Best Websites To Sell Drone Stock Footage

Flying your drone is fun but knowing how to sell your drone stock footage is way more exciting than that. Drones have become almost an essential element for modern photography and filmmaking. Even among hobbyists, drones have gained much popularity for the versatility of their use in capturing photos and shooting videos.

If you own a drone and you are good at flying it, you should know how to use it to earn some cash for yourself. Selling drone stock footage is a popular business idea nowadays. if you want to use your creativity with drones to generate some income for you, here is all you need to know about selling drone stock footage.

Steps to Follow to Sell Stock Footage

Create an Essence of What You Want to Narrate

Choose what story you want to tell to your audience. Create a solid vision before you fly your drone. Cover all the details and make all the necessary shots to convey your message.

Shoot Your Passion

Shoot what you find interesting, what makes you genuinely satisfied. There is a greater chance of capturing better photos and videos when you are enjoying while shooting. Be it a story about the ocean, people or nature, when you are having fun with it, all the other things like details, emotion, quality will come along. And that’s all you need to make your shots look good and sell better.

Know the Trends

Research on the current trends of stock footage. Know what types of footage are on-demand, what styles of footage attract more customers. Time lapses were popular even a couple of years ago, but now? the market has become oversaturated. So, don’t shoot before you know what people want to buy.

Think a couple steps ahead

What is considered to be high-quality footage today, will become a relic from the old days tomorrow. Always try to capture photos and shoot videos in the highest resolution (4K/8K) possible. This way, your stock footage will remain relevant even after a couple of years from now.

Another way is to upload your footage in raw format. This way, both you and your buyer can grade the footage as they require and when they require it.

Experiment with Your Camera Movement

Try to introduce some new camera angles. Instead of shooting from a static angle, use your drone to create a dramatic parallax or perhaps a push-in push-out motion.  This way you can make your stock footage stand out from the rest.

Research into the KEYWORDS

It won’t matter how creative you are as a drone photographer if you don’t know how to give your footage a good name. Do some keyword research before uploading your footage, try to get into the mind of your potential customer, and find out what would be the buzzwords you’d type in to find the footage. Tag your footage properly with a good name, subject, location, and some popular keywords which will help your audience to find your stock footage.

Get the Release Forms Signed Before Licensing

Know the legal nitty-gritty of your country before your offer your footages for stock. Many country councils require paying a fee for permission to film. Besides, if you are particularly interested in offering commercial stock footage, make sure you have a release form signed by the property owner whose property is on display in your footage.

You may even be required to obtain release forms signed by actors or individuals present in your footage depending on the country you live in and its legal practices.

Ready to Go

When you think you have a certain amount of stock footage to offer and you are all OK with the legal bindings, you can easily become a contributor to any of the stock footage selling platforms simply by-

  • Creating a seller account by filling up the contact details.
  • Upload three to five best works for review so they can examine them of whether they are up to the quality standard, contain no-offensive materials, and not against their community standard.

Best 10 Websites to Sell Your Drone Footage

1. Pond5

With more than 60,000 contributors for stock footage on the site, Pond5 is undoubtedly one of the biggest websites for drone photographers to sell their stock footage. Like Dronestock, Pond5 too offers a range of categories for the contributors to submit their work including time-lapse, travel, celebration, and wild-life.

What are the requirements?

  • Your drone video footage has to be shot at 1080p at least to be eligible for submission. The length of your videos should be at least 3 seconds.
  • For photos captured by drone, the site asks for a resolution of at least 2MP. Acceptable photo formats include PNG, TIFF, or JPG. Note that, it is a requirement that you must edit your own photos (if required) before submitting them.

Royalties and Other Benefits?

  • The royalty rate for videos is usually a whopping 60% for exclusive contributors. If you are non-exclusive, you’ll still get a 40% royalty for every sale.
  • For photos, the royalty rate is 50%.

2. Shutterstock

Shutterstock is one the biggest stock footage sites with more than 250+ million pictures and about 650,000 active contributors. In the last 15 years, the site has paid out about $500 million to all its contributors around the globe. With all these numbers and reputation, this site offers you nothing but a win-win situation when it comes to selling your drone stock footage.

What are the requirements

  • Photos must be of 4MP or higher in resolution. The format should be TIFFs or JPEGs in sRGB color
  • Acceptable video formats are mp4 and mov. Video should not be lengthier than 60 seconds and must be shot in either SD, 2K, 2.5K, 4K or HD.

Royalties and Other Benefits

  • 30% for video footage.

Royalty rate distribution for photos is a bit different and it goes like this –

  • If you get 20 percent up to $80 for an enhanced or custom license photo, that’s $1.88 for an on-demand image of any size, $0.81 for an on-demand image that’s small or medium, $0.15 per monthly subscriber image, and $500 over the course of your contributions.
  • If you get 25 percent up to $100 for an enhanced or custom license photo, that’s $2.48 for an on-demand image of any size, $1.07 for an on-demand image that’s small or medium, $0.33 per monthly subscriber image, and up to $3,000 over the course of your contributions.
  • If you get 28 percent up to $112 for an enhanced or custom license photo, that’s $2.70 for an on-demand image of any size, $1.17 for an on-demand image that’s small or medium, $0.36 per monthly subscriber image, and up to $10,000 over the course of your contributions.
  • If you get 30 percent up to $120 for an enhanced or custom license photo, that’s $2.85 for an on-demand image of any size, $1.24 for an on-demand image that’s small or medium, $0.38 per monthly subscriber image, and more than $10,000 over the course of your contributions.

3. Adobe Stock

There is a high chance that you’re already a user of some Adobe products like Photoshop or Illustrator. If so, then you can consider Adobe Stock as a platform to offer your drone stock footage online for commercial audiences. Millions of people worldwide use this platform to buy stock footage for their business, projects and the site offers some really attractive royalty rates as well.

What are the requirements?

  • For photos, the file size should not exceed 45MB
  • Image resolution must not be less than 4MP and must not exceed 100MP
  • The acceptable photo format is JPEG with sRGB color.
  • Photos must not contain any watermark
  • Square and vertical framing for videos are not allowed
  • Videos must be shot in at least 4K and duration must not exceed 60 seconds

Royalties and Other Benefits?

  • 33% for Photos.
  • 35% for Videos.

4. Getty Images

Getty Images has a contributor community where you can sign up and upload your drone stock footage to get paid. The royalty-free stock footage source also has its own app for its contributors which you can use to connect with 1.5+ million people around the world using the app.

What are the Requirements?

  • Create a small portfolio containing 3 to 6 best samples from your work (video or photo)
  • Upload all on Youtube
  • Once selected and welcomed to the community, your footages will be online for customers to view and pay for.

Royalty and Other Benefits?

  • 20% for videos.
  • 15% for Photos.

5. Story Blocks

Story Blocks offer some really cool features to edit your stock footage before you make it online. It has AfterEffects templates, backgrounds, footage, and more. This site can be your platform as a seller if you are looking for some exciting value addition to your aerial stock footage.

What are the requirements

  • Your videos should be no more than 3 minutes in duration and shot is either 4K or HD.
  • Photos must not exceed 50 megabytes in size and the resolution should be at least 4MP with no less than 1600 pixels on the shortest side.

Royalties and Other Benefits?

There is no fixed royalty rate. Instead, your income depends on the site’s subscription revenue. Meaning that the more contributor signs up with the site, the more the subscription revenue there is and that results in more income for an individual contributor. This brings out the obvious question, does it cost to become a member on the site? Of course, it does!

The other factor which controls the income of the sellers is the number of times their stock footage gets downloaded. The more downloads you have of your photos or videos, the more you earn.

6. ArtGrid

ArtGrid is another great website to sell your drone stock video footage. If you are confident enough with the technical quality of your aerial video footage and you have some really good stories to tell through the lens of your drone, this site is for you.

What are the requirements?

  • Your stock videos have to be shot in either HD, 4K or more.

Royalties and Other benefits

  • 30% royalty rate for stock video footage.
  • Unique organizing tools for stock videos that allow the contributor to group their clips in a collection as a visual story.

7. BlackBox

BlackBox stands out as one of the most unique stock footages selling site because unlike other stock footage sites on this list, it doesn’t provide you a hosting for stocking your videos or pictures. Instead, it forwards them to other renowned sites such as Shutterstock and Pond5. The benefit of this is you not require to upload your stock footage on multiple sites to expand the reach and attract more audience.

8. FlickRocket

FlickRocket is one of the most popular stock footages selling websites where you can upload your works for sell. It offers a range of categories for stock footage including aerial, time lapses, landscapes etc.

What are the requirements?

  • Photos must be of 4MP or higher in resolution. The format should be TIFFs or JPEGs in sRGB color
  • Acceptable video formats are mp4 and mov. Video should not be lengthier than 60 seconds and must be shot in either SD, 2K, 2.5K, 4K or HD.

Royalties and Other benefits

  • 20-30%.
  • Best-of-Class SEO features.
  • Sophisticated Marketing Tools.
  • Multiple payment methods.

9. Vimeo on Demand

This site lets you sell stock footages directly to your audience without having to go through any third-party interactions.

What are the requirements?

  • Stock video footage must be shot in HD, 4K or higher resolution.
  • First step is to join the community by signing up with a seller account. Monthly subscription charge is $20.

Royalties and Other Benefits

  • You can earn up to 90% of the transaction value of your stock footage once it is sold.
  • Tools for connecting with your audience via text messages.
  • Payment available in multiple currencies.
  • Easy API integration.

10. Dronestock

Dronestock is a stock footage site that is created particularly for the buyers and sellers of videos and photos taken by drones. The categories of stock footage that you can offer here for sale include but not limited to landscapes, people, transportation, sports, nature, and fitness, etc.

What are the Requirements?

  • Your submitted photos must be of 72 DPI with 1000 pixels at the longest side or 300 DPI with unlimited pixels.
  • On the other hand, drone videos must be shot in either 4K, 2.7K, 1080p, and 720p to be eligible for submission.

Royalties and other Benefits?

  • For non-exclusive contributors, the site offers a royalty rate of 30% whereas for the exclusive contributors, the royalty rate is 50%.
  • Free promotion of clips and photos on behalf of Dronestock.
  • Assistance with landing multiple gigs.

Some Other Ideas You May Like

Create your Own Video Streaming Website

If you are a drone videographer with a big ambition and you know well about your target audience, you can create your own video streaming website. Creating an independent video streaming website is very popular idea now a days because of several reasons. Firstly, it gives you a full control over creative choices and secondly you don’t have to share your profit with anyone else.

You can earn money in this way by using either of these two business models –

  1. Audience pays for each of the broadcasts in your website.
  2. Audience pays a certain amount of subscription fee to get access to all the broadcasts in your website.

For the beginners, we suggest the second business model because it guaranties of a predictable and stable income.

Create a YouTube Channel/Facebook Page

YouTube is the second largest search engine with more than 1.5 billion logged-in users watching 6 billion hours of video. So, if you want to sell your drone videos to worldwide audience, this is one of the best platforms available. However, you should not aim at selling videos on YouTube, rather you should use YouTube as a platform to market your products or your website. You can draw a large amount of traffic to your website and earn a lot of money this way for sure. Similar can be done by opening a Facebook page too!

Forum/Royalty Free Websites

Apart from these, you can also upload your best works on popular online forums or Royalty free sites to draw the attention of potential clients. If the technical quality of your drone stock footages are good enough, you surely can expect a knock on your door. And don’t be shy when it comes to flaunting your works!

What Type of Drone Footage Sells Best?

Shots of Nature

Filming nature is the easiest and most versatile option for any drone photographer. Nature-oriented aerial shots attract many customers due to the fact that they can be used for a range of commercial purposes including tourism videos and advertisement. From ocean to beaches, forests to deserts there are practically limitless subjects for nature photography.

Urban Landscapes

From the colorful building blocks of a modern town to its marvelous moving vehicles, capturing urban landscapes through an Eagle’s eye can be a good option to populate your portfolio as a drone photographer. Not only does this type of stock footage attract customers but also raises the chances for you to get paid a good amount for them. Choose your urban subject according to the story you want to tell and use your imagination to create the right tone for your stock footage.

Buildings and Towers

Buildings and Towers of historic relevance is another popular stock footage item that many people search for. The scenic beauty of these historic monuments has a unique advertising value, especially to the client from the tourism industry. But before you decide to shoot such iconic infrastructures, know that they are usually situated in areas that draw a huge crowd. So, make sure you have permission to fly your drone over the crowd safely.

Time-lapse Videos

Times-lapse videos are one of the most popular and demandable stock footage items. If you have a drone with a good stabilization mechanism, you can earn a good amount of cash by selling time-lapse videos. Time-lapse videos are usually a collection of images that takes over a period of time and then compressed on a single frame by giving a short interval time in between.  These videos can look very cool and stylistic especially if you have chosen an interesting subject to shoot; a moving vehicle, people walking down the street, the sun setting under the horizon on a beach to name a few.

Tips to Improve Your Sales

  • Use Natural lights to your advantage.
  • Exclude branding altogether.
  • Include paid actors if possible.
  • Pick a niche.
  • Keep your video resolution to at least HD.
  • Keep submitting your works aggressively.
  • Find the big-buck payers.
  • Flaunt your work, do aggressive marketing.
  • Dream Big, but focus on your analytics first.


It may take a while before you see profits rushing into your pockets like waves, so don’t give up on your dreams. The business of selling drone stock footage is still in its early stage, so you can surely wait a while before it takes off for you. Focus on your strengths as a drone photographer and follow the tips we have for you. Success is not so far away!


Q: Can I Sell My Stock Footages in Multiple Places?

Yes. But before you do so, check the contracts as each agreement is different.

Q: Do I Need a License to Sell Drone Videos and Photos?

Yes. You need a license to earn money from selling drone videos and photos. The licensing procedure varies depending on the country you live in.

Q: Should I Edit Before Uploading?

You should always try to upload your footage in raw format. This way, both you and your buyer can grade the footage as they require and when they require it.

Q: How Long Should My Stock Video Clips Be?

Between 5-60 seconds is the requirement for most of the stock footage selling sites.

Q: How Much Can I Make Selling Stock Footage?

Usually, by selling stock photos you earn approximately 25-45 cents per image, per month.

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