August 17th 2020 – 5 minute read – Review

Pond5 In Depth Review 2020: Heavenly Profits Or A Waste Of Time?

Pond5 is a stock footage service where content creators (or contributors) upload and sell their content such as videos, music, illustrations, sound effects and photos. But can you make it rain on Pond? We’re about to find that out.


If the year 2020 wasn’t crazy enough with everything that’s happening, it’s also becoming increasingly harder to find a good microstock site, whatnot with Shutterstock plowing the prices to the ground.

So it’s vital for you to find a cool stock footage site where you can sell your creative work while also being payed properly. One such site is Pond5, which is one of the leading stock footage portals where buyers can buy quality stock footage and contributors supply new and creative items. What’s cool about Pond5 is that it not only offers royalty free video footage, but also images, sound effects and music as well.

We will be reviewing Pond5 and giving you as much information as possible so you can decide for yourself if Pond5 is good for you.


Let’s start out with the basics, like every movie about Kung Fu. What is Pond5 and can it kick like Bruce Lee?

  • Pond5 is a stock media agency, with stock photos and illustrations added in 2011.
  • It was launched in 2006 as a stock media company focusing on video, which later expanded it’s operation.
  • It now includes videos, music, photos, illustrations, effects and 3D models.
  • Pond5 accepts payments from many of the larger services such as: MasterCard, American Express, Visa, Moneybookers, Discover and Paypal.
  • Pond5 sends payments to contributors to

Pond5 Highlights

  • Interactive community of designers and creatives
  • Largest stock video collection online
  • Growing global stock media company

What is Pond5

Pond5 is a microstock agency that was created in 2006 to provide a marketplace service for video makers where they could buy and sell video footage. Pond5 acquired Pixmac agency in 2014 which enabled them to expand their market into the territory of the bigger microstock agencies that offered royalty free images.

If you want to become a contributor, Pond5 has you covered with it’s simple register process on their site. Compared to some of the other stock providers, there is no portfolio assessment or quality test that you need to go through. Actually once you register you can start uploading your stuff instantly through a FTP program or their website interface.

While you can upload straight on the website from your browser, it’s still advisable to instead upload through FTP, especially if you have several files to upload at once. Instructions to do that can be easily found on Pond5 site. Something creators often ask is whether editorial images are allowed. Well the goods news is that Pond5 welcomes editorial, with reviewers checking whether it is suitable for selling once you upload and curate your files.

Pond5 has a fairly good review time for your files but we noticed that it is faster if you opt in to become an exclusive content contributor at Pond5 as opposed to having a normal account. Usually a normal account takes anywhere from a few days to more than a week for them to be review, while exclusive accounts take 2 to 3 days at max.

All in all the review times are OK with either account you choose for yourself as compared to some of the competition microstock sites, where it takes them a week at minimum to review your files.

Pond5 is a venture-backed company funded by Accel Partners and Stripes Group with offices in NYC, Dublin, Prague, London, and LA.

Reasons why people use Pond5

People use Pond5 for several reasons. We summarized the pros and cons. Even this review, while having a readable language and style, probably has some grammar mistakes that we missed. Anyway, back to the matter at hand:


  • Variety of high quality footage that includes 4K, HD and 360 video footage.
  • Plenty of creative photos.
  • Professional music tracks for any project.
  • Large library of sound effects.
  • You can set your own prices for all media with the option to request curators to set a price for you.
  • You can become an exclusive contributor and get better commission rates.
  • You receive 40% royalties for each sale with normal account and 70% if you opted for exclusive account
  • No exclusivity or subscription plans.
  • Payout level from $25. It is one of the lowest in the microstock world.
  • Best Price Guarantee: Pond5 will price match the same video from any source.
  • Reasons for rejection clearly explained.


Interface on the website can often be slow

  • Licenses can get expensive.
  • Amateurs may not fully understand which license they need.
  • Interface on the website can often be slow.


When Pond5 received a large investment of $61 million in 2014 it enabled them to grow significantly. They used that to improve their user interface on their website and put more effort and money into funneling sales. Using and navigating Pond5 site is easy, logical and intuitive while also providing you with all the tools you need.

How does upload work:

  • You can upload through website or by using FTP
  • Curating process is easy and straightforward
  • Model release is uploaded and then applied when curating
  • You can use templates for submitting different types of media


How much you sell depends on 3 different things:

  • Quality of your media
  • Context in which you create
  • What you create

While video brings in the most money per sold item, it is very important to have a niche in which you work and is something that people look for. It doesn’t matter what you do, be it video, photography, illustrations, music or sound effects as long as it is something that people would need and want to buy.

What separates Pond5 from other stock sites is the ability to set your own prices. You can always use preset prices but if you believe your media is something special, then why not charge more. A great tip that some people use is that they start at a preset price and once it sells, they raise the price a bit, every time it sells.

Contributors earn between 40% and 60% per sold item, with no tiers as opposed to Shutterstock and their new tier system.

Image Searching Tools

Pond5 has a lovely simple search engine that lets buyers search using keywords, categories, featured media and media type. Buyers can fine tune their search with added filters so they find the media they require.

Pond5 search


Pond5 offers Royalty-free licenses only for all of their media. They have no other licensing options.

Pond5 goal is to enable it’s buyers freedom when searching the existing stock content, by them finding the perfect clip fast, easy and without licencing hassle.

  • Adobe Premiere plug -in
    users can find and add media to their projects quickly and efficiently directly to their editing suite from Pond5 library of items, making projects move faster and more efficiently.
  • Media Of The Moment
    Pond5 has a category called Media of the Moment where buyers see trending videos. This is a cool innovation since buyers don’t need to think what specifically to buy, they just see what is popular.
  • Free stock video download
    Pond5 offers a weekly free video download for registered users. This weekly give away might not be great for creators but it does work for marketing and sales.

How to sign up to Pond5

Join Pond5


Join Pond5

Click here to join Pond5

If you got this far you are probably thinking about selling your media on a stock footage site. Considering that video sells the most that is also probably what you’re going to do. What you need to start in this industry is a camera that records at least Full HD but having a 4k camera is still better to make your clips future proof. Why is stock footage so great? Because you can go to a business or vacation trip and record landmark and landscapes that might eventually sell. We do that all the time with great results.

So how to get started?

  1. Go landing page of Pond5 (or click on the image above)
  2. Sign up
  3. Select “Free Account

Usually stock footage sites have different accounts for buyers and contributors. On Pond5 you can buy and sell content by having just one account which simplifies things greatly. To register your account press on the button:

  • SELL YOUR MEDIA (right side, bellow your profile icon)

You will go to a new page.

  • Press the button START SELLING
Start selling Pond5

Now press on GET STARTED. A new window will open in which you type in:

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Country (where you live)
  • Address
  • City
  • Postal code
  • Phone number
  • VAT number

It is not necessary to have a VAT number to sell stock images and stock footage. You can simply let it empty but if for some reason it won’t let you advance, just type in a lot of 1’s and you’ll be good.

Type your info Pond5

Once you are happy with your information, press NEXT.

Now you have to specify what kind of a creator you are:

About your work Pond5
  • Individual creator
  • Production Company
  • Authorized Representative

Select the type of media you want to sell:

  • Video
  • Photography
  • Illustrations
  • Music
  • Sound FX

Select what you feel like you will be selling. If unsure what you will upload, just pick one since this choice doesn’t matter that much.


  • NEXT
ID Pond5

This is the final step.

In order for Pond5 to avoid fraud, they need you to upload a digital copy of your ID.

After uploading the document, check the mark to say that you have read the contract (which we advise you do), and click:


It usually takes a couple of working days to get your account approved for selling so get those files ready to start uploading!

Closing words

Hopefully this review article was helpful to you to decide whether Pond5 is a good fit for you. We find it to get a great microstock site that might not be a best selling one for some contributors, but they are still slowly growing and gaining in popularity. While it is highly popular for buyers who search for editorial footage, it is still gaining momentum to be recognized as a commercial stock site as well. We have no doubts that it will eventually get more and more high quality contributors, which will in turn get more buyers to come in as well.

So if you’re on the fence whether on not to sell on Pond5, the answer is a big YES. Whether or not you need to be an Exclusive contributor, well that’s completely up to you and what your needs are.

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