As of September 2008, Shutterstock had more than 4.5 million royalty-free images available to subscribers, taken by more than 110,000 photographers, illustrators and videographers.
Subscribers may purchase either a 25-A-Day subscription and download up to 25 images per day (750 per month) in monthly increments, or purchase an On Demand subscription and choose a set amount of downloads to be used any time over a year. Subscribers may continue to use the pictures even after their membership has expired. As of August 2008, the fee for a 25-A-Day subscription began at $249 per month.
In April 2006, Shutterstock began offering royalty-free footage on their website. Shutterstock Footage operates similarly to their image library, offering video clips by subscription or on a per-clip basis. As of August 2008, Shutterstock Footage contained over 70,000 royalty-free video clips.
Once approved, submitters can begin uploading their work through the website. They supply keywords, categorize the images, and submit them to the "inspection queue," where each and every image is examined to ensure that it meets the standards of quality, usefulness and copyright and trademark laws. Each time an image is downloaded, the photographer receives a flat rate of 25c (with a tiered set of raises as the submitter reaches lifetime earnings of $500, $3,000, and $10,000, respectively). Some photographers earn a significant portion of their income by submitting to Shutterstock; high-earning submitters have reported earnings of around $10,000.00 a month.
Shutterstock was founded in 2003 by Jon Oringer, who perceived a weakness in the stock image market while using stock images for his previous start-up companies. An enthusiastic photographer in his own right, Oringer uploaded 30,000 of his own stock photos on to a subscription site he called Shutterstock, forming the basis of the company.
Since its inception, Shutterstock has experienced robust growth. In 2006 it became the world's largest subscription-based stock image agency, and it expanded into the stock footage world by offering Shutterstock footage. In 2008 the company's image library surpassed 4 million images, and it launched the "On Demand" pricing plans as an alternative to its "25-A-Day" subscription model.