Shutterstock Showcases Premier Editorial Content To All Customers

Posted on 12/20/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Last week Shutterstock notified its editorial shooters that they had begun showcasing all of their Premier Editorial content on Previously this content has only been accessible through the Shutterstock Premier website. “The new editorial tab will include our historic Rex collection, images from strategic partners, including AP, BFA, epa, and live coverage of breaking news, entertainment and sports events,” they said.

“Our Premier Editorial collection will continue to be available only for Premier customer licensing. Editorial content that you submit to Shutterstock will continue to be available for all customers to license on,” they added.

I asked Shutterstock for some clarification of this announcement and Ben Pfeifer, GM of Editorial, for Shutterstock provided the following answers to my questions.

JP - I note that Shutterstock is now making 40 Million News, Sports, and Entertainment Images, including the historic Rex collection, images from strategic partners, and including AP, BFA, epa available on the primary Shutterstock website. Previously, many of these images were only available on the Shutterstock Premier website.

JP - Is the Shutterstock Premier website only available to selected publishing entities and are the prices different from the regular Shutterstock site?

BP - Shutterstock Premier is designed for large teams with enterprise level usage.

JP - Can editorial users now buy breaking news, sports and entertainment images with a regular Shutterstock subscription?

BP - While there has always been some editorial content available for license through, our primary editorial offering featuring breaking news, sports, entertainment and archival images is only available for license through Shutterstock Premier.

We recently launched the ability to view and search this editorial content on to increase awareness and further promote the more than 40 million news, sports, entertainment, and archival photos in the editorial collection.

JP - If these editorial images are priced differently, what is the pricing structure?

BP - Editorial images are available for license with a Premier account for Enterprise customers and the pricing is comparable to existing market pricing.

JP -  Does Shutterstock have full access to the latest breaking news images from AP, BFA and epa, or is there some delay in the availability of those images to give those agencies the opportunity to have some exclusive rights to the marketing of such images to their existing customers?

BP - Yes - Shutterstock has access to the latest breaking news images AP, BFA and epa and there is no delay in the availability of those images.

JP - Do all Shutterstock users have access to all editorial images at existing Shutterstock subscription prices?

BP - No - at this time, users can only view and search all editorial images on This content on the editorial tab, on the homepage, is only available for license via Shutterstock Premier.

JP - Are Splash images also available through this new deal on the Shutterstock main site and not just through Shutterstock Premier?

BP - Splash images are not available for license through Shutterstock or Shutterstock Premier.

JP -  If customers can get all the images they need from Shutterstock why would they go to AP, BFA or epa and pay higher prices?

BP - Shutterstock is focused on serving the needs of its customer base and can’t speak to the business model of our partners or how they are serving their customers' needs.


It is unclear exactly what a customer has to do to qualify for a “Premier” account, but I presume that all medium to large newspapers and magazines worldwide would be composed of “large teams (of users) with enterprise level usage.” Thus, it would seem that every major editorial user in the world would qualify for a Premier account.

I don’t know what fees are charged these Premier customers. They may be paying more than the fees listed for regular Shutterstock customers. Somehow I doubt it. My guess is that, if anything, they are paying less per-image used than the regular customers, but only photographers reviewing their sales reports will be able to determine that.

It is also possible that AP, BFA and epa have specified that Shutterstock cannot sell their images to certain of the regular editorial customers that these three organizations have traditionally dealt with. We know that AP has made such arrangements with other companies who have represented their work in the past. We assume the other two companies have made similar arrangements. However, if such arrangements are the case with Shutterstock Premier it is hard to imagine who could be a Shutterstock Premier customer, and not have been an AP, BFA or epa customer in the past.

It doesn’t seem to make sense that AP, BFA and epa would allow Shutterstock to make sales to their existing customers at lower prices than they charge and then give Shutterstock a percentage of the fee collected. One would assume that the editorial customer would naturally go to the source where they get the best price.

It also seems possible that placing these images in the regular Shutterstock search is simply a marketing scheme to try to convince regular Shutterstock customer who have not yet signed up for Shutterstock Premier of its advantages. If that is the case it is hard to figure how AP, BFA and epa benefit.

One editorial shooter commented, “Can you imagine how fast a photographer would starve shooting "live coverage of breaking news" for Shutterstock??!! I CAN'T BEGIN TO SAY JUST HOW TRAGIC THIS IS FOR EDITORIAL AND RED CARPET PHOTOGRAPHERS.”

Copyright © 2017 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Dale Wilson Posted Dec 20, 2017
    To the editorial photographer, I reluctantly say "Welcome to the world of the Rights Managed photographer."

    Perhaps we photographers, et al, should take a page from 123RF book and start seeking donations. Surely the contributions to the "Photographers Benevolent Society" will show a higher return.

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