Become an Image Reviewer at Shutterstock

Updated on: by Amy Kennedy

Have a love of photography? Shutterstock hires virtual workers to review images online.Do you enjoy photography as a hobby?

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Do you know a winning photo when you spot it?

Do you want something flexible that doesn’t require making phone calls?

Then let’s introduce you to Shutterstock and the work-at-home (WAH) Image Review position.

What is Shutterstock?

Shutterstock is an online community of photographers, videographers, artists, and illustrators that sell their work royalty-free to businesses and consumers.  The site is basically set up as an e-commerce site where buyers and sellers can connect.  They even have their own blog.

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of an Image Reviewer?

An image reviewer at Shutterstock will be evaluating the images for:

  • quality and execution.
  • suitability for the client.
  • adherence to acceptance standards.

The responsibilities of the image reviewer will be to:

  • approve images based on the given standards.
  • look for any sign of trademark issues, fraud, and or copyright infringement.
  • review images for suitability for commercial image catalog.
  • able to work in a high volume, fast-paced, and detail-oriented manner.
  • able to apply metadata standards and editing
  • select keywords that drive search engine results.

What Skills Are Needed?

The skills needed are:

  • intermediate domain expertise.
  • 2 or more years of professional photography experience.
  • availability 25-30 hours of work per week, including 5-8 hours on the weekends.
  • ability to photo edit using Adobe Photoshop.
  • understanding of trends and styles.
  • making detailed judgments repetitively.
  • organized, analytical, and detail-oriented.
  • strong command of English language.

What Are the Computer Requirements?

You will need:

  • high-speed wired Internet access.
  • an updated PC, laptop or Mac.
  • an accurate color display for high-resolutions.
  • your own Adobe Photoshop software.
  • Google Docs and a knowledge of using it.
  • Microsoft Office Suite downloaded and operating.

What Are the Work Hours at Shutterstock?

The hours are considered business hours and will be determined upon your acceptance.  I understand that it is for the most part flexible.  It does not appear to be 24/7, and there is a need for image reviewers to work on weekends.

What is the Pay and When to Expect Payment?

Pay as an image reviewer for shutterstock is based on experience, topic or subject matter, and varies.  Most—not all—of the people who do photography reviews and evaluations are overall pleased with the pay.

Are You an Employee or an Independent Contractor at Shutterstock?

You are an independent contractor.  Should you make over $600 a year, you will be sent a 1099 Tax Form.

What is My Overall Impression of Shutterstock?

Shutterstock seems like a good place for photography lovers to go and make money from home.  The photography, graphics, and illustrations for sale on the main website were very high-quality.  The overall company rating was 3.7 out of 5 stars, and you can certainly read some of the reviews for yourself on The Glass Door.  However, I have also heard of image reviewers complaining that they were making under a $1 a photograph review.

How Do Interested Individuals Apply to Shutterstock?

If you are interested, please go to the application/assessment.  You will begin the assessment and will also need to test your computer’s speed.  A speed of at least 25 mbps is required for downloading.  After doing that, go to their job’s section and scroll down almost to the bottom of the page, and you will see the remote Image Reviewer.

Good luck to all who apply.

Alternatives to Shutterstock

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is a platform integrated with Adobe’s suite of creative products (like Photoshop and Illustrator). This integration could provide higher visibility for a content creator’s work due to the extensive use of Adobe’s products in the creative industry.

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As a contributor, you earn a royalty of between 20% and 60% of the price at which your content is sold, depending on the type of asset and your total lifetime earnings.

Getty Images/iStock

Getty Images is known for its high-end, professional photography, while iStock (its subsidiary) offers more budget-friendly stock photos and videos. As a seller, Getty Images and iStock offer different royalty rates. For iStock, royalties start at 15% for photos and 20% for videos and illustrations, but these can increase if you’re an exclusive contributor.


Alamy is a British stock photography agency, which has over 60 million images and videos for sale. From a seller’s perspective, Alamy offers a 50% royalty rate for direct sales, which is comparatively higher than some other platforms. If the buyer found your image through a distributor, then the rate drops to 30%.


500px is a Canadian photography community where photographers can showcase their work, as well as sell their photos. One advantage of 500px is that it’s not just a marketplace, but also a platform where photographers can network and learn from each other.

n terms of royalties, as of my last update in September 2021, 500px offers a 60% royalty rate for exclusive photos and a 30% rate for non-exclusive photos.

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