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Messages - increasingdifficulty

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How many uploaded items do you think will be required to earn $1,000/month from stock video?

Short answer: 200 very good clips, or 200,000 bad clips.

Long answer:

My latest payout (for October sales) was $2,600, and I have an average of 600 stock video clips up. Less on the sites I make more from, and more on a few sites where I still have my bad beginner content that doesn't sell. I should remove those clips.

Stock footage is a side thing for me - music is my main income - and this year I have spent about a week every three months on stock footage, so about a month in total. I did spend much more time before, however. Now, it is a very passive income.


Since you are not new to stock, you know that on every forum, most of the people who are active are the ones who don't sell very much. It is a way to let out frustration and feel better about low sales. I would guess this reflects reality - 90-95% of stock sellers don't sell very much, and 5-10% do really well.

I'm sure you read the template forums and see all the "you can't make any money", "they just reject everything" comments there, while you're looking at your own sales and know it isn't true.


Regarding the content. What sells? Everything, as long as it's good.

I have exactly 0 clips with human faces in them, and very few with humans in them at all. It's almost all travel, which is basically anything in the world except inside offices, industrial settings and medical stuff.

I mean, travel is literally any city exterior, landscape, animal in the world. So to say that "travel isn't worth doing" is pure nonsense.


Regarding cameras, I would recommend a small mirrorless camera with a zoom lens over a GoPro. If you only have a GoPro, make sure you film situations only a GoPro could capture - on your head, POV shots, under water, on the side of a bicycle.

Landscapes and other "normal" things tend to look quite disappointing on a GoPro.

For example, a Panasonic GH5 with their 12-60 mm (2.8-4) lens would be an excellent choice. Or buy a used GH4 for the price of a GoPro or less. MUCH better quality.


You mentioned you are completely new to filming, which means it will take some time to learn. Usually, the first trip will be a harsh learning experience and you can't use most of the clips, at least not from the beginning of the trip. My advice is to start filming LONG before the trip so that you can start at a higher level when it matters.

All the information is on YouTube, but it takes time to stumble upon all the challenges. You need to do that in real life.


It is MUCH better to focus on getting a few really good clips, rather than uploading the entire memory card from your drone filled with anonymous landscapes and "variations" that do nothing but clutter up your portfolio and the search results = less sales.

I did this in the beginning, and I'm sure most do. Now I only try to upload "power clips" that I spend hours, sometimes 1-2-3 days, on.


Learn After Effects. Capture the raw material in the real world and enhance, improve, and manipulate to make a "perfect" stock clip.

This time of the year, is is time for my annual payout.
I use Paypal for it

If Paypal convert Dollar into Euro, they use a currency rate of 0,81...
But the Google currency converter use a rate of 0,85, so you will pay to Paypal 0,04% costs
And i dont like that

Is there a way to avoid those costs?

That's 4%. And no, you can't avoid that. I have tried to find a solution for years. Please let me know if you find one. That is of course one of the main ways they make money. The Google rate isn't "the real" rate. There is no real rate, only an average of all the banks, etc. in the world. You will never get what you see on Google.

It should, however, be closer to around 2.5%.


When customers spend $10,000 on clips from let's say Pond5 just as an example, I can buy food with:

$10,000 minus P5 cut (60%) minus PayPal fees (= bad rate) minus Social minus Income Tax = Roughly $2,000.

Customers spend $10,000. In the end I can buy food for $2,000.

That is life. :)

The only way to get through to them is to breach the trust between them and buyers. I suggest everybody setting up fake accounts and then taking photos of random people who look like they have expensive lawyers and then upload those photos with fake MRs. It won't make us any money, but it could result in a fun sh**storm to watch.

That's your solution? To make life miserable for random innocent people who have nothing to do with this? I suppose you think they deserve it because they look rich?

Just as brilliant as joining a peaceful protest and destroying stores and neighborhoods who have nothing to do with what you're protesting against (or as someone else here suggested, make the lives of innocent neighbors unsafe by vandalizing property).

You really don't care about other people, you just want to watch the world burn.

There are many offensive words one can use here, but I'll let you pick your own.

Please think one step further, maybe even two steps further, next time a "brilliant" idea like this pops up. :)

Shutterstock.com / Re: Become a Shutterstock shareholder
« on: June 12, 2020, 03:53 »
A very naive little question, no doubt. We are thousands of contributors, how many Shutterstock shares would we need to weigh in on the company's decisions?... No doubt there are specialists in this forum who will explain to me why this suggestion is really naive, but hey, you can always dream  :)

Yes, all you have to do is convince 258,000 contributors to put in $1,000 each, and you would have a minority interest (20% of the company). No real power, but you may be asked to weigh in on certain decisions.

For real power, 50%+ of the company, just put in $2,500 each and the rest is history. Of course, the share price would skyrocket if you bought that all at once, so it would take a very long time with the current low volume, and measures would be put in place to protect the company.

Best of luck with that, and let us know how it works out! :)

Pond5 / Re: 4K priced 199$, sold for 47.99$?!
« on: June 11, 2020, 05:12 »
I forgot to mention that all three options: Global Partner Program, Limited License Program, and Optimized Marketplace Pricing are unchecked for months...

Nice Pond5, really nice...

Ill write a complain now.

Instead of complaining, let's first take a closer look.

The GPP sales are from November-May (at the latest, could even be several months before November depending on the global delay), so, unless "unchecked for months" means BEFORE November 2019, it is all perfectly in order.

So you want to say that this purchase happened months ago and it showed up in my account today?!

Yes, that is exactly what I want to say.

We only get GPP reports every 6 months (give or take), and they are for sales going back at least 6 months. First, they get the reports from all the companies they work with, and then send out the payments to us.

This is why the delay is actually likely to be MORE than 6 months, maybe even up to 9 months. It of course depends on the delay from all of the global companies in the first place, and how long it takes to put together a detailed list for us.

But we can be sure that it AT LEAST covers sales from November, since the last GPP report was in November. More likely, however, even sales from September-October may be included here.

Pond5 / Re: 4K priced 199$, sold for 47.99$?!
« on: June 11, 2020, 04:49 »
I forgot to mention that all three options: Global Partner Program, Limited License Program, and Optimized Marketplace Pricing are unchecked for months...

Nice Pond5, really nice...

Ill write a complain now.

Instead of complaining, let's first take a closer look.

The GPP sales are from November-May (at the latest, could even be several months before November depending on the global delay), so, unless "unchecked for months" means BEFORE November 2019, it is all perfectly in order.

Pond5 / Re: Check your earnings (surprise).
« on: June 11, 2020, 04:06 »
same here, 5 sales all from 6/10/2020 strange!?

No, it's not strange. :)

Those are Global Partner Program sales (GPP), which are paid out around twice per year. So those are sales from the last six months or so.

Last GPP payout was in November, and the one before that in April of 2019. So, it's not entirely predictable when.

Before, we just got a GPP lump sum - this is the first time we see exactly what we sold. Maybe that's why the report was a bit delayed?

We also seem to have gotten an LLP payout.

How much time do you spend in this forum?

Checking this forum is part of my daily 1-2 hours of reading 2-5 newspapers and around 3-5 forums. Those hours are spread out throughout the day. Sometimes that can mean one minute here, or an hour if something interesting is going on. Rarely does a day go by without checking in on this forum, but I try not to post too much as it can be quite draining.

does it pay?

In terms of actual $$$, I have gotten a few valuable nuggets of information here over the years, directly responsible for maybe about $10,000-15,000 extra income, spread out over 2-3 years. I might have gotten that information elsewhere, but this is where I happened to see it.

Those really valuable nuggets of information show up maybe once a year, or maybe every 6 months. The rest is mostly entertainment, along with sifting through ENORMOUS amounts of MISINFORMATION.


Other than directly increasing my income, there are of course other things I feel I have learned (not all from this particular forum, but over the years):

While I'm sure most people here are decent human beings in real life, a forum like this can really show people's worst sides.

I try to stay away from posting negative posts, even though it is very tempting almost every week (I'm not perfect either, so sometimes it happens).

Before posting, I now ask myself: "Does this benefit me?" or "will this make someone else's day better or worse"?

I have learned that, compared to my own findings and experiences, most people on this forum are wrong about the business side of things. I just shake my head almost daily since my own numbers prove so much of the advice here to be completely opposite of reality.

The loudest voices are mostly not the wisest, and the most visible people are most often not the smartest, or best at what they try to teach.

In business, let go of your emotions, and try to be a realist. Use numbers (actual numbers, not your estimates), actual search data, and force yourself to stay up to date with how people (the buyers) are actually using stock media. The easiest way is to consume a lot of media (YouTube), even though it takes time.

Don't get stuck in your old ways. Always keep an open mind and embrace new technology and business models rather than hate them. Fighting against new technology and business models has almost never worked, and it will probably almost never work. Accept, adapt, and keep on working. Yesterday was yesterday, 2004 was 2004.

If you want to maximize income, abandon being obsessive about high RPD. It is not a very useful metric. Return Per Clip Per Month, or simply Total Portfolio Income, are much more useful to obsess about.

Comparing production costs with others is next to useless. Photographing London for a Londoner is cheap, but for Australians it's quite expensive. The buyers do not care.

All businesses put maximizing profits above all else. That is what a business is. No agency is your friend. The sooner you accept that, the better. The "artist friendly" agencies make the same deals and changes as the daily "bad guy". Just a year later, or before. People forget very quickly.

Quality, but perhaps more importantly, uniqueness, will beat quantity.

That's all. Have a great day! :)

If I lived in NY I would find out where Oringer and his side kick Pavlovsk live and start a civil disobedience campaign against them.

I don't mean violence I mean informing all his neighbors about what they are doing, protesting outside their houses, posting leaflets and posters around their area, spray painting their gates and walls

And this is exactly what "going too far" means.

Please don't be a complete moron. There are enough complete morons in this world.

You do not punish someone's family (or neighbors for that matter) for their actions. Use your brain.

Shutterstock.com / Re: Shutterstock just became iStock 2.0
« on: May 26, 2020, 11:28 »
In my email it said I was at level 2 for video - I have not had anywhere near as many downloads this year as it says. Are they softening the blow, by letting me stay a level above? I mean it's still a big dip in percentage. Awful

I'm at level 3 for images, and that number is right.

Yes, my level was incorrect also. We can only hope that the video levels were not correct in the e-mail (just mistakenly copied from the images table), and maybe only 5-10% of the number of image downloads would apply to video. It would make more sense.


Yes, the video levels were wrong in the e-mail. The right ones are in the Shutterstock forum.

You still need 5,214 sales or more to not make less.

Shutterstock.com / Re: Shutterstock just became iStock 2.0
« on: May 26, 2020, 11:09 »
I can't believe that video download numbers for each level is the same as images. what? Video contributors are going to have the roughest end of this shite system.

Don't worry, if you sell more than 5,214 video clips per year you will actually start making more! Great news!

I'm sure there are lots of contributors selling more than 434 clips per month. :)

For everyone else, a cut, and for most, a significant cut.

General Stock Discussion / Re: More or fewer keywords
« on: May 14, 2020, 09:58 »
And that is why I go out of my way to keyword with accuracy. I think my buyers deserve this. I am betting the farm on my buyers relying on accuracy. That's just the way I roll.

The only problem with your noble quest is this:

"think like a buyer" and "100% accurate keywords" are not the same.

The gibbon scenario is a good example.

First of all, many languages do not have different words (at least that are in common use) for "monkey" and "ape", and their first thought when searching in English would likely be "monkey".

Furthermore, dare I assume that most native English speakers would classify a gibbon as a monkey when asked, and it would be a perfectly adequate search result when searching for the general term "monkey".

Now, putting "gorilla" or "chimpanzee" in there would be keyword spamming, but "monkey" would be smart keywording.

According to every single list of most used keywords by buyers, general terms are always used more. The buyers who are absolutely trying to avoid buying monkeys and only apes will already know exactly what they're looking for. They are, however, not the majority.


I would aim for 90% accuracy with the 10% consisting of INTELLIGENTLY chosen words that buyers would use to find what you're selling.

By the way, did you get the jungle/forest keyworders arrested? ;)

Hey guys, for all you drone 4k video stock creators or video creators, just wondering if anyone is removing digital noise and frame flicker that we get from alot of the DJI Mavic Pro drone shots that is avoidable. Also is everyone stabilizing there footage as well to make extra smooth? Please advise. Thanks!

Yes, any technical issue with any footage from any camera is fixed. That is part of creating stock footage that sells over and over again.

Like steheap said, flicker is not an issue with the high bitrate, 1-inch sensor drones, but it was quite bad with my old Phantom 3 Pro, although mostly fixable (along with standard small sensor noise) with Neat and/or Flicker Fixer.

I did not like selling the small sensor drone footage as 4k however, as the detail was not actually there. I would not have been happy myself to pay 4k prices for Phantom 3 Pro footage. I think it is similar to the Mavic (1).

The footage from the Phantom 4 Pro and the Mavic 2 Pro is very, very good however, with true 4k quality and very good detail.

I've had major publishing deals for TV, had my music on MTV, ESPN, TSN, NBC, ABC, all major TV networks. Never got close to 20-40k per commercial.

...and sometimes...
...can mean an extra...

Surely you've earned $1,000 from a single placement? Are you saying $20k is impossible?

How are your earnings during epidemic? Comparable to last year?

Yes, on average better than April 2019 with a few days to spare. March was quite good. Some sites a little bit down, others up to 40% up. The strong dollar helps.

I haven't seen a significant slowdown in any of the months of 2020 (yet). The biggest change has been that items that could be related to the current situation have been selling like crazy. I don't have a lot of those items, however, so they only bring up the average a little bit.

I don't think most people are just sitting on a chair staring into an empty wall after all. People need to be creative, make stuff, work, and those who can do that from home might just buy our stock assets more than ever to compensate for slower buying behavior elsewhere.

Anyway, that is my experience across a wide range of different types of stock assets. As always, diversification is very important. When the pretty travel footage stops selling, the ugly disaster footage takes over. :)

I think that those of us who have built a steady online income over the years are the lucky ones, and quite honestly, the situation this year meant very little change on my life before that. The worst part was the stock market, but that is recovering well it seems.

I know many are not as lucky, losing their jobs and only income, and I feel for them. Maybe that will happen to us one day too, but I haven't experienced it yet. Always make sure you have several streams of income if you can, and a reasonable financial buffer for a rainy day.

One thing they've mentioned is that the 15% cut they take makes no difference since they've negotiated a higher commission with the agencies (they sort of allude often to it).

That might be true, but as far as I understand you just get a lump sum each month, and you have no idea what clips sold, or do you get the stats? Is it possible to see what percentage they're getting or do you just have to take their word for it?

Anyway, you would need a 17.6% increase to negate the 15% cut, which would mean roughly 35% at Shutterstock and roughly 47% at Pond5. That's not unlikely, but as we've seen that doesn't really matter since you still have all the other major drawbacks to deal with (along with much worse average performance at Pond5 at least).

close to 40% of your royalty income.

Are you serious?

Wow. I would have guessed maybe 10% and thought that was way too much, but 40% is just robbery.

It is a very good way to make sure you will never make a significant income from stock footage, however.

Please learn how to write good metadata yourself if you want to make money. Because we want to make money, right?


It's hard to avoid the 30-70% cuts to the agencies, but further cuts like these are quite easy to avoid!


I recently edited some keywords of older clips to include some current relevant terms that fit them well, even if they weren't necessarily created with that in mind. They have since started selling very well.

And optimizing my metadata a number of years back on clips already uploaded when I learned more, quite literally raised my income to something I could live comfortably on.

Please learn to control your assets and optimize them as much as you possibly can on your own. I know many absolutely hate writing, but it's necessary in order to maximize earnings.

a) how did you get specific time frame #'s? (or did you just look at it then?

You need to find a clip that you know the upload date for (it can actually be any type of item - music, image etc.).

Then use:

itemgt:CLIPNUMBER (it only has to be close to that number since so many new items are added each day).

itemgt means "Item number greater than".

You can also use itemlt:CLIPNUMBER (less than) or combine both of them to look at just one month or one day (if you have the clip numbers) in 2019 or whenever.

If you want to EXCLUDE an artist's portfolio you put ! in front of artist, like this:


Now you will see all P5 clips EXCEPT the BB clips.

Here are the numbers from October 2019.

Only clips priced $79 and above (since that's where BB starts).

P5 - 1,388,862 new clips (excluding BB).
BB - 457,915 new clips.

P5 was 68.9% better for 3 sales and up. 52% better for 1 sale and up.

Considering the 15% BB fee:

3+ sales: P5 (without BB) was 98.7% better.
1 sale and up: P5 (without BB) was 78.8% better.


Those are the numbers based on a little more than 1.8 million clips uploaded since October 2019 with a MINIMUM price of $79.

98.7% can be quite a bit of money.


The important thing here was to see whether being with BB was an advantage (on average) or not. They would have to beat P5 by a bit to be worth the 15%. Clearly, they don't.

Again, dont like bb dont upload.

Don't worry, I won't. But the OP wanted to know some opinions.

But to simply say if you upload directly you sell more, at least for me that is not the case. Sales rate for me personally so far is at least equal and for editorial better if I go via bb.

That's great! Since you don't have the same clips in both portfolios it is impossible to actually know that, but if you're happy, that's good.

But what happens when you find out that optimizing the metadata at Pond5 is not the same as doing at Shutterstock? Or at Adobe? What do you do then? What if you want to try the membership, exclusivity (don't), changing prices?


The most valuable thing you can have is CONTROL over your clips.

Again, if you just want to put in the memory card, upload and forget about it, collect a few $ over the years, that is perfectly fine. And much better for me since that means I will sell more. But if you actually want to optimize the earnings for each clip, you need to be able to control them, change the metadata, pricing, put them into collections, etc.


It is perfectly reasonable to defend your choices, we all do. I just think that the OP should get information (based on actual numbers) from both sides.


By the way, from what time would you like a sales comparison? 2019? June? The last 6 months? I will make it happen, just let me know. The first numbers were ONLY for clips uploaded since 2017 (when BB started getting bigger). Not since P5 started.

And what is the average sell through rate of all of pond5 or Shutterstock?

I'm glad you asked.

The 1 sale and up average for Pond5 total for clips added since 2017 (excluding Blackboxguild) is 2%.

For Blackboxguild it is 0.77%.

Pond5 as a whole is 2.6 times better on average.


The ALL-TIME corresponding numbers are 5.4% P5 and 0.8% BB.

So, 6.75 times better.


As for Shutterstock, there is no public information so I don't know.


The unfortunate truth is of course also that the better you are, the worse the deal gets.

Let's say your goal is $3,000 a month from stock footage. Suddenly, your "free" Blackbox community now costs you $450 per month. Quite steep in addition to all the other cuts you MUST accept. This one, you don't have to accept.

Let's say you also use a curator and those few minutes they spend tagging your clip could end up being the most expensive service you have ever used.

And being in a large portfolio on Pond5 is nothing but a gigantic disadvantage. If someone finds your style interesting and wants more from you, it is virtually impossible to browse and find those clips within the 1.4 million...


If you are happy with it, then that's great! I just think that everyone should find out as much as possible about what it REALLY means.

Absolutely - https://www.pond5.com/document/help_adv_search.html -

but the only ones that are really useful are artist:, salegt: (or salelt:) and maybe itemgt: if you want to limit the results to when a clip was uploaded.

You have to know the upload date of at least one clip (from your own portfolio probably) to be able to correctly see the results for the dates you want.

Yup! now I see my error. Thank you :)

Curator rating seems also an interesting one,
whatever clip makes 5/5 seems to have a chance to be highlighted
in relevant frontpage collections they assemble from time to time.


I've been in several collections but none of those clips were rated 5, and the ones that are are far from my best work (or best selling work).

I think it means pretty much nothing at all.

Fun fact: 8.9% of rated 4 clips have sold, and only 8.2% of the rated 5 clips. :)


Anyway, looking at the newest rated 5 clips makes you quickly realize that there is not much logic to it, other than maybe some reviewers giving their friends or themselves a 5 on entire mediocre batches...

I would not spend even 1 second worrying about the curator rating on Pond5. :)

Absolutely - https://www.pond5.com/document/help_adv_search.html -

but the only ones that are really useful are artist:, salegt: (or salelt:) and maybe itemgt: if you want to limit the results to when a clip was uploaded.

You have to know the upload date of at least one clip (from your own portfolio probably) to be able to correctly see the results for the dates you want.

Perhaps I calculated or search wrong @ID. I will take your numbers as actually correct, no problem, apologies for possible misinformation!
No I don't support BB, I was trying to focus on P5 past year sales for the same period everyone said "no sales!".

No worries!

You probably put

artist:blackboxguild salegt:0


The right ID, but the number you get is the number of clips with 1 sale OR MORE, not the total number of sales.

You have to keep going up (salegt:1 gives you 1,422 clips for example) and add those results to get the total, until there are no more clips shown, after salegt:19 in this case).

The 10 sales number you mentioned was probably from the 2019 thread with the same subject... That was 10 clips with 5 sales or more (from my post). Today, that number is 93.

That just means that another 83 clips reached 5 sales or more since last year around this time. Nice if you have a personal portfolio of 500 clips... Not so nice if your portfolio consists of 1.4 million clips...


I will say that the average has gone up since last year! But only from incredibly bad to slightly less incredibly bad. :)

What is the salegt:0 that you've mentioned

Sent from my HD1901 using Tapatalk

Pond5 gives you the sales numbers if you use a few advanced search methods.

If you write (EXACTLY, don't add or remove any spaces)

artist:blackboxguild salegt:0

Pond5 will show you all the clips from that artist with 1 sale or more.

If your name is izzikiorage on P5 -

artist:izzikiorage salegt:0

will show you all of your own clips with 1 sale or more.

"Salegt" stands for "Sale Greater Than".

So, salegt:99

will show you all the clips with 100 sales or more.


It's a very fun and educative way to see through the bull**** of many forum posters. ;)


As soon as I see a forum member (usually at P5) with very strong opinions on how everything new is bad, and how they know how things should be done because they are "old industry professionals active since day one" I check their actual results. Since my own average is almost always MUCH better than theirs, I can continue my way of working with confidence.

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