$1000 on Photo and Video with Shutterstock


How to Make Money with Shutterstock: A Comprehensive Guide

If you're a photographer, illustrator, or videographer looking to turn your creative work into a source of income, Shutterstock is a great platform to start with. With over 350 million images, videos, and music tracks available for purchase, Shutterstock is one of the world's largest marketplaces for creative content. As a contributor, you can upload your photos, illustrations, or videos and earn a commission each time someone downloads them.

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to get started with Shutterstock and maximize your earnings. From creating high-quality content to using relevant keywords and descriptions, and participating in Shutterstock's referral program, we'll cover all the essential steps to help you succeed on the platform.

Step 1: Sign Up as a Contributor

The first step to making money with Shutterstock is to sign up as a contributor. To do this, go to the Shutterstock website and click on the "Contributor" link at the top of the page. You'll be prompted to create an account and fill out some basic information about yourself.

Once you've created your account, you can start uploading your content. Shutterstock accepts photos, illustrations, and videos in a variety of formats, including JPEG, PNG, EPS, AI, and MP4. Before you upload your content, make sure to read Shutterstock's Contributor Guidelines to ensure that your work meets their quality standards.

Step 2: Create High-Quality and In-Demand Content

To maximize your earnings on Shutterstock, it's crucial to create high-quality and in-demand content. This means taking photos, creating illustrations, or shooting videos that are visually appealing, technically sound, and relevant to current trends and events.

Here are some tips for creating high-quality and in-demand content:

- Focus on a niche: Rather than trying to capture everything, focus on a specific niche that you're passionate about. This could be anything from food photography to travel illustrations to drone videos.

- Use high-quality equipment: Invest in high-quality equipment, such as a DSLR camera or a professional-grade video camera, to ensure that your work meets Shutterstock's technical requirements.

- Pay attention to lighting and composition: Good lighting and composition are key to creating visually appealing content. Use natural light whenever possible and experiment with different angles and framing techniques.

- Stay up-to-date with trends: Keep up-to-date with current trends and events in your niche to ensure that your work stays relevant and in-demand.

Step 3: Use Relevant Keywords and Descriptions

Once you've uploaded your content to Shutterstock, it's important to use relevant keywords and descriptions to make your work more discoverable. Keywords are the words and phrases that customers use to search for content on Shutterstock, so it's essential to choose them carefully.

Here are some tips for choosing relevant keywords and descriptions:

- Be specific: Use specific keywords that accurately describe your content. For example, if you've taken a photo of a red apple, use keywords like "red apple," "fruit," and "healthy eating."

- Use synonyms and related terms: Use synonyms and related terms to increase the chances of your content appearing in search results. For example, if you've taken a photo of a cat, use keywords like "feline," "kitten," and "pet."

- Avoid irrelevant keywords: Don't use irrelevant keywords or misleading descriptions to try to attract more customers. This can lead to negative reviews and damage your reputation on the platform.

Step 4: Participate in Shutterstock's Referral Program

In addition to earning commissions on your content sales, you can also earn money through Shutterstock's referral program. The program allows you to earn a commission by referring new customers or contributors to the platform.

Here's how the referral program works:

- Sign up for the program: To participate in the referral program, go to the "Referral Program" section of your contributor account and sign up.

- Share your referral link: Once you've signed up for the program, you'll be given a unique referral link that you can share with others. When someone signs up for Shutterstock using your link, you'll earn a commission on their first purchase or sale.

- Earn commissions: You can earn up to 20% of a customer's first purchase or a contributor's first sale, depending on the type of referral.

To maximize your earnings through the referral program, share your link on social media, blogs, and other platforms where creatives are likely to gather. You can also encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for Shutterstock and start earning commissions themselves.

Step 5: Monitor Your Performance and Adjust Your Strategy

Finally, it's important to monitor your performance on Shutterstock and adjust your strategy as needed. Keep track of your sales, downloads, and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and adjust your content and marketing strategies accordingly.

Here are some tips for monitoring your performance and adjusting your strategy:

- Use Shutterstock's analytics tools: Shutterstock provides a variety of analytics tools that can help you track your performance on the platform. Use these tools to identify your best-performing content, track your earnings, and monitor your customer feedback.

- Experiment with different content and marketing strategies: Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of content and marketing strategies to see what works best for you. Try different niches, styles, and formats to see what resonates with customers.

- Stay up-to-date with Shutterstock's policies and guidelines: Shutterstock's policies and guidelines can change over time, so it's important to stay up-to-date with any updates or changes. This will help you avoid any potential issues or violations that could impact your earnings.


Making money with Shutterstock requires a combination of high-quality content, relevant keywords and descriptions, and effective marketing strategies. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can maximize your earnings on the platform and turn your creative work into a source of income. Whether you're a professional photographer or a hobbyist illustrator, Shutterstock offers a great opportunity to showcase your work and earn money in the process.