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New earnings structure for Contributors

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In an email that is going out today, we are announcing that we will be updating the earnings structure that determines how much you get paid when customers license your work. We are making this adjust

This space will be updated to address frequently asked questions.  My email shows different counts for videos than are shown above. Which is correct? Apologies. The email to video contributo

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2 minutes ago, Elena Eryomenko said:

Dear Kate and SS team, I’m a food photographer. Search by any popular keyword (Chinese food, Indian food, meat steak etc) in Food category and there most likely will be my photos on the 1st page. I was featured in some articles of SS blog. It took me years of hard work to get this kind of relevance and demand with my photos on SS website.

And now all those years of work, efforts and loyalty seem to mean nothing? Rolling back to lowest level every year is insulting, as well as getting 10¢ for subs. Yes, it’s a minimal commission only in case buyer pays for 350 and 750 images/months, but: 

  1. More likely it’s the most common plans 
  2. Most of contributor’s income - exactly those kinds of subscriptions

Won’t be deleting anything yet but will pause new uploads. Feel sad and completely demotivated. 

+1...they can´t silence me...lol

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Did you guys get this part?

Basically if a customer doesn't use all of their pack or subscription, SS keeps ALL of the extra $ instead of dividing it with the photographers who were part of the purchase!!! I'm going to wait a few days into June to see what the new earnings look like before deciding what to do.


"If a customer buys a pack or sub, but doesn’t use it all, how are my earnings calculated?

When a customer buys a pack or subscription, your commission is calculated based on the price per asset assuming full usage of the pack or subscription. For example, if a customer buys a 10 images per month subscription at $49 per month, the price per image is $4.90. Your earnings percentage is based on $4.90 regardless of how many images the customer downloads from their allotment."

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This is crazy, why should long time contributors be penalized, haven't you heard of seniority?  I've been a contributor since 2004, I was expecting a raise, not a pay cut, just horrible news, I would hope Shutterstock would reconsider this new approach that hurts every contributor every year!

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When I started with SS many years ago I agreed to some rules. And I followed them. And I climbed from level to level. Now SS changes the rules. NOBODY CAN CHANGE THE RULES DURING THE PLAY !!!!

Make your new rules for new contributors if you want and if they agree with them, but not for us, for the old guys !! Where are we? In North Korea??

You, guys form SS, you are degrading us all, all contributors.

Malgorzata Litkowska


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Hello, this is what i have to say about the new "update about the new earnings structure".
This is blackmail in its purest form! absolutely disrespectful!
This decision will horribly affect the talented independent artists who were creating  content in the site for many years.
Shutterstock is already selling our professional work for an hilariously small price!
Artists who dedicated their lives for their work in Shutterstock for years should be rewarded, and not getting punched in the face by taking away all of their progress they worked hard for years. 
The solution "in my opinion" is not resetting the levels in January 1st, but keep their well deserved level's how they are now!
Otherwise, your new decision is a direct lack of respect towards, us the artists!
This is inhumane! We are creative people and this decision will destroy the desire for creating our professional work for Shutterstock and to continue further cooperation!
Please pass my request to your management! I really hope that Shutterstock will make the right decision that will help further cooperation, and protect our creative interests together with our livelihoods!

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I smell a rat....

"We are grateful for our contributor community, who continue to document the extraordinary change in our daily lives. Our first quarter results reflect the strength of the Shutterstock brand. We remain focused on executing on our 2020 vision, driving long-term value for our shareholders and are confident that our resilience will make us stronger in the days and years to come."

"While revenues have been negatively impacted since the onset of the pandemic, at current volumes, we expect to produce significant earnings and free cash flow in 2020, allowing us to continue paying a quarterly dividend and reinvesting in our business. We are well positioned financially with $296 million in cash and no debt. Our strong liquidity position combined with the progress we are making against our margin enhancement initiatives make us well positioned to meet our financial objectives when demand returns to historical levels," concluded Jarrod Yahes, Chief Financial Officer. "

for more information...


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Hello all. As I see it this is about EXPOSURE. When people reach 38 cents tier, all sales drop!!! It was better for shutterstock to pay 25 cents and not 38, and favor new portfolios.

BUT... doing this, experienced contributors get less EXPOSURE, and maybe good images can't get sales, with this algorithm. So overall there is less quality. 

Can't see any other reasonable reason for the reset.

If there is a reset, then experienced contributors and new contributors have the same start for the year as EXPOSURE. 

So with the reset, maybe there will be more sales, for any portfolio. Not just the 2020 and 2019. 

I am here since 2006, and in the last few years, it was impossible to grow. IMPOSSIBLE. Even if Worked full time 3 months, no results. That's how you quit. 

With the algorithm as it is, there is no interest for shutterstock to promote 38 cents portfolios.

But doing so, the clients lose some quality images, (experienced contributors that invested in gear, and are not on start-up, with phones).

Now, only recent 2020 2019 portfolios are promoted.

So maybe this is a good thing. 

Honestly, I can't even think this is a scarcity move. So the only reasonable reason remains this "algorithm". 

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@Kate Shutterstock Can you please post the pricing structure with monetary values in the FAQs so there is an official correct one we can all refer too. Why leave it up to contributors to come up with it. I can't believe you corrected one version that it was not right because of the 10c rule and still did not post the pricing structure. Not having one shows an utter lack of transparency. 

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now, adobe is much better. if they allow a exclusivity with some extra bonuses, i think shutter can lost many of good microstockers to adobe. for ever. at least i am too stopping new uploads and waiting for good offers from adobe. or can be prefer istock exclusive.


also i think we need a new open market for us. this can be non profit organization like blender 3d. can be like open source and can give most of prices to contributors. for example %75. as a non profit organizations this market can be live and active with their %25. need some heroes for market like this...

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Just deleted first 20 images. Tomorrow will continue.

Shutterstock was always the first platform where I upload new content. So it want to be the last. Other stock platforms will get fresh first. And it seems that from January 1st it is no sence to upload new content until you get to some level, because new content will be sold for unfair low price, so it is better to collect for several month new content. Upload to other stocks, and when price on shutter will became higher, only then upload content.


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This is a disgusting-sleazy scheme of greed. Adobe Stock is sounding good right now. We need to speak up and give them pressure and move away from shutterstock if they go through with this new pay structure. It's not worth the time and work to get a smaller cut for your work just to align their pockets more. Such a obvious act of greed.

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