Shutterstock serves two different purposes, it’s both a place to find royalty free images, and also a place to sell your photos and images to those that want to use them on their websites or in other media. But can you really make money with it, and are the royalty free images really free?
It’s important to understand that royalty-free does not mean an image is completely free to use, it simply means that you don’t have to pay royalties to use it. You buy the image once, and then you can use it again and again as you see fit, and it doesn’t matter how many people see the image, you only pay the one time.
Some images like the ones found at Wikimedia Commons, are totally free to use, and the owners of the images have made it so there’s no copyright. There may be other stipulations, like you have to give them credit, or they may say that you can use it any way you want to with no credit necessary. The images at royalty-free sites will be similar to that, except you have to pay a small fee first.k
The claim by Shutterstock is that they have millions of images and videos for you to choose from, depending on what your needs are. They also say that you can upload your photos, images, and videos and they’ll add it to their collection so that you can make money from your work.
You might have seen an add or heard of programs out there that say you can make money by simply uploading images to Shutterstock. The amount of money varies but usually is either a nice part-time income or potentially full-time. The hype is the ease with which these programs say you can make money, with many saying that all you have to do is sit and upload images and since there’s already a built-in consumer base the money just comes in. Of course it’s not exactly that easy.
Shutterstock says that it has payment plans for every budget, and this is how the pricing breaks down. If you just need one or to images you can buy a two-pack for $29 with nothing more to pay. If you need more than a couple they have 5 packs for $49. And if you end up needing pics on a regular basis you can get a subscription package where you can use up to 25 images a day and you can get that down as low as $199 a month if you sign on for
If you plan to make some real money with this, you’re going to have to commit to being a pro contributor. This is going to take some time and determination, and is not an overnight process.
Using royalty-free images from Shutterstock is definitely a good way to go to add professional-looking photos to your website, without having to worry about getting in trouble for using them later. If you want to keep yourself in good standing at all times it’s important to use images that you have permission to use, or give credit to the photo’s source if that’s all they’re asking for. Finding and using free images from a Google Images search can sometimes get you in trouble as a webmaster if you end up using an image from a copyright holder that doesn’t approve.
As far as making a good amount of money goes as a contributor to Shutterstock, you’d want to treat it as a legitimate business opportunity and come up with great looking images that people want to use, and come up with a lot of them. Since it’s already a mature site with thousands of top contributors adding images for several years now, they’re flooded with top-quality images. So you really need to think outside of the box and deliver creative and sharp images and photos that business owners would want to use on their websites or in their brochures or other print media.
Final Shutterstock Review
Overall, Shutterstock is a great resource for royalty-free images, and you can really find some high quality, high resolution photos that will look great on your site and give your visitors some eye candy, which has been proven to help with retention rate and time on page.
As a money-making opportunity it’s going to rely greatly on your ability to make eye-catching images, or take unique photos that others would want to use. It’s a combination of being a numbers game, but also having the creativity there as well. If you can come up with large amounts of creative content you stand a chance of making a nice side income that could grow over time.
You never know how good you’ll be at something until you try, so if the idea of uploading images to make money appealed to you, it may be worth your time to learn how to get good at it. Like most anything it’s a skill that can be taught if you’re willing to put the time in, but if you only take a passing interest in it you’ll likely be left with little to show for it.
As far as buying and using images from Shutterstock, we’ve never had a problem with the entire process, and there are so many different images sometimes the hardest part is deciding between two or three really good ones.