Category Archives: Cutcaster How To

How to navigate the Cutcaster site.

How can I use a stock photo I find online?

A lot of times when you find an image online that you want to use it might not be that clear what you need to do in order to legally license the image and use it for your creative project. Whether there are questions surrounding the license type, the usage, any restrictions, who the actual copyright holder is or if your usage requires a model or property release. To sum up some of the ways you can use photos at Cutcaster we created this short writeup to show you how you can use Cutcaster images?

Cutcaster images may be applied to the following uses (in most cases limited to 500,000 copies under our Standard License):

• You can use any images in advertising posters and brochure design for use in promoting the sale of other products.

• Within editorial or advertising copy in newspapers, magazines, books, book covers, school textbooks, editorials and directories.

• In coordination with opt-in marketing.

• For product packaging.

• On letterhead and business cards, brochures, pamphlets, catalogs and on pop-up and/or panel displays for use in trade shows or at conventions.

• In multimedia presentations and incorporated into film and video for distribution and/or sale in the home video market OR for broadcast and/or theatrical display..

• Use as a background image or splash screen within software .

• On cover art and/or artwork used on in CD or DVD .

• In eBooks for any e-device reader, including multi-seat license electronic textbooks.

Please note, certain restrictions apply depending on whether you’re purchasing the images under a Standard Licensing contract or if you are purchasing an Extended License (EL). You can learn more about the differences between licenses by clicking on this link to our legal page.

Are there ways I CANNOT use Cutcaster images?

There are some use cases, in which you are prohibited from using an image purchased from Cutcaster under our Standard License. These include:

• Print runs exceeding 500,000 copies unless an Extended License is purchased which would give you an unlimited print run.

• Print on demand (POD) projects such as wallpaper, postcards, mousepads, mugs, t-shirts, posters, giclee prints, artwork and other items.

• Any unbecoming or derogatory depiction of the model or persons pictured in an image, including use of models in pornographic material, political endorsements and alcohol, drug, or tobacco campaigns.

You also cannot:

• Resell or share Cutcaster content.

• Use any Cutcaster image as part of a trademark, service mark, or company logo.

• Try to depict that the image was created by you or anyone other than the copyright holder of that image.

Please always read the contract first before you buy any images form Cutcaster and consult your legal team if you have specific questions. We are here to help but are not a substitute for your specific usage. Feel free to contact us at webmaster AT cutcaster DOT com.


It’s hard to know how to take that shot that will sell over and over again. We get a lot of similar images uploaded to us at Cutcaster. After reviewing one particularly large batch of similar images where it appeared as if the photographer just stepped back one foot for each shot while moving his camera slightly to the left, we almost had a photo reviewer jump out the window after she ran out of hair to pull out ;-)

Then, I stumbled across a great post at Photoshelter titled, ”How to make a photo editor fall in love with you” and a few things really stood out for me. Nice work PS.

One in particular was from Roberto De Luna, a Photo Editor at Time Out New York, who said, “A photographer that understands that I need verticals, horizontals, and SILO options stands a great chance of winning me over.”

This is the thought process that will help every photographer get into the mindset of his end user/buyer and something that needs to be thought about before you submit photos to a photo editor who has hired you or send to Cutcaster.

Cutcaster has always stressed the importance of editing images before submitting them to us so that the quality of the selection you upload is the highest possible. For example, if you are going to submit a series of images from the same shoot, it is best to submit a portrait, a landscape, a SILO option if appropriate and an obscure/conceptual angle from each subject area/shoot to reduce redundancy and vastly improve the user experience and visual quality of results when a buyer performs a search. Supplying too many similar images will be off-putting to clients and result in less sales because buyers won’t use our site to buy your images.

So it is wise to choose the images you upload carefully and not submit too many similars. Think, as you are shooting, what a buyer will need and be able to use. Plan it out beforehand and improvise as you are shooting. Try to shoot exactly what you planned out or was asked of you by a photo editor, and then shoot it from every angle possible. Up, down, from above, view from below, wide, close, inside and out, horizontal and vertical.  If you plan it out and can capture all that then your images will sell and show your buyers how hard you work.

What is a comp image and does Cutcaster offer them?

A ‘comp’ (short for complimentary) is a free, low-resolution, watermarked version of Cutcasters’ images. Buyers will generally download comps to evaluate an image’s suitability in a particular creative project or to evaluate varying page designs.

‘Comps’ may also be used by photo researchers or photo buyers who are doing research or purchasing images for a third party and need to seek this party’s approval of the image(s) prior to purchasing. Comp images may not be incorporated into any finished products.

To download a comp, you must first login to Cutcaster and then the download will be moved to your desktop.

How to Upload Photos from Photoshelter to Cutcaster

Uploading from Photoshelter is easy!

First you need to go to your upload page:


There you will find your studio ftp information.  From here you can input your info into the Photoshelter FTP transfer page:


Most importantly here, you must put your personal path or FTP folder ID number in the space provided.

Your username and password are both anonymous.

That’s it!  You are set up and ready to upload to Cutcaster.

Cutcaster Referral Program Update

Do you know photographers, illustrators or photo buyers who could use Cutcaster and would benefit from you telling them about the site? Cutcaster pays you money for referring potential members to the site who purchase new content or sell content in the marketplace.  Referring new clients to Cutcaster is a great way to pick up extra money without a lot of work. An affiliate is anyone who is referred to Cutcaster after clicking on one of your Cutcaster affiliation banners or links that we provide to you within your studio.
How does it work?

From your MyStudio page, click on the “Referral” tab. There are three options you can choose from: Affiliates, Invite a friend and Earnings. When you refer a friend to the site who buys content or refer someone who has uploaded content, which is bought on the site, you accumulate money.

Here is the deal; the referring member will be rewarded by getting commission in the form of cash on all the transactions of their affiliates for the next 2 years. The affiliation program rewards any member of Cutcaster for any sales and purchases made by their affiliates. It’s a win-win situation for all of us. You get to be the first to introduce people to the first dynamic content marketplace and they’ll be impressed by the quality of the images, clipart and illustrations.

The referring members’ revenues are calculated by a percentage of Cutcaster’s commission from each transaction for the affiliate. Cutcaster pays 10% of the buyers’ transactions and 5% of any of the sellers’ transactions for 2 years of when they sign up. (Content Sellers commissions/royalties do not change as a result of the affiliation program). We will show you the total earnings from this referral program for both the buyers and sellers in the Earnings section.

Cutcaster checks to make sure all new referred members are legit. The new user has to enable their cookies and make their first purchase within 14 days of signing up or we won’t be able to send you the credit for the referral. Referring members may receive rewards from an unlimited number of affiliates in their account. The referring member cannot be his own affiliate but nice try.

An Affiliation link is an Internet hyperlink or web link pointing to the Cutcaster website with a member’s reference id. The reference id is a unique code assigned to every member of Cutcaster. You can find those links and banners under Affiliation in your studio.

Once you click on the “tell a friend” TAF tab, you can enter the person’s contact information and send them an invite. There is no limit to the number of new users you can invite and the amount of money you can make from referring them.

CUTCASTER TAX GUIDELINES – How to report your earnings properly?

Taxes aren’t fun, and as your partner in business, Cutcaster wants to do it’s best to help you determine which tax forms are required by the I.R.S. and/or by us. While Cutcaster cannot explicitly provide tax and/or legal advice, we can provide the information we think is relevant to assist you in making a decision about how to comply with applicable U.S. tax laws no matter where you live in the world.  Regardless of what you read here, we think it’s always best to contact your legal and/or tax advisor before reaching a final conclusion.

Which Tax Forms Should I Use?

All Cutcaster sellers must read the following guidance on how to comply with U.S. withholding tax laws:

A.   Are you submitting to Cutcaster as an individual? If “yes”, then you fall into one of these three groups:

GROUP 1 — If you are submitting to Cutcaster as an individual and are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, then no matter where you are worldwide you can submit Form W-9 to us to satisfy your filing requirement. Typically there will be no withholding of taxes on any of your Cutcaster income.

GROUP 2 — If you are submitting to Cutcaster as an individual and are a resident of a country that has a tax treaty with the U.S., then please submit Form W-8BEN digitally on Cutcaster’s website to benefit from the reduced or zero withholding rate that is specified in your country’s tax treaty. Note that a U.S. Tax ID # (TIN) is not required for GROUP 2.

GROUP 3 — If you are submitting to Cutcaster as an individual and are not a resident of a country that has a tax treaty with the U.S., then your U.S. source income from Cutcaster will be subject to 30% withholding tax. Please submit Form W-8BEN to us digitally on our website. Note that a U.S. Tax ID # (TIN) is not required for GROUP 3.

B.   Are you submitting to Cutcaster as an LLC, partnership, or corporation? If “yes”, then you fall into one of these two groups:

GROUP A — If you are submitting to Cutcaster as an LLC, partnership, or corporation and the entity is organized under U.S. law, then you can submit Form W-9 to us to satisfy your filing requirement. Typically there will be no withholding of taxes on any of your Cutcaster income.

GROUP B — If you are submitting to Cutcaster as an LLC, partnership, corporation, or association and the entity is not organized under U.S. law, use Form SS-4 to apply for a TIN. Once you have obtained a TIN, please consult with your tax adviser to determine which type of Form W-8 is correct for you. If you choose the W-8BEN, please complete it digitally on our website. If you choose a different W-8 form, please complete it and contact Cutcaster for further instructions.

GROUP C.   If you are not an individual, LLC, partnership, or corporation, then please consult with your tax adviser to determine which IRS forms are correct for you. Once you have determined which forms are appropriate, please contact Cutcaster.

Please print out the relevant IRS document(s) which we’ve attached herein, fill them out, scan them (save a copy for your records), and email the image(s) to us.  All personal information is of course confidential and will be held securely.

For questions or concerns please email

Cutcaster’s Photo Pricing Algorithm – How to price stock photography?

Ever wonder how much one of your photos or illustrations is worth? What you should charge for a great stock photo? Should the price of a stock photography license change depending on the image or buyer? If you charge too much will that scare away all the photo buyers?

Outside of a stock photography agency telling you what they are going to charge their photo buyers for a stock photo license or a buyer telling you directly what they want to pay, it’s hard to know what to charge for a stock photo. You can look at your costs, the uniqueness of the image or how the stock image will be used and come up with a some idea for what to charge. There are also some photo pricing tools for stock photography out there but most you have to pay for or, worse, are outdated.

So Cutcaster introduced it’s ‘photo pricing algorithm‘ and ‘bidding for content‘ features to help sellers use get the most revenue in return per image and buyers find the best deals for stock photography. The pricing algorithm and bidding for photos feature are the cornerstones of Cutcaster’s dynamic content marketplace which provide sellers total control over how much they want to charge for a license to use one of their stock images. Below we will explain how the Cutcaster Pricing Algorithm works.


What is the Cutcaster Pricing Algorithm?

Cutcaster’s proprietary pricing algorithm maximizes your content’s earning potential by changing it’s price to match the demand in the marketplace. The revolutionary pricing algorithm is the first of it’s kind in the stock photography industry. The more demand for your stock image, the more you should be paid for it.  The algorithm is based on image metadata, search variables surrounding your content and how your file stacks up against similar content in the Cutcaster marketplace so we can understand better what the buyers are willing to pay and how to price the content in the future.


How does the photo pricing algorithm add dollars to my bottom line?

Just like how the price of a company’s stock on an global stock exchange is set through the interaction of buyers and sellers, we wanted to create a similar marketplace for a piece of digital content.  If the price moves too high and nobody buys or views your content, well, the price will come down. If there is a high level of demand for your content, the price will move up and you as the seller should be able to capture a higher price for it.  What the algorithm accomplishes for you is the automation of this process across your entire inventory of content. So with very little effort, you can feel confident that your work is being sold at the right price and you are getting the most return per image.  If the price is set to high, well that is where the buyer can bid on content and show you what price they are willing to pay. At Cutcaster, we want our content contributors to spend their energy being creative.

three options

How does it work?

It’s actually pretty simple.  You have the option to set your own start price and let the algorithm work its magic from that price.  To set the start price you may want to look at your costs regarding the production of the photo, how it has sold in the past, the uniqueness of the image or how the stock image will be used (in Cutcaster’s case it is royalty free) and come up with a some idea for where you want to start the photo’s price. From that price the algorithm will go to work. Alternatively, you can use the algorithm default starting price, which will look at the image’s metadata, the keywords, the description, similar content in our marketplace and other pertinent information to get a fair start price. Once the file is approved by our editors and released into the Cutcaster marketplace, the price will fluctuate depending on the demand for that particular image.

The formula is flexible and will/can be modified. Feel free to let us know if you think there’s room for improvement or other variables we should consider when evaluating your prices.

How to Bid on Images at Cutcaster?

The first step to bidding on images and naming your price at Cutcaster is to create an account at Cutcaster under the Register page.  To bid on images and name your price you need to be a registered Cutcaster user.  It’s free.


Once you have selected the image you would like to bid for, you can look to the right hand side of the screen and see the different pricing options based on the file sizes.  First, choose the size of the image you would like and the license type, Standard or Extended.


Next, if you look right below the menu table, you will see three options.  threeoptions

You can enter your new price (bid) and click on the ‘Send’ button:

place new bid The artist will receive an email letting them know that they have a bid for one of their images and will have 48 hours to either accept the bid, negotiate or reject the bid.  In most cases, sellers react in less than 2 hours to bids.

If the Artist Accepts Your Bid:

Login to your Cutcaster Account and from within your Studio page under ‘My Marketplace’ you will see a red ‘New’ under ‘Accepted Deals’.

my marketplace new

Click on ‘Accepted Deals’.  You will then have the option to ‘Purchase This File’.

purchase this photo

You will then be taken to Cutcaster’s Cart page where you can checkout using any major credit card, Cutcaster credits or pay by invoice.  If you have a coupon or discount code, you can also use them on this cart page.

cart area

When you select your payment option, click on the green ‘Checkout’ button and the image will be available for you to download.

If the Artist Decides to Negotiate:

If the contributor decides to negotiate after receiving your bid, you will receive an email letting you know what price the contributor is willing to accept.  Log onto your account and under ‘My Marketplace’ within your studio page you will see the counter-offer under ‘Content I Want to Buy’.

content i want to buy

You can either Accept, Negotiate or Decline the new price:sellers new proposal

If the Artist Declines Your Bid:

If the artist declines your lower price (bid), an email will be sent to you notifying you it was declined.  The declined offer will show up in your ‘Delcined Deals’ in ‘My Marketplace’.

declined deals

If you have any further questions, always feel free to email

Share this Button leads to more views and sales

Hey! Are you on Facebook, Myspace, Digg etc. as much as we are?!?!?! Social media is amazing and you should take advantage of it by showing the world your wonderful works of art! And you can do that so simply by going to the media details page of whatever image you want to show and simply….

1-Click “Share”
2-Choose whatever social media site you have an account for and want to use.
3-Fill out the details (description and text)
4-Share with the world!

You really should take advantage of this because isn’t most of this industry all about networking?!?! Share your work today and let potential customers remember your name!

Add a link to our Photography Resource Page and get traffic back to your photo site

We are creating a large directory to help out visitors find the best photography related resources on the internet. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact us to request a link.

To have your link added to our links page, you will have to provide a link back to our site:

The link must use the anchor text “Royalty Free Stock Photos”.

To submit your site, email us at webmaster AT cutcaster DOT com:

1) Your site’s title

2) URL

3) Short description

4) Exact reciprocal link location i.e. the page you are adding our link to