Is Stock Footage Right For You?

You may not have noticed it, but stock footage is all around you. That’s actually part of its purpose: to not be noticed as stock footage. It’s used in magazines, videos, ads, social media posts, and more. Stock footage may not be an effective tool for every business. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of using stock footage to help you decide.

• High-quality images and video

• Crisp and clean imagery

• Off-the-shelf and ready to use

• Easily obtainable

• Diverse selection


• May look too polished

• Images are not organic

• Image content may be generic

• Lack of customized content

• Can be expensive

Stock footage is a great option when you either have nothing to work with or are in a pinch for quick content. Perhaps you need some video to add some life to your website or photos for an online form. The possible applications of stock footage are endless. There are many different websites from which to choose that provide access to thousands of quality photos and video clips. However, all of this content is pre-made. If you’re showcasing a niche side of your business or need very specific content, stock footage may not be the best option for you.

Stock footage also tends to have a very “corporate” and standardized feel. If you’re using it for social media posts, reels, and stories, people are going to know that you’re not using organic content you created yourself. The choice of whether to use stock footage really depends on the message your business is trying to send and the method you’re using to send that message. For example, if you’re a smaller business working on pumping up your social media engagement, stock footage might not be the best choice.

DIY Footage


• Less expensive in the long run

• Provides full creative control

• Assures personalized content

• Full copyright ownership


• Expensive upfront cost

• Production can be time-consuming

• Might not look as professional as stock footage

If you don’t already have a current smartphone or access to video lighting, purchasing a camera, proper equipment, and editing software can be a big upfront cost. However, once you have the tools you need, you can keep creating on your own schedule. You don’t have to spend hours searching for the perfect content through pre-made options, and you will have full copyright ownership and licensing rights to the content you create.

Creating your own stock footage or content is a great idea, but it does have its drawbacks. If you don’t know what you’re doing or if you’ve never filmed anything before, there can be a big learning curve. It can take time to master the technology to get the results you want. Your content won’t look as polished or professional as stock footage, at least at the start. However, there are some marketing experts who believe that using content that is less polished can enhance the charm of a small business.

Take a moment to consider these pros and cons in light of your marketing goals. It’s always a good idea to start with what you have. Many stock footage subscription sites allow you to cancel at any time, meaning you can use their content while you get up to speed on creating your own. The important thing is to start creating. Whichever type of footage you choose, getting started is always step in the right direction.

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