Is Pond5 A Legitimate Source of Income For Filmmakers?

by Mark Z.
(United States)

Question: Did you ever decide if Pond5.com was a legitimately potential source of income for filmmakers or not?

Desktop Documentaries: I never went back to try and upload any other footage to Pond5. I realized that all my footage from my world travels was shot in SD (Standard Definition) and all the new footage people were looking for was HD.

I suspect that the only real way to make decent money off of Pond5 is if you have truly unique footage (either super unique content -- SD would be okay in that case -- or spectacular footage). For example, you probably won't make much money from pretty geese in a pond.. tons of supply, low demand. :-) I had a producer friend who discovered there was a high demand/low supply for stock footage of African Americans in various staged settings (being a doctor, family riding bikes, looking over blue prints on a construction site, etc)..the kind of stuff that might be used in corporate videos.

Bottom line, if you feel you have something super unique, it's worth a shot. But I wouldn't say it would be a major source of income. What I think is important is to always keep stock footage in the back of your mind while you're shooting (study the stock footage market and get a feel for what's in demand) and if you notice something you suspect could be a good stock image, shoot it along with everything else and it may end up bringing in a small stream of income over the long term.

Does that help?

Who knows.. maybe there are filmmakers out there making a killing from stock footage (extreme sports filmmakers? Underwater or Space filmmakers??). I'd be interested to know for sure if there is anyone out there with that information... I'm sure major broadcasters like Discovery Channel and CNN have a strong stock footage business.. just not sure about individual filmmakers.

Please share below if you any experience regarding the income potential of selling stock footage or with Pond5 in particular.

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