Why I could not Earn on Shutterstock

Last Updated on

Why I could not earn on ShutterstockHello friends! I’m Mary Click. English is my second language. So excuse me for my speech errors. In this article I want to share my experience of work with Shutterstock. Also, I want to say right away that I do not advertise or anti-advertise this service. It’s just my personal experience. Your experience can be completely different.

In order for you to understand how exactly everything happened, I will start from the beginning of my creative start-up. If you want to go directly to details, then I recommend selecting the necessary section from the content of the article: «why I could not make money on the photo» or «why I could not make money on the vector illustrations».

The beginning of my work with Shutterstock

Drawing, photo – I always liked it, but I never tried to make money on it. It was a hobby. 5 years ago I came across information that people make money on photos. But personally, it all seemed very difficult to me:

  • Requirements for various kinds of technical parameters of images;
  • Sign in;
  • Examination;
  • Signing Property releasе;

But time passed, and quite recently I was very interested in the opportunity to earn money on photos and vector illustrations. For example, today illustrations are used on different sites, they more clearly convey an idea, a thought. I became interested in the process of monetizing such content.

By the way, vector illustrations have become for me a new direction in drawing. I did not know about it before. Perhaps you – my reader, professionally work with vector images a very long time, but for me this is a discovery.

Somewhere 2 months ago I registered on the site of Shutterstock. I did not have a goal to draw vector images. I just wanted to post my photos for sale. The Shutterstock site has an exam. Every beginner must pass this exam if he wants to access sales. The first 10 photos must be checked. After that, these photos and all the following can be put up for sale.

Why I could not make money on the photo

I passed the Shutterstock exam. The photos were on sale. For two months there was zero sales. I read the recommendations on the Internet:

you need to download about 1000 photos to start earning.

But if I do not have any sales, then these photos are not needed by anyone.

Mary Click on Shutterstock
Page of Mary Click on Shutterstock

I, of course, went to the section “Shot List”, where Shutterstock recommends which photos are needed in the image market at different times. In the end, I realized that I do not have the physical ability to create the right content. I can not be where there is an opportunity to make such photos.

And also I do not have those interiors and people around me, which I could photo and invite people to act as models. For example, let’s look at the shot list, which is now on Shutterstock:

Shutterstock recommends №1
Shutterstock recommends to photographers №1

I’m not a traveler and take pictures of places that would impress other people I can not.

Shutterstock recommends №2
Shutterstock recommends to photographers №2

I do not have access to places (such as a cafe or restaurant) where I could take pictures of different dishes. But buying food and cooking independently all these dishes is very expensive. Ordinary food does not look so attractive. I must have a wide variety of dishes to do a lot of content. And not just dishes. The interiors should be attractive too. Therefore, this category of photos does not suit me.

Shutterstock recommends №3
Shutterstock recommends to photographers №3

Photos on the topic of care, beauty and health – is also difficult for me. I thought it over and realized that I need to work in a beauty salon, where I can have access to beautiful things for care. However, this is impossible. I’m not a hairdresser, I’m not a stylist, I do not have many different things that I can to photograph 1,000 times. And the trends are constantly changing.

Shutterstock recommends №4
Shutterstock recommends to photographers №4

This category of images does not suit me too. I do not study at university. And the institute, where I studied in my country, had bad interiors. All this would look bad on the photo.

In addition, in this example of photography there is the most complex element – people’s faces. If a person’s face is visible on the photo, then such a photo requires a release. In this release, the model must consent to use of photographs with his face for sale. But this is very difficult. It is necessary not just to photograph a person, but to hire a model. I have to pay the model in advance. This does not suit me.

For someone, perhaps for you, dear reader, this may seem simple, since you may be a professional photographer. The world in which you live, the people who surround you can allow you to earn. I’m writing exclusively about myself and my experience should not to stop you to earn with Shutterstock.

Quite recently in this shot list there were other recommendations. Shutterstock recommended photographers to make photos with men who are educate a children or doing unusual things for men:

  1. Clean the apartment;
  2. Wash clothes;
  3. Cooking food in the kitchen surrounded by children;

Also Shutterstock recommended making photo with people of non-traditional sexual orientation. All this also did not suit me and I realized that my pictures are far from those that can be sell. Your opportunities may be quite another.

Why I could not make money on vector illustrations

Also all was worse with the vector images on the Shutterstock. It all ended up because I gave up this job. Attempts to sell vector images on this site are impossible for me. Here’s how it was.

After I realized that photography is beyond my ability, I decided to try to work with vector illustrations. To the vector illustrations you need to attach the release too. If you drew from your paper sketch, you just need to fill in the form of the release:

Release forms on Shutterstock
Release forms on Shutterstock

fill in the necessary data, attach a sketch to the loaded vector. It is not difficult. My impasse was elsewhere.

To begin, take a look at this screenshot: it shows all my attempts to pass the exam on Shutterstock of vector illustrations:

Mary Click: rejected content on shutterstock
Mary Click: rejected content

And by the way, I found out the unpleasant news that drawing a vector illustration is necessary in the Adobe Illustrator. This is a paid program and for me, as for a person who has never earned money on images, it is not reasonable to purchase a paid program in the beginning.

So I chose the inkskape program. This is a free program for working with vector images. In my opinion, this is a worthy program for creating illustrations for sale:



download page of inkskape program
inkskape program – download page

However, many people on the forum Shutterstock recommend working in the Adobe Illustrator – since it’s a classic. And everyone who buy vector images, necessarily opens them in the illustrator and works with pictures only there.

Gradually, looking for opportunities to work in InkSkape, I came across information that in this program I can make vector illustrations for selling them on the Shutterstock. I studied the basic principles of work in this program. They are not complicated, besides Inkscapa saves files in EPS format, which opens in the adobe illustrator.

I created a not very complex vector drawing and uploaded it to Shutterstock. My work did not pass the exam and I repeatedly edited my illustration.

I agree. I am newbie.

  • I made mistakes and found in my image the effect of transparency. I made this effect for redrawing a vector illustration from a paper sketch. When I returned the opacity back, I made it randomly 99%. Instead of 255 units of opacity, there were 253. This difference of 99% and 100% is completely invisible to the eye. I examined each vector path and thus found an error.
  • Then I learned the vector images should have closed paths. This I did not learn right away. I read the Shutterstock forum, people wrote that these are requirements of all services. I, respectively, closed all the paths.
  • Another error in the view of Shutterstock – in my vector illustration there are related images. I completely do not understand where the error is? What I must edit for a successful check?

Vectors containing linked images, bitmaps, and / or raster effects are not acceptable.

Honestly, I spent a week on my time. I was immersed in an unusual interest in the vector image, corrected, as it seems to me, all the mistakes, but this did not help me pass the test of the Shutterstock.

5 attempts exhausted me. Each check of my downloaded vector illustration came within 5-10 hours after download. Every deviation had a comment. Comments were different. I do not know what to do. I have no more strength.

When I corrected the raster elements in the vector image, I was sent a new rejection with the comment:

Path Construction: Vector / illustration contains path construction issues.

I do not understand where I have problems with path construction, I closed all the paths. This is a dead end for me.

Vector illustration of Mary Click on shutterstock
Vector illustration of Mary Click

There was also a remark on the keywords:

Keywords: Keywords must be descriptive of the subject matter and must be in English. Keywords cannot contain special characters, spelling/grammar errors, or repeat words/phrases in excess.

According to the rules of Shutterstock, I must add at least 7 keywords or phrases. I used:

  • 9 months
  • 9 months pregnant
  • female
  • people
  • pregnancy
  • pregnant
  • pregnant woman

I agree with the rules of Shutterstock. I would leave 1-2 keywords, instead of 7. Since, in my personal opinion, it is better to pick up 1 exact keyword, than a few not quite suitable words.

By the way, when I sent the vector illustration for check last time, I attached the property release:

Property release of Mary Click
Property release of Mary Click

I do not exclude that in the future, perhaps, I will come back to attempts to pass a test of Shutterstock on vector images, but I think that will not be soon. If I overcome this, I’ll write the article about it and share with you my new experience. Thank you for your time. I would be happy if you leave your comment. Perhaps you can help me. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *