Top 5 Best Selling Stock Footage / Concepts and Why

As promised, following on from the Top 5 Best Selling Stock Photos from Mid-2017 until present, happy to showcase my all-time best-selling clips. You may be surprised how close to home I captured some of these best-sellers! Let’s get started…

Let’s get started!

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As you may probably appreciate, in this post I’ll be discussing some quite sensitive and even confidential information (who knows, those turds at SS may decide to shut me down). I know full well that anybody is free to use such information and create concepts to compete against me and thus diminish the value of my best-sellers listed below.

Therefore, I ask you to continue supporting to blog any way you feel you can, including a small donation which would be most welcome. I trust that the info below will help you in your own stock business.

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Once again, introducing MicrostockRa desktop app that lets you track your stock earnings in real-time

Long time coming, I finally signed up to MicrostockR to obtain a better statistical feel for my sales. The app looks great and has greatly helped me to compile some stats for this post for your viewing pleasure. I’ll be also using the visual info on upcoming monthly earnings reports.

Here’s a preview of the app:

How I calculate the earnings

In this analysis, I’ll be grouping together similar clips of the same concept and combining their respective earnings as I believe this would be the most appropriate way to report.

Best-selling clips until October-2021

5th place – $104.22

Link to the main clip

What’s the story behind the clips?

While in Milan, for a time I lived above an Lidl supermarket. Nothing special about that but I thought it could be fun / useful / profitable to create some timelapses of people and cars entering and leaving the supermarket. Since I would just leave the camera on tripod on the balcony of my place I could set the timer for however long I wanted, was usually for two or three hours.

What’s so special about them?

As usual, it’s ranked highly for “Lidl” on Pond5, even if the competition for that keyword isn’t that high (301 hits). In addition, perhaps because it’s a timelapse it adds value and the viewpoint is unique.

4th Place – $129.80

Link to main clip

What’s the story behind the series?

Prior to the Chinese virus, I was practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Portugal and took advantage of my training lessons to record some clips and wrote about it on this blog post in July 2019. The students and teacher were all too happy to have the content that I would later share on the Whatsapp group. Win/win!

What’s so special about them?

Although they are editorials (didn’t bother obtaining the model-releases), the content is quite unique as few people have this sort of access / willingness to record the training sessions. In addition, as I was using my gimbal, the clips are quite stable.

The uniqueness is evidenced on Pond5 by the search “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” which yielded just 82 hits and just 40 on SS, both heavily featuring those clips within the first results.

3rd Place – $191.63

Link to main clip

What’s the story behind the set?

Next to the Lidl on the main street (you can see the Lidl sign), I noticed a hard-working prostitute on most nights. Was just too dark to capture high-quality real-time clips with the gear I was using at the time, so the next best thing were some awesome timelapses.

Talk about shooting close to home lol!

What’s so special about them?

Everything, since it’s a theme that any reasonable person would be hugely careful to avoid capturing for obvious reasons. The fact that I could do it discretely from my balcony was beneficial.

As for search engine placement, “prostitute” is a popular term on Pond5 with 1,157 hits for editorial only and 722 on SS, also for editorial-only. These clips feature heavily among the first reasons and should continue to sell eternally.

Arcangel book cover

Since I was capturing stills to create a timelapse, I captured one of the more interesting stills to upload to Arcangel as a book cover, which was accepted.

Accepted at Arcangel

2nd Place – $306.11

New Years Even in Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


What’s the story behind the set?

Copacabana Beach New Years Eve is one of the largest parties in the world. The fact that I managed to obtain a clean view is pretty spectacular! After a few minutes the air became thick with smoke due to there being no wind and high humidity.

What’s so special about it?

Over at Pond5, a quick search for “New Years Eve” yields over 18,000 hits and my clip is at the bottom of the first page, which is hugely impressive. Even more impressive is over at SS searching for “New Years Ever Party”, yielding over 41,000 hits and also featuring the clip on the first page.

Success on the stills side for the same scene

While capturing the real-time clips, I used my backup camera to capture some stills which have earned me a nice tidy sum and will have a super long shelf-life.

Results from stills of the same scene

1st place – $346.45

What’s the story behind the clip?

Also captured from my balcony in Milan, wow such a lucky spot! This timelapse occurred over a 3-hour period when there was changeable weather in the Autumn.

What’s so special about it?

I’m not sure, perhaps it’s the meteor at the end! Doing cloud timelapses is not unique and when I started doing clips I heard many advices from veterans to avoid doing such clips. I did it anyway just for fun and uploaded with no real expectations.

It does rank highly for “holy grail timelapse, clouds” on P5 (691 hits). As mentioned in my latest earnings report for September 2021, I’ve removed it from SS (which has never sold) and re-uploaded on Wirestock.

(Dis)Honorable Mention

This extremely sad clip, captured in one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil highlights the issue of drug use and homelessness in the city/country.

Not that it really matters that much as the issue is much more important than some chump change, it has earned me $20 via one sale at Pond5. FYI, I do take pictures / clips of vulnerable people and when they are conscious I do offer $ in return.

The stills have performed better earning me about $30. It’s been used to highlight the issue in this publication:

Link to publication

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post and found it useful for your own stock business.

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Madrid, Spain, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage, when things go back to normal (Late-2021??). I’ve devoted eight years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer (however, had recently go back into full-time office work to make ends meet, although happy to report that it’s coming to an end soon). I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography

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