What is Shutterstock?

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It is common to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what is not that common knowledge is that an image can be worth a thousand bucks. What is Shutterstock used for?

On the internet, with so many businesses in need of visual content, you can sell all you have captured, earning a steady income, and this is Shutterstock about.

Many agencies are working for such photographers’ benefit, and they are ready to find customers for them. So a whole stock photography industry has sprung up, and it is quite profitable.

The only problem is that there are so many agencies that you cannot seem to differentiate between the legit ones and the scams.

Well, this is where I come in. I have discovered a site that is 100% legit and pays an excellent commission to its sellers. Let me introduce you to Shutterstock.

What is Shutterstock? It is a lifesaver as it helped me earn loads of money. Just capturing some high-resolution photos and videos from my phone and camera and uploading them on this site gave me a steady income stream.

So I want to share my experience with you to benefit from it and put your images to good use by selling them through this reliable website.

You might be wondering whether I am telling the truth, but believe me, you can skim through the internet and will find only good Shutterstock reviews. Here’s a view of my portfolio:

My portfolio at Shutterstock

You will thank me later for it. So let us begin with a thorough inspection of this fantastic agency, the market’s best player.

All your questions will be answered in this article, plus a lot of facts will be given to you on how to begin earning like a pro stock photographer.

Shutterstock – An introduction

Shutterstock headquarters are in New York City, and it was founded in 2003. The man behind its creation is its innovative CEO, Jon Oringer.

This company deals in photos, but it also stocks vectors, illustrations, music, and videos. It is a publicly-traded company going by as NYSE: SSTK. It is one of the oldest companies in business and is renowned for its top-notch quality and reliability.

What is Shutterstock?

Like all stock photography companies, Shutterstock also draws sellers to pitch in their work.

It collects photos, vector images, videos, and illustrations from them and then sells them to willing customers who view these on its site. Both the buyer and contributors are from all around the web, and all they have to do is make an ID at Shutterstock.

It works as a license purchasing agreement where the customer buys the license from you for your work. You don’t get the whole amount that they pay.

Instead, you receive a generous portion of it as a commission, while the rest is given to the agency as they manage the work for you and provide you with customers.

So the whole process is straightforward, and for the ease and benefit of its contributors, Shutterstock delivers them with the option to define their terms of sale to spell it out to the buyer what they can and cannot do with your content.

For each of your files downloaded, you receive the commission from Shutterstock, which is transferred to your Shutterstock ID, based on both the price it was sold for and the number of users who download it.

Signing Up To Become a Contributor at Shutterstock

Becoming a contributor at Shutterstock is not only comfortable but is also free.

So what are you waiting for? There is nothing to lose, so sign up now. <- Affiliate Link 🙂 Let me help you by explaining the whole process.

The only things you need to make an account and register as a Shutterstock contributor are your verification documents and information, including name, email, government-issued identification, physical address, etc.

It will only take three working days for the shutter stock’s administration team to verify the information. Once they approve your application, then you become a registered contributor and can begin uploading content.

If the petition gets rejected, you can apply as many times as you wish. There is no penalty.

Just ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes again and follow the rules correctly. If you follow the guidelines, all will go well, and you can become a Shutterstock member from anywhere in the world within no time.

For inspection purposes, you will be asked to submit up to 10 images and videos. Once the team reviews your content and finds it satisfactory, your contributor account gets authorization, and you can start selling content actively.

Shutterstock Contributors Earnings Breakdown

Shutterstock’s earnings are comparatively higher than its competitors because Shutterstock believes in giving a higher return to its contributors. Unlike other agencies, it provides most of the license fee paid by the customer to the seller.

Shutterstock earnings rate update on june 1st, 2020

Even though the commission varies depending on different factors, the minimum amount earned is better than other agencies that pay peanuts.

Firstly, you earn from the royalties each time a buyer purchases your content. This royalty is based on your earnings tier, the subscription your customer is paying for, and the license type.

Starting with June 1st, 2020, the earnings breakdown is divided into six levels. You’ll be earning 15% of the sale’s value at level one, going up to 40% at the sixth level.

Shutterstock images earnings rate starting with June 2020

The number of licenses needed for heading up on Shutterstock Earning Levels differs from images to videos. For example, you’ll need 100 sales for images from level one to level two, but you need only ten for videos.

These levels are restarted at the beginning of every year.

Shutterstock videos earnings rate starting with June 2020

So if you are a constant seller, your total earnings will be high, so the commission you will gain will also be higher.

Remember, as your period of working increases, your chances of becoming a successful contributor also increase as not only does the company begins to value you more, but you also become good at what you do. So don’t give up in a short time.

You will gradually increase your earnings. Be patient, and within no time, you will be able to make a stream of income if you have the will, skill, and determination to do so!

Payment methods at Shutterstock

Shutterstock usually pays by the 7th or the 15th each month. So you don’t have to worry about your paycheck as your account amount is updated every month, and you receive your hard work money on a timely basis without any time lags or disruptions. Here’s a view of my account:

My Shutterstock account earnings

You can clear the amount from your account by transferring it through Payoneer, Skrill, PayPal, or Mailed check – whichever suits you best.

If you are a US citizen, you will also have to submit their W-9 tax forms on file to get payments. And if you are a non-US citizen, your earning will be subject to a 30% withholding tax, which goes to the Government.

A positive rating on BBB

For those of you who want to rely entirely on Shutterstock, there is good news. It has a solid reputation with the Better Business Bureau, rated Shutterstock as an A+.

This makes it a secure and stable way to earn income and the most reliable stock photography sites for contributors. This is why thousands of sellers worldwide trust it.

As a plus of confidence, you can watch Jonathan K. Moore’s YouTube video, which is very informative:

High earning potential

Shutterstock has an extensive library that attracts millions of customers every day. As at Shutterstock, variety isn’t a problem, so customers worldwide use it!

Its excellent reputation has become a go-to site for buyers, which is beneficial for contributors as the demand for their content is high.

This directly impacts earning potential as both the number of downloads and the price of content increase.

So if you want to become a member of a stock photography company, which is sure to find your customers and that too with a reasonable payout ratio, then join Shutterstock. <- Affiliate Link 🙂

It is 100% Legit

Shutterstock pays what it says. It doesn’t defraud on its payments and is undoubtedly not a scam.

It ensures that the contributors receive their money on time and get a decent amount for their content. It held its prolific sellers in high regard and made sure that they don’t face any difficulty.

That is why it has become the number one stock photography site as the word is spreading about its legitimacy.

So if you want to pursue stock photography seriously and know how to create amazing content, then Shutterstock is the best site for you.

I recommend it to all my fellow photographers who wish to earn some extra income from their homes.

Wide-spread networks

Shutterstock can be used from anywhere around the world. There are no limits, and each geographical area with an internet connection is open for Shutterstock.

It is a global earning site that doesn’t restrict anyone from joining it based on their nationality.


Shutterstock is one of the oldest and most popular sites and has a long history of stock image selling and buying, making it one of the “Big 6” companies in this industry.

This is beneficial because it knows the ins and outs of the market and specializes in stock marketing. It has been in this industry for more than a decade and is the stock photo subscription pioneer.

So with such experience, they can provide both its buyers and sellers with the best service. It has accumulated a vast library that holds the most extensive royalty-free photo collection of over 220 million files with time.

This number is ever increasing, so join it now and make your contribution.


You don’t need to be a pro to understand the workings of Shutterstock. Its systems are involved from the inside, but they are straightforward to operate as its creators ensure that it can cater to its user in a friendly manner.

That is why the website is exquisite but straightforward to use, making it user-friendly.

Intelligent system

The business model it uses might look simple to the users, but an enhanced system backs it with high functionality.

Shutterstock uses an intelligent system to verify its users and files to maintain its reliability and manage it smoothly.

Its strict criteria ensure that the content is unique, and its policies promote creativity and authenticity. This reduces the chances of fraud and leads to efficient and effective performance.

Updates and innovation

Since its early days, the creators of Shutterstock have been working to make it better. They are innovators and have never let their site remain behind when it comes to updating.

This has got them a lot of press complimenting as they regularly update their system to improve their services. They have also made acquisitions like acquired Bigstock to expand their library and market share.

Shutterstock Review conclusion

To sum it up, I would only say that it is the best place for photographers to start earning money. It is the epitome of reliability, high quality, innovation, and user-friendliness.

What more can you ask for? So start making some big cash by signing up now <- Affiliate Link 🙂 and begin uploading the content that deserves a significant return!

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