You Ask, I Answer: Affordable Stock Footage and Photos?

Leah asks, “What do you recommend for an affordable stock photos / stock footage site?”

You get what you pay for doesn’t necessarily apply to stock photos, because sometimes you get a lawsuit and those are fairly expensive. What should you do? Roll your own, for legal reasons.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Lee asks, What do you recommend for an affordable stock photos or stock footage site? So stock photos and stock footage are a tricky area.

There are a lot of companies out there that are selling a lot of stuff.

But we have to remember the whole purpose of stock photos is well is twofold.

One is to get imagery or video that we would not otherwise be able to get.

And two is to get it in a licensed manner so that we’re not violating anyone’s copyright or getting ourselves into legal trouble.

As such, the challenge with affordable and I’ll put this in quotes of your affordable sites is that because it’s affordable You don’t know the provenance you don’t know the lineage of the of the data you’re working with, you don’t know where it came from, how it was generated, and whether the site that’s selling it has a legal license to use it.

There are not a ton of stock photo houses that are cheap, that shoot their own stuff.

A lot of them are aggregators, they pull data from all sorts of other places like unsplash, for example.

And more often than not, their data pools are contaminated.

By that, I mean, they’ve got imagery that is licensed to somebody else, and that they will get themselves in trouble if it’s discovered, but more importantly, you will get in trouble if it is discovered, and by trouble, I mean, slapped with enormous fines and lawsuits.

When I was working at a financial services company many many years ago.

There was one image on our website that was reused from Getty Images.

Which is a very well known images clearing house and definitely one of the most well known and one most expensive.

And a single 300 by 250 picture, earned the company, a whopping lawsuit of $60,000 for violating their copyright.

And where did that come from? came from one of the the inexpensive stock photo sites on the web.

And so that was a very eye opening lesson that you don’t mess around with any of these licensing companies.

Their job literally is to just Sue people all day long.

They collect users from they collect money from users, they pay a very small portion of it to the actual photographers.

And mostly they just Sue people.

And you do not want to be on that list.

Because as you can tell, it gets really expensive really fast.

So what’s the solution? How do you know that you’re getting licensed appropriately stock photos and stock footage, the answer is this.

Your phone, as long as your phone’s got a decent camera, you should be generating your own stock photography.

You should be generating your own library of photos, images that you can use, you have a legal right to use that are yours.

And that at no point anyone can contest the ownership with because it’s literally yours and you know where you got it from? Bonus, you can actually register your images with some of the stock photography licenses, licensing companies and then have them Sue other people if they use your stuff.

I would not recommend that as a revenue stream.

It’s fairly it doesn’t happen all that often which is good for content creators.

It’s not predictable.

But in all seriousness, you have video cameras and decent regular cameras in your pocket right? Most people have phones that now have a five megapixel or better camera in them.

The newest like iPhones, I think and androids have like 14 megapixel photos, which is a resolution that is large enough for a billboard, right? Most stock photography particularly used on the web doesn’t need to be much more than two megapixel.

Right? That is literally about a 720 p video.

For videos, you know 720 P is is is the the current standard for a lot of stuff 1080 P or HD is ideal.

And again, that’s what these devices can do really, really well and you can get dedicated devices like this one is the DJI Osmo and if you’re doing video stock footage, I would recommend this device because it has motion stabilization built in.

But fundamentally, you have the technology To create your own stock photos, stock video, and if you need the things that most most marketers need, you have a random conference room full of people, you shouldn’t be doing that anyway in in the middle of a pandemic.

But you can certainly take a series of photos and composite them together if you if you need if you need that look.

And if you need pictures or frying pans or other random things around the house, you can certainly do that and have other people within your company also generate the same photos and then stick them all into a place like Google Photos as on a private account, and that has that Google Photos has one of the best photo search engines available it does image recognition on all the pictures you upload to it.

And then you can search them like you know conference room frying pan money, you know, beer, whatever the the theme of all the photos is.

That way for marketing purposes, when you need a stock photo, something you just go into And then search in your own repository, find the photo you’re looking for and you’re off and running.

That’s the best way to achieve photos that are distinctive because you won’t find them anywhere else.

And be there are you have 100% guaranteed legal license for and see it’s it’s really affordable because it’s just you and your time generating the stock photography now.

There is a smaller learning curve with learning how to take usable stock photography right you’re not going to be a professional award winning photographer overnight with with your phone and things but you also don’t have to be if you’ve you know looking for a picture of like a credit card or something you can put a sheet over of any flat surface, put your credit card down, take a photo but then blur out the number obviously but putting together your stock photography Four common themes is pretty straightforward.

You would be amazed at the amount of stuff that you or a friend or colleague have laying around your homes, that makes for interesting photos just have to get in the habit of taking them.

Likewise, if your company has some kind of theme, as you’re out and about in daily life, be on the lookout for it.

If you are an employee of a company, you may want to have a chat with HR about intellectual property ownership.

Make sure that you’re not turning over photos that would be usable to you outside of your current position.

Obviously, if you’re a company like Trust Insights, our current logo is a light bulb.

So most of the light bulb photos I take are obviously for work.

But anything else is is is not necessarily fair game.

I was the case that for me at a past few companies too, but it’s a great way to build up a huge library and avoid the licensing issues and keep the costs too to nearly zero so that’s what I recommend, instead of a site, go with one of these.

If you have follow up questions leave in the comments box below.

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Take care, want help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems.

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