The Smartphone Stock Photography and Video Footage Experiment

Stock photography has been around for decades; stock footage a little less. If you’re in tune with the major photography Youtubers, then you’re aware that they all preach the merits of both. I want to see if smartphone stock photography and video footage will sell, and I want to be transparent with you about the whole process – start to finish.

So, let’s get to the experiment, shall we?

The Smartphone Stock Photography and Footage Experiment

At this point, I don’t know with absolute certainty that this will work. My hunch, though, is yes. I’ll update this post on the first of each month, and there will be video updates as well available on our Youtube channel. If you’re interested in keeping up to date with the test, you can also subscribe either to the site’s email list or to the Youtube channel and enable notifications.

Are you a little unclear on just exactly what stock photography is? Well, then check out our mobile phone stock photography guide for a little context.


I suppose first we should set some goals. When I played college golf, I frequently tried to set three objectives per event, each with a varying degree of difficulty. The easiest benchmark was to help my confidence – there was no way I wouldn’t achieve it. If we’re going to use the same goal-strategy here, then we’ll say any sale over a six-month period is considered a win.

Now, the second goal is the one I can attain with mediocre success. The one where if you told me the results before beginning, I’d begrudgingly take them, if that makes sense. For this experiment, we’ll say $100 a month total over a six month period is considered a win.

The final goal was always to win. As a result, for this experiment, $750 a month over a six month period will be considered a mighty victory. It’ll certainly help me buy more phones to test for you all.

Anyway, here’s how we’re going to set up our experiment.

Mobile Stock Content Experiment

I’m going to dump a bunch of content on a variety of different subjects. I think it’s important to get my work out there in order to see what gains traction. Once I have a general idea of how things work, I’ll be able to shoot and upload content more strategically.

I’m intentionally going into this pretty blind though, to help with the learning experience. We learn more from failure than from success, so you watching me fail will be great for you (though maybe not so great for my ego.).

Be wary that not all photos can be freely uploaded without the written consent of the people and locations in the content. Commercial content must have written permission, as such, it sells for more money. Don’t fret, though, if your work doesn’t have documented authorization, because you can still upload it as editorial content. This difference being that the purchaser can’t make money directly from the image, which does result in less money in your pocket. At the same time, it is some money and you weren’t going to use it anyway.

For the sake of the experiment, I’m going to upload an equal split of commercial and editorial content.

Initial Stock Photo and Video Dump

For simplicities sake, I’m going to use one site for everything – photos, videos, and everything in between. Based on my research it seems the best option is Shuttershock.

It also seems like uploading at scale is the best option, so I’m going to upload a lot of content. Photos sell for less than video, but the latter requires a bit more expertise to do correctly enough to collect on.

Will Stock Photos and Videos from a Smartphone Sell?

Stay tuned for Episode 2.

When it’s live, the new video will be linked above and the new write-up will be linked here.

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