By empowering artists to set their own prices, Pond5 is unique among its competitors. Presenting an exciting challenge for contributors, this policy set into motion a grand experiment, with a wide variety of philosophies on how to price content individually for maximum exposure and profitability. If you’re still scratching your head when setting prices, these tips will help ensure that you’re on the right track. Long story short: know your content, know the market, and don’t be afraid to raise your prices — especially if you’re selling high-quality 4k video.
Understand the Value of Your Media
As an artist, you understand the work you put into the media you’ve created, but understanding the value it presents to a buyer can be a different story. Buyers are generally looking for something very specific — either a concept or a particular feel that matches their existing media as flawlessly as possible. If your work is heavily color-corrected, consider uploading unedited camera-native versions to allow the user to manipulate the color themselves, for example.
Meanwhile, the more unique your media is, the more it’s worth. Content captured at a high resolution that customers genuinely cannot find elsewhere is very valuable, and warrants a higher price. Think about this when setting your prices, and be sure not to treat easier-to-create content, like cloud clips, in the same way you would highly stylized lifestyle content requiring actors, extensive lighting, and production expertise.
Your next stop should be the search results page. Type in a few keywords you use to describe your media to see what comes up — look specifically for files that are around the same quality as yours and see how they’re priced. You may be tempted to undercut other suppliers by slashing prices on your files, but keep in mind that buyers are wary of items priced too low. If you have quality media, price it as such, and buyers will respond positively.
Use Your Dashboard
You can observe your sales and other statistics, such as views, in the “Statistics” tab of your Dashboard. You can even specify a time period for which you want to view your sales.
Pro tip: If you decide to change the price of multiple items or even your entire collection, use our batch functionality to do so. You can find this feature in the “Uploads” section of your Dashboard – just select multiple items and pick “Set Price” from the lower dropdown menu.
Tracking what files have sold for you in the past can also be an excellent indication of your content’s value in the marketplace as a whole. Focus on doing more of what you’ve seen success with and less of what you haven’t. Once you’ve taken an honest look at the media you have for sale and know how it stacks up to the competition, you’ll make better decisions about what to shoot and upload to the site, and how to price it accordingly.
Premium Content: 4k, Aerials, Model-Released
Even with the increasing ubiquity of reasonably priced, high-quality recording devices, the average prices of video sold on Pond5 are constantly increasing — due in large part to the fact that there is a growing market for professional 4k footage shot on high-end digital cinema cameras. The customers who prefer these clips include major production houses, Hollywood filmmakers, and national TV channels, and they’re willing to pay more for the best quality. It’s also worth noting that the minimum price for a 4k clip at most of our leading competitors is $199, so if you’re pricing below that, you may be selling yourself (and your media) short.
Clips with talent-cleared models sell more, and always will. The demand is greater, because these can be used for commercial purposes, meaning the opportunity to set prices higher is greater, too. Model-released 4K clips can easily demand a $150–$200 price tag, while editorial clips would get about half of that. Pricing of editorial clips is driven more by subject and resolution — and of course, if the content is breaking news, the value is briefly much higher.
We accept footage from all types of cameras, as long as it meets our technical standards, but there are a few differences when it comes to special shooting equipment. Drone footage is popular right now, as the units have become financially viable for more shooters. The content still needs to stand out, though, with clean camera movement and an interesting or unique subject. 4k drone clips can also go for $150–$200, and if you can get hold of a helicopter and shoot high-quality aerials, you can go much higher (literally and figuratively).
Demand is also growing for 360-degree video, and as our library expands, we recommend pricing these clips comparably to others of a similar resolution. Meanwhile, if you’re shooting in resolutions higher than 4k (such as 6k or 8k), that also warrants an increase in price.
There are no hard and fast rules when pricing for audio. Contributors sometimes think that setting at the minimum level will help sales and undercut other artists, but it doesn’t always work that way. Pond5 buyers don’t mind the extra cost if the track is worthwhile. If you’ve worked hard on it, and it’s a custom piece, don’t be afraid to go higher. You can always change the price down the road.
The same goes for sound effects. Did you go on a five-day excursion to get one specific bird sound, or did you create it on the couch with your own DAW? The more time, effort, and energy you’ve put into a project, the more that should be reflected in the cost.
After Effects Templates
AE templates are one of the most difficult media types to produce, requiring both a great eye for design and competency with the software. When pricing a template, consider how hard it was to execute, how unique it is, and how much time it took to create. Simple templates can be priced around $15-$20, while more complex ones should be considerably more.
As with other media, there are some kinds of photos that especially deserve a higher price: unique concepts, attractive topics, current issues, and images that take more effort to create, such as underwater photos or hospital shots with expensive equipment.
Vector illustrations are generally much more valuable than rasters. Because of that, we price them higher than their raster counterparts — and the more complex a vector is (such as an infographic), the higher a price it deserves. An infographic pack may be priced at $25, while an average vector starts at $7, and bitmaps start at $5.
When pricing your 3D models, consider higher price points for your rigged items. Rigged models are a great time saver for buyers, so you should price them at least 30% higher than non-rigged models. For instance, a good price for a non-rigged 3D model might be $30, and $45 for a rigged one.
For all of the above, when making adjustments to your prices, give your collection a month or two to see how they impact your sales. If you don’t see a positive change, keep switching up your approach until you find one that really works for you. The sweet spot for each individual artist is different, so keep tinkering until you find a pricing philosophy that works for your content!
Header image: Blue Eyed Hipster Looking through Her Hands by WavebreakMedia_Micro