How to Get Approved on Shutterstock

If you are a photographer or a graphic designer, you probably know how important it is to have your work seen and appreciated by others. One of the most popular platforms for selling and buying stock images and graphics is Shutterstock. However, getting your content approved on this platform can be a challenging task. In this article, we will provide you with some tips and tricks on how to get approved on Shutterstock and increase your chances of making a sale.

What is Sutterstock ?

Shutterstock is a popular online platform that allows businesses and individuals to buy and sell stock images, graphics, and video footage. As a contributor to Shutterstock, you can earn money by creating and uploading high-quality content that customers can purchase for their own use.

To make money with Shutterstock, you first need to become a contributor by creating an account on the platform and submitting a portfolio of your work for review. If your content meets Shutterstock’s quality standards, it will be approved for sale on the platform.

Once your content is available on Shutterstock, you can earn money each time a customer purchases one of your images, graphics, or videos. Shutterstock pays contributors a royalty rate based on their lifetime earnings, starting at 15% and increasing to up to 40% for top earners.

To increase your chances of success on Shutterstock, it’s important to focus on quality and consistency in your content. Research your niche, stay up-to-date with the latest trends, and engage with the Shutterstock community to build your brand and attract more customers.

By following these tips and creating high-quality, original content, you can make money on Shutterstock and turn your passion for photography or graphic design into a profitable business.

Why is Getting Approved on Shutterstock Important?

Shutterstock is one of the largest stock image and graphic marketplaces in the world, with millions of customers searching for high-quality content. If you want to succeed on this platform, you need to have your work approved and accepted by Shutterstock’s review team. Being approved on Shutterstock not only increases your visibility and potential sales, but it also gives you access to a larger customer base and higher royalties.

Shutterstock’s Content Guidelines

Before you start submitting your content to Shutterstock, it’s essential to read and understand their content guidelines thoroughly. Shutterstock has strict quality standards to ensure that only the best and most relevant content is approved for their marketplace. Some of the key guidelines include:

  • Your content must be original and created by you.
  • You must have all the necessary rights and permissions for any recognizable people, places, or property in your images or graphics.
  • Your content should be well-lit, well-composed, and technically sound.
  • You must avoid any trademarked or copyrighted material in your content.

How to Choose the Right Content for Shutterstock

Choosing the right content for Shutterstock is critical to your success on the platform. Here are some tips on how to choose the best content for submission:

  • Choose subjects and themes that are popular and in demand.
  • Focus on your niche or area of expertise.
  • Look for gaps in the Shutterstock marketplace and create content to fill those gaps.
  • Consider the commercial value of your content and how it can be used by customers.

How to Optimize Your Content for Approval

Once you have selected your content for submission, you need to optimize it for approval. Here are some tips on how to do that:

Technical Requirements

Shutterstock has specific technical requirements for images and graphics, including resolution, file format, and file size. Make sure you meet all of these requirements before submitting your content.

Composition and Style

Your content should be well-composed, with a clear subject, good lighting, and proper exposure. Avoid excessive filters, borders, or watermarks, as they can detract from the overall quality of your work.

Commercial Value

Your content should have commercial value, meaning that it can be used by customers for various purposes. Consider how your content can be used in marketing, advertising, or editorial contexts.

Tips and Tricks for Success on Shutterstock

Here are some tips and tricks on how to succeed on Shutterstock and increase your chances of approval and sales:

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

Shutterstock values quality over quantity, so focus on creating high-quality content that meets their standards. Don’t submit content just for the sake of having more content. Instead, take your time to create content that is unique, compelling, and visually appealing.

Research Your Niche

One of the best ways to stand out on Shutterstock is to specialize in a particular niche. Research the market to identify areas that are underserved and create content that meets those needs. By focusing on a niche, you can become an expert in that area and build a loyal following of customers.

Build a Consistent Portfolio

Consistency is key when it comes to building a successful portfolio on Shutterstock. Try to create content that is consistent in terms of quality, style, and subject matter. This will help you build a recognizable brand and attract more customers over time.

Stay Up-to-Date with Trends

The stock image and graphics market is constantly evolving, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and styles. Keep an eye on social media, blogs, and industry publications to see what’s hot and what’s not. By staying ahead of the curve, you can create content that is in high demand and attract more customers.

Engage with the Shutterstock Community

Finally, don’t forget to engage with the Shutterstock community. Follow other contributors, participate in forums and groups, and provide feedback and support to other members. By building relationships with other contributors, you can learn from their experiences and gain valuable insights into the industry.


Getting approved on Shutterstock is not an easy task, but with the right approach, it is possible. By focusing on quality, optimizing your content, and staying up-to-date with trends, you can increase your chances of success on the platform. Remember to research your niche, build a consistent portfolio, and engage with the Shutterstock community. By following these tips and tricks, you can become a successful Shutterstock contributor and increase your sales and revenue.

Can I upload content that I have already sold on other platforms?

No, Shutterstock requires that all content be original and not available on any other stock image or graphics marketplace.

How long does it take to get approved on Shutterstock?

Approval times can vary, but it usually takes between 5-7 days for the review team to process your submission.

What are some common reasons for content rejection on Shutterstock?

Some common reasons for content rejection include technical issues, poor composition, lack of commercial value, and copyright or trademark violations.

What percentage of royalties do Shutterstock contributors receive?

Shutterstock pays contributors a royalty rate based on their lifetime earnings. The rate starts at 15% and can go up to 40% for top earners.

Can I remove my content from Shutterstock if I decide to sell it elsewhere?

Yes, you can remove your content from Shutterstock at any time by deleting it from your portfolio. However, keep in mind that customers who have already downloaded your content will still have the rights to use it.

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