How to Make Passive Income As a Videographer

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Photography

Videography as a whole is an undervalued industry and during your first few years of business you will more than likely want to lay the groundworks and set up as many ways to make passive income as possible. Passive income is money generated and maintained without having to physically do any work or trade time for money at the time of the transaction.

Stock Footage

One of the most popular methods for generating passive income with video production is to sell stock footage and become a contributor on a website such as Shutterstock, or if you wanted to streamline the process of uploading footage to multiple stock footage companies simultaneously, you could use Blackbox. Blackbox essentially act as a middle man, you upload your videos to their website and they will do the work to distribute it to various stock websites – the catch, is that they take a commission on top of the commission that you would already be paying the stock footage company. For that reason, it might be best to upload to the different platforms manually and individually.

From my personal experience, I have not found stock footage to be an overly reliable method of generating passive income, the websites tend to be very picky about the footage that they will accept and it’s very difficult to have your content found and purchased. You are competing with tens of thousands of other contributors all trying to do the same. Give it a try, use good image tags and descriptions and see how you do. You could also sell stock photography.

Selling LUTS

Chances are that if you’ve watched any filmmaking YouTube channels within the past few years, you’ve come across LUT packages – in 2019 it seemed like every single channel (regardless of their niche and content) was selling LUT’s. Did you know that it’s easy to create your own! All LUT packages really are is glorified presets, there are three ways to make your own. The simplest and most effective methods are to use use Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop. All you need to do is to take an image or a frame from a video, drag that into Adobe Lightroom, and adjust the image using the sliders to create the desired look. Then go to File, Export, Color Lookup Tables… This brings up the export dialog and you will be able to name the LUT and select the format (CUBE, 3DL etc.)
That’s literally all there is to it!

Whilst on the subject of LUT’s, be mindful when buying LUT packages from YouTubers as often they will also advise you to tweak your cameras picture profile settings in such a way that a good colour grade can only be achieved by using (or replicating) their LUT packages. It’s a smart way to get people to use their LUT packages, they’ll use their settings, try and grade it themselves, realise that it looks bad – assume that they suck at colour grading and purchase the LUT from the YouTuber, which works. It’s up to you if you use similar tactics when creating you LUT packages but I would advise against it.

Teaching Others (Tutorials)

If you’re far enough along in your skillset to be able to teach other people how to create videography content, then you could teach others to generate additional income. With online video services like Skillshare rapidly growing – it’s easier than ever to generate passive income by becoming a contributor to an educational platform. It is advisable to start teaching on a free platform such as YouTube before attempting to charge others, but once you reach a level where you are able to justify charging for your knowledge, then you could create filmmaking tutorials for Skillshare. You would only have to upload the tutorial once and they would continue to pay you as long as it is still in usage.

videographer filming

Second Shooting

Okay, so this isn’t really passive income but it is a great way to earn additional income whilst also boosting your skillset and working with other videographers within the industry. Changes are that if you contact a video production company or a wedding videographer – they will always be on the lookout for a good freelancer.

Whilst none of these methods are guaranteed to generate an income, if you’re good at videography then they’re certainly worth a try! If you don’t make anything, then at least you will improve as a filmmaker in the process and you can keep trying until you find something that works for you.

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