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Sites to Sell Royalty-Free Video

Updated on September 9, 2013

Simple Steps to Selling

1. Make sure your content has no copyright violations

2. Sign up with a reputable royalty free site

3. upload your best work

4. Sell!

How do you Make Money With Video?

People are making money with video in many ways nowadays. Some people shoot weddings or corporate commercials or youtube videos, but there are others who sell royalty free video. So what is royalty free video? When a person shoots a movie or a show that shows anything that is copyrighted, They have to get permission form the owner of the copyright. So when a person shoots a video with no copyright violations the only thing that has a copyright to it is the person who shot the video. If that person decides to give up exclusive rights to the material than anyone can use it however they see fit. How does someone make money if you can't or don't want to keep rights to your video? Well, that is where it gets interesting. There are websites that will host your copyright free footage and help you sell it for a percentage or a small fee. There are some rules as a buyer you have to follow most of the time it is nothing more than signing an agreement not to resell the material and attribute it properly. So this is how you can make money with royalty free video. You can post your footage online and people who are looking for that type of material for their project and don't want to go shoot it for themselves or can't shoot it can just buy yours and use it. They get their content and you get paid. Everyone wins!

I Have Video now What?

If you have some video that you think might be of worth while to sell you will need to find a reputable online stock video or royalty- free video selling site. There are a few big ones I suggest people try out before they try more specific sites. These sites all have rules and agreements you have to follow as a seller and a buyer as I mentioned above. Usually you have to open an account with the site and then upload any content you may have and describe and tag your footage. After this you just have to promote your pages on your different sites and hopefully the right person will see your content and need it for their project and you have a sell. Keep providing good content and you will eventually find people who will seek you out first for their extra video needs. Up next a few sites to get started with...

By Ruby Wang (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Ruby Wang (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons | Source


Pond5 is my first choice when uploading my video footage. They have a very easy site to navigate and are by far the simplest to use. They are also one of the most generous when it comes to payouts with a 50% commission on all footage sales and you can also earn 5% of referral sales. One of the best things about Pond5 is one of the worst things as well, they are a giant in terms of content. You will be competing with many people trying to sell footage, but that also means many more people might view and download your work. One of my favorite things about Pond5 is that you kind of have a personal page where you can write a bit about yourself there is a place for you to promote you website and also keep a blog. You can also contact other contributors if you have to. Another great big plus is the uploading process. unlike other sites where you have to input ftp info and whatnot, on Pond5 all you have to do is click the upload button and drag your files over into a box, and your done. Of course you still have to label and price your items, which with Pond5 you can easily do. One other thing they could do better is speed up their review time. It generally takes at least a week for me to get my work approved, which is not the most ideal thing when trying to sell footage.

Which Sites Would you use for Stock Video?

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Shutterstock is another great place to sell your stock footage. They were founded in 2003 so they are the real deal. There are many sites that pop up for a year or so and then fade away and you end up uploading to them for nothing. Shutterstock looks like is going to be around for a while. I use Shutterstock because they are one of the core stock site along with Pond5 and iStockphoto. They are fairly simple to use, although not as simple as Pond5. They do have faster review times I find though. Also, before you can make any of your work public on their site you have to upload and have approved 10 pieces of work. If you are serious about selling stock video this should not be a problem, but for someone with no footage cache yet this may take a little extra time. Shutterstock is not as good in payment as Pond5 as it only pays out 30% per footage download. You also can make money with referred footage as well earning 10% of any footage downloads that the seller your referred sells.



iStockphoto was founded in 2000 and continues to be a player in the stock footage selling world. They have a huge inventory of material in which you must compete with selling. iStockphoto has different payouts ranging from 15%-40% depending on several things ranging from if the clip is exclusive to iStockphot or not and also what level the contributor is at. iStockphoto's contributor levels or "canister" levels are a way of showing how much a contributor has sold. These milestones range from 250 sales to 200,000 in sales, which I believe only 8 or 9 people have achieved. As far as uploading to iStockphoto I feel that they are one of the most demanding when it comes to uploading footage as they have you upload a small file first and if it is accepted then you upload the full file so you basically have to do the upload process twice. The site is in my opinion one of the most brutal in acceptance and rejection. But, with this being said, many people have claimed that iStockphoto is their top selling platform.


Hopefully this information will be enough to get you started off on the right foot. Selling stock video or pictures is not easy. Do not let anyone tell you that it is a breeze. It takes time and effort and lot of patience. You may not see a sale for months and it will most likely take you a year at least perhaps longer for you to start seeing returns on all your hard work. It is possible to make money with it though, but just like anything it takes dedication, persistence, and a zeal for doing what you love in order to make money selling stock footage.


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    • Jordanwalker39 profile image

      Jordanwalker39 4 years ago from NC

      Thank you Bill, I hope he gets some use from it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great information my friend. Passing this on to my son who is very interested in making videos. Thanks!