Shutterstock is a leading stock photography website for selling photos online. The platform has paid out over a billion dollars to its community in the past 15 years, and it can get your photos seen by millions of customers. This is the site most photographers will have heard of. Shutterstock has the largest customer base and is considered the largest micro stock platform today.
As a well-known database with over 350 million images, Shutterstock is an excellent option for selling stock photos. It has 15+ years of experience and 500 million downloads overall. Shutterstock contains images and other content (music, videos, vectors, illustrations). They have been enjoying steady growth in sales since its founding in 2003. More than $1 billion has already been paid to contributors from all over the world. You can earn up to $120 per photo here.
At Shutterstock your ownership of the images is protected: you can put watermarks on the images
Shutterstock also has an easy-to-use app. You can download the app on any smartphone, and you’ll be able to take a picture and upload it straight onto Shutterstock. The app also has features that show you helpful tips, like what kinds of images customers are searching for.
Shutterstock has great user interface, which makes managing your content very easy. Their dashboard contains all sort of detailed information, including the locations of the buyer or the performance of your more popular photos. Taking all this data into account, you can then make conclusions about what to photograph and upload next time around.
The submission review time is short in most cases. Shutterstock staff is pretty good at timely reviews of your photos. It typically takes a few days.
Shutterstock doesn’t force you to use their marketplace exclusively. You might even consider selling on other sites as well.
It also has a convenient ‘contributor app’ so that you can upload your photos to the site even when you are outdoors.
How to Join
Shutterstock offers free registration, but to get accepted into Shutterstock, you must submit 10 photographs, 7 of which must be approved. Approval process takes an average of 2 days to complete.
In total, contributors have earned a total of more than $300 million from over 500 million downloads. Shutterstock also sells stock video footage, including HD and 4K videos, as well as images and vectors.
Royalties and Payments
As a photographer, you can earn great money with this marketplace in the long run. According to their site, sellers on Shutterstock have made over $500 million worldwide!
Shutterstock allows you to keep your copyrights protected, so it’s up to you to set the rights on your photos. Shutterstock also gives credit to the image’s owners, which is a major plus that protects your ownership and markets your brand.
Once you become a contributor, you will get monthly payments from Shutterstock, 20-30% for each image download.
Shutterstock’s pricing is structured in a way that the more photos you sell, the more you’ll earn. Their pay out is based on the type of customer downloading your image. You’ll get paid less if a customer with a monthly subscription downloads your photo – and more for customers who pay directly for your image. As your lifetime earnings increase, the amount you get paid per photo increases, too.
When you upload a photo to the marketplace, you still keep the copyright. And you can earn up to 30 percent of the sale price of your photos depending on the size of your image. Currently, the payout starts at $0.25 and can go up to $120 for custom images.
Another way you can earn some money is if you refer a customer who makes a purchase. You’ll get 20% of the amount, which can be up to $200
When you make a referral to another photographer, you’ll earn $.04 of every sale that new contributor makes for the next two years. Customer referrals earn 20% of thir first purchase (up to $200).