This guy made $5,000 selling stock footage – here's how you can do it too!

man using Canon EOS 6D Mark II to shoot video, looking at the fold-out LCD screen

Selling stock footage is no longer really considered a serious money maker by content creators, but YouTuber Matt WhoisMatt Johnson would disagree. You’re not going to be able to quit your full-time job by selling stock footage, but it could boost your income and give you a nice chunk of extra money for a rainy day. 

One of the most popular and well-known stock sites is Getty Images, but there are hundreds of platforms out there on which to sell your content. Those used by Matt include Pond5, Artgrid, Lightstock, and Adobe Stock. Although each site individually doesn’t make bring in loads of money – except for Artgrid which made him over $4,500 (£5,500 / AU$7,800) last year – it does all add up.

• These are the best stock video sites

If you’re a photographer or videographer, chances are that you already have hundreds of files on your hard drive that could be uploaded as stock imagery or footage – files that are otherwise just sitting there, doing nothing and earning you nothing. Selling these files as stock is valuable passive income – a source of revenue that continues even after a job is complete.

Watch video: How to make thousands from selling stock footage

I'm in the camp of photographers that have never dabbled in stock libraries - I've always been put off by the lack of control I'd have over my photos and how little I'd get paid. The thought of seeing a photo or video I created without credit was unappealing, but that doesn't have to be the case. 

However, most if not all stock image sites list the creator and will often list the credit as the name of the photographer or videographer as well as the stock image site. 

In the video (above) Matt confesses that he’s been in the profession and building his stock image library for over a decade, so if you've just started out you may need to wait a few years before you have enough content behind you. Adobe Stock and Pond5 will pretty much allow anyone to upload content but Lightstock and ArtGrid require you to apply and have a backlog of content. 

Don't expect to become a millionaire overnight if you choose to start uploading to stock image websites but, as Matt has proven, they can be a very helpful earner. Rather than thinking about how much money you can make, think about what you could buy with it; earning $75 in a year doesn’t sound like much but, as Matt points out, that's 75 tacos if you live in the US (though considerably fewer if you live in the UK). 

It’s true that stock photography isn't the big earner it used to be but, if you do it right, you can definitely make some extra pennies. 

These are the best cameras for video - browse a range of mirrorless cameras, action cams, drones and phones!

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.