Creating and shooting stock footage takes time, creativity and above all, a good eye. But how do you sell your images after the creative process? Two-time Emmy Nominated Videographer Jeremiah Baumbach shares a few of his tips towards creating and selling successful images in the production industry.
Q: How did you get started in shooting stock footage?
A: I’d been shooting film and DV for over a decade when I was walking the halls of NAB and I came across a booth for the stock footage provider Pond5. The previous year, I had been nominated for an Emmy (photography) for a pilot focusing on eco-tourism in central Florida, which I had shot and produced. The series focused on activities such as hang gliding, horseback riding and snorkeling with manatees. I asked the Pond5 representative if they bought content in addition to selling and the salesman said yes. So, I perused their online library for hang gliding footage and within a few keystrokes I knew that my content was superior to what was posted and I was very excited to have discovered a way to recoup the investment of time and money from the pilot episodes.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced (and how did you overcome)?
A: The biggest challenge, by far, was the learning curve on what technicalities for which stock sites would flag submitted clips. For instance, if a clip’s name was made up of capital letters, the clip would be rejected regardless of the quality of the media. Having to resubmit clips and wait through the approval process all over again was tedious and a waste of time. I have developed a web site www.howtosellstockfootage.com where I offer some tips to shooters and I’m working on a detailed eBook that will guide others on their journey to sell stock video through the top sites.
Q: What subjects “sell” the best and why?
A: “Success” sells! The people who are buying stock footage know that the cost of hiring a cast and crew, securing a location, and renting a camera package can be both costly and time consuming. I have found that a shot of a businessman jumping through raining cash in slow motion sells much better than a shot of a disheveled man at his kitchen table who’s depressed as he struggles to complete his taxes.
Q: What can you do to make yourself stand out from other shooters?
A: There are a number of unique and interesting things that you can do and shoot as a stock shooter to make yourself stand out. First and foremost, shoot what you know. If you have access to boats because you like to sail, then shooting some really stellar boating clips. If you have a kids, then let them start earning their keep by having them star in your clips.
I, myself, am experimenting shooting in a vertical or portrait format. People are often used to watching a horizontal screen in their home or on their desktop. However, flat screen monitors are often put on their sides for trade show displays. These corporate clients need vertical media to sell their wares. Think about vertical shots of buildings, people, and products.
I already shoot the bulk of my chroma key work in the vertical format to provide the buyer with the ability to choose between a wide shot or a medium shot without losing resolution.
Q: What is your favorite part of shooting stock and why?
A: My favorite part of shooting stock is experimenting with different subjects and angles. I’m not restricted by the needs or budget of a client. I also don’t need an entire edited project in the end. I just need the shot. It might need some mild color correction but it doesn’t have to have a beginning, middle, and end.
Q: Tips on a production pro who wants to break into the stock footage industry?
A: My no. 1 tip is to hire someone else to input the meta-data and upload your clips. It’s a data entry position that can be done by any number of administrate types. As a shooter you need to be in the field or in the studio shooting! If you get bogged down with the minutia of clip approval you won’t break into the stock footage industry, it will break you.
Award Winning Producer and two-time Emmy Nominated Videographer Jeremiah Baumbach is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Film Program. He has worked various freelance and full-time positions within the entertainment industry for over a decade in addition to teaching film and television techniques at the college level for over 8 years. He has found shooting stock footage an ideal way showcase his creative efforts.
images courtesy of Jeremiah Baumbach