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Which stock footage sites earn money?

Which stock footage sites earn money?
January 23, 2015 ghung
Which stock footage sites earn money?

Perhaps you are just thinking about where to spend your time and effort with Stock footage photography. Or perhaps you have your collection of stock footage and now you’re ready to upload your collection. The big question is which stock footage sites earn money and are easy to work with? There are so many options for agencies these days and it takes time to get your collection on-line. How can you make the most of your time and effort?

Updated Feb 2019

The question is what other stock footage agencies pay out? Just a caveat if you click on some of the banners of these sites I will earn a referral income. I’ve only placed referral banners for sites that I recommend. If you decide to click on them a big thanks!

Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5

referral link to pond 5


Once you’re ready to start making some passive income with your videos Pond5 is a great start. Their site was easy to use, upload, and their review turn around is pretty fast. I’ve got my largest collection of videos here and I get paid from this site. I’ve created an on-line video course on “Making Money with Travel videos” if you want to learn complete process on getting started.


video resources

Shutterstock was the second site I started using to sell my travel videos. Once you’ve started to share your video collection on-line it doesn’t take much more time and effort to start selling on another site. Because I choose a non-exclusive model I can sell on this site too. Shutterstock is a public company and has a high Internet ranking so I get paid out from this site. The site is easy to use once you figure out the system and they have a great blog for contributors. They tend to have a higher rejection rate and have a bias towards Aerial Footage.

 Istockphoto – not making it easy

From my research it seemed that Istockphoto was the other site that has paid out. I’ve attempted to work with Istockphoto and I have to say I’m quite frustrated trying to work with them. I struggled for months to figure out how to convert my video files to a particular format using my tool compressor just so my files could be accepted by their website. Once I figured that out their FTP site was eating up my files. They just launched another web interface that allowed me to upload my files rather easily. However, they didn’t accept CSV files, which meant a lot of manual copying and pasting. Once I got my submissions on their site they said they wouldn’t accept my video files for various reasons. These are the same clips that have been accepted and sold for months on Shutterstock and Pond5.

Dissolve – new kid on the block

This Canadian company is fairly new and I ‘ve seen their ads throughout the Internet, which is a good sign to me as a contributor. Their process to upload and apply my CSV files has been great. I’m still in the process of having the bulk of my collection approved, but I already have 1000 files approved. I have a good feeling that Dissolve could be a successful site for contributors. I’ve had 2 months now where I’ve sold clips so this is a good early sign to keep on contributing here.

MotionElements - Stock Animation, Video Footage, 3D Models

Agency based in Singapore

 Motion elements – Easy to work with

This Singapore company got me into the Stock footage game. I’m thankful for that. They approached me to provide a hard drive with Asian collection and the rest is history. Their website is very easy to work with in terms of uploading and using the CSV files. I can use the same CSV files for Pond5 on their site. That is super convenient, and a time-saver.  I’ve only sold one 1 clip with them to date, but their site is so easy to work with and with their Asian themed footage focus I’m sure they will grow their collection and do well for themselves and you.

Storyblocks formerely VideoBlocks – The new darling

Storyblocks went live on April 2015 and is perhaps the easiest agency to work with with support for Pond 5 and  Shutterstock CSV’s.  I read and heard they were an existing agency that were looking at a new plan to provide content. I’m not sure what the true story is, but in my experience their site has been a pleasure to work with. Easy to upload, accepts CSV files from pond 5 or Shutterstock, easy to submit to curators, excellent reporting, and fast approvals. They even have the highest payout in the industry. An example is that I receive $42.44 for  a standard HD clip priced at $49US us. That’s almost 87% to the contributor and I get pay outs. They are an example of the new breed of agency that seems to be doing everything right. In recent years I’ve found them to be my 3rd highest paying agency.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 4.48.08 PM

A screen shot of a recent sale


videoblocks is doing everything right so far

Stock footage PIXTA

Agency based in Tokyo,Japan


Adobestock became a force a few years ago and with the tight integration with branding and resources as well as the Adobe Cloud Creative Ecosystem which includes Adobe Premiere, photoshop, and more I think it would be wise to invest time to get your collection on Adobestock.


Blackbox is a Canadian syndication platform for creatives. Currently is allows stock footage video contributors to distribute their clips on the top agencies and also allow you to outsource different stock footage workflow and automatically allocate revenue across agencies. Very interesting. Not my top earner, but last year I invested some time and effort to get 400 clips online through blackbox as a test. Stay tuned and check out my independent review.

Join Blackbox:


License your own Footage Directly

I’m seeing diminishing returns with stock agencies meaning that a larger higher quality collection is not translating into higher earnings. I think now more than ever you have to take ownership for marketing your own footage if you have a collection of 2000 or more high quality clips. I know this is a tall task for some contributors. You need some marketing and technical knowledge to pull this off. In 2019 I believe you need to hedge your bets by getting your footage on the top agenies and licensing your own footage. For all the information that teached you the workflows, CSV’s, ins and outs of the agencies, as well as arming you with the business and marketing knowledge to license your footage directly you can head to my Travel Videographer Academy for online courses that will help you. Please leave your contact information for discounts on courses.


The exciting news is that I got my first sale with Pixta with 700 clips currently online. Getting that first sale with a new agency is exciting to me as that is some real-life validation that what you are doing works.

This stock footage site based in Shibuya Tokyo Japan approached me recently to start contributing to their site. It took me a while to figure out their system, but it’s been efficient to get my files over to their their Japan FTP site. They also have a US FTP site. They accept CSV files; however it takes some data massaging and manual work to get it in their format. I have since visited their office and met the team. They were very friendly and accepting of the feedback of gave for improvements. They also gave me tips on what to shoot in Tokyo.


Visiting the Pixta team in Shibuya Tokyo

Stock footage is still an early industry that I think has a ton of potential. Are there any other sites that pay out for you that you want to share?

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Me and carol eco park

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