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The Top 3 Things Stock Footage Sites Are Looking For

If you want to make money in stock footage, the best way to reach a broad audience of prospective buyers is to send your clips to the top stock footage sites for distribution. This process isn’t easy, however, especially when you’re unfamiliar with what those distributors are looking for—from the type of content to the specifications for curation, metadata, and delivery.

To help you shoot great stock footage while optimizing sales, here are three simple things you can do:

1) Include People

Clips with people in them are in high demand. So including actors or real people in your footage is a simple way to rise in search results on the stock footage sites that help get your clips found and sold. As effective as a traditional landscape video can be, including an actor or a real person (or two or three) in your footage can help you stand out from the competition.

However, to maximize the earning potential of your footage, you’re going to need to obtain a signed talent release form for every person featured in your footage. Before you start filming, make sure you have plenty of blank release forms in your bag or, even better, download a popular app. And always use an approved template including talent photo and witness signature. This way, you can take care of the paperwork when you shoot instead of having to track it down later.

2) Shoot 4K

Video is always moving toward higher and higher resolutions. Just as SD made way for HD, HD is now making way for 4K and higher. HD footage still sells, but the demand for 4K stock footage keeps growing. Think of it like this: shooting in 4K effectively futureproofs your ability to earn money from your clips.

If someone is looking for an HD clip, for example, they can still use 4K and down-res it. But if a prospective buyer is looking exclusively for footage shot in 4K, they’ll filter out HD. So your 4k stock footage clips will have an immediate advantage. 4K clips also tend to sell at a premium over HD clips, which means 4K can earn you a lot more on each sale.

3) Embrace a Niche

There’s a wide range of subjects that sell as stock - a dog running down a beach, a man typing on a laptop, or a timelapse sunset. The trick is finding ways to make your footage stand out.

While you can (and should) explore a range of video categories, also try and find a niche where you can make a name for yourself. Finding a niche you’re familiar with, have easy access to, or have a strong creative vision for is a great way to build a compelling library of stock footage clips.

For example, maybe you grew up fishing. Before heading out to shoot that, do a little bit of research on the major stock footage sites to see what type of fishing footage is out there. Maybe there’s a lot of footage of people fishing, but not a lot of it is in 4K. Or maybe it’s an underpopulated niche that you can make your own. What types of shots are missing? What styles of shooting are rare?

Ultimately, the goal should always be to shoot what you love - this will motivate you to get out and shoot more than anything else. Think of your passions, your hobbies, and the things you already enjoy doing, and then shoot footage of that.

If you need some help getting started, or want to learn more about how to sell stock footage, then Clippn can help! Check us out today and see firsthand how we can remove the barriers that prevent you from maximizing your stock footage sales.


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