How to Make Money Selling Photos on Shutterstock

Shutterstock is the image bank every photographer wants to be in! In fact, it is the most popular microstock and the top earner for most contributors. In this regard, I strongly recommend that you try everything to be accepted as a Shutterstock contributor.

Jon Orringer founded Shutterstock in 2003. Although headquartered in New York, the company has a global presence. It is one of the most popular image banks thanks to its subscription system, very popular among companies that constantly need large amounts of images.
In addition, their prices are very competitive, the quality of the images is very good and their reputation is second to none. Shutterstock also sells illustrations, videos, and music. Very recently, this famous image bank revealed that it had reached one billion dollars donated to Shutterstock contributors.

How to register for Shutterstock ?

To sell your creations on this site, nothing could be easier! But first you must become a contributor. To do this, you will only have to follow 2 steps by registering on the site dedicated to Shutterstock contributors:
  1. Fill in the registration information (full name, username and email address).
  2. Add an address (your postal address without accented letters or special characters like ó,ï,è).
Once your registration has been validated and you have received the confirmation email, all you have to do is share your images and start earning money online. For your first contribution to Shutterstock, submit your best photos, illustrations, jpeg or eps, or even video clips.

Upon receiving your works, a specialized team will examine your creations. And when your first images (7 out of 10 images) are approved, your account will be fully activated and you can submit any type of files without limitation.

How to monetize photos on Shutterstock?

Imagine for a moment. Being able to sell the same image on the Internet for several years or up to 100 times! That's huge, isn't it? After all, with Shutterstock Contributor , you can!

By the way, every time a Shutterstock site customer downloads one of your images or videos, they automatically receive a royalty. However, the amount of the royalty depends on:

1- Licenses and subscriptions used by customers for each download
2- Income level. Why income? And what is your income level?

What is a Shutterstock Contributor or Shutterstock Contributor?

The Shutterstock Contributor Program is the premier platform for photographers and illustrators to sell and monetize their work whenever a client purchases a license for their work from Shutterstock. It is the program with the largest contributor and represents up to 50% of the total income of some photographers.

In other words:

When you upload an image (photo, illustration, icon) and someone makes a purchase through Shutterstock, you earn a commission.

How to Become a Shutterstock Contributor

  • sign up . First, go to and create a new account. 
  • Upload a photo . Upload your first photo directly to the Shutterstock Contributor Center.
  • Add keywords and descriptions . Keywords are how potential customers find you, so there's no point in tricking them with popular but irrelevant keywords.
  • send . Submit your images and wait for our quality inspection team to assess the quality and value of your technology. Once approved, the image is automatically added to the Shutterstock library and is sold only once.

How much money can be made on Shutterstock?

Shutterstock Contributors receive 15-40% of the cost of an image. The ratio depends on the layer of the image (or video) based on the number of content downloads.

This way, every time a customer uploads a photo, it will be uploaded once. So if you want to earn more money as a Shutterstock contributor, you need to upload more content that gets uploaded more frequently.
image levelPhotos soldHow much do you earn
Level 1100fifteen%
Level 2101-250twenty%
Level 3251-50025%
Level 4501-2,50030%
level 52,500-25,00035%
level 625,000+40%

How to get paid on Shutterstock?

You will be paid when you reach the minimum payment of $35 at the end of each month. You can receive payments through Payoneer, Paypal or Skrill.

How does Shutterstock work to sell photos?

When you upload an image to Shutterstock, you acquire the copyright to your creation. When a subscriber uploads a work (photo or video), they are also paid for the work. It only produces creative work.

This is not a simple process as it seems. You need to know the whole process and practice enough. Following these tips will help you succeed in this field. They will differentiate you from others.

What types of photos can be sold on Shutterstock?

You can sell photos, videos, illustrations, 3D images, and vector illustrations on Shutterstock. The charging process is relatively simple. However, please note that there are submission guidelines for each type of content and a review process that we will discuss later.

Shutterstock accepts JPEG and TIFF files and must be at least 4 megapixels. Files smaller than 50 MB can be downloaded directly from your account's download page. Larger files must be uploaded via FTP.

In addition to uploading your photos, you need to add metadata such as a title (description), keywords, and categories. Once the photo has been successfully uploaded, you will need to enter a title (description), keywords, and a category.

This information is called metadata, and it helps people find your photos. Various tips have been published, such as guidelines, rules, and guidelines for titles and keywords . You can add metadata to multiple images at once by clicking on the multi-select option.

What types of photos sell the most on Shutterstock?

1. Landscapes that inspire you to travel

Images that celebrate our connection to nature and the natural elements around us are always popular in the stock photography market. We have a growing passion for escaping into nature alone and finding a connection with nature.

2. Modern work environment and office space.

As more and more people work in alternative situations, they need images that support a variety of work environments. Here are some trends to watch out for in this popular category of work and office images.

3. Candid moments from family and friends.

Not everything has to look perfect. The reality is that living at home can be complicated.

We seek images of realistic moments between family and friends. Candid moments are transformed into images that look and feel as real as the viewer could be at the time. It represents a truly honest depiction of life, which makes it very useful for Shutterstock customers looking for images to purchase. The photographer must try to merge with the scene and let life unfold in front of the lens.

4. A representative world that prioritizes diversity and inclusion

Diversity goes beyond embedding models of different nationalities in images. It is about capturing who the person is, their characteristics, their culture and the story behind it.

5. Images and videos of food from top to bottom

The food is shared. It's international Most photography crosses limited cultural boundaries. Food and recipe videos have exploded in recent years, and requests for top-down food images and cooking videos are on the rise. This image should highlight food trends.

Where can I earn money for photos?

1. On your own website

The best place to sell photos online is your own website.

  • You can set the price yourself.
  • Nobody takes the cut.
  • You have 100% control over how your photos are displayed.
  • You can set your own conditions.
  • In short, you get by!
Don't have a website yet? Getting started is not difficult. Most of the professional photography sites on the internet are based on WordPress.

2. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock (formerly Fotolia) is the stock photography marketplace for the makers of the most popular photo editing software solutions, including Photoshop and Lightroom. The platform has been around for over 10 years and is known as the first online photo marketplace.

What I like most about Adobe Stock is its higher share of royalties than other online stores.


Shutterstock has been a popular place to buy stock photos online for more than 15 years. They have over 200 million images, videos, and music tracks that people can buy for free, which means they have millions of buyers.

Photographers can make a lot of money in this market in the long run. According to the website, Shutterstock sellers have earned over $500 million worldwide!

4. Alamy

Alamy is another great platform for selling stock photos, as there are no hard and fast rules.

The site may not have as many buyers as Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, but it's still a great competitor and another great option for generating income. Photographers can upload photos to Alamy without license or other copyright issues. Alami has paid the photographer $180 million so far.

5. Etsy

Etsy is best known as a marketplace for buying and selling unique handmade items, so you might not want to think about that when looking for a place that sells stock photography. However, Etsy has over 30 million users and multiple ways to sell photos on its platform.

The great thing about Etsy is that it has a larger audience than most stock photo banks and a demographic willing to buy your images. Of course, you can sell digital images on Etsy, but you can also sell prints. So if you want to further expand your photography business, Etsy is a great option!

6. Photomoto

Fotomoto is not an online marketplace, but rather a widget that integrates with your website to help you sell your photos online. Add photos to your site and Fotomoto manages the entire process of selling photos.

Like Etsy, Fotomoto allows you to provide digital photos, photo prints, and canvases to your site visitors. In addition, Fotomoto takes care of packaging the real photos, so you don't need them. If you plan to sell actual photo prints or canvases, it doesn't get any easier than this!

Best apps to sell photos online to earn money


The 500px app offers free and paid subscriptions. A free subscription gives you free access to the photography marketing platform of over 13 million users.

The downside of the free subscription is that you can only upload 7 images per week. There are three membership levels up, each with unlimited downloads and more customization.

2.Agora Images

One of the best things about the Agora Images app is that you get to keep all your income. There are also no dues or fees.

There are different levels of commissions depending on how high you rank. Levels: Junior, Advanced, Pro and Master.


Bylines is a unique app platform that focuses on user generated or user generated content. They work with brands and photographers to create on-demand photos that engage users.

Basically, brands use Bylines to create photo contests. The contest is sent to people with the app. You can take photos and earn money with your favorite brands.


The Dreamstime app allows photographers to maintain copyright to their images. Members receive between 25% and 50% revenue share.

There are several photo selling options that can increase your payout. Exclusive sales give you a 10% bonus for this image. These rights are valid for 1 to 3 years. You can also sell all rights.


EyeEm is a network of more than 25 million photographers around the world. Just like any other app, you can earn money by selling your photos on the Marketplace and completing missions for your brand.

In the EyeEm marketplace, you own the copyright and earn 50% commission for each photo sold. The lowest license they sell is $20 per photo, so you make $10 every time!

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