Contributing to a stock footage library can be a great way to boost your income. Grab your camera and start shooting immediately, being mindful about some essential dos and don’ts when it comes to filming stock footage.
Make your shots too long and complicated. It is good to have functional camera movements. For example, you might want to track an office worker walking through the workplace with a Steadicam, or you might want to use a dolly for a polished parallax effect. But remember the purpose of many stock shots is as intermediate material. For the most part, keep things straight forward rather than as a complex choreography.
Submit stock shots from client paid work unless you have expressed permission from them to do so. Paid client work can sometimes produce some excellent possibilities for stock shots, particularly if you have been filming in a factory or other industrial environment that can be difficult to get access to. But you could land yourself in hot water if you use such shots without your clients’ permission. If you are working for a client and want to shoot some stock, put it in the contract with the client ahead of time.
Rush when you are shooting. Do some preparation beforehand and know what you want. Approach it as if you have an imaginary client.
Recreate what has been done before. If you are tackling a subject matter that is quite popular, you will want to make sure that your work is unique in order for it to stand out. At the same time, you will want to make sure that it is usable within the context of a stock footage website.
Compose and shoot as carefully as you would for any other project - Adobe Stock
Research trends in stock footage. You need to be sure that your footage is useful to people right now. So knowing what is in demand can help you to capture footage that stock users will want to buy. Check out the Adobe Visual trends blog here.
Shoot as carefully as you would with any other shoot. This includes choosing the best or most relevant light for outdoor shoots, and/or lighting interior shoots to ensure that your shots look as professional as possible.
Leave room for editing. This means that you should always have room for a top and tail at the beginning and end of your clips. Remember, that your footage will be used within edits, and just as you would for any other shoot, you need to ensure that you are shooting to edit in this way.
Have both property and actor (aka model) release forms signed. Land ownership is a complex business, and some national bodies prevent commercial filming on their property without permission or fees paid. Similarly, with actors you will need to ensure that you have their signed permission to be able to sell footage that features them on a stock footage site. A great place to learn about these restrictions is Adobe’s Stock contributor FAQ site.
Have a target market in mind. Do you want your footage to be used internationally, or domestically? This will influence the shooting choices you make such as frame rates that you use. For example, 25p for much of Europe, Japan, and Australia, and 30p for the Americas and other countries. Alternative options such as 24p can also be considered, but it should be taken into account the type of customer you are aiming for, and the frame rate that they are likely to require.
Consider the budget for your stock shots. Remember that the aim is to make money with stock footage. If you need to hire in lots of actors, hire a studio, or pay for a location, you need know that you can make your money back. Knowing what you have spent compared to what you are likely to make is a very important thing to do.
Take advantage of a good location and subject matter. Take a variety of angles for different purposes. You are more likely to make your money back with a series than with single shots. This is particularly important if you have hired shooting space like a studio with actors, and it further emphasises the importance of planning ahead.
Submit your clips to a global marketplace. If you’re ready to become a stock shooter and start selling your footage, sign up to become an Adobe Stock contributor. Adobe Stock is built into Adobe’s desktop apps like Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC, so video creators from all around the world can search for and license your clips inside their applications.