How to Build a website like iStock Photo or Shutterstock?

Marketers and bloggers utilise visual material as a valuable tool. It can boost audience engagement, brand exposure, and website click-through rates. Without high-resolution captivating graphics or videos, no blog, commercial banner, or landing page can exist. However, employing a photographer or graphic designer for each campaign is both costly and time-consuming. That’s why it was a fantastic idea to develop a worldwide storage facility for royalty-free pictures, films, graphics, and music and make them available for quick download for a few bucks.

Shutterstock/ iStock are one of the world’s most well-known groups of graphic content creators. It is difficult to compete with them. It is difficult to compete with Shutterstock. You must consider all of the company’s deficiencies and replicate its triumphs, both technological and tactical, while keeping in mind the present rate of development and the overall evolution of technologies.

The most important thing to remember is that not everything can be implemented right now. For a long period, this platform climbed from relative lows, absorbing other firms and getting big outside investments. It is difficult to rely on this in this situation since, while there is no question about the project’s success, it is nearly impossible to predict when and how much money will be invested.

What is a stock photo website?

Stock pictures are photographs that have already been recorded, altered, and are ready for usage. There are two kinds of stock images: those that demand a licence fee and those that are free to use.

When looking for stock pictures, you’ll have to select between two options: free stock image websites and paid stock image websites. Both paid and free stock picture websites offer advantages and downsides that you should consider when acquiring photos for your business.

The bulk of photographs available on stock image websites are royalty free, which means you may use them without giving credit to anybody. Stock pictures may also be edited to your desire and used in marketing campaigns, making them ideal for ecommerce companies.

All you Need to know about Shutterstock


Shutterstock, a stock photography business centred on licencing photos under Royalty Free licence at very cheap costs, with a minimum payment obligation was launched in 2003 by programmer and photographer Jon Oringer. It first provided 100,000 of Oringer’s photographs, but soon after, it opened up for contributor images.

Shutterstock is a pioneer in the selling method: stock picture subscription. They provided a set quantity of downloads each day for a set monthly charge. It was such a hit that iStock and all of the other agencies in the business embraced it.

Given the founder’s background and experience, the company’s fundamental focus has always been on offering the most diverse material and the finest technological functionality.

Shutterstock created one of the largest micro stock picture collections, with over 95 million images and an average of 800,000 new files added each week. They are able to offer a broad choice of content and high-quality photographs to use in various projects due to the Royalty Free licence, which they check submissions for.

Shutterstock has maintained its place at the top of the industry for the past 13 years. They are popular for one very good reason: they offer a terrific value to the majority of purchasers.

All you need to know about iStockPhoto

@iStock’s video Tweet

iStockPhoto is one of the oldest premium stock picture websites. It was established in 1999 and has been at the forefront of design ever since. iStockPhoto provides a simple search option that allows users to quickly and simply discover photographs. Even if you are not technically savvy, you will be able to access iStock Photo’s vast collection of pictures, graphics, video, and music.

The price plan for this stock image website is among the costliest on this list, but you’ll be paying for high-quality photographs that you may use for your business. They also provide a one-of-a-kind reverse search option that allows you to see whether any of the photographs you’re interested in have been utilised by other ecommerce firms.

iStock works with over 300,000 contributors worldwide, thousands of whom are unique to the site and develop material exclusively for it. Contributing photographers submit their applications by uploading 3-6 example photographs, graphics, or videos to the Contributor by Getty Images app, which is accessible on the App Store and Google Play. The content is assessed, and candidates who are successful are asked to become Getty Images or iStock contributors.

Contributors are paid royalties when their contribution is licenced. Royalty rates begin at 15% for images and 20% for graphics and films, with exclusive contributors receiving between 25% and 45 percent.

Reasons why you should Start Your Own Stock Photo Website

Why would you want to create your own stock picture website? Every photographer who is thinking about creating their own stock photography website will have a different response to this question. However, the first thing you should think about is how much time it will take you to develop both your stock picture bank and the stock site itself.

Keep in mind that if you want to be successful running a stock photography website, you’ll need to understand how to manage it. You’ll need adequate server capacity to host your photographs, as well as a payment method for consumers who wish to buy your photos.

Here are some factors that showcase why starting your own Stock Photo Website is beneficial in 2022

Rapid technological advancement.

With the advancement of smartphone cameras and the massive rise of Instagram blogging, a user does not require a professional photographer or Photoshop abilities to make appealing modern visual material. According to Flickr’s research, the majority of photoshoots are done using an iPhone camera.

Visual material is in higher demand than ever before.

Because creating unique content is expensive, consumers choose to buy ready-made photographs and videos from stock agencies to save time and money.

Affiliate programmes offered by major stock photo agencies.

You’ve undoubtedly previously wondered what the benefit of free stock picture community is. Unsplashed grew unexpectedly from a non-profit side project, using the Crew rating and income. Other websites, such as Apixaban and Freepik, also provide free download content but earn money by referring visitors to iStock and Shutterstock via affiliate connections.

How Do Stock Photo Websites Work?

For Customers

Get Free and licensable Images

Customers may get photographs for free from several stock photography websites. These websites often include licence agreements such as Creative Commons.

Extensive Search Filter

It provides extensive search filter that helps customer to find out their desired search results based on there keywords.

For Contributors

Globally sell Images and Earn Revenue

With a website like Shutterstock/iStock you can globally sell images and earn revenue from all across the world. They simply enable the buyer to choose whether or not to credit the original photographer.

Simple Upload and Sell Features

Stock Photo website provides its contributors simple upload and sell feature so the whole process is hassle free.

Features Required to Develop a Stock Photo Website.


The contributor’s page should collect and present all relevant information regarding a user’s login, contact information, payment method, downloads, earnings, and transaction history. There are features such as:

  • Registration/Login
  • Profits- All information about incoming earnings from sales, payment history, and taxes
  • Portfolio – possibility to upload content, view status of content, manage catalog, and manage model and property releases
  • User Preferences- Account settings, public information, support, contact us
  • The dashboard – Statistics on activities, downloads, earnings, submissions, a map showing in what parts of the world the images were bought.

Other Functionalities offered to the contributor

When uploading content, a contributor can use a specific Upload wizard that allows them to include: keywords in content (up to 50 words to make the content searchable), Other settings can be released by the model or property.


After registering in the system, the buyer gains access to his account, allowing him to monitor the history of activities and update his contact information. The profile page may also include the following features:

  • Plans for Registration/Login – User can select the most appropriate pricing plan.
  • History of Purchases – History of purchases during the definite period.
  • Personal preferences – Emails, language, display settings.
  • Search Filter – To look up for content.
  • Profile Information – User ID, change password, and contact info.
  • Content Subcategories – Filter for images, footage, music.
  • Collections – The ability to preserve content collections.
  • Payment – Provides payment methods and billing address.


An Admin account is required to change site material and manage members and contributors. The following functions may be available in the admin panel:

  • Contributor Administration – User information, logins, and passwords, ID verification, payments settings, uploaded content management
  • Management of Transactions – All payments, affiliates relationships
  • Content Administration- Banner, blog, prices, discounts, and special offers
  • Buyer Administration- User information, logins, and passwords, pricing plans
  • Dashboard – Statistics on activities related to the user as well as the contributor.
  • Emails – It is critical to maintain communication with your consumers. Alerts, confirmations, welcomes, cheer-ups, alerts, news, and other forms of emails help to warm up your audience’s relationship. Shutterstock employs a large number of automatically produced emails, practically for every user activity. As an example:

Features that are applicable for both

Website Search Functions:

Search by Image

Suppose a user discovers a photograph that perfectly meets his or her requirements and wishes to locate it at its original size and resolution. So he or she may now just upload the document to the stock website and look for it. It may be nearly hard to search only by keywords.


Shutterstock also provides users with criteria such as orientation, colour, image size and resolution, ethnicity, age, gender, and number of individuals to make their search even more specific. Users may not only search by keywords, but they can also filter irrelevant tags from the results.

Keyword Search

Users may simply type terms into the search field to get results labelled with those words

Cost to Create a Website Like Shutterstock/ iStock

When it comes to developing a stock website, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. We can employ a white label solution and tailor it to your specifications. The development costs will range between $10,000 and $20,000. This price includes the labour of the full team, which includes a project manager, a team lead, front- and back-end developers, and a QA engineer.

Basic Features of Website

  • Registration/Login
  • Buyer/Contributor profiles with the bare minimum of functionality
  • Contributor portfolio with image upload tool
  • Simple keyword search
  • Payment processing Admin panel for site management

However, if you want special functionality and integrations, bespoke development should be considered. Depending on the specifications, developing a unique multi-vendor marketplace for digital items from the ground up might take 4-6 months. The cost will range between $30,000 and $50,000. Following the launch and first feedback, you will be able to determine what features to improve and which to add.

Need a website like Shutterstock or iStock?

Contact Netleon Technologies Today and discuss your project requirements for FREE!!

Photo By: PEXELS

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