There are three ways to upload content to microstock agencies:
- the website of the agency itself
- an FTP software, like Filezilla
- services like Multcloud (or Stocksubmitter, Microstock+, Everypixel DAM).
What I usually prefer is the web interface, because the upload is more stable than an FTP software, and the procedure is less complicated to set up than Multcloud, which is, however, more efficient if you send a lot of content to many agencies.
To upload content on Pond5, just connect to the homepage:
and click at the top right:
to log in with your own:
You are sent back to the homepage and, at the top right you must click on the icon of your profile and select:
You arrive on this page:
where you have to click the blue button:
This window pops up:
Click the blue button:
Choose the files you want to upload and wait.
Attention: When the uploading is finished, you cannot immediately insert titles and keywords for your stock footage; you have to wait for these to turn to NEEDS EDITS status on the MY UPLOADS page.
4K resolution videos
If you want to make money with stock footage, today, it's better to upload videos in 4K resolution, at least, if you have hardware that allows you to easily edit and export in that resolution, which is not something you can easily do with old computers.
And then, of course, you need to have a good internet connection (or use services like Stocksubmitter, if you want to sell on multiple agencies).
Today, mp4 is generally accepted by agencies, but big production companies, which are the ones who usually buy extended licenses, will choose the .mov files if the videos they're interested in are in that format.
It's not just a matter of quality; it's a matter of handling the files within the editing software (.mov files and Apple Pro Res, even H.264, are accepted by most professional software, including Final Cut which is unstable).
How to select the editorial license on Pond5
The editorial license must be selected if content that is uploaded to microstocks contains subjects protected by copyright and privacy laws.
In a city (and not only there) it is very difficult to shoot something without shooting:
- recognizable people
- modern buildings
- car plates
- shop signs
If you want to watch a video that explains how to avoid this annoying problem, you have to buy my course. If you're not interested and you have time to read, I explain the difference between:
- license for editorial use only
- license for commercial use
on this page as well.
In the case of Pond5, to tell the agency that you sell your content with the editorial license, you must write in the Curator Notes (the last box on the individual content pages):
You will not find this information written anywhere, but I have personally asked Pond5 and they have told me what to do.
The release is a document that you have to upload if you want to sell images or footage with the commercial use license, when you portrayed:
- recognizable people
- other elements protected by copyright
If you worked with a model, who, in microstock, is usually a friend who stays in front of the camera pretending to do things like:
- talk on the phone
- cook something
- run at the park
you need a release signed by that person and uploaded to Pond5. In the document, they authorize you to use their image for commercial purposes.
If you want to work fast, there are a lot of apps that can help you do it.
Common problems when uploading on Pond5
Uploading on Pond5 is easy, but sometimes there are problems that new producers can't solve.
One of the most common I found (actually, I don't know why it still happens) is with the FTP software, which sometimes causes issues. Filezilla, after finishing the upload, sometimes does not delete the files in the queue and keeps uploading them.
When this happens, on the UPLOAD page, you will find the same video several times, because Filezilla, once it has finished uploading, starts over, making the producer waste his time deleting the videos.
You can solve this problem easily: Stop using the FTP software and use the web upload. It is stable and doesn't give you issues.
Apart from this, I’ll give you a general rule for a digital business. It is the basic rule for creating a profitable enterprise as a microstock producer: If there is a problem, you can access all the information you need to solve it.
If there is something that stops you, look for information on the internet. For sure, someone else has already been in your same situation, and there was someone who explained to them how to get out of it and then shared the solution.
The web is not your neighborhood. It is made up of billions of people, so almost every problem has already been solved.
On the web are the worst people in the world, but there are also people who care about your problems and don't ask you for anything in return.
The selling price for individual videos
Pond5 is the only agency that allows producers to set the sales price of images and footage. There are different strategies to set the right price. They first depend on whether you're a newbie or a successful producer.
If you're a beginner, you'd better set cheap prices, like:
- $29 for your real time clips
- $39 for time-lapses
- $49 for hyper-lapses
Of course, once you set a price, you can change it at any moment. I advise that you raise it by $10 after each sale, up to $49 for real time footage, $69 for time-lapses and $79 for hyper-lapses.
The only thing you have to be careful of is that, if you don't opt for exclusivity, you will have to set a price that is not higher than that of your content for sale on other agencies (Shutterstock and Adobe Stock sell Full HD videos for $79, for example).
Thanks for the content you submitted, but we're decreasing the number of clips of that type since we already have many similar ones in our collection.
These words are the beginning of an email with which Pond5 has refused 100% of the videos sent by one of my friends.
This video maker normally had an acceptance rate close to 100%. When things like these happen, I used to be on the producer’s side. And even more so in this case, because I knew the person and because I read the emails between him and Pond5.
The agency lacked professionalism. When you apply a legitimate editorial line, you have to distribute the updated guidelines to the contributors at least a couple of months before, just to avoid people throwing away hours of work, since producing microstock is a serious job for many people.
Then, seeing what sociopaths who participate in Facebook groups used to write, such as:
“Look at the files that I found on Shutterstock, when for me they refuse almost everything!”
I imagine that, in the email accounts of those Pond5 employees who talk with contributors, most of the messages are not as polite and clever as those written by my friend. So, I know that agencies like Pond5 do not have an easy task in discerning between different types of users that report an anomaly.
Anyway, the most important news is that Pond5 sometimes decides to raise the level of content selection and sometimes lowers it. Therefore, there is nothing surprising about answers like those received by my friend.
If you want to make money with microstock, you never have to think about reviewers’ or other contributors’ opinions. You just have to think about what to produce the next time you plan to use your camera.
Common error messages after keywording
Sometimes, after describing videos on Pond5, despite having inserted titles, keywords and all the information, videos don't change their status:
- from “Needs Edits”
- to “Pending Review”.
90% of the time it happens because the contributor did something wrong while filling in the information, for example:
- inserting a title that is too long
- not setting a price and not allowing Pond5 to do it for him
It’s happened dozens of times to me, and, after correcting those issues, files will change their status to “Pending Review” as they are sent to the reviewer.
Waiting times for reviewing content
Pond5 usually approves stock images and stock footage in a few days, though the delay can be more depending on the period.
When approving or rejecting content, Pond5 is faster with long-time contributors like me. Newbies have to wait longer.
I don't think that worrying too much about:
- long acceptance times
The best way to spend time as a producer is to:
- study the market,
At least, for those who want to make money.
Pond5 revisions are made by real people (not by a bot). Reviewers are usually hated by producers, but those of Pond5 are the most loved, as the acceptance rate on that agency is higher than that of others.
How long you have to wait before selling
Becoming a microstock contributor is easy and costless, as you only need:
- a camera (or even just a smartphone)
- 5 minutes to sign up for free to agencies like Pond5 and Shutterstock
So, most producers are not entrepreneurs, but only dreamers. And dreamers love questions like:
How much can I make by selling photos and videos online?
How long does it take to get the first sale?
Regarding this last question, on my course, I say you have to wait 6 months. This assumption is made so as not to give false expectations to people who start producing today. It can be a couple of weeks for stock footage, or even days for stock images, but after your first sale, you have to start working hard to generate sales every day.
The story of one my students, Domenico Fornas (read it), proves that what I say is true; he waited 6 months to get his the first sale, but after 2 years, he makes 1100 euros a month.
In general, people's time is the most precious thing in the world, so you can't waste yours to make just a few dollars per month, as you will end up doing if you don't have a strategy, regardless of how long it takes to earn your first dollar.
Pond5 informs producers, every day, of sales via an email, but that email is delayed by 2 or 3 days.
Pay attention. On the UPLOAD page, there are statistics showing:
They are not 100% reliable, as I have files that were sold which, on the UPLOAD page, still have 0 views.
Statistics are important to understand where your portfolio is going, but don’t give importance to minor data such as bin adds and cart adds. Avoid wasting your days tracking if a buyer has added your footage to his cart, because until that buyer finalizes the sale, it doesn't matter.