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Shutterstock Editorial Guidelines

In recent news, stock image giant Shutterstock have now begun accepting editorial illustrations and vector images. This could be a real win for certain illustrators, especially if you already have a bit of a portfolio of editorial content just waiting to go. But what are the Shutterstock editorial guidelines, not just for illustrations but for editorial photos as well? We thought it would be worth taking a look and explaining the Shutterstock editorial guidelines for our readers.

What is an Editorial photo, illustration or vector image?

The Shutterstock Editorial Guidelines basically state that it is one that cannot be sold with a regular commercial license due to copyright restrictions. It cannot be used to promote or advertise a product or service. Most likely it contains some recognisable brand elements or an identifiable person that has not given you a model release. Thus, this image can only be used editorially – that is, to illustrate current or newsworthy events. The people, object or place has not given you a release to use it commercially.

Who would use an Editorial image from Shutterstock?

Shutterstock’s customers aren’t just people looking to advertise a product. There are plenty of businesses and individuals who need to illustrate a news, social commentary or opinion piece. These are the customers who need your editorial illustrations and vectors. This could be on a blog post, online magazine or non-commercial multimedia presentation, such as a film.

Are there any restrictions?

The best place to head to find out is Shutterstock’s excellent Known Image Restrictions page. You will find a pretty comprehensive list of places and objects, along with whether or not they will be accepted under certain situations.

In addition, Shutterstock have said that they won’t accept any illustrations of celebrities at this time. Publicly elected officials (such as the President) are acceptable though. You can find out more: Shutterstock Editorial Guidelines for Illustrations, and Shutterstock Editorial Guidelines for photos.

What are the Shutterstock Editorial Guidelines for captions?

Each agency will have a slightly different approach to editorial captions, but here we are talking about the Shutterstock editorial guidelines. Make sure you adhere to these guidelines or you will get your image rejected. An editorial caption for Shutterstock submission should look like this:

May 10, 2014: Illustration of the Empire State Building, which is located in New York City. 

Sticking to this format will ensure you get your images accepted. Of course, just because it is editorial doesn’t mean your quality standards should be any less in technical areas, such as lighting, composition, noise and so on. Just be sure not to over-edit an editorial photo – they need to be true to the original scene. Finally, make sure you add the keyword ‘editorial’ to your image to help customers find it.

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