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Earn $6,000/mo Passive Income with Stock Footage (no prior experience!)

Stock footage might not sound too sexy or fun, but this is an easy one to start and doesn’t require any start up funding.

In fact, you can start with your smartphone camera.


What is stock footage and how does it work?

Stock footage means: short video clips – usually just a few seconds – featuring every day scenes that can be inserted into commercial videos.

They are usually used as fillers in larger productions:

  • Commercials or commercial videos for companies
  • TV Shows (remember that intro from “House of Cards”?)
  • Explainer videos
  • YouTubers

and many more.

Rather than me talking about it, just have a quick look here and you will know what I mean:

Royalty Free Stock Footage

Mostly “normal”, every day scenes, right?

And super short.

Stock footage is not meant to be an artistic expression. It’s used to fill a commercial need and often portrays a specific situation, emotion, profession, object or location.

Here is the best part:

These short little clips can make between $20-200 PER license purchase! – and you can sell unlimited licenses.

Yup – that’s right!

You can even shoot them with a good smartphone camera to start with.

Most smartphones come with excellent HD cameras, the newest versions even with 4K, which can generate an even bigger payout.

Why videos and not photos?

Because videos are paid much better (while photos barely bring a pittance) and there is less competition. Especially, once you add 4K, drones and other specialties.

Even better: there is an automation platform that makes the tedious parts of uploading and optimizing large amounts of footage a lot less time consuming!

Sound good so far?

BUT…. I’m not a videographer and I don’t have an expensive camera!

… you might say.

And that’s not a problem, you don’t have to be!

We are talking about “stock footage”, not cinematic master pieces.

You still need good videography skills, especially good lighting and editing, but those can be learned quite easily and I’ll give you a few resources at the end.

How does it work then?

You upload your footage to platforms like Shutterstock, pond5 or Adobe Stock. Customers can buy a license to use your footage in any possible way. This is called “Royalty free” and means you still own the footage and can use it again and again.

It also means that all parts have to be cleared for “commercial use”, meaning no logos, trademarks, copyrighted content (incl. trademarked landmarks).

If you include people, they need to sign a “model release”. Easily done with a phone app called Easy Release.

There is a way to sell footage with people and trademarks called “Editorial”. In that case, the content is considered “newsworthy” and “in the public interest”, but cannot be used in advertisements.

What to shoot?

Well…everything starts with “R”, aka: Market Research.

Terribly boring word, but super helpful! – (trust me, you will love ‘R’ once she starts making you money, so never ignore her…)

You want to see what’s currently selling well, what customers are willing to spend money on.

That’s easily done by looking at the “popular” and “top selling” listings on the major stock sites.

Browse around, watch a lot of these little clips and get a feel for your market. What type of content is currently selling well and how do they film it?

Get some ideas and then start creating something similar.

Typical stock footage themes include: 

  • Seasons/holidays
  • News
  • New tech releases
  • Work related videos (factory workers, office scenes)
  • Emotions
  • Professions/shops
  • Life events (weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, birthdays, etc.)

While these may seem generic, you will notice that the top selling videos still have a very authentic feel to them and that’s important. They have something unique. They are not just cookie-cutter generic, even though the theme is generic.

Watch a lot of the top sellers, so you fine tune your senses and notice what makes them different and how they do it.

This will help you greatly in your own videos, and it takes a little practice.

You will also notice how well paid a little 12 sec. clip can be…

Getting excited…?

The fun thing is:

You can shoot a whole sequence of several minutes and then break it up into little clips – each with its own listing and price!

It’s the same scene, same object, same time input, but by giving customers a variety of angles and viewpoints, you have a higher chance of selling at least one – while not spending any extra time on production.

SO cool!

What are the Upload Requirements?

Here are the most important factors:

  • No audio
  • 5-59 secs per clip
  • Already color adjusted
  • One continuous clip, not multiple angles

The following are the most popular footage options and can bring in significantly higher rates (though you certainly don’t need to start there):

  • 4K (vs. 1080 HD) – also less competition
  • Time Lapses
  • Slow Motion
  • Drones
  • 360

To use drones, you need to complete an official course and become a licensed drone operator – at least in the US. Wherever you travel, first check drone laws in that country, because some don’t allow drones at all or only with certain restrictions.

Uploading to Stock Sites:

When you first start submitting to stock sites, you might get a few rejections.

Not the end of the world. You just need to improve your video chops.

Doesn’t require going to film school or getting a college degree, but you need to shoot professional quality, know how to light properly, some editing and video & camera basics.

The cool part:

It doesn’t have to take months and years before you can monetize. You can learn a lot in a few weeks and I’m including a few resources below to get your film chops poppin’ quickly.

Keep watching stock footage on the major sites. The more you do, the better you become at spotting quality and also flaws that could be improved.

Make sense?

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Quite often, we negotiated a special discount only available to Friends of SassyZenGirl, so win-win for everybody 😎.  We use all these tools ourselves and stand fully behind them. Please read our disclosure for more info.

How to market?

Well…you need to be found! – Meaning, when customers search a certain topic or theme on the stock platforms, your footage needs to show up at the top.

Easy enough, right… 🙂

The good news: it’s not luck!

You need to optimize your listing for “SEO” (= search engine optimization). This concept will come up in many of the blueprints, whenever a platform functions as a “search engine”.

“Search engine” means: users enter search terms (=”keywords”) into the search bar to find products. Think Amazon, Google, YouTube, etc.

Same with Shutterstock and co.

The principles are similar on all platforms: mainly, to include the main keyword in the beginning of the title and more relevant keywords – or “themes” – spread throughout title and description.

That way the search engine “bots” (yes, little bots, not humans) who crawl the platforms 24/7 and index each listing, can decide who to rank where, so customers get shown the most relevant listings.

In other words:

Keywords are signals to the algorithm bots. The language they can understand.


If that sounds overwhelming and time consuming, especially with large bulks of footage, then I have even better news!

In 2018, a platform named Blackbox opened their doors and made this stock video blueprint so much less time consuming.

With Blackbox, you upload your content only once.

You fill out descriptions and keywords, and then Blackbox distributes your footage to the major platforms rather than you having to do it one by one. They collect payment, deduct a small fee and deposit directly into your Paypal account.

Not only that:

Their platform allows you to partner with so-called “Curators”: super cool people who will trim your footage, and then upload and optimize your listing for SEO.

Totally amazing!

You don’t even have to pay them. Instead, you share a percentage of your sales – 20-30% for example – which gets them all the more motivated to do a good job. Blackbox takes care of paying everyone accordingly, so even that becomes easy!

You can also partner with “models”. Not fashion models…😎 => any person in a commercial video is called a “model”.

For example, spend a few hours or a full day with a friend who is a dancer or an athlete (or whatever else cool stuff they do). Shoot a lot of great footage and then split the profits with them – while blackbox takes care of the deets (= paying everyone).

Cool, right…?


That’s pretty much it – an overview of this very fun blueprint. An easy way to add an additional passive income stream – with no upfront money required!

You can shoot wherever you are: while waiting somewhere, hiking, shopping, having a coffee…

Anything can potentially be used for stock footage, and you can often combine it with something  you are already doing.

What’s next?

Jeven Dovey is a YouTuber and professional filmmaker who has mastered this blueprint and made it his main income source while traveling the world.

To be clear and also manage your expectations:

Not many people succeed in making a full time income with this blueprint though it’s certainly possible. Jeven is one of the few who do, so I highly recommend you learn from him.

He has an excellent, short course that shows you in detail all the steps, including – over the shoulder – how to prepare videos properly and list them in such a way that customers can find them (most newbies fail at this).

Also, how to avoid rejection from the stock sites and how to locate marketable trends easily. He just released the updated 2.0 version and added an active Facebook group where he can help you directly:

Access Pro Training:
You can also check out his:
FREE Youtube Masterclass

(his channel has 600K+ followers)

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