How do I submit editorial content?

An image labeled for “Editorial Use Only” on Shutterstock is an image that cannot be used to advertise or promote a product or service. The people, objects or places in editorial images are not released.

An editorial image can be used to illustrate newsworthy and current events. It can also be used to illustrate subjects of human interest, including: the arts, business, culture, health and fitness, lifestyle, social events, technology and travel. Shutterstock will accept editorial images that fall under two categories:
  • Documentary images: Images that document an event or subject of human interest
  • Illustrative images: Images that illustrate an event or subject of human interest through staging

To be accepted, editorial content must:
  • meet our editorial image quality requirements
  • fall under a documentary or illustrative editorial category
  • be accompanied by an editorial caption and appropriate keywords
  • be tagged as an editorial image at submission

Quality requirements
Illustrative Editorial images must have a quality that is inline with our commercial quality standards, so the arrangement of the subject and/or other visual elements that make up an image must be well thought out and image quality should be superb since this content is shot in a controlled environment. Light traditional photographic post-processing techniques can be used to enhance illustrative editorial content, but no major alterations.

For Documentary Editorial images the quality standards are more lenient. These images must accurately and truthfully communicate the event or subject. Although documentary images should be unaltered where possible, technical enhancements to improve the overall quality of the image itself are acceptable.

Editorial category qualifiers
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Commercial images or clips submitted for editorial use to avoid our Model Release, Property Release or Trademark and Copyright requirements will not be accepted. 

Editorial Captions:   
All editorial content submitted to Shutterstock requires an editorial caption. Editorial captions need to include who, what, where, when and why information. The information provided must be accurate and relevant to the submitted image. It is also necessary to present this information in a proper editorial format:
CITY, STATE/COUNTRY – MONTH DAY YEAR: Factual description of the image content, including who and what the image portrays and a qualifying newsworthy statement of objective fact (if necessary).
Here is a good example of a proper editorial description:
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Photo by AGIF

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 12, 2014: Van Persie of Netherlands celebrates during the World Cup Third place game between Brazil and the Netherlands in the Estadio Nacional.

If the exact date is unknown, CIRCA MONTH YEAR or CIRCA YEAR can be used.

If the city is large or well-known, such as MOSCOW, it is not necessary to include the country in the dateline or description. Please see the bottom of this article for a comprehensive list of standalone cities.

If you are going to be submitting illustrative editorial content, you must include the keywords “illustrative" and "editorial” or "illustrative editorial".

Also, unlike keywords for commercial images, keywords for editorial images may include brand names and products, as long as they accurately describe the image.
Tagging Content for Editorial Use:
In addition to needing an editorial caption, editorial content needs to be designated for editorial use when preparing it for review. To do this, select “Yes” from the “Editorial” dropdown menu in the content editor.

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Editorial content that is not tagged for editorial use will be rejected with the “Editorial Caption” rejection reason.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:
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