Shutterstock – this is the big one. For most microstock photographers, Shutterstock consistently outperforms all other agencies. If you are thinking of getting started as a microstock photographer, make sure Shutterstock is at the top of your list to join. For most independent contributors, Shutterstock consistently brings in around 40-50% of a microstock photographer’s monthly earnings. That’s pretty impressive.
Recently Shutterstock have added a whole raft of new image licenses that they aren’t giving too much information about. Suffice to say though, these new licenses are earning contributors a lot of extra income. Some individual sales are netting people anywhere from $16 to $120 per image. This is obviously very welcome news, especially when some other sites seem to be dropping prices or commissions. Yet again Shutterstock just seem to know how to win both buyers and contributors alike.
Shutterstock’s search model favours new images quite heavily, although perhaps not as much as it used to. They have introduced new search functionality recently that has changed things around a bit, but certainly not broken anything (unlike some site’s new ‘features’ that seem to only make things worse!)
The way Shutterstock report your statistics as a contributor (downloads, revenue, gross totals etc) is extremely well done and a few other agencies could learn a thing or two from it. All the information you will want as a photographer selling your photos is presented on one page that is regularly updated (every hour or so to maintain database performance). They even have the Shutterstock Contributor app available for your smart-phone!
Personally, Shutterstock represents about 40% of my monthly income. And they seem to sell more each month. This agency is a consistent earner, with a proven track record of decent dealings with their contributors. Buyers seem pretty happy too, as sales seem to keep improving for most contributors, despite the competition increasing as well. Whatever Shutterstock are doing behind the scenes is working!
Shutterstock works equally well for both photos and vectors. Both are in high demand here. But they handle vectors slightly differently to most other agencies. If you submit a vector, only a vector will be available for sale – no jpg raster version. So don’t forget to upload a separate jpg version of your vector image once the vector has been accepted. Then you double your chances of selling! Just be sure to remove the word ‘vector’ from your jpg’s keywords and description or it might get rejected.
The one thing that sometimes puts people off Shutterstock is their initial image acceptance test. You can read our tips for passing it and increase your chances. Yes, this initial test can be tricky. But then again, you are asking to be part of the world’s best selling stock library! Just give it your best, and keep on trying. The results once accepted more than make up for it.
My review advice for Shutterstock is simple – Sign up. Sign up now. You will not regret it.
Shutterstock Review - Microstock Agency,