How To Make Money On Shutterstock?

Charity Jerop
June 12, 2023
How to Make Money on Shutterstock
How to Make Money on Shutterstock

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A re you looking for ways to turn your photo gallery into a cashing machine?

Whether you’re a hobbyist photographer or a professional, a passive income on the side could be fantastic.

Imagine getting “money notifications” every time someone downloads your image or footage content online? And the best part?

You can make money from one photo, illustration, or video footage time and again.

Enter Shutterstock, a fantastic and profitable way for any artist to create a passive income stream that makes money even when you’re sleeping.

Shutterstock is the global marketplace for artists to share, sell and market their photography business.

Is It Worth Selling Photos On Shutterstock?

If you are an avid snapper, chances are you’ve got a ton of images sitting in your drive.

Yet importantly, there are businesses out there ready to download your content and pay you for your photography skills and creativity.

Instead of letting your pieces collect dust in a hard drive, you could upload them to Shutterstock and watch your earnings grow as you snap more photos.

The number one reason we recommend Shutterstock is its excellent earning strategy for contributors.

Typically, you get a percentage of the pay —they refer to it as a commission— once a customer downloads your content.

You can get up to 40% in commissions from a photo, and it’s no surprise that the Shutterstock platform has paid over one billion dollars in commission to creators.

A quick search on Google for “Shutterstock contributor program review” will pull you a dozen successful photographers eking out a living off of Shutterstock.

Shutterstock earnings differ depending on the tier you’re in, and the revenue increases as the number of content licenses you sell go up.

There are different earning levels for photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos. If you sell;

  • Tier one — up to 100 photos, illustrations, or vectors, you can get up to 15% commission.
  • Tier two — between 101 to 250 image licenses—you earn 20% commission.
  • Tier three — between 251 to 500 photos—you get up to 25% of the earnings.
  • Tier four — between 501 to 2,500 photos— you’ll get a commission of 30%.
  • Tier five — between 2,501 to 25,000 photos —you get up to 35% commission.
  • Tier six — over 25,000 image licenses — you get up to 40% commission.

Video earnings are also in six tiers.

  • Level one – up to 10 videos — you earn 15%
  • Level two – 11 to 50 videos —- you make 20%
  • Level three – 51 to 250 videos — you earn 25%
  • Level four – 251 to 5,000 videos —- you get 30%
  • Level five – 5,001 to 25,000 videos — you earn 35%
  • Level six – over 25,000 videos —- you make 40%

Additionally, you can earn through referrals. Shutterstock will pay you US$0.04 per image and 10% per video when you invite your fellow photographers through your referral link.

You will also get 20% and up to US$ 300 if a customer purchases Shutterstock through your referral link. So, what are the ways you can make money on Shutterstock?

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How To Make Money On Shutterstock?

Unlike other sites, Shutterstock offers several ways for creatives to maximize their earnings from selling photos, videos, illustrations, music, and vectors.

When creating content to sell on Shutterstock, the most crucial thing is that you should own 100% copyright to the content.

Additionally, your work should be 100% original.

You probably know that you can make money selling your images on Shutterstock. But did you know that you can also make money from footage clips and audios on Shutterstock? That’s right!

You can upload and earn revenue from your original video clips, audios, vectors, and illustrations on Shutterstock.

Furthermore, Shutterstock provides other platforms for photographers to make money.

You can be a custom contributor and partner with brands through Shutterstock.

Whether you are a photographer, videographer, or both, you can work on assignments you love and get paid.

Typically, a brand will create an assignment with all the details on Shutterstock, and you select the project that aligns with your area of specialty.

Another way to make money on Shutterstock is to join the Offset platform.

As an Offset artist, you earn revenue from your best-in-class pieces.

Premium Beat is another Shutterstock platform where you can make money by submitting original music audio.

Additionally, if you’re a news, entertainment, or sports photographer, you can earn income by showcasing your work on Shutterstock Editorial

Lastly, you can create a lucrative side hustle with Shutterstock through its affiliate program.

You can refer your fellow photographers and customers to the platform and get a commission.

Similar sites where you can sell your photos online

How Do You Get Started On The Shutterstock Contributor Program?

Getting started on Shutterstock can be pretty straightforward. Visit the Shutterstock contributor page and create a Shutterstock contributor account.

Once you verify your profile, you will have access to the dashboard to submit your videos, audios, or images.

Remember, you need to add meta descriptions and optimize your images for the search engines.

Your content will go through review and quality check by the experts at Shutterstock.

The purpose of this process is to ensure that your content doesn’t infringe any copyrights or trademarks and that it meets the quality standards.

If your content meets the standards, you’ll join the platform and be ready to earn income.

How To Maximize Your Contributor Earnings On Shutterstock?

While joining Shutterstock is seamless, you’ll need to put in a ton of work and strategy to be a successful contributor.

With over 1.6 million content contributors, 360 million photos, and 21 million video clips on the Shutterstock platform, you need to stand out from the noise.

One of the best ways to maximize the number of image, audio, or video downloads is to create quality content. And this means that you have to invest in quality photography tools, knowledge, and time.

Customers are ready to pay the premiums for quality photos.

Another way to boost your Shutterstock revenue is to focus on a photography niche. 

Whether it is landscape photography, product, or portrait photographer, a unique style puts you on the competitive edge and ensures that your content stands out.

Also, ensure that you produce and upload versatile content to Shutterstock. 

Focus on submitting images that customers can use in different ways. And this means that customers can download the same picture for various uses.

Ultimately, it will increase the number of downloads you can get.

Another excellent way to get more money off Shutterstock is to be consistent. 

Create and upload new content consistently to improve your chances of making more sales.  

Importantly, hop on the latest photography trends.

Stay in the news loop and grab the giant scoop by creating content that aligns with the current trends.

Other Lucrative Ways To Make Money With Shutterstock

Aside from making money as a contributor on Shutterstock, you can also use Shutterstock content to make money on other platforms.

This strategy is excellent for people who need to make money from video or image content but aren’t professional photographers.

For instance, you can create a passive source of revenue on Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or a blog. And to make money from these sites, you need to create excellent content.

Where else can you get quality stock images, audio, and videos? 

Shutterstock is the ultimate solution for your content needs.

Premium Beat has millions of excellent audio that you can use for your social media content.

If you are a professional website designer or a blogger, you can choose from millions of Shutterstock images and illustrations to create your web and blog content.

Does Shutterstock Accept Mobile Photos?

Make Money By Selling Photos Through Shutterstock App

Yes, you can make money with mobile photos.

If phone photography is your cup of forte, you can rest easy knowing that Shutterstock has tools for mobile images.

Another best thing with Shutterstock is that it provides seamless tools to make it easy to monetize your creativity.

Shutterstock Contributor App is one of the tools that makes it easy for phone photographers to snap and upload images using their phones. And this makes it easy to upload as many images from wherever you are through the Shutterstock app.

How Does Shutterstock Pay You?

Shutterstock will disburse your cumulative earnings once you hit the minimum earning threshold in a month.

$35 is the minimum payout, but you can set your threshold to any amount above this figure.

The payment is once every month, and you can receive your payments through PayPal, Payoneer, or Skrill.

Don’t worry if you don’t hit the minimum payout; your earnings will roll over to next month.

The most crucial thing about selling stock photos is consistency, dedication, and continuous learning.

Put out as many quality photos as possible and leverage ways to stand out as a photographer.

You might not earn much initially, but you can make thousands of dollars from your content library on Shutterstock with consistent learning and dedication.

The best part is that the Shutterstock team is ready to help you navigate the image stock market.

What Makes Shutterstock Stand Out From Others?

Shutterstock’s key features include its vast library of over 1 billion high-quality images, videos, and music tracks, a user-friendly platform with advanced search capabilities and filters, and flexible pricing and licensing options that cater to different user needs and budgets, including extended licenses for comprehensive usage rights.

The platform is regularly updated with new content, providing users with the latest and most relevant images for their projects.


Making money on Shutterstock is a great way to earn passive income as a photographer or digital content creator.

By following the tips and strategies mentioned above, such as creating high-quality, unique content and optimizing your keywords and titles, you can increase your chances of making sales and earning royalties on Shutterstock.

Additionally, with Shutterstock’s user-friendly platform, vast library of creative content, and flexible pricing and licensing options, it’s an ideal platform for both buyers and sellers looking to monetize their digital content.

So why not give it a try and see how much money you can make on Shutterstock?


Yes, it's possible to make good money on Shutterstock if you consistently upload high-quality, in-demand images that meet the needs of buyers.
Yes, Shutterstock can be a good side hustle for photographers and designers who are looking to make some extra income by selling their images online. The platform has a large and diverse customer base, which increases the chances of your images getting sold. e successful.
Photos of people, travel, food, and business are some of the top-selling categories on Shutterstock. However, it's important to note that the demand for specific types of images can vary depending on current trends, events, and seasonal changes.
Yes, Shutterstock is worth it for both buyers and contributors. Buyers have access to a vast collection of high-quality stock images, videos, and music at competitive prices, enhancing their projects. As a contributor, selling on Shutterstock can be rewarding if you create unique and high-quality content that meets market demands.
Selling on Shutterstock requires effort and dedication, but it can be a rewarding experience. To increase your chances of success, focus on creating unique and high-quality content that meets market demands. Consistently uploading new content and understanding your audience's preferences can also contribute to your sales. While competition exists, with the right approach, it is possible to earn income from your contributions on Shutterstock.


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