Photographers get paid for three different types of sales with Shutterstock. The different types of sales are subscription downloads, extended license sales (known across the microstock world as an EL), and On-Demand or 'credit' sales.
The amount made by photographers for a subscription sale is based on how much money they have made with Shutterstock in the past. Sounds a little weird right? Well, it may sound weird, but this makes perfect sense. This is Shutterstock's way of rewarding those who have had success on Shutterstock and continue to grow their Shutterstock portfolio. The base commission for a subscription is 25 cents. Once you make 500 dollars, your commission will be raised to 33 cents per download. The next raise is obtained when you reach 3000 dollars, bringing your commission to 36 cents. The last raise brings earnings to 38 cents per download, once your lifetime earnings reach 10 000 dollars.
Commission for an On Demand sale depends on the resolution of the photo. The 'Small/Medium' plan pays out at 81 cents and the 'All Sizes' plan pays $1.88 per download. Like the subscription commission, On Demand commission goes up with your lifetime earnings. The raises occur at the same increments, at 500 dollars, 3000 dollars and 10 000 dollars. At these increments the 'Small/Medium' plan goes up to $1.07, then to $1.17 and lastly $1.27. The 'All Sizes' plan raises are as follows: $2.48, then up to $2.70 and finally capping at $2.85.
Shutterstock's highest paying commission is for an EL sale. This is a flat fee sale worth $28.00.
Shutterstock pays their contributors via PayPal, Moneybookers or by paper check. The minimum payout for PayPal and Moneybookers is set by default to $100, but can be changed in your Shutterstock account. If you wish to receive a paper check, then you will have to accumulate $300 in earnings before being paid. You may think that making a significant amount of money with Shutterstock is next to impossible when you only make 25 cents per sale, but many of their contributors have proven that money can be made, lots of money.