There’s more than one way to earn a living through Shutterstock. Here’s how Shutterstock contributors can earn money by referring both customers and other contributors from your network.

Photographers, videographers, and illustrators who earn money through submitting content to Shutterstock, did you know that you can also earn money through the Shutterstock Referral Program? The Shutterstock Referral Program allows you to earn money by referring other contributors like yourself, as well as customers to purchase content on Shutterstock. As creatives, chances are you work alongside many other artists in your industry.

How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Networking

Image via Look Studio.

By bringing those talented individuals to Shutterstock, you earn money. It really is that easy. And those clients who want to purchase more work from you? When you share your portfolio with your referral link and have them sign up, you earn money from your content as well as others’ that they may purchase when they use the platform.

Here are the details on how the Shutterstock Referral Program works. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out where you can find your referral code.


Referring a Contributor to Shutterstock

Whether you bring a photographer, videographer, or illustrator to Shutterstock, when they sign up using your referral link, you earn money.

  • Referring Image Contributors: For the first two years after an image contributor you referred is approved, you earn $0.04 each time one of their images* is downloaded.
  • Referring Footage Contributors: For the first year after a footage contributor you referred is approved, you will earn 10% of the sale price actually received by Shutterstock each time one of their clips* is downloaded.
How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Referring Contributors

Image via Mamaza.

*Referral earning is for any photo or illustration uploaded by your referred contributor.
**Referral earning is for any motion clip uploaded by your referred contributor.


Tips on Referring Contributors to Shutterstock

We get it. Bringing up referrals can be a tricky subject. But, there are some serious benefits for the contributors that you bring to Shutterstock. Not only will you provide more photographers and videographers opportunities to earn money doing what they love, but you also provide them the opportunity to recruit their own network and earn money in the same way. Here are a few tips on how you can recruit the photographers, videographers, and illustrators in your network to Shutterstock.

How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Tips on Referring Contributors

Image via Gaudilab.

Create a Blog Post

If you run your own blog or website where you talk about photography, consider adding your link to the bottom of the page. That way you can refer other contributors with more information on why you work with us.

How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Blogs

Blog example by author.

Add to Your Email Signature

Adding a link to your email signature is a great way to show people the opportunity to sign up without being too obtrusive. This is a simple way to showcase the great content you have on Shutterstock, and why other creatives should consider doing the same.

Promote on a Swipe-up on Instagram Stories

Use your Instagram Stories to tell other photographers and videographers why you upload to Shutterstock, and why they should too. Also include the link or a swipe-up with your referral code so they have an easy, seamless way to sign up with more information.

Stories examples by author.

Add to Your LinkedIn

Whether you use LinkedIn or business cards, consider adding it along with your other portfolio URLs and links. This is a great way to talk about the program at industry or networking events.

How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — LinkedIn

Image via De Repente.


Referring a Customer to Shutterstock

Whether you know a small business owner, a friend, or a family member looking for content for a project, or have worked with a client that loves your work, referring a customer is a great way to earn even more money at Shutterstock. When a customer signs up using your link, you earn money.

  • Referring Customers: When you refer a customer to Shutterstock, you’ll earn 20% of their first payment, up to $200***
How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Customers

Image via Photographee.eu.

***For example, if you refer a buyer whose first purchase is a $249 monthly membership, 20% ($49) will be added to your account. The referral earning only applies to the first monthly payment received by Shutterstock for any membership.


Tips on Referring Customers to Shutterstock

Referring customers to your content on Shutterstock should be a part of every campaign that you work on as photographers, videographers, and illustrators. A customer may purchase custom work from you for a variety of reasons, but a great way to keep them engaged long-term is to offer them additional ways to find your work. Here are a few tips on how you can start referring customers to Shutterstock.

How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Tips for Referring Customers

Image via MJTH.

In Your Link-in-Bio on Instagram

Include your referral code to show customers your stock link so they can find and purchase your work. Adjust this or add an additional link to your bio on Instagram to showcase this portfolio to customers.

On Your Website

Consider having a dedicated page on your online portfolio for customers to find your stock work. By using your referral code as the link, encourage customers to browse this additional avenue of your work.

How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Link from Your Website

Example by author.

Send Pitches? Send Your Link

If you’re pitching to new clients or trying to find new opportunities, include the link to your stock portfolio with your referral code. That way you can see if they’d like to purchase that content before committing to larger custom projects. They can test how it performs and then work with you on bigger projects. This is a good first step into forming a great client relationship as a photographer.


Finding Your Referral Code

On your contributor account, go to this link to find your referral code. You’ll find the following three codes to share with potential new contributors and customers.

How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Find Your Referral Code

Image via Dome Studio.

Tell a Contributor

Share this with other photographers, videographers, and illustrators in your industry to have them sign up as a contributor.
Example: https://www.submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=000000000

Tell a Customer (Your link)

Use this link to share your own portfolio with potential customers.
Example: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/FIRSTNAME+LASTNAME?rid=000000000

Tell a Customer (Shutterstock)

To share the whole Shutterstock library with a potential customer using your referral code, please share this link.
Example: https://www.shutterstock.com/?rid=000000000

As an additional consideration, Shutterstock reserves the right to withhold payments due to you under the Shutterstock Referral Program for up to 90 days from the date your referred contributor or subscriber establishes their Shutterstock account (see paragraphs 10a and 10b of your Terms of Service).

How to Earn Money through the Shutterstock Referral Program — Tell Your Customers

Image via Rdonar.

We can’t wait to see what new contributors and customers you bring to the Shutterstock marketplace. Our goal here at Shutterstock is to continue to provide the artists on our network with more opportunities to earn money through their creative work, and we hope this is an avenue that you take advantage of to bring more money to your Shutterstock account.

Featured image by santypan.


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