Taking Stock

 In Knowledge Center

What You Need To Know About Stock Footage

Stock footage has a bit of a bad reputation as being bland or second-rate. But when you can’t get out to film, creatively using stock shots into your marketing videos can be a great solution. 



Basically, it’s any professionally-shot images that are uploaded to a site like Istock or Adobe Stock where you license the shots for a fee to use in your own video. 


  • Shooting out of season: Need a shot of daredevil snowboarders or migrating geese in the middle of summer? Stock footage can get the images you need at any time of year.
  • Filming the nearly impossible: Whether your videos need a view from the bottom of the sea or rare bacteria seen through a microscope, if someone’s been there, you can license the shot.
  • And the Far Away: Need a stark desert, a cuddly koala bear, or a shot of the Pantheon?  Licensing these will be far below the travel fees to far-flung locations.
  • Filming in dangerous or impossible to access places: Some places or areas may be currently off-limits or impossible to access for political, security, or safety reasons. Recently filmed stock footage can cover it for you.
  • A slice of history: Rather than expensively trying to recreate another era with old vehicles, costumes, and set design, archival footage can feature the look, feel, and important figures of times gone by.
  • Communicating emotions or abstract concepts: Landscapes or moody dramatic images can help illustrate feelings and situations that your team can’t easily capture
  • Aerials: If your video needs an aerial shot over a major urban center, it may be more affordable to license a few seconds of footage rather than hiring a licensed drone operator.



  • It can be costly $$$$$: If you have a long grocery list of stock shots, the cost may become prohibitive. You may instead want to revisit which shots your crew can capture in a cost-effective shooting day, and which should be stock images for practical reasons.
  • Detail-oriented: If you need a specific sign, building, or landmark, it may simply not exist in stock footage. Your film crew may need to be the first to film it – but then you can resell it to a stock library! 
  • Becoming Too Generic: A video entirely based on stock footage can risk losing sight of what makes your business or organization unique. However, creatively working with your producer to align the video’s message and style with your organization’s goals can overcome that.



There are different kinds of licenses for using footage, and pricing depends in part on where the shots will ultimately be used. Is it an internal training video for 1000 employees or an international ad campaign? The pricing will be very different in each case. You can expect to pay anywhere from a hundred to several hundred dollars per shot. Your production company can take care of purchasing the footage and acquiring the rights for you.


Not sure what kind of footage your next project needs? Contact us to discuss your video, and to receive a free estimate!