© Aspen Photo/Shutterstock
A photo by Shutterstock contributor Ken Inness, who uses Sets to learn which kinds of images sell best.

Creating stock art can be a significant investment. The more information you have about how your images perform, the better decisions you can make about how to spend your time and money.

At Shutterstock, we believe in sharing more information with you to help you make those decisions. In the 6 months since we introduced the Shutterstock Catalog Manager, we’ve heard from many contributors who are using the tool to track the revenue they’re making off their shoots. It’s one of several tools to help you track how your images are performing on Shutterstock. Knowing what you’re getting out of your shoots can help you manage costs, and improve your return on investment (ROI).

The Catalog Manager

If you haven’t used it, here’s a quick introduction. The Catalog Manager lets you:

  • Sort your images into sets.
  • Share sets with anyone.
  • Track your statistics from each of your sets.

If you haven’t created any Sets yet for your image portfolio, you’ll see a box like this on your Account page:


You can also reach the Catalog Manager from the Resources tab when you’re logged in to the Shutterstock for Contributors site.

Once you have started to create sets, you’ll see a “Track Your Sets” box on the left-hand side when you log in to Shutterstock for Contributors, which also displays your earnings for each set. You can create as many Sets as you want, and select up to 5 to track at a glance on your home page. You can also follow a link to the Catalog Manager from the bottom of that box.

You can learn a lot from sets. Suppose you spend a day shooting a particular model producing dozens of images, on various concepts, for Shutterstock. Once you’ve uploaded those images to the site, you can group similar concepts or themes into unique Sets and see how much they earn collectively. You might track 2 or 3 shoots to see which one was your most profitable. You also might group images by subject – Do your photos of people outsell your photos of animals? Do photos shot indoors do better than ones shot outside? Does one model outperform another?

Ken Inness, a Shutterstock photographer from Philadelphia, uses the sets tool to get a better idea of which models and concepts sell well. He says:

“I may set up a Set for a new model – particularly around a concept, such as healthcare or business – to see if that model is ‘marketable’ for that concept. Additionally, I use it for my editorial work to try to gain an idea what sports may be trending. Not surprisingly I noticed an increase in ‘Olympic’ sports recently – coinciding with the run up to the summer games.”

Related Link:Watch a video about how to use the Catalog Manager.

Keyword Trends

There are also several other tools available to Shutterstock contributors. You can use the Keyword Trends Tool to compare relative popularity of keywords, and see seasonal demand for each keyword. (Related post: 5 Fascinating Keyword Trends Secrets Revealed.)


Image Gallery Stats

In addition, you can use the Image Gallery Stats feature within the Catalog Manager to see how individual images perform. To see your Image Gallery Stats, select a set in the Catalog Manager, then click on the Actions drop-down option on right of the Catalog Manager screen and select Show Stats.


Selecting Show Stats within the Catalog Manager will bring you to a (similar) Image Gallery Stats view:


Here, you can see how each image is performing and also see which keywords led to downloads. This is an amazing feature that will help you understand what keywords are most valuable in your portfolio.

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Take these tools for a spin. It only takes a few minutes, and the insights you learn will save you time and help you create work that pays off.