Submissions must be wholly owned by the submitter. Found or public domain images or footage cannot be submitted under any circumstances. If you do not have complete rights to the submission, you may not submit it.
Submissions must NOT contain any copyrighted material including paintings, other copyrighted photos, copyrighted logos, or any other art/advertisements/sculptures/exhibits or audio which are copyrighted. If submitted material contains any of these or other types of copyrighted content, you must either submit releases from the copyright owners or you must mark the images as editorial.
Do not embed your own watermark, website name, or copyright notice in your images. We protect your images with our own watermark, which is applied when your image is accepted to our site.
Any image of an identifiable person must be accompanied by a model release. Model releases are available on our site and must be submitted digitally; we do not accept faxed, mailed, or any hard copy releases. For submissions containing nude content of artistic value, the model must look at least 25 years of age and the submission must be accompanied by a photo ID of the model. The decision to accept or reject an image containing nudity will be made according to the sole discretion of Shutterstock. Never submit any explicit material. Submissions must not contain violence, x-rated content, or any illegal content according to US law.
Submissions depicting a minor must be accompanied by a model release that was signed by that minor's parent or legal guardian. If you do not have a model release and your image is newsworthy or culturally significant, we will accept the image for editorial use only - meaning that it will not be available for any commercial use. Submissions that are generic family snapshots or other portraits are not newsworthy and will not be accepted as editorial.
These guidelines may change at any time. Please re-read them each time you consider uploading to Shutterstock. This page can be found within the 'Legal Forms and Info' section at http://submit.shutterstock.com.
Due to the large number of submissions we receive, we may not be able to respond to queries about specific rejections. Please bring questions about specific rejections to the critique forum so that the entire Shutterstock community can help you. Shutterstock may, but is not obligated to, review and/or reverse its previous accept/reject decision, at its sole discretion.
We reserve the right to remove any previously accepted submission at any time for any reason from the Shutterstock library.
Images must be at least 2.5MP (2.5 Megapixels/2.5 Million Pixels). To calculate the number of pixels in a photo - multiply the width by the height. For example - a photo that's 1700x1300 is 2.21 million pixels. The minimum size for new photographers is now 4.0MP.
Images may not be upsized more than 5% -- we perform an interpolated upsize to sell the 'supersized' version - if you upload upsized images, you risk your account being suspended.
Images should be correctly exposed and in-focus.
Images can be submitted in digital form only. If you would like to submit film/negatives, you must scan them into a digital format before you submit them. Modern scanners can scan both negatives and positives at a very low price. Do not send physical negatives or positives to Shutterstock.
Footage must be at least 480 pixels in height with an aspect ratio of at least 4:3. We are asking that film clips try and abide by the NTSC standard of 29.97fps (frames per second) with a time limit no longer than 60 seconds. Film clips that are uploaded with the PAL standard of 25fps are also fine.
Footage must NOT contain any sound bites not produced by the footage producer without a property release from the audio creator.
Footage should be correctly exposed and in-focus. Audio should be seamless.
Footage submitted should be digital only and we will try to accommodate any file type, including DV, Windows Media, and QuickTime.
Submitters should NOT submit any footage shot with a digital point and shoot camera.
Any one batch should contain no more than 20 clips.
Keep in mind that using a tripod increases the chance that the clip will be accepted.
Abstract - This is the best category for images where you can.t quite tell what the object is. Fractals, blurs, and super-macros go here.
Animals/Wildlife - This category is for all animals (domestic and wild), insects, fish, etc. If it breathes and is not human, it goes here.
The Arts - This is a tricky one. This category is for pictures of art objects, or of items used to make art, or people performing the act of making art. Just because your image itself is "artistic" (and we hope it is) does NOT mean it belongs in this category. Think hard about your image before putting it in the art category, or listing "art" as a keyword.
Backgrounds/Textures - These are generally abstract backgrounds, or textures that one might use as wallpaper, or as a background for text. The best backgrounds have lots of room for text, are simple, clean, and uncluttered. Do not put images here just because you think would make a great background such as landscapes, skies, etc.
Beauty/Fashion - This includes photos of models up close with makeup on, or photos of people modeling clothes with a clean white background or on location for a fashion shoot.
Buildings/Landmarks - Any structure or structural detail goes here
Business/Finance - This category includes photos of businessmen and women, office photos, photos from financial districts, and pictures of money or money-related items such as calculators, money-counters, etc.
Celebrities - These are strictly photos of famous people. Do not use this category for celebrations or celebratory events (A birthday is not a celebrity). These should only be photos of people, and unless you have a model release for them, they must be labeled as Editorial.
Editorial - These photos cannot be used for commercial purposes without securing additional rights. They include large crowds of people when it is impossible to get a photo release from each person in the crowd. It also includes buildings that are copyrighted, cars with copyrighted designs, and any photo with a copyrighted logo or property in it.
Education - This category is for photos of anything education-related such as books, classrooms, chalkboards, etc.
Food and Drink - Anything that can be eaten or drunk. This does not include utensils or cups or photos of people eating. Designers love bright, colorful, well focused pictures of food.
Health Care - Anything with medical subjects would go here. Items used in medical offices, pills/drugs, infants (need release) and seniors, some nudes if in a medical context, weight loss concepts (high demand), and the "apple a day" concept go here.
Holidays - A holiday is a calendar event here. Calendar events include: New Year's, Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, Easter, Passover, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Chanukah. Food and beverage associated with these holidays would go here too. Vacation photos are not "Holidays".
Illustrations/Clip-Art - ANYTHING THAT IS NOT A PHOTO. You must list in this category FIRST if you have images that are not photos. Illustrations should not be put in photographic categories such as People or Animals. (*The only other categories that may be used for illustrations are Backgrounds/Textures and Abstract*.)
Industrial - Industry, construction, mining, power, electricity, and heavy equipment. Workmen, blue prints, hardhats, and other items relating to industry. Rusted items can go here.
Interiors - Any images of the interior of houses, buildings, offices, and temples go here as well as isolated furniture and domestic still life.
Miscellaneous - This is for anything that cannot fit into any of the other categories. Use this category carefully. Chances are, you should list your image in one or two of the other categories.
Nature - This is for all outdoor images, sunsets, clouds, oceans, and flowers, gardening, and other natural topics.
Objects - This category is intended for isolated objects uncluttered by background scenes. These photos sell very well. The more bright, clean, and well composed your image, the more likely that it will be downloaded. Items in context will likely go into one of the other categories.
Parks/Outdoor - This is a great partner category for Nature pictures. Also appropriate for this category are gardens, sunsets, and photos of people engaged in outdoor activities (hiking, biking, sailing).
People - If it has a person or body part in it, the image should be in this category. Groups of people also go here. *If you are posting a photo of a child DO NOT EVER USE KEYWORDS NUDE OR NAKED. Nor can you use "teen", "nude", or "sexy" as keywords or in the description of a single image. You will be warned the first two times you violate this rule; the third violation will cause you to be banned from the site, your past earnings will be forfeited, and your current images will be removed permanently.*
Religion - Any items related to any religion. This is also a good place to put wedding pictures.
Science - Any image involving natural or hard science. Some insect or specific animal shots could go here. Medical or computer sciences can also be put here. Pictures of the moon might be listed here. Dissection would go here. Doctors/practitioners working might go here. Some signs and symbols would be included in this category.
Signs/Symbols - Anything that is a sign or a symbol including stop signs, arrows, people pointing or gesturing. Flags go here. Again, designers are looking for crisp, bright, isolated signs and symbols.
Sports/Recreation - Any sport on land, in the air, on wheels, hunting, fishing, winter sports, hiking, biking, roller-skating, yoga, weight lifting, etc.
Technology - All depictions of office related equipment including computers, cell phones, PDA's etc. Microchip and other technology go here. CDs and other data devices go here.
Transportation - Anything that transports: Planes, trains, automobiles, boats, gliders, even roller-skates. Road ways would go here too.
Vectors - These are specially-created illustrations that can be enlarged to infinite sizes without quality loss. If you do not know what this is, you should not use this category.
Vintage - Any item with a vintage feel (think 40 years old and older), kitsch, sepia tone scenes, anything relating to a non-modern era.
1. Submitting more than one of the same exact image
2. Keyword spamming (using the same keywords for unrelated images)
3. Frequent miscategorization
4. Large amounts of out-of-focus or noisy photos in a batch
5. Submitting an image that has already been rejected without writing a note to the reviewer explaining why the image(s) is being resubmitted. Resubmitting an image without making the appropriate corrections.
6. Multiple combinations of problems with images (i.e. poor framing, focus, keywording, noise, etc. within the same batch)
7. Upsizing of images more than 5%
8. Large batches (over 40) with all poor quality shots (this includes incorrectly rotated images, snapshots, noise, etc.)
9. Uploading repeat images that are in abundance (i.e. sunflowers, one office building, etc.)
10. Keywords that have .teen. and .sexy. in the same image, or any other violation related to the guidelines of what is appropriate to the People Category.
11. Submissions of the same image in color, black/white, sepia, blue tone, etc.
12. Total absence of, or incomplete, model or property/art releases where they are necessary. Forged model releases.
* Once you receive 5 warnings, your account will be set back to review mode and you must submit 10 photos for review, just as a new photographer would. If less than 7 are approved, you must wait 30 days until you upload another batch of 10. However, we reserve the right to suspend an account after any number of warnings if the violation is an egregious one such as, but not limited to, naked photos of minors, repeated sexually explicit submissions, etc.*
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