while for two reasons. First, we recognize that more people are incorporating motion into their marketing and turning to stock for their content needs. Second, we are just really interested in video and love the challenge of figuring out how to incorporate it with our stills shoots.
What challenges have you encountered as you’ve made the leap?
The learning curve has been pretty steep, but mostly from a technical and logistical standpoint. Our biggest challenges were figuring out how some new gear works, how best to handle editing, and how to keep off each other’s toes on set. Now that there’s duration attached to what we’re capturing, learning how to move the camera has been interesting.
Most surprising has been getting the type of footage we’ve been envisioning almost immediately, but then we were quite diligent about taking our stills and basically making moving versions of them. We weren’t looking to create something that didn’t make sense beside our existing library.
What’s your #1 pro tip for photographers considering a move into video?
Set aside a whole lot of time to learn about the process from front to back. It’ll make shooting more comfortable and you’ll feel more confident.
Describe Hero’s signature style.
With every shot, we aim to capture an authentic moment while still producing a usable piece of footage. Customers are extremely savvy about detecting anything “stocky,” as are we. We produce imagery that has a real-feel, authentic look — in the lighting, models, location … it all adds up.
Where does the team look for inspiration?
We consume and discuss a lot of pop culture (reality TV counts, right?) and study what’s happening in advertising. But when it comes to creative inspiration, we’re often inspired by what’s at hand. For instance, a unique location or circumstances in our own lives can spur shoot ideas.
How do you determine the themes of your shoots?
We spend a lot of time researching what’s selling, and how our own library stacks up. We work hard to keep our content fresh and relevant. But we also look at what’s available and makes sense for us to shoot logistically. As much as we may want to hire a helicopter to shoot skydiving, it doesn’t make sense.
What’s your favorite kind of shoot?
There’s no specific theme we favor. Any time we have a great crew and cast on set, we’re happy. If everyone on set isn’t having fun, it shows in the footage. (Though, if we had to choose something specific, SUNNY BEACH.)
What are your three shoot must-haves?
Coffee. You asked for three, but if we have coffee, we can handle anything.
Meet Derek Armstrong McNeill
Derek McNeill has been telling visual stories most of his life. The Seattlite first honed his eye working as a photographer in the US Air Force, then worked in advertising art direction and design. He now divides his time shooting his own documentary projects and stock footage. “After carrying around a camera kit for years, telling visual […] Read more