05 Jan 2008 ShutterPoint

ShutterPoint logoJulie Eydman from ShutterPoint’s business development department emailed me recently to let me know that ShutterPoint had added a new license which allowed buyers to buy photos at microstock prices. So I took a detailed look at ShutterPoint and wrote this review.

Previously, ShutterPoint were not an agency. Instead, they offered photographers a facility to sell photos online. The key differences of this model are:

  1. Contributors pay for space
  2. All submissions are accepted – there’s no reviewing (subject to submission guidelines)
  3. Contributors set the prices

The other key difference with ShutterPoint’s original model was that photographers tended to bring their own buyers. This meant many were using ShutterPoint as a quick and easy transaction mechanism for simply selling photos online to existing clients.

The New License

ShutterPoint introduced their ‘Standard License’ to access the microstock buyer market. Photos sold with this optional license are all priced the same, at microstock levels, and adjusted according to the size of the photo purchased.

This will make it much easier for ShutterPoint to attract buyers and simultaneously create an attractive market for microstock contributors. It’s an interesting way to overcome the microstock catch-22.

Contributors can opt-out of selling at microstock prices by selecting only the Full License, which is comparable to Extended Licenses of microstock agencies. Contributors set the Full License price between $20 and $99,999. Many of ShutterPoint’s existing customer base are using this model, and ShutterPoint neither expect or wants this to change.

Shutterpoint Key Details

Web Address www.shutterpoint.com
Google Pagerank 5
Google Backlinks 1,080
Alexa Rank 93,590
Image Stats 120,000
Minimum Image Size 1,024 pixels either edge
Vectors No
Footage No
Licenses Full License and Standard License
Compensation 85% of Full License and 70% of Standard License
Pricing Full License (contributor set $20 – $99,999). Standard License (Starts at $0.99)
Payment Methods PayPal, MoneyBookers, Check
Payment Delay Automatically triggered at a contributor set value of $50, $100 or $250
Referral Program 2% of photos sold and 10% of initial purchases
Application Process None, just register and pay the fees
Exclusivity Not offered
Upload Methods Web form, Flash batch uploader, WindowsXP application, and ZIP file upload
IPTC Data support Yes
Currencies Only USD
Languages Only English
Headquarters New York
Launched May 2003

Cool Features

  • Editorial license – ShutterPoint supports editorial licenses, allowing contributors to sell unreleased and newsworthy photos.
  • Set your own price – Contributors can set their own price for each image that sells with the Full License. Standard License sales are all the same price, which increases for larger sizes.
  • Customize Watermarks – ShutterPoint allows contributors to customize a textual watermark or upload a watermark image.
    Photo Requests – Buyers can submit photo requests to which contributors may respond citing their own photos.
  • Customize the front page – Members can select and order a range of different features to appear on the website’s front page when logged in.

Why This Business Model?

The existing ShutterPoint business model – charging for space and accepting anything – appeals to photographers who are not interested in selling their photos at microstock prices. They can set their own prices and send potential buyers directly to their own portfolio, using ShutterPoint as an easy and cost effective replacement for building their own website for online sales.

The addition of the Standard License with micropayment pricing makes ShutterPoint relevant to microstock contributors and buyers, expanding their market. There will still be a lot of resistance from microstock contributors who aren’t accustomed to paying for storage.

My View of the ShutterPoint Opportunity

I’ve registered at ShutterPoint to publicly test whether they can bring sufficient buyers to my portfolio for the earnings to cover the cost of membership with a profit left over. As usual, I’ll be reporting my earnings monthly.

It’s worth realizing that I’m testing the new business model introduced by the new Standard License. Another half of ShutterPoint’s customer base bring their own buyers and don’t activate the Standard License with its microstock pricing.

My initial ShutterPoint portfolio is now online, featuring my customized watermark. I’ll be reporting my earnings each month, hopeful that ShutterPoint can join my list of profitable places to sell my photos.

Check out Shutterpoint for yourself here.

  • Todd
    Posted at 10:59h, 22 January Reply

    Any progress over here, Lee?

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 13:50h, 22 January Reply

      Hey Todd,

      Yes, sales have been dribbling in consistently, enough to cover the cost of renewing the service. I haven’t put in a great deal of effort or reached the maximum capacity of photos, so in theory I could be doing better. Sales happen, but not enough that I’m putting much focus on Shutterpoint.


      • Lizhe
        Posted at 14:06h, 05 April Reply

        Hi, Lee, I couldn’t find any of your photos on shutterpoint follwing the link you provide. Does this mean you have quit testing shutterpoint already?

        kind regards


        • Lee Torrens
          Posted at 16:53h, 05 April Reply

          Yes Lizhe, after over a year of using my commission payments and referral commissions to cover the fees, I’ve finally run out of money and my account has been closed.

          I had my best selling photos in my Shutterpoint portfolio but the sales weren’t enough to keep the account open. I concede that I could have submitted more photos and tried promoting my portfolio myself, but without doing these things, it didn’t work out for me.


          • Lizhe
            Posted at 17:31h, 05 April

            Thanks for reply, Lee. I have been following your diary for a while. You are so patient to post so much useful information. 🙂 Thanks again.

          • Lee Torrens
            Posted at 17:36h, 05 April

            You’re welcome. 🙂

  • wilmalee
    Posted at 18:55h, 25 May Reply

    I and 2 others had accounts there. ! was a professional and has sold in public and other places but no one has had any luck selling or buying. Who can compete with porn????? although you have the option of blocking this FROM YOURSELF… it that doesnt mean everyone else doesnt see it and thats all that sells there is the porn shots you will not make enough to cover the subscription, i dont care how good you are! good luck everyone

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