An Informal Guide on Uploading Time Sensitive Images

If you’re a Shutterstock Submitter who follows


, you’re probably well aware that sales spike for certain image types or categories during certain times of year. For example, common sense dictates that Shutterstock subscribers are going to start looking for summer-themed images around spring (and in many cases, earlier than that), and so on.

When to submit particular seasonal or timing-based images is a popular question, and while there’s no simple answer, this article will outline some helpful advice on how to address this.

Christmas in August

If you’re reading this article the day it arrives in your inbox, then today is a good time to start submitting holiday and winter”“themed images. Or a month ago.

A good rule of thumb is to plan about six months in advance and continue to upload until about a month before the holiday, event, season, etc.

The fact is, there’s no concrete-solid way to know when the best time is to submit images for a particular timing-based event. However, one simple rule does hold strong in this regard:

The Early Worm Catches the Bird

—Or something to that effect. Translation: The earlier, the better. As obvious as this sounds, do not underestimate the benefits of planning ahead.

If you’re preparing holiday-themed images, it really doesn’t hurt to begin uploading them in May, June, July, or August. If you’re still doing so the week of Thanksgiving, then that is probably too late. The key is to think of it from the buyer’s perspective. Almost all graphic designers work under tight deadlines, and projects are often initiated months in advance. No one is going to need an image of a menorah in late November (unless they’re planning for the following year).

One point to keep in mind is that this is an inexact science, and luck can play as much a factor in the equation as do the elements you actually can control (like producing high quality imagery and uploading in a timely fashion). For example, if a certain politician is traveling through your town and you’re able to snap a few shots during his speech, those photos could come in handy when election time arrives. Always be ready!

Equally baffling can be the attempt to try and predict trends ““ and have images already prepared. Over the last six to twelve months, the concept of “going green,” i.e. being environmentally conscious, has been adopted by thousands of corporations worldwide. While this can be difficult to predict, there are things you can do. Photography is very much like any other form of artistry in that it encourages not just creativity but curiosity about the world around you. Such awareness, like being a news junkie and keeping yourself up to speed on current events, can help you predict trends. Take an active interest in a wide variety of fields and read up on them you never know when or where the next “big thing” will occur.

However, the end-all goal here is to sell your images. So rather than spending time trend-hunting, focus on producing the best images possible. In terms of those time sensitive events (Christmas cards, anyone?), the best advice is simply to be prepared.

If you’re currently busy uploading images related to the Olympics, you have long since missed that train, my friend. If you’re doing the same for Halloween, you may be a little late in the running, but it may not be a total waste of your time. If you’re busy preparing Christmas and Hanukah images, then congratulations ““ you may just have a solid grasp of the online stock image industry.