Which Subscriptions Should I Pay For to Grow My Business as a DSLR Filmmaker?

Which Subscriptions Should I Pay For to Grow My Business as a DSLR Filmmaker?

As DSLR cameras become more capable in capturing high quality video, there is a temptation to add videography as a service to clients. But the learning curve from photography is videography is a steep one if you attempt to do this on your own, believe me, I tried! Whilst there are many free resources out there to help you grow as a videographer, I have found that by investing in the right subscription based services, your journey to professional filmmaker can be an enjoyable one.

These are the services that I personally vouch for, please note that I have no affiliation with any of these brands, Just an admiration for the pioneering work they all do.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Investing in the right tools is crucial. For editing video, look no further than Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The Creative Cloud format has opened up the powerhouse of Adobe software to the consumer with their monthly subscription model. Their regular updates ensure that you are always using the latest software available at the pretty amazing price of $19.99 per month. It’s likely, as a photographer, that you already subscribe to the Adobe Photography package, so going for the full Creative Cloud package may be a better option to gain access to all of Adobe’s professional software for $49.99. For those of us who remember how costly this was before the monthly plans, you will realize what a good value this is.


Ever since I have been into photography and videography, Lynda.com has been at the forefront of my education. From $25 a month you gain access to their vast library of video tutorials that cater for anyone looking to gain expertise in a wide range of creative & technical skills. Their comprehensive software tutorials leave almost no stone unturned, are well paced, and you finish every lesson a little more knowledgeable. For example, their Premiere Pro CC Essential Training is 10 hours, 28 minutes long. By investing in this training, you will save yourself a huge amount of time when it comes to working on your clients projects.

Software isn’t the only thing they teach at Lynda.com. There are a vast array of documentaries covering various filmmaking disciplines, as well as camera handling techniques and video gear advice. This is some of the best money and time I have invested into my videography business to date.

Story & Heart

While there are plenty of great YouTube channels out there offering sound advice on filmmaking, the Story & Heart Academy walk you through videography projects from pitching, all the way to delivery. The information is delivered through video tutorials, but every lesson has relevant downloads such as contract and creative brief templates. These resources are valuable and hugely time saving when setting up the framework to run your business. You can also engage with the Story & Heart community after every lesson on their discussion boards, where you get to ask questions to the filmmakers involved in the making of the tutorials. From $120 quarterly, I have learned more about the team of one filmmaking business from this resource than any other.

Motion Array

One of the key lessons I learned from the guys at Story & Heart, is that you cannot do everything on your own as a team of one videography business. Utilizing stock footage, stock audio, and stock effects is key to delivering high quality production value to your clients. Motion Array offer all of this, specifically plug-in effects, that can bring your projects to the next level. I wouldn’t like to guess the amount of time using this service has saved me, but it would certainly be in the days. Their Lite subscription is just $19 a month which gives you four downloads a month.

Vimeo Plus

The easiest way to build a portfolio quickly is to upload your videos to Vimeo, and subscribing to their Vimeo Plus membership for $59.95. It has been the choice of industry leaders for years now, and for good reason. Some would argue that YouTube provide everything that the Vimeo Plus membership does for free, but the uncluttered and simple interface of Vimeo keeps the focus on your videos rather than the generation of hits and ad revenue. The statistics tools are in depth and can provide you an insight into how your work is engaging your audience...or isn't!

Socially Rich

While Google AdWords and Facebook take the lion's share of advertising revenue, I have found that Socially Rich has become my most valuable resource in terms of broadening my reach to a relevant audience. Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet. As a marketing expert once told me, “Instagram is the future because it’s sexy.” I think what he meant was that it rarely feels as intrusive as other social media and appreciation of ones style as a collective is instant, unlike Facebook or Twitter. Socially Rich offer a subscription service to capture followers of accounts and hashtags chosen by you. For example, as a music video filmmaker, I try to create a following of potential clients, musicians, by telling them to capture the followers of music labels and music schools local to me. This has generated a following to my account that is relevant and engaging unlike many other "paid for following" services. They have recently increased their prices due to this start-up’s popularity and is currently $37.99 a month. I don’t expect it to remain this affordable for long.

The subscription model is a terrific way for businesses to manage their flow of revenue, but it is also an excellent model for the consumer, as the lack of quality content is detrimental to these firms’ existence. As a photographer looking to branch out into videography, I have tried and tested many of these services. By investing my initial profits into certain subscriptions, I have ensured that I have grown my skillset and business acumen in the filmmaking industry. There are many free tools that will edit video, teach you how to shoot, and provide marketing for your brand, but the subscriptions I have recommended will save you a lot of time, so you can get down to the work that is going to get you seen and heard for your filmmaking.

Mike Briggs's picture

Mike Briggs is the Co-founder & Creative Director of Ranch Creative, a UK based content-creation agency. Mike has created content across many genres of industry & commerce including global sports brands, fashion houses & tech companies.

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Adobe host my website too, so the entire CC subscription is totally worth it!

It really is worth it Stephen! I'd love to hear what other subscription models photographers & videographers cannot live without!

Quantify is another good one, although I think it may be iPhone only. It's an iTunes subscription. I've found it's paid for itself in time saved on long interviews. It's handy when you don't have an atomos to rate content as you go.


This is exactly the type of thing I needed yesterday, thanks for the tip!

I know this is about subscriptions, but don't pay for Premier. Having to pay for it indefinitely is a waste of money. Buy FCPX if you're on the Mac. A one time fee with all future updates for free and you will get a better NLE.

I would caution people be wary of Lynda.com. They do have some great tutorials and a huge library of content, however I've taken both their After Affects and Motion tutorials...and they are TERRIBLE. They basically point at a few features and half-explain how to design using the ugliest templates I've ever seen. I learned a few of the mechanics on animating titles and such, but there's really nothing they teach on those tutorials on creating content that can remotely be used to make money in the real world, simply because they never finish a project to completion, or design anything that a paying client would actually want. The good thing is that they have a 30 day trial, so no money was lost during my quest for knowledge. Otherwise, great article!

It seems that F-stoppers think Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera is a DSLR (main photo of this article).