Jump to content

Updates to our Similar Content Policy

Recommended Posts

11 hours ago, Matylda Laurence said:

Hi Adam had the same happen to me as I deliberately took a portrait and horizontal to include different aspects of a local landscape and horizon with wind turbines to create a useful image but one kept the other rejected.

That was my thought too with the waterfall. I also figured that for some things, cropping might affect too much how much the resulting image could be blown up.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 176
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

they always can buy vertical or horizontal,  or square  or many other format that SS Offers to the buyer.  

they have that option already    


Posted Images

On 8/22/2019 at 10:55 PM, jean-francois.me said:

@Anna Shutterstock can you please clarify how these are ACCEPTABLE? thanks

I am having the same problem. Two of the biggest sellers are similar images just reversed directionally ( downloaded here over 1500 times) and that happens with many of my images. Buyers do not seem to want to bother flipping them horizontally or vertically and would rather buy them in the way that fits their needs. SS is losing sales because of their now not recognizing how customers buy. Other stock sites get this.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/5/2019 at 5:14 AM, Kathy Hutchins said:

The standards being applied are clearly a result of not understanding the buyer market.  Horizontal and Vertical shots are used in different situations.  A smile vs a frown are different, yet are being rejected for similar content.  A full length is rejected because a head shot is accepted.  I had 4 different shots of Gerard Butler, all but one rejected.  The one approved was a angle not looking in camera, while the looking in camera was rejected.


In celebrity editorial content, photo buyers look for different angles, expressions, crops, and poses for different reasons.  Your application of this is EXTREME and limits options in celebrity editorial photos.  I routinely have direct eye contact, side views, and horizontal crops used.  I also have strange angles, and yes, even every image of a celebrity bought.

Please take another look at your policies and who is applying them before tanking my sales and yours.  The reviewers are clearly throwing the baby out with the bath water.

SHAPE UP, please!

great post.  i think one of the most amazing thing in the rejections that I've had  is that Shutterstock gets rid of the most marketable one.  

i understand the need to reduce the offering,  but what business model would take the least sellable ones when the neighbour store offers it?


@Anna Shutterstock can you imagine a fruit store telling their producers , take back these nice looking apples, we'll only display the bruised ones..

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/5/2019 at 5:34 AM, Adam Gladstone said:

I recently submitted two shots of a waterfall (one vertical/portrait and the other in landscape/horizontal) with that thought. Though I realize one can crop a photo, one type of shot might be more useful than another for a particular use. One was rejected for being too similar! I realize that  the reviewers can't read minds and realize I wasn't about to submit 100 variations of the same photo.

Of course others might disagree.

actually since horizontal and vertical are search filters the buyer likely will not see the cropable one  if that's what they want.  so no they are not similar in SS world .


the reviewers job is not to read mind, it's to improve the customer experience, and this is clearly an example of failure since customers looking for a vertical (assuming that's the reject one) will Not have access to the image,  even cropable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/9/2019 at 3:29 AM, mountain image said:

It is great from old contributor. but a new contributor is ban new picture similar, Overall picture is considered to improve the quality of the submitted work even more. Thx u.

they are only stopped from dumping a bunch of similar image, same as all contributors.   why is that a problem?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I want start with numbers:


4 293 sales



783 sales



547 sales


41 sales


I have more examples when toned images has much sales. I have two options:

  1. Ignore shutterstock new policy and upload both (original and blue + orange variants) but can be banned for spam.
  2. Color all my works to blue.

Does SS want that motion graphic portfolio turned into "blue only" colors?

I like previous people talk that logicaly would be more effective to clear real similiars (like bread samples on previous pages), or allow for original+2 toned images. My stats shows that all we lost in money if contributors could`t upload variations.


And  i attached few more sample (i can do it all night long) that shows clients buy not only similiars by color, but similiar sphere with different patterns. Does SS want me to stop doing this content too? Do we have no need for money now? 😃





Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/5/2019 at 2:25 PM, Anna Shutterstock said:

In order to improve the overall quality of the Shutterstock image collection, we are updating our policy for review of similar content. We avoid accepting Similar Content because it creates a poor user experience for customers and contributors by having large volumes of nearly identical images or clips. Browsing through large volumes of repetitive search results is time-consuming, and prevents customers from purchasing relevant content that fits their needs.

We are outlining tighter guidelines for what we consider to be similar content and this policy will now also apply to footage submissions. You can review the details of the policy changes and check out visual examples in the Contributor Support article Why was my content rejected for Similar Content?  This policy will go into effect starting on August 12, 2019.

As a result of these stricter guidelines, some of you may encounter rejections of some types of content that was previously accepted. Please take the time to review explanations and examples provided in the support article and contact us if you have additional questions.

And as always, thanks for your continued support and participation in our marketplace!

is this is place yet?  other posts seems to point that maybe some reviewers are not aware.  (see posts from a Client in "contributor experience")

Link to post
Share on other sites


I wonder how can SS consider that different expressions are similar content?

Surprise, excitement, anger, smile, serious, sad, etc. are now considered similar content if the model and background are the same in all the photos.

Has anyone thought that having to change the background or model for each expression or action disproportionately increases the times per photo, making a session much less profitable?

I would like to ask Shutterstock to reconsider the limits of "similar content", because it is increasingly difficult to make a session profitable .


(Sorry for my english)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
57 minutes ago, Denis Costille said:

@Anna Shutterstock

The new policy about simmilar content is really stupid.For example, as several contributors said, the same subject in an horizontal format and in a vertical format IS NOT similar content, because each fills a different need. 
Here is another example of stupid rejection :


agree with @Denis Costille, one error review in there based on policy. @Anna Shutterstock is this part of .5% allowed margin. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also was very surprised for rejecting images for similarity. one image was wide shot landscape with object in center filling 5% of frame, and another is vertical with object filling 50% of frame. I guess someone takes it for same but...

But I came into photography from DTP and graphic design, doing it because often I had to make my own photos to fit project I am working on (magazines, books, websites...) Head photographer was unavailable, so I would take camera to make photos. I would always snap some more, from another side, different composition and orientation, similar as someone had already explained. Something like left/right/center - portrait/landscape - wide/close ...for each composition. And I would use those photos often, even a years later. And those are not he same, because my chose depends on design I am working on.

Please just consider. I know that adding option for photo series is painful, but it's also obvious You need it, because this way you are rejecting photos that someone wants to sell, and others wants to buy, and that means moving steps away from bot customers and sellers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the similar content policy but only when it actually works the way it should (as it is written in the support article). I had to resubmit some of my photos that got hit by similar content rejection and trust me, their only similarity was probably in the word Pano(rama). An example below; and no, I don't have any other that are similar to the rejected (now accepted) one in my portfolio.


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2019 at 12:22 AM, Paul Cowan said:

I fail to see how a photo looking straight down on a plate of food is "similar" to a view of the same plate taken close-up sideways on.

Well they are both food and have a plate? 😣

Yes you have hit on something, that "similar" should actually be more than similar words, especially as you have pointed out, looking down and from the side are hardly similar in composition. Somewhere I think this is an over-reaction to something that wasn't done right, according to their own rules in recent years.

So now we get punished with over the top absurd, nit picking rejections? Somewhere there's a nice balance of rational review, I hope we get more towards that someday soon.


Link to post
Share on other sites


I submitted 2 vectors of a same theme with different designs, the only thing similar with both vectors are the title and extra icons set that i placed on the same spot because i wanted a uniform representation of my works. One got approved, another one rejected for similar. I fail to understand this similar policy. Attached are the vectors. Are they similar?




Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Hemin Xylan said:


I submitted 2 vectors of a same theme with different designs, the only thing similar with both vectors are the title and extra icons set that i placed on the same spot because i wanted a uniform representation of my works. One got approved, another one rejected for similar. I fail to understand this similar policy. Attached are the vectors. Are they similar?




They are obviously not similars and one shouldn't have been rejected.

Shutterstock clearly don't know how to implement their policies to benefit their profit in the long term. While their decision of having less spam is good, the way they are implementing it is clearly far from good. But what could we expect, people who work for shutterstock are humans and nobody is perfect, so i guess we shouldn't expect perfection. Only maybe a bit more of efficiency and reasoning when deciding whats similar or not and who's trying to "cheat the system" with hundreds of similars or repetitive ways to make lots of images that don't take any effort or who is trying to work smart and efficiently by using same graphic elements and still adding tons of value with different images


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...