How to Transition from Stills to Moving Images


I am a commercial photographer interested in making documentaries. How should I go about it?

Answer by: Zishaan A Latif Photographer and Filmmaker

Why did you become a photographer is the first question you need to ask yourself… Is your reason a means to an end? Or, you became a photographer so you may travel? It was my means to an end, so that I could travel the world. My chosen medium has given me enough opportunities to mix creativity with excitement and earn from it.

So, how do you define ‘commercial’ in today’s day and age, with the advent of technology that pays you for doing everything that you wish to? Are we in a battle of the mind vs the heart? One wants something and the other wants something else? I have personally dabbled in many aspects of photography to earn from one, to fuel my passion for the other, and that is how a million photographers bridge this dilemma of want vs need. Ask any photographer who likes to do documentary work vs their commercial work…They need both to survive. One stimulates the mind, while the other invigorates the heart.

Having said that, there are many outlets today because various content creation portals are specialising in the documentary, non-fiction, development and NGO sector. They have started paying decently as well, for a photographer to fall back on social photography, as opposed to the common notion that one can only make a living through commercial photography.

One important aspect of bridging this gap is to also develop an additional skill set. Adding videos to your arsenal will help you connect better with a consumerist market today, who wish for all their senses to be stimulated through the audio-visual space, which is consumed rapidly. So, decide what you want to become, a rat in the race or a snail with your own pace. I believe you can be both today.