Making $$ with stock drone footage

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For those pilots looking for new ways to make money from photos and footage, take a look at Gettyimages Contributor Community (Sign in | ESP). Gettyimages is the largest stock photo/video agency in the world and has bought up most of their competitors over the years. I've used their stock photos and videos for web design and video promos for about 20 years.

I've been a Gettyimages contributor for about 5 years with both video and photo assets (terrestrial). Years ago, the entire process used to be a huge hassle, but within the last year or so has become more streamlined. I've been uploading some drone footage more recently, nature stuff, just to see if it would sell (it's not makin' any $$ sitting on my hard drive). Video pays a lot more than photos, but I have some individual photos that sell 60-70 times every month, which adds up. There are different royalties depending on whether you become an exclusive contributor for your photos or videos (separate agreements). The more an asset sells, the higher it appears in the page order, which explains why a single image can sell so many times in a month even when I have more than a hundred similar images of the same subject. Exclusivity does not preclude you selling the photos/videos yourself. The exclusivity is against other stock vendors.

So, sign up, go through your footage, process and upload it and start making some $$. I haven't seen a huge amount of drone footage on Gettyimages, so if you get in now, over time your assets will increase in sales. With the higher resolution 4k video now becoming a standard (regardless of final product resolution), the older stock footage is becoming obsolete (much like the improved image quality/processing using Adobe Lightroom). It takes some thought to figure out what type of footage might be saleable, but certainly nature stuff, cityscapes, urban landscapes, residential communities, transportation and other generic stuff would be marketable. Follow your interests and happy uploading.
 
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Can you post a link to your assets on Getty so we can see the kind of stuff that works?
 
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Well, I have nearly 1,000 assets on gettyimages, mostly of Washington, DC and Capitol Hill. I've only been flying for a year and most of the drone footage I've put up there are clips I've shot over the Potomac River, 12 miles or so upstream from Washington, DC and from a recent trip to La Jolla, CA. Surprisingly, some of the clips have sold even though they've only been up a month or so. I wasn't thinking of using them as stock when I shot them. Hard to know what people want and why. If I could use a drone in Washington, DC, that would be awesome, but the entire DC is in a no-fly zone as drones are not allowed in the city, which happens to be within the 10 mile radius of National Airport as well. I have to go pretty far upriver to be out of the no-fly. Then there's another no-fly around Dulles Airport not much further upstream if I recall.

One thing you should be aware of is that if there are any people in your footage or photo, you'll need a model release. If a building is prominent in the footage, it may require a property release. Acceptance is variable. If the people are really small...
 
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The video clips submitted are typically less than 20 sec., so you can potentially get a lot of stock clips from a single flight. I'll take a wild guess that sunrise/sunset clips of any variety of subjects would be more popular. I believe my sunset clips sell more frequently.
 

BigAl07

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One thing you should be aware of is that if there are any people in your footage or photo, you'll need a model release. If a building is prominent in the footage, it may require a property release. Acceptance is variable. If the people are really small...

This could get "interesting" in a hurry if you have people and prominent buildings/landmarks in the clip. Is this a rule by GettyImages or some other entity?

I live near several Historical Landmark areas and the buildings are prominent (they are the focal point) in my clips. Going back to get releases would be cumbersome and in some instances (when I've been traveling) next to impossible to acquire.
 
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This could get "interesting" in a hurry if you have people and prominent buildings/landmarks in the clip. Is this a rule by GettyImages or some other entity?

I live near several Historical Landmark areas and the buildings are prominent (they are the focal point) in my clips. Going back to get releases would be cumbersome and in some instances (when I've been traveling) next to impossible to acquire.

Yes, property releases could be an issue, but acceptance of a clip is up to the reviewer's discretion within the guidelines. It does vary between reviewers to some degree. Here are some guidelines on property releases - Getty Images Contributor Community. My general impression is that any property that has an admission fee or a building privately owned that features prominently in the photo/video may require a property release. If for instance your clip is a wide view like a cityscape or community, that would probably be accepted. I shoot a lot of images around Washington, DC which are a lot of government (public) buildings like the Capitol or SCOTUS, White House, etc. and those are fine. I've submitted video and images of Smithsonian museums that often get rejected even though there is no admission fee. A wider image that may have a museum, but not prominent in the photo can be ok, but it varies depending on the reviewer. The reviewer will occasionally initially reject some of my images from inside the Capitol or other government building, but I show them other examples of the same subject in my portfolio or submitted by others and they'll approve them. If the footage or photo has people in it, if they're sufficiently blurred out, that can be ok although that could make for a messy looking clip. If the people are really small, that can be ok.
 
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This could get "interesting" in a hurry if you have people and prominent buildings/landmarks in the clip. Is this a rule by GettyImages or some other entity?

I live near several Historical Landmark areas and the buildings are prominent (they are the focal point) in my clips. Going back to get releases would be cumbersome and in some instances (when I've been traveling) next to impossible to acquire.

Gettyimages has not as yet developed specific rules related to drone footage and simply refers to country guidelines. Gettyimages cannot at this juncture request specific footage from their contributors unless and until the FAA finalizes guidelines that would apply specifically. I imagine with your 40+ years of UAS and drone videography, you probably have a lot of useful footage. IMO, process some clips and get as much stuff on Gettyimages as you can before they start placing restrictions although I don't anticipate that anytime soon. There is another category called 'Editorial content', which relates to news and current events. In that classification, people or properties without releases may be fine, but I believe you have to get a separate contributor approval for editorial content.
 
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These are great and thank you for sharing your experience!
You're welcome. As I said, I've only been flying for a year or so. Gettyimages has some hoops you have to jump through to become a contributor and have to sell some clips/images before you can become an exclusive contributor, but I think it's worth the time if you can create some useful clips. I've seen some of my images and video clips appear in news and print media. Your clips don't have to be epic to be useful to someone. Just brainstorm and go out and shoot. As always, abide by the local laws and stay out of trouble.
 
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They do require you to show proof of your part 107 don't they or do they ?
 
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Yes, I have to admit that there are various hurdles you have to jump and the process is confusing. Gettyimages/iStock has created so many versions of their contributor website that it’s easy to get confused. I signed up like 7 years ago when the entire process of submitting content was way more cumbersome... so much so that I just stopped submitting. I didn’t revisit it until 2 years later when they sent me an email indicating I had not specified a payment method for royalties and wanted to know what to do with the $3,200 in royalties I had accumulated.

Anyway, after you’re accepted as a contributor there are different royalty rates depending on exclusive/non-exclusive, how many times an asset sells over time, etc. Just take it step by step and read the forum. Here’s a good place to start - Getty Images Contributor Community
For info on royalties paid (another head scratcher) -
Getty Images Contributor Community

My recommendation is that if you have a little time on your hands and a lot of footage sitting on your hard drives, it might be worth the effort. As I mentioned, I don’t think there’s a lot of aerial content on gettyimages at this time, much less 4K content. Image and video quality from UAS cameras has greatly improved over the last 2 years, so get busy. It may take a little while to see the fruits of your effort, but I’ve been surprised that new aerial content I’ve uploaded has been selling (the only aerial footage I’ve uploaded is clips of the Potomac River and a recent trip to the Pacific coastline in La Jolla) . It’s better to get in earlier than later as your videos climb the ranks for better positioning and higher royalty rates.
 
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Sounded to good to be true... and it was...
 
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That's so messed up. It's gonna take them a month to get their contributor application back up and running??? Ridiculous.

I can only hope that they're working to improve and streamline the whole process.
 

GadgetGuy

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That's so messed up. It's gonna take them a month to get their contributor application back up and running??? Ridiculous.

I can only hope that they're working to improve and streamline the whole process.
The operative wording is,
"Please note that we are not accepting new applications at this time."
No urgency to fix the site, since they already have enough contributors to meet the demand.
 
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I wouldn't read it that way. This is sort of typical for them and has happened the same way before. They suspend functionality and features while they work on programming or database changes. It seems like a poor way to manage the whole thing. I'll check the contributor forum and see what's news on the issue.
 

GadgetGuy

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I wouldn't read it that way. This is sort of typical for them and has happened the same way before. They suspend functionality and features while they work on programming or database changes. It seems like a poor way to manage the whole thing. I'll check the contributor forum and see what's news on the issue.
It does sort of work that way, de facto, though, regardless of their real intent. Please keep us posted with your findings. There clearly is interest here.
 
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