How to Maximize Your Earnings with Shutterstock

A World of Opportunities Awaits

Dropitapp Friends, welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to maximize your earnings with Shutterstock! 📸 Whether you’re a seasoned photographer, a passionate creative, or just someone looking to make some extra income, Shutterstock offers a world of opportunities for you to showcase your talent and monetize your passion. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Shutterstock and provide you with valuable insights and strategies to help you thrive in the stock photography industry.

Quick Read
What is Shutterstock?
Getting Started with Shutterstock
Capturing Great Photos
Photo Editing Tips
Keywording and Categorizing
Uploading Process
Maximizing Your Earnings
Exclusive Contributor Program
Promote Your Work
Avoiding Common Mistakes
Frequently Asked Questions


Are you passionate about photography? Do you have an eye for capturing breathtaking moments? Shutterstock provides a platform where you can turn your creativity into a profitable endeavor. By submitting your photos to Shutterstock, you open the doors to a vast audience of potential buyers, including publishers, designers, marketers, and more. In this digital age, demand for high-quality visual content is skyrocketing, making stock photography a lucrative field to explore.

What is Shutterstock?

Shutterstock is a renowned global marketplace for stock photography, videos, illustrations, and music. It connects content creators with buyers worldwide, offering an extensive library of royalty-free images and other media assets. With millions of customers and contributors, Shutterstock has established itself as a trusted platform in the creative industry.

Getting Started with Shutterstock

To embark on your Shutterstock journey, follow these steps:

Step 1: Sign Up for an Account

Visit the Shutterstock website and create an account by providing your basic information. It’s a quick and straightforward process that will grant you access to the contributor side of the platform.

How to Download and Install Shutterstock App

For iOS Devices:

1. Launch the App Store from your home screen.

2. Tap on the search icon at the bottom of the screen.

3. Type “Shutterstock” in the search bar and press Enter.

4. Locate the Shutterstock app in the search results and tap on it.

5. Tap the “Get” or “Download” button next to the app’s name.

6. Authenticate the download using your Apple ID or Touch ID/Face ID if prompted.

7. Wait for the app to download and install on your device.

For Android Devices:

1. Open the Google Play Store from your app drawer or home screen.

2. Tap on the search bar at the top of the screen.

3. Enter “Shutterstock” in the search field and tap the search icon.

4. Select the Shutterstock app from the search results.

5. Tap the “Install” button on the app’s page.

6. Review the permissions required by the app and tap “Accept” to proceed.

7. Wait for the app to download and install on your device.

Step 2: Launch the Shutterstock App

Once the app has finished installing, locate its icon on your device’s home screen or app drawer. Tap on the Shutterstock app icon to open it.

Step 3: Sign In or Create an Account

Upon launching the Shutterstock app, you will be prompted to sign in or create a new account. If you already have a Shutterstock account, enter your login credentials and tap “Sign In.” If you don’t have an account, tap “Sign Up” to create a new one. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the registration process.

Step 2: Verify Your Identity

As part of their contributor vetting process, Shutterstock requires you to verify your identity. This step ensures that only genuine contributors are part of the marketplace.

Step 3: Review Guidelines and Terms of Service

Familiarize yourself with Shutterstock’s contributor guidelines and terms of service. Understanding these policies is crucial to ensure compliance and to make the most of your experience as a contributor.

Step 4: Prepare Your Portfolio

Before you start submitting your work, take the time to curate a strong portfolio. Review your existing photographs or create new ones that showcase your unique style and creativity. Remember, quality is key!

Step 5: Submit Your Work

Once you have a collection of high-quality photographs, it’s time to submit them to Shutterstock for review. Ensure your images meet the technical specifications outlined by the platform.

Capturing Great Photos

To stand out in the competitive world of stock photography, it’s important to capture visually appealing and commercially viable images. Here are some tips to help you up your photography game:

1. Find Your Niche

Identify a niche or subject you’re passionate about and focus on capturing captivating images within that domain. Whether it’s nature, architecture, food, or portraits, specializing in a specific genre can help you develop a recognizable style and attract a dedicated audience.

2. Composition and Lighting

Master the art of composition and understand how lighting can dramatically enhance or diminish the impact of your photographs. Experiment with different angles, perspectives, and lighting conditions to create visually striking images.

3. Tell a Story

Make your photographs engaging by telling a story or evoking emotions. Whether it’s a candid moment or a carefully staged scene, aim to capture images that resonate with viewers on a deeper level.

4. Research Market Trends

Stay up-to-date with current market trends in stock photography. Research what types of images are in high demand and align your work accordingly. Balancing your creative vision with market demand can significantly increase your chances of success.

Photo Editing Tips

Editing plays a crucial role in enhancing the visual appeal of your photographs. Here are some essential photo editing tips to elevate your images:

1. Choose the Right Software

Invest in a professional photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. These tools offer powerful features and capabilities to fine-tune your images and bring out their full potential.

2. Enhance Colors and Contrast

Adjust the colors, contrast, and saturation of your photographs to create a visually captivating image. Be careful not to overdo it, as excessive editing can result in an unnatural look.

3. Remove Distractions

Remove any distractions or imperfections in your images using cloning or healing tools. Clean, well-composed images have a higher chance of catching the eye of potential buyers.

4. Maintain a Consistent Style

Develop a signature editing style that sets your work apart. Consistency in editing can help you establish a recognizable brand and attract a loyal audience.

Keywording and Categorizing

Properly keywording and categorizing your images is essential for discoverability and search optimization. Here’s how to do it effectively:

1. Relevant and Specific Keywords

Include relevant and specific keywords that accurately describe the content of your images. Think about what potential buyers might search for and incorporate those terms in your image metadata.

2. Use LSI Keywords

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are terms related to your main keyword. Incorporating LSI keywords in your metadata helps search engines understand the context of your images and improves their visibility in search results.

3. Accurate Categorization

Assign your images to the appropriate categories provided by Shutterstock. This ensures that your images appear in the right search results and reach the intended audience.

4. Avoid Keyword Stuffing

While it’s important to include relevant keywords, avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of excessively using keywords in an attempt to manipulate search rankings. It can have a negative impact on your visibility and credibility.

Uploading Process

Once your images are ready, it’s time to upload them to Shutterstock. Follow these steps for a smooth uploading experience:

1. File Preparation

Ensure your images meet the technical requirements specified by Shutterstock. This includes resolution, file format, and image size. Resize and optimize your images to strike a balance between quality and file size.

2. Metadata and Descriptions

Accurately fill out the metadata fields and provide relevant descriptions for each image. This information helps buyers find your images and understand their content.

3. Model and Property Releases

If your images contain recognizable people or private property, obtain the necessary model and property releases. This protects both you and the buyers, ensuring legal compliance and permissions.

4. Batch Submission

Shutterstock allows you to submit multiple images simultaneously using their batch submission feature. Take advantage of this option to streamline your workflow and save time.

Maximizing Your Earnings

Now that your images are live on Shutterstock, let’s explore strategies to maximize your earnings:

1. Build a Diverse Portfolio

Continuously expand your portfolio with a diverse range of high-quality images. Offering a variety of subjects, styles, and concepts increases your chances of attracting a broader customer base.

2. Stay Active and Consistent

Regularly upload new content to Shutterstock to stay visible and maintain a steady flow of earnings. Consistency and activity are key factors in building a successful presence on the platform.

3. Pay Attention to Popular Trends

Keep an eye on current trends and adapt your photography accordingly. By aligning your work with what’s in demand, you increase the likelihood of your images being licensed and generating income.

4. Participate in Promotions

Shutterstock often runs promotional campaigns and programs for contributors. Take advantage of these opportunities to showcase your work and attract new buyers. Stay informed about exclusive contributor events and initiatives.

Exclusive Contributor Program

Shutterstock offers an exclusive contributor program that rewards contributors who provide high-quality content and consistently meet performance standards. Benefits of the program include increased royalties, access to premium tools, and priority review for image submissions. Strive to meet the requirements and unlock the full potential of the exclusive contributor program.

Promote Your Work

While Shutterstock provides a platform for exposure, actively promoting your work can further enhance your earnings. Consider the following promotional strategies:

1. Social Media

Leverage the power of social media platforms to showcase your work. Create dedicated accounts on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to engage with your audience and drive traffic to your Shutterstock portfolio.

2. Blogging and Guest Posting

Write informative blog posts or guest posts on relevant websites, including links to your Shutterstock portfolio. Share insights, photography tips, or behind-the-scenes stories to captivate readers and generate interest in your work.

3. Collaborations and Partnerships

Collaborate with other photographers, influencers, or brands to expand your reach. Joint projects, cross-promotions, or featured collaborations can introduce your work to new audiences and potentially boost sales.

4. Engage with the Shutterstock Community

Participate in the Shutterstock contributor community by joining forums, attending events, and interacting with fellow contributors. Networking and sharing experiences can provide valuable insights and open doors to new opportunities.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

To ensure a successful journey with Shutterstock, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes and pitfalls. Here are a few to watch out for:

1. Over-Editing

While editing is essential, be cautious not to over-edit your images. Excessive filters, unrealistic effects, or heavy retouching can make your photos look artificial and less appealing to potential buyers.

2. Neglecting Metadata

Accurate and detailed metadata is crucial for your images to be discovered. Avoid neglecting this step and make sure to provide relevant keywords, descriptions, and categories for each image.

3. Ignoring Rejections

Rejections are part of the submission process. Instead of getting discouraged, use them as learning opportunities. Understand the reasons behind rejections and strive to improve your work based on the feedback received.

4. Lack of Originality

In a saturated market, originality is key. Avoid replicating popular images or clichéd concepts. Instead, focus on developing your unique style and perspective to stand out from the crowd.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much can I earn with Shutterstock?

Shutterstock offers competitive earnings potential, with contributors receiving a percentage of each image download. The amount you can earn varies based on factors such as image quality, demand, and licensing options.

2. Can I submit photos taken with a smartphone?

Yes, Shutterstock accepts photos taken with smartphones, as long as they meet the platform’s technical requirements and quality standards.

3. What are the best-selling subjects on Shutterstock?

The best-selling subjects on Shutterstock vary over time. Currently, popular categories include lifestyle, business, technology, nature, and diverse representation. Keep an eye on market trends to align your work with customer demand.

4. How long does it take for images to be reviewed?

Shutterstock typically reviews images within a few business days. However, during peak times or promotional periods, review times may be slightly longer.

5. Can I sell the same images on other stock photography platforms?

Yes, you can sell the same images on other platforms. However, be mindful of any exclusivity agreements or restrictions that may apply if you opt for exclusive contributor programs on certain platforms.

6. How can I track my earnings on Shutterstock?

Shutterstock provides a comprehensive dashboard where you can track your earnings, view download statistics, and monitor your portfolio’s performance. The dashboard offers valuable insights to help you optimize your strategy.


Congratulations, Dropitapp Friends! You’ve now gained a wealth of knowledge on how to maximize your earnings with Shutterstock. By following the steps outlined in this guide and implementing the strategies and tips provided, you can embark on a successful journey as a Shutterstock contributor. Remember to focus on capturing great photos, optimizing your metadata, and staying active within the Shutterstock community. With dedication, creativity, and a business mindset, you can turn your passion for photography into a rewarding and profitable endeavor. Happy shooting and best of luck on your Shutterstock adventure!