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Shutterstock Guide Index

Shutterstock stats spreadsheet calculate $/month and DLs/month

  • 9,883,569 images
  • 4 MP minimum size
  • ID Check - need to send scanned ID
  • No upload limits
  • 25c per download below $500 total earnings
  • 30c per download $500 - $3,000 total earnings
  • 36c per download $3,000 - $10,000 total earnings
  • 38c per download $10,000+ total earnings
  • accept eps graphics 25c (30c per download once you reach $500 total earnings)
  • Extended license $28
  • on demand downloads earn 81c to $2.85 see table
  • FTP upload
  • low payout per download but high download numbers make this many people's biggest earner

2007 earnings #1 46.2%

November 2008 earnings #1 44.3%


Size  and prices

Non-exclusive payout per download

Minimum amount needed to convert
  4mp Chq


PayPal Money


Shutterstock 25c $300 $75 $75 Increases with total earnings

Advantages of Shutterstock

  • Biggest subscription agency
  • subscription encourages downloads
  • very easy categories no sublevels
  • No upload limits
  • Can edit keywords after an image is accepted
  • Fast review process about 24-48 hours
  • Once your first photo reaches the front of the queue all the other photos behind it are also reviewed.
  • earn 3c for every photo downloaded of a referred photographer forever best referral program.
  • on demand downloads earn 81c to $2.85 see table

Disadvantages of Shutterstock

10 photo sample to apply if you fail you have to wait one month (need 7/10 to pass)
  • Default search option is by age so photos can be quickly buried in popular categories supposedly going to change to most popular very bad news for Newbies.
  • Need to plan your uploads
  • don't send lots of similar photos together - unless you like rejections
  • smaller batches several times a week are much better than once a week or once a month All photos in your queue are reviewed together so wait until your photos are reviewed before submitting similar images
  • only 25c per photo regardless of size for newbies
  • One e-mail lists all accepted/rejected photos
  • Thumbnail of rejected photos deleted after 7 days

Extra bits


If you fail the test (7+/10 to pass) you have to wait 1 month (was previously 3 months) so choose those photos carefully. Their review process is fast Monday - Friday 24-48 hours. They have a simple keyword editors and simple categories. But only 25c per photo regardless of size for newbies. Anyone signing up after the end of May 2007 has to comply to the new minimum size 4 mp (formerly 2.5 mp).

Their default search is by date so newest photos appear first so it is best to submit only one or two from each subject and to save other photos when your photos have drifted. There is also the search option most popular based on downloads/time since upload.



most unreliable especially when trying to upload eps files with their jpegs

often doesn't read IPTC data

Total Earnings Regular subscription on demand
on demand
extended licence
>$500 25c 81c $1.87 $28
$500 - $3,000 30c 97c $2.25 $28
$3,000 - $10,000 36c $1.17 $2.70 $28
$10,000 + 38c $1.24 $2.85 $28