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Extra Income Using Shutterstock

Is It Beginner Friendly

By Timothy A RowlandPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Extra Income Using Shutterstock
Photo by Uyen Nguyen on Unsplash

What Is Shutterstock?

If you are a professional photographer or if you build online businesses, there is a good chance that you already know what Shutterstock is. For those who may not know, Shutterstock is an online website that allows people and businesses to purchase a license for the use of stock photos and videos. Anyone who may need a stock photo or video is able to purchase the rights to use that content in their own advertising or content creation.

Shutterstock is easily one of the largest suppliers for stock photos and stock video available on the web today. The only site larger in size and users would be Adobe Stock. Webmasters and business owners from almost every niche flock to Shutterstock to find the perfect content that will speak to their audience.

Other Side of Shutterstock

Now, the other side of Shutterstock is the photographer. This is the area we are most interested in for this post. No matter if you are a professional photographer or someone who just recently picked up your first camera, you can create a free account and sell your photography. Each time someone purchases the right to use your photo or video, you earn a commission.

Commissions are never very high. You will likely earn under a dollar for each photo, but once you have built up a large portfolio on the site, it all becomes passive income. Once you upload your photos, they are reviewed. If approved, the photos stay on the site forever. You may earn a commission on a photo or video that was uploaded four or five years ago.

By Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

Quality Matters… A Lot

Now, it is important to realize that the quality of your photos absolutely matters. As stated before, once you upload your photos, they have to be approved. Pictures that look good to the naked eye, may still not pass the approval process. Any indicators of shakiness, blurriness, or flaws in quality will cause the photo to be denied. Out of 50 photos uploaded, it is entirely possible to only end up with 12 (or less) that get approved. Your best bet is to try to always use a tripod when available to help avoid some of the common flaws that appear in amateur photography.

One of the most common aspects that most amateur photographers do not think of before uploading is the paperwork. Paperwork for stock content? Yes! If any people appear in your photos, you are required to have a model release form that is signed by those individuals. This must be submitted along with the photos. Your photo may be of outstanding quality and still get rejected because the required documents aren’t submitted, so be sure that you take this into consideration.

What to Submit

You have three options when choosing what to submit to Shutterstock to be made available for earning money. You may upload photos, videos, and graphics. The most difficult to get approved would-be graphics. They must be unique, they must be a manipulatable file such as vector, and other requirements may be ask for them as well. Photos are perhaps the most common content uploaded for sale, but they too must be of near perfect quality. Also, if uploading photos, don’t forget the consent form for every person that appears in the photo. Of course, you can always submit photos of nature and other subjects that are not human. This avoids that complication and extra step.

The last option, video, will generally earn you the most commission for each license sold. This is especially true if you are able to submit a video that is recorded in 4K resolution. The higher the resolution, the higher the commission per sale. Try to keep videos under a minute long and ensure that the quality of both video and audio are as great as they can be. Also, simple is often better. Remember, like most other money-making ventures, a niche is always a good idea. Choose a topic of your photos that will be consistent across your entire portfolio. Now, master that niche.

Overall, you have nothing to lose by trying your hand at selling stock content. If you enjoy shooting video or taking photos, create a free account and enjoy the process. Upload your content and slowly build your portfolio. Even if only a few are approved out of every batch that you upload, over time you will still gain a large collection. One they are uploaded, they stay available… which is potential money earned that you don’t have to do anything for again. Do it once… get paid several times in the future. It’s free to submit content and earn so why not at least give it a try. Head to Shutterstock and give it a try.

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About the Creator

Timothy A Rowland

I’m an every day human Xennial from the United States. I have many interest. I just want to improve your life and maybe entertain you. Available for editing and LeadsLeap projects at:

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