Shutterstock’s Contributor Earnings Report 2017 is Out: $500M Payout to Photographers


Shutterstock LogoJust like every year since they went on public trade, Shutterstock has now released their Contributor Earnings Report for 2017 And just like every year, it brings interesting news for stock photographers. The most notorious one is they've reached a huge milestone: $500 million in contributor payouts after 13 years in business, and total payouts in 2016 exceeded the previous year's by over 16 million dollars, totalizing $115 million.

They also shared insights on earnings by continents and countries, including trending keywords, and high demand topics and styles.

All in all this year's report from Shutterstock, one of the leading stock photo agencies, is a great help for all stock photographers have a better grasp at the stock photo market in 2017. Contributor Earnings Report for 2017, next.

Shutterstock's Titanic Milestone: Half a Billion in Contributor Royalties!

No doubt the star of the report is the announcement of an important and very impressive milestone achieved: $500 million total payouts to contributors. Having paid with a humble $3.9K in royalties to photographers on their first year 13 years ago, and releasing a whopping $115 million in contributor royalties just in 2016 (which exceeded 2015's $99 million), Shutterstock is surely reaffirming their dominance in the market and showing their growth figures.

These numbers also include a total of 225,000 contributing photographers around the world (after they relaxed the rules for their contributor entry review), and a buyer base of 1.7 million users, all of which points to Shutterstock having no intentions to abandon the highest step of the microstock podium.

Shutterstock's Big Earning Countries and Popular Markets

The report not only celebrates the successful numbers. It also analyses them to bring up important insights for all stock photographers to know how the market is behaving so far this year. Globally speaking, the dominant continents are the expected, with Europe, Asia and the Americas on top, however some interesting data surges from a more detailed look.

Shutterstock's European contributors took most of the money home, with a grand total of $81.4 million paid out to that continent. But from that, $2 million alone went to Spain, an indicator of Spanish speaking market strongly growing in relevance.

The same goes for the third big earning continents, the Americas. From the $12.6 millions they earned, Brazil made $442K, proving Latin America's market is another one in continuous rise.

Asia, which occupies second earnings place beating America with its $19.1 million in 2016, earned most of their bucks in South Korea, a total of $219K just for that country.

Shutterstock's Trending Content Around the World

The company once again nailed it with most of their photography trends predictions for this year. In the best performing countries the trending keywords revolve around concepts like modern digital life, tropical nature or women empowerment.

The agency informed as well about the current content trends, most of them already listed in their extensive Photography Trends 2017 report published earlier in January. Street style, 4th industrial revolution, organic texture and tropical patterns are the main ones.

They also said they are welcoming content in some of the topics their customers are most highly demanding for, which also coincide with the styles they identified as popular for this year:

  • Real people in real life situations
  • Healthcare and all health related
  • Local buildings and landmarks in major cities
  • Individual and team sports
  • Extreme weather in nature

So if you wonder what should you submit to Shutterstock to be amongst the earning contributors, that's your answer!

Shutterstock Stays at Top of the Market for Contributors

This year's Contributor Earnings Report for 2017 clearly states the agency remains at top of the industry, retaining one of the largest chunks of the buyers pie and with a solid, massive base of contributors worldwide.

While in the past three years their total royalties payout has increased in a much less impressive way compared to the first 5 years of company history, the facts show Shutterstock's contributors made all together more money than in 2015. And it's no minor achievement to totalize $500 million in royalties paid in little over a decade in business.

More useful is to know the current market trends in this top agency, which tells us that Hispanic and Latin markets are growing strong, and that current global trends such as new gender roles and social themes, technologic lifestyle and warm nature are all the rage.

Even better, you get to know exactly what content Shutterstock is looking for within the most popular categories, so you don't have to think twice when it comes to what to shoot for stock this year.

Are you a Shutterstock contributor? What do you think about this report?


About Author

I write about the stock photo and microstock industry since 2006 on my several online-magazines. My goal for MyStockPhoto is to teach photographers and stock photographers how to sell more photos and earn money with their photography hobby.

1 Comment

  1. Affar Images on

    Yes in numbers it will continue to grow but since they are taking 1.2 million images per week. Most contributors (single ones) are seeing their earnings go down.

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