Although selling stock footage is one of the least explored fields for photographers, it is in demand among clients of stock photography platforms. Agencies, businesses, and freelancers buy stock footage mostly for commercial purposes. For blogs and websites, marketing campaigns and ads — it is a cost-effective solution for many reasons. Stock footage is created by professional photographers and is much cheaper than a video production from scratch.

For photographers and videographers, selling stock footage is an opportunity to make easy money, build on existing portfolios, learn and specialize in new skills.

Intrigued? Here’s a detailed overview of how to sell stock footage.


Stage 1: Preparation

Check the video requirements on stock photography platforms

The very first stage is deciding on one or a couple of stock photography platforms you plan to work with.

Keep in mind that different platforms may have different requirements for stock videos. Based on them, you will later decide on criteria such as the format, length, and size of footage. For instance, Depositphoto contributors have a whole variety of possible formats and codecs that you can check out on this page.

Analyze existing stock footage

Time is precious and you don’t want to waste it creating stock footage that will never be of any use. To make your videos commercially successful, you have to analyze the following:

  • what kind of stock footage is in demand?
  • are there any particular visual trends at the moment?
  • who is the audience?
  • how versatile is the video for different projects?

Having answered these questions, you can choose a niche and finally proceed with the actual shoot.

Selling Stock Footage Everything You Need To Know

Choose a niche

If you have a particular sphere of interest and competence — food photography, landscapes, or maybe portraits — you should definitely stick to what you know. When you are familiar with the subject or object you’re shooting, it is easier for you to find a better angle, viewpoint or create a composition that will be in demand based on your skills and vision.

If you feel like these themes are already widely covered and you’re not sure your footage can stand out, you can try your best with the unexplored themes like the Internet of Things or medicine.

Prepare for the shoot

In our fast-paced world, you can’t get by if you’re not a productive photographer. Getting used to working with to-do lists, go-to sources, and other handy things will help you firmly head in the planned direction without being anxious about organization.

How do you prepare for the shoot? You can visit a location in advance, make a list of props and scenes you plan to shoot, print out a model release form if you have actors in your video, charge camera batteries, and put a couple of memory cards in your bag.


Stage 2: Shooting and post-processing stock videos

Shoot from different angles

Clients need footage for different purposes. Some of them buy it for TV commercials, other for B-Rolls, and Internet ads. What’s most important, all of them are looking for stock footage shot from different angles. Your task is to anticipate these needs and provide them with diverse footage. More so, having multiple options from the same shoot gives clients the opportunity to choose angles that work for their project.

Include people

There are some reasons why you should include people in videos. Clients who want to buy stock footage for the Internet or TV commercials will definitely look for characters whose appearance corresponds to their target audience.

Selling Stock Footage Everything You Need To Know

Stock videos can also be used to showcase the diversity and inclusivity of the world. In this case, your footage featuring diverse people will be just what clients need.

Hot tip: do not forget to get a model release form. Without it, you won’t be able to sell footage featuring people on a stock photography platform. Even if you are the author and the model on the video, you still need to sign and submit your personal model release form.

Watch the quality

This is one of the most important aspects of commercially successful stock footage. Businesses, freelancers, and other clients of stock photography platforms are looking for high-quality stock footage that will fit their needs but also justify costs and other resources. That being said, enriching your stock portfolio with quality content is actually the only way to make your stock footage sell.

Do not post-process

Of course, you want your portfolio to look great and it may seem that a fair portion of editing is a good idea. But we are here to disappoint you. Most of the clients prefer to buy stock footage that is raw or slightly edited so they can later adjust it to their own stylistic.

As a stock footage contributor, what you can experiment with is angles, viewpoints, and other tweaks that demonstrate your signature style but allow videostock to be multi-purpose


Stage 3: Uploading and selling stock footage

Become a contributor

Now when you have some stock footage at hand, you can become a contributor to a stock photography platform (if you’re not one yet).

For example, to become a Depositphotos contributor you need to:

It usually takes a couple of minutes to register with the platform and around five or seven working days for our team to process your works and double-check whether your content is qualitative enough and not abusive.

Selling Stock Footage Everything You Need To Know

Devote time to keywording

Once you have passed the examination, you will have to come back to your account and do the keywording. This part is extremely important because it helps your potential clients find your works among millions of content on the Internet.

Keywording implies both keywords and description. The first one is a set of words and phrases that tells what your content is about. Meanwhile, the latter is a literal image depiction that needs a slightly different approach.

In short, you should understand that uploading images to stocks is only half the battle. Make time for keywording and you will see that selling stock footage is easier than it seems.

Hot tip: to make up the right keywording, think like a client. Try to guess all the possible requests your audience may type in in the search.

If you want to sell stock footage, high-quality, diversity, and keywording are the things you should primarily watch out for. You should also be consistent in uploading content to a stock photography platform if you want to regularly get royalties.

Feeling enthusiastic about selling stock footage but can’t decide on a theme? Check out our piece 10 Stock Photography Themes You Can Go Wrong With and get down to business.

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