How to Upload Stock Footage via ftp - Easy Step by Step Guide

July 22, 2019

Step by step instructions for uploading your footage using ftp

When I first began uploading my own footage to stock video sites, I learned that Shutterstock and Adobe Stock require all footage files to be uploaded via ftp. I had never used an ftp service, so I was a bit stumped. I didn’t even know what an ftp site meant, much less how to use one.

In this post, I will simplify the process by walking you through step-by-step exactly how to get your footage up and running on sites like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. Pond5 gives you the option to either use ftp or to upload directly through their site.

What is an FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. Honestly, all you really need to know is that it allows you to transfer files from your computer directly to the corresponding site’s internal server. This lets you to transfer large files quickly and reliably - makes sense for video files.

Step 1 - Download an FTP Client

There are two main options that I know of. Both are reputable and completely free. Personally, I use FileZilla, all the pictures in this article will use this example, but it’s really up to you which one you choose.

FileZilla (download here) -or- Cyberduck (download here)


Step 2 - Gather your account information

Before we jump into exactly how to login and upload your files, let’s gather some specific information so you have it all ready to go in one place.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For Shutterstock:

Username: Your Shutterstock account email address or username

Password: Your Shutterstock account password

For Adobe Stock: (I’m going to walk you through exactly where to find this info, because it’s a bit trickier)

  • First log into your contributor account. Click on the ‘Upload’ button on the upper right hand corner of the black banner. See example below.
adobe upload button.png
  • Next you’ll see this blue circle pop up. Click ‘Learn more’ at the very bottom.
learn more adobe ftp
  • Immediately you should see a pop up box with all of your information needed to connect to ftp. See my example below (my personal information is blocked out, but you’ll get the idea).
account info adobe.png

Now that you’ve got all your account info gathered, we can move on to step 3.


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Step 3 - Connect to the Stock Site’s Server

Once you have downloaded your ftp client of choice, go ahead and open up the program. Here’s what your opening screen should look like.

filezilla tutorial.png

Using the very top left spaces, enter the information you gathered earlier. Start with Shutterstock. You can leave the ‘Port’ space blank. Here’s what it should look like:

shutterstock ftp login

Now click the blue Quickconnect / Connect button. You are now connected! You can connect to two or more hosts at the same time, so lets go ahead and connect to Adobe Stock as well. Click on File -> New Tab to enter your information for Adobe Stock the same way you did with Shutterstock. In this case, your username will match the ID number that Adobe gave you.

connect to second ftp site

Step 4 - Upload your files

You can either drag your files directly from a folder on your computer into the lower right hand window of your FTP window, as you see below, or you can navigate to the folders on your computer directly using the lefthand window. After you drag the files to the window, don’t forget to click the upper tab to drag them to any other sites that you are connected to.

Step 5 - Now you wait

That’s it! You’ve done the hard part. Verify that your clips are uploading to all the sites that you’ve connected to and you’re good to go. There will be a slight delay from when they finish uploading to when they actually appear in Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, so don’t worry if they don’t show up immediately. It can take an hour or so. Here’s what it should look like while your files are uploading.

files transfering ftp.png

A few additional tips

  • It’s good practice to go ahead and name your files exactly as you’d like them to appear in your stock submission sites before you transfer them. You can’t change the file name once you’re in there, so make sure you’re happy with them at this point. Also be sure they don’t have too many characters and only contain simple text (no apostrophes) as extra characters will not upload correctly.
  • To avoid having to sign in repeatedly each time you use the ftp program, I highly recommend setting up ‘Site Manager’ within FileZilla. Click File -> Site Manager to load this option. Click new site and enter your information the same way as before. Save each new site that you enter and rename it accordingly. This will automatically save your information for each site and you can easily connect to each saved profile each time you open the program. Here’s what it looks like.
Site manager ftp.png

I hope that helped simplify the process a bit for you. Let me know if you have any questions or if you get stumped along the way. I’ll be happy to do what I can to help you. Now that you’ve figured out how to upload your footage, be sure to check out my top recommendations for how to get your stock footage noticed and sold quickly.

Happy uploading!!

Hi, I'm Beth.

I started Handcraft Films to give other filmmakers and photographers the gift of documenting their own stories for years to come. I hope you'll learn something new and share your creativity here.
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