We love our contributors and we want to make your submission process as easy as possible. To make that happen, we regularly ask our team of reviewers to provide helpful hints that make being a Shutterstock Contributor a more rewarding experience. In this post we’ll be sharing tips from the review team to improve your success with submitting editorial images.

1. Use the Shutterstock Website as a Research Tool

Shutterstock has more than 40,000 editorial images on the site. This library is a great way to see what type of content has been recently approved and what type of content is trending amongst customers. You can see this by choosing the “New” and “Popular” tabs, respectively. After entering your search query, be sure to change the search options to Only Editorial (under More) to filter out commercial content. Searching the collection can also give you insights into the topics and events that are missing from the collection. Discovering that content gap could help you decide what you should go out and shoot next.

2. Think When, Where, Who, and What

The editorial caption can be a tricky step in getting your images approved. Make sure to ask yourself if when, where, who, and what are being answered in your editorial caption. An editorial caption should follow this format:
CITY, STATE, COUNTRY – DATE: Factual description of the scene.

Image by Heather Shimmin

Be as detailed and specific as possible. “People going down stairs” is not an acceptable description. It does not give any information as to where, why, and when. Here’s an example of a good editorial caption for the image above:

Rome, Italy – 6 September 2016: Looking down on tourists descending the Grand Staircase inside the Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museums) in Vatican City, Italy. New Bramante staircase, black and white.

3. Explore, Explore, Explore

Images taken in rural areas or places that most people will not have the opportunity to visit are always in demand. See what the upcoming events or festivals are happening in your city. When you are traveling, wonder off the beaten track to capture things outside the main tourist attractions.

Image by Perfect Lazybones

4. The Decisive Moment

Take advice from the founder of modern photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson. He wrote extensively about his theory called “the decisive moment,” the moment that you as the photographer choose to release the shutter and take the photograph.

Image by Christian Bertrand

5. Be Critical of Your Work

When you come back from a shoot, it’s possible that you took hundreds of images. It’s important to evaluate each one for technical issues prior to submitting. View your images at 100% to look for focus, noise, banding, and other technical issues. Do not submit every image you take; even our friend Henri Cartier-Bresson took some bad photographs.

Image by AGIF


Other editorial resources:

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Top image by Heather Shimmin