Community, Contributor Tips

Coloring Your Work: How to Stand Out From the Crowd


With 9 million videos and 16 million photos in the Pond5 marketplace, product differentiation is essential for your work to stand out from the crowd and potentially make more money. Many of our most successful artists understand the concept of coloring their images and, by doing so, end up with work that reflects a higher quality, is visually attractive, and is highly desirable to buyers.

Group of People Aerial View Timelapse by AilaImages
There’s a small dairy in Central California that changed its packaging from plastic to glass bottles and successfully increased sales. Glass bottles are symbol of quality and the dairy was able to sell its milk at a higher price. The same concept applies to you. How you package your work as a quality clip is equally important as the dairy farmer packaging his milk.

Elevated View of Painter’s Workplace by RoomTheAgency

Color Correction

A question that is frequently asked by artists is if they should give their images a “look” or a grading before they upload their content. There has never been a definitive answer in the industry one way or another. Whether to adjust the contrast or color correct a clip has always been a hotly contested topic, for as long as I can remember. Some people believe it’s better to provide and present a RAW video file to a client without color adjustments, so that the clients can make the necessary color adjustments for themselves.

Video Editing Interface Elements, Color Correcting Wheels by ODesigns

On the other-hand, I don’t subscribe to submitting images that haven’t been graded or made market-ready. Color is the wrapper that attracts buyers to your work. Tweak the color, contrast, or any other grading adjustments that you feel necessary, but be careful not to lock the image into a look that can’t be adjusted by the user. For instance, don’t crush your blacks to the point of no return, but leave enough latitude for clients to bring back all of the image information after they’ve stripped your look to match theirs. I suggest that you play it safe with minor adjustments before you start to explore more complicated corrections.

Related Post Color Correction Basics Using Adobe Premiere

Video Editor Working with Footage and Sound by Gorodenkoff

Moods and Emotions

Artist Paul Klee said that “color is the place where our brain and the universe meet.” Using color as a creative element can go far beyond simply creating a pretty image and potentially release a variety of moods or emotions in your viewer. Using color appropriately to reflect a mood in your scene can contribute greatly to the style of your work. With that said, the process can be frustrating and time-consuming, similar to any other filmmaking and photo software task before you master it.


Color Trends

It’s crucial to keep up to date on the color trends in commercial advertising, both in print and video, as well as in feature films. But be warned that analyzing color will become an obsession. Chances are that you’ll never be able to watch a film, TV commercial, or print campaign without fixating on its color scheme again. COMPANY 3 is made up of an award-winning team of colorists; it’s one of my favorite creative companies and arguably the best at what they do if you’re looking for the latest trends in color correction. There are plenty of examples of their work that range from feature films to music videos and commercials on their website if you’re looking for ideas and inspiration.

Related Post Creating Color Themes and Looks with Adobe Capture CC

Creative Media Team Discussing and Editing Film Footage by hotelfoxtrot

The Final Image

How you use color to establish a mood is just as important as the location and talent you choose to tell your story. With that in mind, think about how you want your buyers to feel before you lock your final image. Make subtle color adjustments to start, and I can guarantee you’ll be much more satisfied with your work, improve the quality of your collection, and have larger impact in the marketplace.
Be on the lookout in the upcoming months as we cover more trends and other stories that relate to making you more successful. If there’s anything particular you’d like to see, or questions you want answered, let us know in the comments below!

Top image: Graffiti on Walls In Graffiti Alley, Baltimore, Maryland by jonbilous