Shutterstock is, without any question, the number 1 best selling agency for most independent microstock photographers and illustrators. I personally earn about 50% thanks to their website.
The company was founded in 2003 by Oringer, who uploaded 30,000 of his own stock photos and made them available via subscription, forming the basis of the company.
Shutterstock licenses images, video clips and pieces of music on behalf of photographers, designers, illustrators, videographers and musicians adding 40,000 new images a day from 60,000 contributors in 150 countries, as of 2014.
Recently Shutterstock and Facebook announced a partnership to integrate Shutterstock‘s library within Facebook’s Ad Creator, allowing advertisers to select from Shutterstock‘s millions of images when creating their ads.
They also have become a major player for video stock footage sales, competing with the popular Pond5. They have a very reasonable price system and their sales are steadily growing in this media format. For me they are probably the second highest earner for video stock, directly behind Pond5.
|Your Lifetime Earnings*||Monthly Subscriber Image||On Demand Image (Sml/Med)||On Demand Image (Any Size)||Enhanced License Image||Footage Clip|
|$0 – $500||$0.25||$0.81||$1.88||20% (up to $80)||30%|
|$500 – $3,000||$0.33||$1.07||$2.48||25% (up to $100)||30%|
|$3,000 – $10,000||$0.36||$1.17||$2.70||28% (up to $112)||30%|
|$10,000+||$0.38||$1.24||$2.85||30% (up to $120)||30%|
|*As your lifetime earnings increase, the amount you earn per download increases, too.|
Getting Accepted at Shutterstock’s Initial Submission
To create an account at Shutterstock, you have to pass an initial test. Minimum 10 pieces of your work will be reviewed. After the moderation you’ll either be accepted as a contributor or you’ll be rejected and have to try again after some time.
This puts some people off, but the one time extra effort is really worth the increase in sales!
Here’s a list of tips that will help you to get accepted:
- Check your work and only submit the BEST of it!
- Shutterstock requires minimum 5mp – and around 640 x 640 px for the vector illustration’s preview (uploaded with an .eps file with the same name).
- Examine each image zoomed in at 100% or even 200% to remove dust spots, noise, flare, etc.
- Make sure each image is technically sound – composition, contrast, saturation, no blown out highlights or noisy shadows
- Make your submission as diverse as possible
- Learn from the rejection reasons given if you do fail your first time and make it the second attempt!
- Visit the forum and ask others for critique before your second attempt at approval
If want to get started as a microstock contributor you should definitely create an account on Shutterstock! Just click on the logo for the registration process:
Or visit our Microstock Beginners Guide for more Information on how to get started: