Searching for Stock: Tips From An Expert In House Researcher

Searching for stock clips and photos can be a tedious process. You can spend minutes, hours, sometimes even days looking for the perfect shot to fit your needs. It’s time for you to spend more time creating and less time searching with these tips from one of our expert in-house researchers.

How To Identify Good Stock Shots

Our team receives several research requests a day. Completing a request doesn’t simply mean adding in 50 clips or images from the first page of search. So what makes a good stock shot? How do we choose what we include in a research request?


A big trend I’ve noticed is the need for authentic and realistic stock. This may seem ironic as stock is generally thought of as cheesy and in-genuine. Many stock shooters have changed with the times and started producing higher quality stock which you can find on Dissolve.

Camera Work

When searching for footage, camera work is very important in making a shot feel more authentic. There are a lot of moments where it might be helpful to have a smooth pan using a dolly or gimbel, however, when you are looking for those genuine moments, a little help from the human element is key. Take a look at the shot below of a father playing with his son. The natural movements from the videographer add a whole different element to the shot, making it feel more like a home video rather than a stock shot.

Shooting Through Objects

Filmmakers and photographers tend to move objects out of the way to have a clear view of their shot, but many are starting to leave objects in the frame in order to shoot through them. This doesn’t necessarily mean finding a gap within an object and shooting through that space, but having an unfocused object sitting within the frame. This technique adds depth to the shot and helps it feel more genuine. It’s like when you’re looking at one thing but you can see something else from the corner of your eye, this concept replicates that and gives the shot that realistic feel.


Color within clips and photos is really important and by this I actually mean lack of color. Don’t try to find the colour grade you need in your search, looking for a clip or photo that can be easily edited may help. For instance, if a shot is more neutral, it is much easier to work with when editing in post. Simple edits such as adding filters and grains will show up much better in neutral shots and you can always adjust it to be more colourful if you need it to be. If you need some help adding that color then feel free to download our free color LUTS that apply color to any clip or photo.

To Cheat

There are many instances where you may be looking for a shot of a certain place, such as a city or an area within a city. If you’ve spent more than 20 minutes looking for that place and you haven’t found it, you more than likely would need to expand your search. I would suggest trying to find a shot to cheat for that setting. 

Let’s say you’re looking for a specific suburb but you’re having no luck, expand your search and look through any and all suburb shots. Due to the generic nature of stock, you know you will have a bevy of generic suburban shots at your disposal, which you can use to act as that place.

Edit It In Post

The best thing about stock is that you can always edit shots to be whatever you like. I might come across a 15 second clip and most of it isn’t what I’m looking for, however the last 5 seconds might be exactly what I need. Don’t forget you can trim the clip as much as you want once you license it. 

Another modification you can make is adding or removing things from clips and photos. Maybe you’ve come across the perfect landscape shot but there’s a person smack in the middle of the whole thing, what do you do? You can spend another hour looking for a replacement, or you can use the Content Aware Fill tool to have your cake and eat it too.

Quick Tip: Dissolve offers a complimentary research service. Just let us know the vibe you’re looking for here!

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