Make Money Shooting Video

Posted on 8/8/2007 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

After reading my recent video stories, photographers are asking how they can make money shooting video. For the moment, that's a problem. There doesn't seem to be much revenue being made from producing short-form videos.

But here are a few ideas to explore.

* Post video clips on micropayment stites. You'll probably not earn much money, but it should help you get a sense of the demand of clips. Mostly, it's some revenue while you learn the equipment and begin to build a portfolio.

* Getty, Corbis and others may become more open to accepting digitally shot, high definition video clips as they move towards selling footage for web use and mobile multimedia platforms.

* Submit short stories to Current TV.

Most important, recognize that the greatest need will be for short, targeted stories, not for stock clips. Find the customer first. Then produce something that fits that customer's needs exactly. Produce a complete package that includes video, sound and a compelling story.

To find potential customers, look at Web sites of local companies, or companies that have a niche in a subject area in which you have some expertise. If they are using still photos to promote products or services or to provide information, ask yourself if a short video wouldn't be more effective. If so, contact the company and make a proposal.

Chuck Olsen's is a good example of what can be done. Chuck has picked a theme of local restaurant reviews. He probably had to do a few for free. He may be doing all of them for free. But eventually, as diners start using his site, he will have enough of a reputation that restaurants will pay to have review their restaurant. As traffic builds, reviewed restaurants may have a competitive advantage. If the restaurant has its own site, it could easily link to the story on Or go directly to those restaurants with Web sites and offer to produce videos for them.

If customers are looking for a place with ambiance, there's nothing like a video to help make their decision. Developing such a video business may take a little time, but eventually, there will be a flood of restaurants wanting to use such videos in their online advertising to surpass the competition.

If you're in a tourist location, check out which tour operators promote their packages. If they use the Web, videos would help. The more professional the video the better; though many semi-professional videos get impressive traffic. Don't feel that your video has to be of high quality or high priced to be of interest or marketable.

There may be opportunities in the real estate industry, too. Companies may want to offer virtual online tours of homes. At present, most real-estate agents take their own photos, but video production needs a professional to get sufficient quality. Once a few agents start posting such videos, competitors will follow.

Given equipment developments, it is possible to produce quality short stories targeted for Web use for less cost than a small TV production crew. That's your competitive advantage.

Copyright © 2007 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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