As a freelancer, you can become accustomed to being your own boss. But you need to have a few solid clients that you can count on for those recurring gigs. Taking behind the scenes video for The Super Bowl is great, but it only comes around once a year.
There is one recurring gig out there that is a lot simpler to land because no one hires you for it in the first place. What’s more, there are no set hours. No, I’m not talking about trading Bitcoin futures on your phone. I’m talking about shooting Stock Footage.
In a recent post, we talked about how to earn serious income via stock footage. In this post, we teamed up with Adobe Stock to give you several concrete tips on how to prepare and shoot great stock footage, so you can get a running start.
But First: Why Stock Footage? Let Your Footage Make Money For You
Here at KitSplit, we always encourage our users to list their gear. You bought a new lens? Great! Make a listing for it so that when you’re not using it, another KitSplitter can rent it from you and you can make money from it.
We’re excited about stock footage for the same reason. You’ve probably already got gigabytes or terabytes of stock footage sitting on your hard drive right now – and just like your unused gear, it can be making money for you! Adobe Stock offers a competitive royalty of 33% on images and 35% on videos. Plus, you keep the rights to your footage.
And did we mention there are no deadlines? You’ve got a day off in the middle of the week? Go rollerblading with your friend in the park and shoot some b-roll of it. Upload it. Then…well, you’re done. But first, read our tips below.
1. Learn What Sells
Business meetings. Coffee shop rendezvous. Bars and parks. Gyms. Backyard Barbecues and Birthday Parties. Science labs and Airport takeoffs. Okay, some of these locations and scenarios are easier to secure than others, but they are all examples of everyday moments that advertisers and editors using stock footage are in need of.
There will always be a demand for the exotic (and if you’ve got drone footage of the Sahara Desert or a Bald Eagle soaring above Mount St. Helens, you’re in good shape). But not everything has to be so fantastical. It just has to have an aesthetic and creative framing! There is generally strong demand for these categories: lifestyle (partly because styles are always changing); food; business; science; wildlife; and aerial drone footage.
2. Ensure an Authentic Look
If you clip features humans but doesn’t look real, it won’t get bought. Don’t be afraid to capture moments from your everyday life (but remember to get releases). And if you work with models, cast the best talent you can find—they have to be able to look natural!
3. Keep an Eye on The Technical Requirements
Most stock footage sites will accept footage from any kind of cameras, but keep in mind that footage that is 15-30 seconds tends to do well. It leaves handles for editors to select which moment they want, and gives them wiggle room to make it work for their edit. And steady footage is the name of the game – so lock off your tripods or make sure it’s smooth motion on a stabilizer of some kind.
Most stock sites, including Adobe, are pretty flexible when it comes to file format, too. Just make sure it’s at least 1920×1080 HD. 4k isn’t necessary but certainly encouraged as it helps future proof that your footage will have a long life on stock sites. If you’re shooting 4K or up, many stock footage sites will actually allow you to upload your highest resolution just once and they will create an HD version for you if the client wants it.
4. Ensure Comprehensive Coverage
One thing to keep in mind if you’re shooting something new is getting sufficient coverage. If an editor is cutting together a spot with stock footage, just having that Wide Shot might not be enough.
So if you’re creating content for stock footage upload, grab a few angles. For two people in a coffee shop talking, frame up a Wide Shot, a Tighter Two, a Single of each person, and a Close Up on the coffee mugs. Maybe a little milk swirling in the center of the coffee with some steam rising up? I don’t know, you decide! It’s your footage.
5. Keyword Accurately
The upload process itself is quite easy and self explanatory. But you’ve captured your footage, make sure you keyword properly in order to ensure that, well, people can actually find it! Keep in mind these three tips:
1) More keywords are better than less
2) Remember the top keywords have more importance and should really describe the file if possible
3) Adobe Sensei gives you up to 25 keywords that you can order and edit
6. Don’t Quit Your Day Job (yet!). But Say Hello to Your Your Newest, Most Flexible Client
Now, we don’t recommend you give up on your day job just yet. While we know people making five, and even six figures a year on stock footage, it takes time, practice, and consistency to get there.
But for now, think of it like the easiest kind of fishing there is. You are baiting your hook with attractive stock footage and leaving it in the water until a big ol’ stripped bass of a client comes along, nibbles on it, and licenses it.
And you don’t have to be in the boat waiting in the hot sun to reel in your catch. The footage is up there working for you while you’re out creating new content and working on your own projects.
Stock Footage is an underutilized source of income that we hope more visual storytellers will take advantage of. It lets you shoot the kind of footage you want to shoot on your own time and affords another form of revenue for freelancers everywhere. Take a look at Adobe’s Stock program and get started today.