Stock Media: What, Where and How

Everybody working in the media industry has a collection of stock media hidden away in one of their libraries to fall back on. Whatever the debate on Stock media may be, it is an absolute essential! It is very often that last touch you need to bring the project together. With Stock Media, however, it is key to remember that less is more. Overuse of stock media could potentially ruin a project. Without much ado, let’s get into finding and aptly using stock media.

For the ones who are not familiar with the term, stock media is a collection of media (sound, photos, titles, fonts, templates, videos, etc.) that is made available by an external source for license and use. It can provide you with high-quality photos and videos when you’re not in a position to shoot them yourself. Stock media is a great way to gain access to content that would not be available to you otherwise—for example, photos and videos of famous landmarks and structures from across the globe.

Sourcing Stock Media

The most reliable sources for stock are most likely agencies that offers stock libraries for license and use. These companies essentially buy and source stock media from independent sellers and put it up for resale. Some companies also specialize in a particular category of media. One such example is MegaTrax. MegaTrax focuses on sourcing and creating stock libraries for music. Other companies offer a multitude of stock content and delve into multiple media categories. One such giant is Adobe Stock. Integrated into Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Stock offers a variety of high-quality stock media for its users.

What site you choose to source stock media from entirely on the kind of project that you require it for. Some other popular sources of stock include Shutterstock, Unsplash, Niice, and iStock. If your focus is on stock footage, try out Pond5 and Videoblocks. Some of these sources will have free content, while some will be paid. The quality, of course, will vary depending on whether you’re accessing free stock of premium paid libraries.

Licensing and Legalities 

Most of the above-mentioned sources also take care of the legalities before putting out the media. This is what is so convenient about sourcing from such clearinghouses. The licensing rights to stock media decide how the media can be used. More often than not, stock media comes with restrictions on how it can be used. Even if the media is free, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is free of the legalities. No matter where you source your stock media from, it is quintessential that you are aware of the rights that it comes with. There are various license-types that selectively permit use.

Putting it to use

It is very important to use stock media effectively. Make sure that it integrates seamlessly into your project and doesn’t end up being an eye-sore. Another aspect to watch out for is the quality of the media. The media quality needs to match the quality and the visual look of the rest of your project. It all comes down to your editing skills. If you’ve managed to edit it well enough, it is possible that your stock media usage will go completely unnoticed! All of us witness extensive usage of stock media on a regular basis, but most of us are unaware of it.

Ultimately, stock media can help out immensely (if used smartly) and can prove to be a great asset to your project. Despite it’s longstanding reputation, every professional understands it’s value. As long as you watch out for those tricky permits, you’re good to go!

Mia Watson is an avid technical blogger, a magazine contributor, a publisher of guides at Blogs Book, and a professional cyber security analyst. Through her writing, she aims to educate people about the dangers and threats lurking in the digital world.


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