In the vast digital landscape of stock photography and video, Shutterstock stands tall as one of the leading platforms for creative content. As a contributor, you have the opportunity to turn your passion for photography, videography, and digital art into a profitable venture. In this blog, we will explore how Shutterstock works, the benefits of becoming a contributor, and essential tips to help you earn money from it. Additionally, we’ll delve into the Shutterstock referral program, a great way to boost your earnings further

What is Shutterstock?

Shutterstock is a leading stock photography agency that allows you to sell your photos, illustrations, and videos to a global audience. The platform has a massive user base, including marketers, designers, content creators, and businesses from around the world. If you have a creative eye and a knack for taking great photos, Shutterstock can be a great way to make some extra money.

How to Become a Contributor?

To start earning money with Shutterstock, you need to become a contributor by following these simple steps:

  1. Create a Shutterstock account. Go to and click on the “Sell your content” Tab and then click on  “Sign Up” button. You’ll need to provide some basic information about yourself, including your name, email address, and payment information.

  1. Upload your photos. Once you have created an account, you can start uploading your photos. Shutterstock accepts photos in a variety of formats, including JPEG, PNG, and TIFF. Photos should be at least 500 pixels wide and 500 pixels high.
  2. Add keywords. When you upload your photos, be sure to add relevant keywords. This will help people find your photos when they’re searching Shutterstock. You can use the Shutterstock keyword suggestion tool to help you find the right keywords.
  3. Promote your portfolio. Once you have uploaded your photos, you can start promoting your portfolio to potential buyers. You can do this by sharing your portfolio on social media, or by submitting your photos to stock photo directories.

Here are some additional tips to help you make more money from Shutterstock:

  • Upload a variety of photos. The more photos you upload, the more likely you are to sell some of them.
  • Shoot photos that are in demand. Do some research to see what types of photos are selling well on Shutterstock. Then, focus on shooting photos that are in demand.
  • Keep your photos updated. As your photography skills improve, be sure to update your portfolio with new photos. This will help you keep your portfolio fresh and relevant.
  • Be patient. It takes time to build a successful stock photography business. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t start selling a lot of photos right away. Just keep uploading high-quality photos and promoting your portfolio, and you’ll eventually start to see results.
  • Refer customers: You can earn a commission for each customer you refer to Shutterstock. Share your referral link on social media, email, or your website.

How Much Money Can You Make Selling Photos on Shutterstock?

Shutterstock offers a lucrative opportunity to monetize your creative talents. In this section, we’ll delve into the key factors that influence your earnings and provide insights into the potential income you can expect as a Shutterstock contributor.


  1. Royalties:   Shutterstock contributors earn a royalty for each download of their content. The royalty rate is based on the number of downloads your content has received. For images, you can earn up to 40% royalty, and for videos, you can earn up to 35% royalty.
  2. The Shutterstock Referral Program: Shutterstock offers a referral program that allows contributors to earn extra income by referring new contributors and customers to the platform.  Here’s how it works:
  • Who can participate? Shutterstock contributors can refer customers to Shutterstock and earn a commission on their first payment.
  • How much can I earn? You can earn 20% of your referral’s first payment, up to $200.
  • How do I get a referral link? You can find your referral link in your Shutterstock account. To do this, go to your Account page and click on the Referrals tab. Your referral link will be displayed on this page.
  • How do I share my referral link? You can share your referral link on social media, in your email signature, or on your website.

Here are some tips for getting more referrals:

  • Promote your referral link on social media. Share your referral link on your social media profiles and encourage your friends and followers to sign up for Shutterstock using your link.
  • Add your referral link to your email signature. This is a great way to promote your referral link to your professional contacts.
  • Add your referral link to your website. If you have a website, add your referral link to your website’s footer or sidebar.


By following these tips, you can start earning more money from Shutterstock referrals.

Shutterstock payments: When and how you get paid:

Shutterstock payments are issued on a monthly basis. The minimum payout amount is $35. If you have not yet reached the minimum payout amount, your earnings will be carried over to the next month.

Payments are processed between the 7th and 15th of the month, unless the 7th falls on a weekend.


As a Shutterstock contributor, your earning potential is directly tied to your dedication, creativity, and responsiveness to market trends. By continuously improving the quality and diversity of your content, staying engaged with the Shutterstock community, and leveraging the referral program, you can unlock the full earning potential of this dynamic platform.

With a little effort, you can start earning money from Shutterstock. Just remember to upload high-quality photos, add relevant keywords, and promote your portfolio and referral link on social media, email, or your website.

I hope this information has been helpful. If you have any questions about Shutterstock Contributor, please feel free to leave a comment below.



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