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Want to Make Stock Video Footage That Sells? Read These Tips First

If you have a camera or love a videography, then maybe you spend a few hours by sneaking a little side gig in stock video creation could be perfect for you. Not only can stock footage earn you some money but it can also lead to a new career in video production.

One thing you have to remember is that there is a big difference between stock video footage that sells and stock video footage that doesn’t sell. To ensure that you don’t end up in the latter category, its best that you brush up on these basic tips first.

1. Keep It Looking Quality

For everyone’s sake, including your own, don’t ever submit or try to sell footage that isn’t up to standard with the videos commonly featured on leading marketplaces like Shutterstock or Videvo.

If your footage doesn’t cut the grade just yet, don’t stress. You’re far better off taking the time to hone your skills and getting your product up to a solid 10/10 before trying to push it on anyone.

Three things that’ll help you do that:

  • Natural light is your best friend. Until you have a handle on how to shoot at night or light a set, keep things simple by shooting outdoors during the day.
  • Always keep your resolution fixed to an HD minimum. For all you newbies out there, this means nothing lower than 1920×1080.
  • Brush up on your camera’s basic settings (ISO, frame rate, aperture, white balance) and learn how to use them to your advantage. Staying in automatic mode won’t get you anywhere.

2. Pick a Niche

While you were getting acquainted with that camera of yours, you hopefully had a chance to shoot in a variety of different subjects. Well, now it’s time to pick your favorite and make a concerted effort to stick to it.

That’s right, we’re talking about finding a niche. The more specialized you are, the more skilled you become, and the more skilled you become, the more money you make. Finding a niche is good in helping you build a portfolio.

Bonus tip: If you want to make your life extra easy, find a niche that works with your lifestyle. If you live in a big city, shoot skylines. If you own a drone, shoot aerial sweeps. If you are entirely numb to all sensations of fear, jump into a deep-sea cage and shoot sharks.

3. Include Actors

A lot of people are surprised to learn that stock footage featuring people consistently sells better than stock footage featuring inanimate objects. While working with people does complicate things (e.g., you must submit signed releases with any footage you upload for sale), it might be worth your while if the big bucks are what you’re chasing.

If you do shoot with actors, try to maximize your time and your potential buyer’s optionality by mixing it up with a combination of shots — some with your actors’ faces  revealed, and some with their faces cropped or obscured. Shoot people of different sizes, color, and doing things in various locations and places. You’ll be surprised to find out how many people will be looking for people doing the most mundane of tasks.

4. Exclude Branding

As cool as that sweeping skyline panorama with the vintage Coca-Cola billboard in the background may be, one thing you need to remember is that a lot of your buyers will be companies who won’t be super psyched about the idea their video products inadvertently plugging other brands.

Simple solution? Avoid branding altogether. This ensures that you won’t get hit with any lawsuits in the future.

This can, however, be harder than it sounds. Especially when you think of all the billboards, store signage, and branded apparel and merchandise floating around out there.

But no one’s saying you need to be perfect. Just try your best to avoid ostentatious branding and know that sometimes, in some situations, these things are going to be out of your control.

5. Submit Aggressively

Since a lot of stock footage agencies take weeks to get back to you, it’s a good idea to submit far and wide in the hope that at least one agency gets back to you quickly so you can start selling your goods.

The only problem with this is that there’s a small collection of agencies that impose exclusive membership restrictions, meaning they won’t accept your work if it’s featured elsewhere. But while this is something to bear in mind, you shouldn’t let it deter you from spam-submitting your work all over the place. Just pay careful attention to avoid any exclusive-membership agencies when you do.

6. Work Out Who Pays the Big Bucks

When submitting, be sure to take note of each agency’s payment structure. While most agencies remunerate their contributors with a percentage of their individual sales, there are some marketplaces where you may be more likely to get a little more buck for your bang.

For instance, Motion Array provides a profit share of their total company earnings to its members each month, based on the number of downloads the contributor’s products receive. For anyone just starting out in this industry, Motion Array makes for a very cozy first home, and even though Motion Array is known for their Premiere Pro templatesAfter Effects templates and stock music, they also have a quickly growing stock video category. To join in on the fun, sign up here.

Researching your is friend and find the place that works for you.

7. Flaunt Your Work

Once you’ve had your footage accepted onto one or more marketplaces, it’s time to flaunt it even further. You can do this by uploading samples of your footage or a sizzler reel to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, your own personal website — literally wherever you think it’ll get the attention it deserves.

Just remember to include a caption containing all the deets on where viewers can find and purchase your goods should they feel so inclined.

8. Get Your Analytics On

OK, so data analysis isn’t for everyone, but at a bare minimum try to keep track of which of your items are selling, which ones are plateauing, and which ones are tanking like the Lusitania so next time you head out with your camera, you have a better sense of what kind of shots to narrow in on.

Fortunately, there are now some marketplaces that actually compile personal sales analytics so you don’t have to. All you need to do is learn how to use it to your advantage. Make sure that you understand what your reading and make sure to make changes once your analytics show you.

9. Just Try

Even with these tips you might not get six figures with your stock video or footage but there’s no saying that it won’t ever happen. Creating a stock video can require a long, tough and sometimes extremely frustrating before the fruits of your labor start to drop. It can take time but with patience, you’ll see the fruits of your labor.

That’s why even if it’s scary and tough at first, just try.

Find the perfect camera for you at Cameraland Sandton.

Via ( (David Strauss)