Earn Money Apps, Sell Photos

Shutterstock Contributor App Review – Legit or Scam

Shutterstock Contributor is available on the Google Play Store for Android devices or on the App Store for iOS devices. If you want to contribute images to Shutterstock and be paid, you’ll need to only download this app. The company has a second app called Shutterstock. This app is for downloading and arranging your images. The two apps are different and you should only download the contributor app to make money. There are no restrictions and anyone can use this app and upload images. However, if you live in the United States the company requires you to submit a W9. Otherwise, anyone living outside the US is taxed 30% on your earnings. The company claims this is for taxes.

How Does it Work?

  1. You’ll need to visit the Google Play Store or the App Store to download and install the app on your mobile device.  You can install the app on your mobile phone or tablet. Many people prefer the app on the tablet. It makes it easier to upload and tag your images.
  2. Once you’ve finished installing the app, you’ll need to create your account. The company is rather strict when creating your account. They do have a few verifications that you must submit in order to contribute to the site.
  3. The company requires you to submit your full name, government-issued ID or passport, your physical address and your email when registering.
  4. The company normally requires 2 to 3 business days to verify your information. Once you’ve been verified you can now log into the app and start uploading your images.
  5. To finish the verification process you must first upload 10 images or videos. You can upload a combination of both. The site will review the quality of images that have been uploaded. Once your images are approved, you can start contributing to the site.
  6. It is a wise choice when you first start using the app to create your profile and upload your profile image. This helps buyers know who you are and gives them more confidence to download your images.
  7. Anyone living in the United States must submit a W9 to the company before they are paid.
  8. Anyone one that lives outside the United States is automatically taxed 30% on the money you earn on the site. The company will recover the tax when they pay you.
  9. You are free to upload any photo that is yours, videos, vector images, and illustrations.
  10. These will be registers in your online portfolio and you can keep track of all your uploads from the app. Furthermore, you can check to see how many of your images have been downloaded and if you have any money in your account.
  11. Each time one of your images is downloaded, you’ll receive a commission from the company.
  12. Your commission is based on several factors.
  13. Each of the images that are uploaded to the site can be downloaded multiple times. Each download is paid a commission by the company.

How Much Can You Earn?

  1. Your earnings are based on a few factors. The company will pay you royalties each time one of your images sells.
  2. Your royalties are calculated on the earning tier you are in. Furthermore, the royalties are based on the type of account the buyer signed up under.
  3. The earning tier is also based on how much you’ve earned since joining the company as a contributor.
  4. Tier 1: As a tier 1 contributor you’ll need to sell $0 to $500 worth of images.
  5. Tier 2: A tier 2 contributor must sell $500 to $3000 worth of images.
  6. Tier 3: You’ll become a Tier 3 contributor once you’ve sold $3000 to $5000 worth of images.
  7. Tier 4: As a tier 4 contributor means that you’ve sold $5000 to $10,000 worth of images.
  8. A buyer contributes to the number of commissions you’ll earn on each image sold. A buyer can purchase an account that gives him access up to 750 images.
  9. Tier 1 contributors earn $0.25 for each download, tier 2 earns $0.33, tier 3 earns $0.36 and tier 4 earns $0.38 for each download on the site.
  10. Furthermore, based on your earning tier the company can pay you up to 30% commission on the selling price of each of your photos.

What Do People Say About this Company?

  1. A few people say they’ve had issues with being paid. The company will wait until you’ve earned money in your account before asking you for your verification documents. This holds up your pay and takes longer to receive your money.
  2. The signup process is very strict and at times you don’t have all the documents with you that are required. This wastes a lot of time to go and find the necessary documents and to upload them to the company.
  3. Many people don’t like the company’s customer service. They claim they are rude and will dispute with you over your pay.
  4. The company is very strict and it is hard to be accepted. You must be a professional photographer to be accepted.
  5. The commission rate is very low for the number of downloads on the site.
  6. Many people feel that the cash out is way too high and should be lowered.
  7. Even after you’ve been accepted to Shutterstock each one of your images must be approved before appearing on the site. The site is very picky about the images they add.

How Does the Company Pay?

  1. Like I’ve stated earlier, any US citizen needs to have a W9 filed with the company before they’re paid.
  2. All non-US citizen will automatically be taxed a 30% fee on their earnings.
  3. You’ll need to earn $100 in your account before you can request payment from the company.
  4. You can request payment through Payoneer, PayPal or Skill.
  5. For any US citizen, you can request a check mailed to your home address. However, the company only mails out checks in the amount of $300 or more.


This is a legitimate company that is based out of New York and has been in business since 2003. Shutterstock is one of the largest online photo companies that people use to buy stock images for their blog or website. The company pays you a commission on each of your images downloaded from the site. Your commission is based on the tier level you are with the company. Furthermore, the company is very selective of the images they add to the site. This is a very competitive site and it isn’t always easy to earn a commission on the images you’ve uploaded.

My Thoughts About the Company:

  1. I don’t like the idea of all non-US residence having to pay a 30% tax on the money they earn. This is awfully high and the company doesn’t state if this is for State or Federal taxes.
  2. The commission rate they pay out is very low on each image downloaded. Most companies will pay you a higher commission rate.
  3. You need too many documents to register with the company.
  4. You need to earn a lot of money in order to earn a higher commission rate.
  5. The company can hold up your pay if they decide they want you to upload more documents to them.
  6. The company is selling your image more than once. Other companies will only sell your image once and you’ll earn $2.50 to $5.00 for each image sold. If this company sells your image, they are only willing to pay you a 30% commission.
  7. The company is large and well known for the stock images they have. However, the pay rate is low and they are very strict on what images you can upload to the site.



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