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How to sell photos on Shutterstock?

Uploading photos on Shutterstock is easy, free, and can be quite profitable. But there are many things to consider before you start uploading!

Shutterstock is made for anyone owning a  camera or smartphone. Even if you have an android or iPhone in your hand, you can start selling your photos. Starting from getting 25 cents a month, you can get up to hundreds of dollars in monthly if you learn the tricks of the trade. Let’s show you how you can do the magic! 

How does it work? 

When you upload your images to Shutterstock, you retain the copyright to your creations, and you receive a royalty fee whenever a subscriber downloads one of your photos. Simple!

But this doesn’t come easy! 🤨

First, you should be aware of an easy-to-follow best practice for success. By bearing these tips in mind, you have a higher chance of getting more downloads. Let’s ensure your steady flows of income now!

How to get started? 🤔

1. Create an account.

2. Assuming you already have some high-quality images, videos, or vectors that you own, you can click upload images.

3. Click On Select Multiple files and wait until upload the files. Files must OVER 4 Mega Pixels

4.Click Next

5. You need to submit your photo for Review. (Do not upload any copyright images or images that not belongs to you.)

6. You have to wait for 2–3 business days for approval of your images

7, Once that is done, you will be notified and you can start uploading more images.

Payment Plan

Let’s get down to business.

Users have the option to purchase a monthly or yearly subscription, which gives them access to an image library.  and up to 750 image downloads per month. For those who only need a few images, there is also an à la carte model, where users can pay to download a finite number of images (i.e. 2, 5, or 25). 

So why does this matter to you, the stock photographer? Your royalty earnings can change depending on the user’s payment plan, with the most lucrative being an On-Demand Image (any size), and the least being a Monthly Subscriber Image. Users can also purchase an Enhanced image, which allows them to use it for merchandising purposes. In this case, the photographer stands to earn 20% of the licensing fee (up to $80). 

Depending on your contributions as a stock photographer, the more you upload, the more you can get paid for. Once you’ve crossed the $500, $3,000, and $10,000 earnings threshold, your royalty rate will increase. For example, new Shutterstock contributors earn $1.88 for every On-Demand Image download, but once they make $500, that rate goes up to $2.48.   

Technical Details

There are three types of data forms you can upload. The following paragraphs include restrictions posed upon all of them.

📷 Photo – The format needs to be JPEG, and the resolution requirement is a minimum of 4 megapixels, however, any smartphone nowadays has 12 MPs.

📹 Video – The format here is not specified, the only restriction is the length of the clip, which has to be between 5 to 60 seconds.

🌀 Conception and Formation – The format needs to be EPS with a maximum resolution of 15 MPs or JPEG format with a minimum of 4MPs.

How do I start selling more photos?

Just like with everything, consistency and quality will eventually bring your customers. But you need to bring them more value than your competitors. According to Shutterstock’s website, they have several ideas to help users. But we thought we’d extend the list a little.

Explore your Competition

Get Updated Information. Use Shutterstock galleries to explore your main photo topics. Firstly, you get to know the competition, which will force you to level up your game by putting in more effort. Moreover, by analyzing a vast amount of thematically similar pictures, you can orchestrate your trademark shots. Your style is about to get manifested.

Frequency is key

Distribute your upload dates evenly. You should be aware that uploading all your photos once will benefit you in the short term only. As other contributors upload new photos, yours will be found in order in the older sets. Ideally, you can upload highly numbered sets of photos each month. Make sure to schedule this task in your calendar, and set reminders in case you wanted to shoot some frames before uploading your set.

Global trends 

Surf the trend wave. If you established an upload regiment, you should lean on the key trends in the industry, and take photos in a planned manner. Then, you can upload them strategically by giving your full attention to the trends, so your customers can find the latest fashion let it be some composition, location, or style.

Keep Things Natural and Honest

Usually, cheesy shots of employees laughing, or lovers gazing longingly into each other’s eyes become a good source for future memes. If you shoot photos in this cliched style, users will not want to download them, so stick to more natural and believable imagery.

You don’t necessarily need to shoot in 4K, ultra HD pictures. Most page visitors are looking for content on their phones, tablets, and computers anyway. The latest smartphones have features that would’ve been unimaginable a few years ago. So you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands on a camera. Quality is definitely important!

But with Shutterstocks, you also need to focus on quantity.

We recommend setting a monthly goal for yourself of 50 at least. The more images you have in your portfolio, the more consistent your revenue stream will be.

I hope this advice helped you to get a starter. Another platform that helps you monetize your photography is Foap. We have a detailed article on “How much you can earn with Foap?

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