Can you earn money from Shuttout contests?

Howdy reader! In this post I will assume you already know what Shuttout is and the other basics and I will get directly to explaining how the contest went for me.
Get ready for a long post. I wrote this during an entire month describing hopefully all the spicy details so I would appreciate a lot your feedback.

I google my name from time to time to see stuff like long forgotten accounts and how people use the images they download from me. Last month I stumbled upon my long forgotten Shuttout account. From what I remember I gave up posting there because I didn’t feel confident enough about my photos to invest the time and energy in this.

2 years later, I gave it another chance. I posted in a few contests and the day after, Shuttout posted one of my pictures on their Instagram and gave me a Premium account for a month.

Organizing a 28 day contest with Shuttout

Took advantage of this account type and decided to see how organizing contests will work for me and also POSSIBLY earn a little extra money. I was inspired by this picture of mine to create an All-Green contest. I got super excited about seeng an all green feed in the contest, but let’s see how it goes.

The setup

Step 1 – Besides choosing a name and description for your contest, you have to decide if you want a public or private one. I’m looking forward for the extra money, so I would like everybody to take part in the contest. Because of my premium account I didn’t have to pay anything to create it (yet – see step 2).

Step 2 – Tags, start date, duration and sponsoring.
I wanted the longest period available. I thought that in 28 days I’ll have plenty of time to promote it so I will attract premium participants. I’m writing this before the contest was even accepted so I have no clue if I’m right.
If you wish to offer a prize in money then you have to sponsor the contest in the beginning with a minimum amount of 5$. Later on, every time a premium user will take part, they will have to pay 2$ to have a chance at the money prize.

From these 2$ we have the split:
– 1$ to the prize pool
– 0.8$ to Shuttout
– 0.2$ to the contest Host (that would be me)

I got these numbers from here so let’s hope this is still up to date. In the Terms and conditions document we have only some info on the prize winner, so I had to search a bit more. If you see some info that is not correct let me know and I will fix it right away (come with some proof, do I even have to mention it?).

The amount of 5$ I paid using PayPal (idk, maybe some of you need to know this) – the operation went smoothly.

And last step is actually a congrats screen 👏

After I filled all the info which is pretty straight forward (except the margins for the host – why aren’t they written in the final submission form? guess we’ll never know) my contest went directly live at the time set, as there were no issues found in the setup. Note that you can run up to 5 contests with a premium account, so I’m gonna go ahead and create 4 more. I will document in this post only the green one (but there’s a separate article for each one of the other 4 contests, just stats if you want to see how it went);

List with all the contests I was talking about; stats detailed:

All Green
All Red

The Shuttout page for this contest: link.

I will next check in every week to write in the contest progress: free entry participants, premium entries and some thoughts. I will also let you know whether I advertised somehow my contest or not.

Week 1: 11 – 17 dec

80 photos in the contest, prize raised to 16$
During this week I think I had the strongest promotion. Unfortunately my platforms aren’t big enough to make an impact, but here’s what I did:
• I created a page on this website with all the active contests, with some details and the current prize; I added this page in my bio on all platforms, including on Pexels, where I have millions of photo views monthly and around 9000 followers. Other social channel worth mentioning is Instagram with around 3500 followers. The page is now disabled as I don’t have any other ongoing contests at the moment;
• tweeted about the contests (but on a under 50 followers account);
• talked about the contests on Insta stories once;
• talked to some friends in person a few times.

I also had a few days with zero online activity, so you also have to consider this.

Week 2: 18 – 24 dec

95 photos in the contest, prize 20$
Pretty quiet week. Been mainly offline. I only shared the contests once or twice on Instagram stories. Please note that this was the week before Christmas.

Week 3: 25 – 31 dec

115 photos in the contest, prize 20$
Contests mentioned on Instagram stories twice. Also note here: Christmas week.

Week 4: 1-7 jan

130 pictures in the contest, prize at 21$
Considering this was the last week of the contest, I created a few stories with “x days left” and “hurry, hurry”;
To be honest, I felt a bit unmotivated to the end, because it seems that this kind of activity requires a lot of energy to promote and just skipped this part in the last days.

I want to congratulate anyway the winner. See the photo on the contest page here.
The winner was picked 100% by the community, there’s an algorithm implemented for this, if you are interested in how Shuttout voting works, I can write about it.

I encourage you to scroll through all the entries as I know for sure you’ll find a lot of wonderful photographers. They have the social links in their description so go give them some appreciation.

I made a list already with some of my favorites and the place they ended up in:

• #4: Aljo Antony
• #5: Kamil Stępień
• #5: Ondřej Chvátal
• #13: Kamil Stępień
• #14: J.V.
• #19: Sixtine hostache
• #30: Son Ja

A big thank you to everybody who took part, keep shooting, keep getting better ❤️


Can’t say that I am completely satisfied with how it all went. Can easily say that there is no chance to grow without promoting your contest and really wish that Shuttout will do something to support also community contests (like also sharing these on their Instagram stories could help A LOT). It was wonderful seeing all the wonderful entries, but it could’ve gone a lot better.

I forgot to mention it in the corresponding week, but at the beginning of each month I boost a little my Instagram audience with a paid promotion (usually for 7 days). Having the contests in bio you can also consider it contest promotion.

For sure, if you follow the recipe I described here, you can not make money with a Shuttout contest. What can you do better? Just promote it a lot…

Let me know your thoughts, I really want to hear other opinions and experiences. I had a hard time deciding wether I want to publish this article or not. If it helps at leas one individual in making a decision then I know I made the right decision.
Do you think maybe the subject of the contest was not too attractive? Or I should’ve promoted it more?