Pond5 contributor review: a video pioneer

February 27, 2021 / by Taras Kushnir


Pond5 focused on video selling back when everybody else where selling only photos. It started with generous royalties for authors and has collected 25 million video clips since then. In the recent years they also started selling photos, music, 3D models and sound effects, while keeping same high level of royalties.

Being founded in 2006, it is one of the youngest microstock agencies. And also one of the successful ones: getting 61 million dollars investments in 2014 from Accel Partners and Stripe Group, acquiring photo stock Pixmac and opening new offices around the world Pond5 is prospering.

To make the stock footage more accessible to customers Pond5 team released an add-on for Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. This and huge video library made it a go-to place for everybody who needs video content and thus - a go-to place for creators of those videos too.

Public domain project

Pond5 provides 1000 videos, 2700 audio files, 63,000 images and 100 3D models for free. Larger share of this freebies are historical media files. Additionally they provide 200,000 archival clips that cover such categories like US life, World War II, Technology, Space and Cities. These files include thousands digitalized clips from the National Archives. Pond5 also broke videos into individual frames thus creating lots of stills that can be used in social media and on the web.

“For years, all of this amazing public domain content has been locked up and inaccessible to the average media maker,” said Pond5 cofounder and CEO Tom Bennett. “They deserve better. Our Public Domain Project empowers media makers to take advantage of this incredibly rich library that’s rightfully theirs.”

Such endeavor is not the first time in the history since other microstocks also provide public domain video, but currently Pond5 has the largest collection.

Getting started on Pond5

Registration on Pond5 is much simpler than on many other microstocks. You provide your username and password, legal address, selection of what you will be uploading and that’s it. You do not need to pass an exam to start selling. The only thing needed later is ID verification before you can upload files, but this is a standard procedure everywhere.

Simple registration is the first pleasant impression you get


Customers have selection of purchasing individual clips starting with 23 EUR per clip or buying a membership for 890 EUR per year that includes 120 annual downloads from 13 million video collection and 7 EUR per additional clips. Pond5 also includes extended licensing for enterprise deals that will include content at a discounted price.

Contributor earnings share are one of the highest in the industry. They offer:

Content Revenue
Video (non-exclusive) 40% revenue
Video (exclusive) 60% revenue
Music and Sound 35% revenue
Photos, illustration, 3D models 50% revenue

Minimum payout amount is $25 and Pond5 supports PayPal, Skrill and Payoneer for sending money.

In addition to this Pond5 offers a referral program for customers where contributor will earn 5% of the customer value produced in the first year after registration. To participate in this program you need to put a banner or a referral link on your website.

Pricing your videos and photos on Pond5

What is unique though is that you can price your own files too. Pond5 also provides automatic pricing for “sales optimization” but majority contributors use the possibility of custom pricing.

Pond5 recommends to check Data and Trends section on their website before doing so. For example, they provide median prices for sales for different content types:

Content Median Price
Video (HD) $56
Video (4K) $99
Photo $10
Music $25
After Effects $18
Illustrations $8
Sound effects $3
3D Models $25

You can also find information such as dynamics of popularity of the search terms and best-sellers on the website.

Data and Trends
Part of the statistics Pond5 provides for you to price your videos

And keywords trends:

Keywords Trends
Pond5 provides data on keyword trends too

Having all this information you can hopefully estimate how successful your artwork or video might be and how much is it better from the “average” media on the website.

Selling with the partner websites

Pond5 has something called “Global Partner Program” (you can find information in contributor agreement). With this program, they resell your content using the network of Distributors and will pay you the share of the profits received after the actual seller takes their cut. It’s up to you to decide if this is a good deal, but if you don’t like it, you can opt out from this program in your account’s preferences:

Global Partner opt-out


Here’s a full list of the content that Pond5 accepts: video (including 4K and 8K), music tracks, sound effects, After Effect templates, photos, vectors, illustrations, PSDs, 3D objects and models. Also Pond5 accepts editorial images.

Pond5 video requirements

They accept clips that are:

  • MOV or MP4 file
  • 3 to 60 seconds long
  • up to 6GB in file size (5GB for 4K and 3GB for HD)
  • almost all resolutions and frame rates are supported
  • a vast variety of codecs (ProRes 422, H.264/265, Photo JPEG, AVI, MP4 and lots of others)

Pond5 also specifies that they accept a unique content even if it does not fit into technical requirements, but this is rather an exception than a rule.

For photos they accept JPG, TIFF and PNG of minimum 2MP in size, which is lower than any other microstock. As for vectors, you can send Adobe Illustrator 10 compatible EPS files together with the 4MP preview. Note that Pond5 does not accept the AI file at this time.

Pond5 music and sounds effects requirements

Pond5 also accepts music files, if they are:

  • under 10 minutes in duration
  • less than 1GB in size
  • WAV or AIFF file format
  • 16 or 24 bit quality
  • 48kHz or 96kHz

How to upload files to Pond5

First of all, in order to upload you should pass ID verification. You can do that in the Identification section under “Upload” tab.

After you passed the verification, you can upload files. The easiest way to do it is through web uploader.

web uploader

Just click “Upload new file” and drag’n’drop your files into the browser.

Pond5 also provides FTP uploading possibility. You need to connect to the server at ftp.pond5.com with the username from the website and password that you will select for FTP.


If you are a video maker, Pond5 is a must for you. Accepting wide variety of files and formats, having high levels of royalties and huge customer base, it can provide a stable level of income. On the other hand, if you are more into photography or vector illustration, Pond5 might not be a good choice just yet. However uploading your library there might be a strategical move in case it will get more popular in future.

Register at Pond5

See also

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