Part 1: Shutterstock Contributor Royalties
Part 2: Shutterstock Contributor Website & Apps
They are the industry leader in many ways, and are constantly tweaking their website, on both the buyer and contributor sides to improve the experience. All these efforts leads to a very positive Shutterstock review. Thus, they get our highest rating of any agency!
Not everyone is always happy about upgrades to existing tools, and some of Shutterstock’s more recent site upgrades have brought some negative comments from contributors. But overall, it seems they are making an effort to overhaul what is essentially an old code base dealing with hundreds of millions of images – not an easy task.
You can’t deny that the website has everything a contributor needs, and 99% of the time it works nicely. Features include: FTP upload, simple model release attachment, automatic keyword suggestions, real-time (or close to it) sales reporting and more. Even a gimmicky (but kind of mesmerising) world sales map, that tells you where your latest image purchases have come from.
Shutterstock Contributor is the mobile app for contributors who want to upload images on the road. You can check your sales, as well as get notifications of image reviews and more.
Watch The Shutterstock Contributor Video
Part 3: Shutterstock Contributor Earnings Experience
Let’s be honest – any Shutterstock contributor review worth its salt needs to get talking about earnings. After all, that is why we are in this business, to make some money from what we love creating.
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. Sadly, they did change their Enhanced License payout from a fixed $28 royalty per sale to a percentage based scale, which effectively means a pay cut for contributors in January 2016. Although it is not a welcome move for sellers, it does fit in their existing royalty tier structure, with Custom Image (or SOD) sales being paid on the same percentage scale – 20%, 25%, 28% & 30% for the top tier. Sales seem to keep improving for most contributors, despite the competition increasing as well. Whatever Shutterstock are doing behind the scenes is working to keep the client base growing and the contributor income (for many, at least) growing as well.
They also have become a major player for stock footage sales, competing with the popular Pond5. Their pricing for video footage is very good and their sales are steadily growing in this media format. For me they would represent the second highest earner for video, behind Pond5.
While they do sell audio, this isn’t open to the general contributor. They make private arrangements with select contributors and are focused on music more than other audio types like sound effects. Whether this will change in the long run is anyones guess.
Shutterstock Contributor Review Highlights
Part 4: Shutterstock Contributor Recommendations
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). Each contributor will notice different things with search, but in the end it all seems to even out so that with any new search change you never get punished too heavily.
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. It used to be that if you submit a vector, only a vector will be available for sale – no jpg raster version. But recently that has changed, and now both vector and jpg versions are available from a vector upload. Even still, they do allow you to also upload a jpg only version of your illustration if you prefer. Just be sure to remove the word ‘vector’ from your jpg’s keywords and description or it might get rejected.
The one thing that used to put people off Shutterstock was their initial image acceptance test. You can read our tips for passing it and increase your chances. But there is great news in this regard – they have changed their requirements for the initial test, making it much easier for new contributors. Instead of having to pass 8 out of 10 images, you now only need 1 to pass successfully! Even still, 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 Shutterstock contributor review advice is simple – Sign up. Sign up now. You will not regret it.