Can You Make Money on Shutterstock?

Can You Make Money on Shutterstock?

Ever since I published the post on Dreamstime I’ve been interested in finding out about more photo-related jobs online – it’s a niche I hadn’t really explored that deeply before.

I’ve often come across Shutterstock when I’ve been searching for images for my websites, but I haven’t really used it due to the fact that they charge for their images (otherwise you end up with a big watermark across your picture!).

Still, Shutterstock is an extremely popular and successful image ‘shop’ – so how well does it reward it’s photographers?

Can you make money on Shutterstock with ease…or is there a catch to it’s setup?

Is Shutterstock a scam or is it legit?

Let’s take a closer look…

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The Shutterstock Contributor Review

What is Shutterstock?

The Shutterstock Contributor Review

Founded over 15 years ago now, Shutterstock is based at the Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York City, USA.

It’s CEO is currently Jon Oringer and it’s CFO is Steven Berns.

There are five Subsidiaries linked to Shutterstock:

  • Bigstock
  • Rex Features
  • PremiumBeat
  • Offset
  • Webdam

The business itself is a stock photography company that concentrates on selling the photos, videos, vector images and illustrations that it’s contributors submit.

Purchasers who use their service have to buy a license first. They can then use the media on offer in relation to the license they hold.

Contributors to the site receive commissions based on how much it sold for, and how many times it was downloaded.


Shutterstock Contributors – Joining The Ranks

You don’t have to pay anything to become a contributor, although the process is a little bit of a pain in the ass!

What do I mean by this?

Well, these day, more ‘serious’ companies online want to make sure they’ve ticked all the correct boxes with their members – fair enough really…but a bit of a pain all the same!

Shutterstock’s verification process involves you having to hand over your name (go figure!), government issued identification, email and physical address.

What is Shutterstock?

Once you have submitted your info, you then have to wait for them to check you are legit – it took 48 hours for them to verify me.

You then have to prove that you are not a cowboy snapper – someone with a cell phone camera who clicks at any old crap!

To do this, you need to submit up to 10 images, videos or a mixture of both for vetting. If they pass the grade – you’re in!

There’s no need to worry if you fail at this hurdle – you can gather your thoughts and apply again…as many times as you want.

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How Much Money Can I Make at Shutterstock?

Okay, this gets a little confusing – so stick with me!

Firs of all, you earn commissions through the media you sell…but these commissions are based on the earnings tier you currently belong to, which subscription your customer signed up for and their license type.

This ‘earnings tier’ is worked out from the amount of money you have earned through Shutterstock, to date.

So, simply put – the higher your earning tier the higher your reward.

A tier one contributor earns $0.25 per download, tier two $0.33 cents, tier three $0.36 cents and tier four $0.38 cents per download.

Once you have reached a level worthy of a ‘cashout’, you can choose from 4 payment methods – Payoneer, Paypal, Skrill or a check through the post.

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Common Shutterstock Complaints

Before signing up with any option to work online, it’s worth checking out the ‘beef’ past members have had with the company, first.

I have encountered a few complaints regarding the payment system that Shutterstock implements – some people have walked away without payment (through frustration).

You see, in some cases, Shutterstock have waited to ask for verification details – until AFTER members have applied for their cash!

I don’t know the reasoning behind this, but it must be a right pisser to think you are going to get paid…only to find out you have to jump through a few hoops first!

Shutterstock Complaints

I have also encountered a few complaints from past members regarding getting their foot through the door – apparently the have had terrible problems with their verification experience.

This would be okay…if the customer service was up to scratch…but apparently they can be quite rude at times (another online complaint!).


Is Shutterstock a Scam?

No, it’s definitely NOT a scam, but like ALL companies, they sometimes manage to piss off their members!

At the end of the day – EVERY online company has some sort of complaint labeled to it, it’s the way of the world I’m afraid.

I do know that prolific contributors earn extremely good money on this site and I do know that if you have the talent – you can to!

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