Make money with shutterstock

Make money with shutterstock

Shutterstock is one of the largest stock photography and stock footage sites, with over 400 million assets available for download. As a contributor to Shutterstock, you have the opportunity to make money licensing your own photos, videos, illustrations or music on their platform. With over 1.9 million active customers worldwide, there is high demand on Shutterstock for quality, unique content.

This guide will provide tips on how to maximize your earnings on Shutterstock and build a sustainable passive income stream as a contributor.

Getting Accepted as a Contributor

The first step is to create an account on Shutterstock and submit an application to become a contributor. You’ll need to provide information about yourself, links to samples of your work, and tax information.

Getting Accepted as a Contributor

Here are some tips for getting accepted:

  • Showcase the best of your portfolio – Carefully curate 10-15 strong samples that highlight your style and quality. Make sure they are visually striking images that potential customers would want to license.
  • Highlight niche skills – If you have expertise in high-demand areas like lifestyle, business concepts or nature photography, lead with those in your application.
  • Have all the required paperwork ready – This includes a W-8BEN form, W-9 form (for U.S. residents), and any local tax forms.
  • Proofread everything – Check for typos, grammar errors or inconsistencies that could lead to rejection.

It can take up to one week to hear back after submitting your application. If approved, you can start uploading and sharing your work right away.

Also read: Make Money with flaticon

Uploading Impactful Content

Uploading Impactful Content

Once approved as a shutterstock contributor, the key is to upload a diverse range of compelling content on a consistent basis.

Follow these tips for the kind of content that tends to earn the most on the platform:

  • Eye-catching photos – Photos of people, nature scenes, animals, food, and lifestyle tend to sell well. Go for unique angles, bold colors, and high visual impact. Ensure excellent resolution, focus and composition.
  • Popular video clips – Funny animal videos, footage of natural scenery, business concepts, and technology tend to see strong demand. Vertical smartphone videos can also earn well due to social media usage. Provide clips in 4K resolution if possible.
  • Illustrations and graphics – Eye-catching custom illustrations, infographics, and editable templates are popular. Vector files are ideal so customers can resize without pixelation.
  • Trending topics – Look at Shutterstock’s trend pages to identify high-interest content areas like diversity in business, health and wellness, and digital nomad lifestyle.
  • Local cultural content – There is demand for authentically local content – like South Asian weddings or European city scenes. Capture your own region for global appeal.
  • Consistent quality – Even more important than quantity is maintaining a high quality bar across all content you upload. Reject any images or clips that seem subpar.

Spend time keywording your uploads and providing detailed titles and descriptions. This helps in discovery and search.

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Maximizing Your Earnings

To earn the most money possible on Shutterstock, follow these key strategies:

  • Upload frequently – The more content you have, the more opportunities for licensing. Aim to upload at least 200-300 new items per month.
  • Retain ownership rights – Do not sign away your copyright. This allows you to license content elsewhere and earn 100% royalties from Shutterstock.
  • Promote your profile – Curate a strong profile page on Shutterstock to allow brand discovery. Participate in groups and forums to gain followers.
  • Get content feedback – Leverage Shutterstock’s image reviewing service to get suggestions on improving metadata, descriptions, and more.
  • Check weekly reports – Login regularly to see your monthly earnings, best selling content, keyword needs, download history, and more. Identify trends.
  • Set your own rates – As you gain experience, increase your royalty rates for enhanced earnings. Exclusive contributors can earn up to 60%.
  • Try targeted submissions – In addition to regular uploads, take advantage of requests for specific content that pays $79 per download.
  • Multi license bundles – Earn more by allowing image bundles and subscriptions that provide discounts to high-volume buyers.
  • Refer other creators – You can earn $50-75 for each approved contributor you refer to further grow your income.

Being patient and playing the long game is key. Your earnings will compound over the years as your portfolio expands.

Tips for Quality Content

To maximize the licensing value of your work on Shutterstock, follow these tips for creating quality, technically sound content:

  • Use professional equipment – Invest in an excellent camera or video equipment like 4K video drones to capture pristine quality. Use tripods, lighting kits, and more for pro results.
  • Mind the technicals – Follow best practices like using ISO 200-400, eliminating noise, complex compositions, shallow depth of field, and principles of visual hierarchy.
  • Obtain model and property releases – Any identifiable people or private property requires written permission to license commercially. Explain this to subjects.
  • Try advanced editing – Use software tools to auto-adjust contrast, shadows, highlights and saturation. Carefully sharpen images or add light vignetting.
  • Pick the right file formats – Use formats like lossless TIFF and PNG for photos. Choose high-bitrate MP4 for video. Avoid compression artefacts or excess processing.
  • Start with high-res raw files – Take photos in RAW format and videos in 4K so you have flexibility to export high-res JPEGs and 1080p clips.
  • Add helpful keywords and titles – Include detailed keywords in filenames, captions and alt text so your work surfaces in search. Use descriptive unique titles.
  • Double check licenses – Don’t submit anything already under exclusive rights or that belongs to someone else. Shutterstock has strict copyright rules.
  • Capture timeless evergreen content – Trends come and go – focus on high-quality images and footage that retain value for decades in any business or creative project.

Key Takeaways

  • Submit a strong portfolio and application to get approved as a Shutterstock contributor
  • Upload diverse, high-quality, descriptive content regularly to maximize earnings
  • Promote your profile, analyze reports, set competitive rates, and check requests to make the most money
  • Follow best practices for creating technically polished photos, video, illustrations and music
  • Play the long game – earnings compound over years as your portfolio expands

Shutterstock can provide long-term passive income if you build a robust profile of quality media assets. Leverage the high commercial demand on their platform to license your original work to customers worldwide. Follow these tips to make money with Shutterstock as a successful contributor.

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