Artists begin selling AI-generated artwork on stock photography websites

Enlarge / A selection of AI-generated artwork that can be licensed through Shutterstock. (credit:

Seeking ways to “monetize” AI-generated art, some artists have already begun submitting their AI-generated pieces to stock photography websites like Shutterstock. Searches for “AI generated” or “Midjourney” (a popular image synthesis service) produce thousands of results on the site.

In some cases, a portion of the artwork that isn’t labeled as “AI generated” also appears to clearly match Midjourney’s art style, which seems to be the most popular image synthesis tool on the site at the moment. As of press time, Shutterstock’s terms of use do not prohibit the submission of AI-generated artwork. Shutterstock contributors receive a percentage of the licensing fee that varies from 15 to 40 percent of what Shutterstock makes from the content.

A recent video tutorial from a Canadian portrait photographer named Vanessa on YouTube lays out her process of trying to find which stock websites allowed AI artwork created by Midjourney, settling on Shutterstock. She describes needing to upscale her AI-generated artwork before submission because most image synthesis output at present isn’t high-resolution enough to meet Shutterstock’s standards.

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