My Big Windfall on Shutterstock

How I sold a single photo for $80

Photo of an RV kitchen cabinet. Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

This week I got a big surprise when I checked my Shutterstock dashboard. I found out I had sold a photo for $80! Woo to the hoo!

The photo actually sold for more than that. That is, Shutterstock sold it for more than that and my share was $80. I’ll take it!

The Photo in Question

The photo shown above shows the subject matter of the photo that sold for $80. The photo that sold was a different angle of my ex-RV’s kitchen cabinet that slides out. I had previously sold that photo before, but that time I only netted 25 cents.

And guess what. Eighty dollars is better than 25 cents.

My Shutterstock Journey

I’ve been uploading photos on Shutterstock for a little over a year now. I previously made payout once. You reach payout on Shutterstock when you have sold $35 or more and the amounts roll over from one month to the next.

That first payout was after I sold a single photo in January for $20. I thought I’d hit the big time then, let me tell you!

Autumn leaves in a gutter. Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Each month I consistently sell a few photos. Usually for just a quarter each, sometimes for $1.88 but not more. Until last week! And that one time in January. By the way, the photo of the autumn leaves is the one that sold in January. For $20. Go figure, right?!

I was just about to make payout again this month before my windfall. I was less than $3.00 away from the $35 payout minimum, but now I have $113.18 pending. Again, woo to the hoo!

Shutterstock’s Earning Types

As I mentioned, I usually net 25 cents per photo I sell. This happens when someone who purchased a subscription downloads one of my photos. The customer gets so many downloads for their subscription, and the photographer (me) gets a little bit (25 cents) each time one of our photos is downloaded.

When I earn $1.88 per photo, it’s for an “on demand” image. I think this means the customer buys a Shutterstock plan that limits the number of downloads (photos) they can get for that one plan price. It costs less money for the customer than the previously mentioned plan where I get just a quarter. But they only get a few downloads for their money.

Here’s a photo I took at a community garden of shade screen over a garden plot. It sold.

Why you ask, am I showing you these mediocre photos? Well, it’s to show you that you too could probably sell some stock photography. As you can see, this is not something I excel at but I do take random weird photos just about everywhere I go. I photograph my lunch many days and upload a photo or two. The mundane sells. At least some of the time!

Shade screen over a garden plot. Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

For the $20 and $80 photos, Shutterstock calls them “single and other.” I assume this means someone comes to Shutterstock and buys a single photo without buying a subscription plan, but I’m not really sure.

And I don’t really care. I care that I got $80 for one of the snapshots I took of my RV before I sold it. With my iPhone camera.

Here’s a previous post about my Shutterstock side hustle.

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Peggy Gillespie Hazelwood

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Writer, editor, photographer, reseller. Owned by a cute, fluffy cat.

The Startup

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