Photography Techniques

Share Your Colors: How Shutterstock Employees Express Their Creativity

Share Your Colors: How Shutterstock Employees Express Their Creativity

Is it any surprise that Shutterstock is staffed by an artistic bunch of people? Here, 20 people from the team reveal what they do in their off hours.

Everyone has a unique story to share, and Shutterstock has the assets to support that story, no matter what it is. That’s why this holiday season, we’re inviting you to receive 25% off, site-wide, as part of our Share Your Colors campaign. (Click here for more details.)

In support of the initiative, we asked twenty Shutterstock employees to share their colors: What are they passionate about? What do they do in their free time? And which Shutterstock images best represent them? The answers (and the resulting photo curation) will inspire you.

1. The Boudoir Photographer: Thanh Nguyen

Where I live: New Jersey, the unholy land according to New Yorkers. 

What I do at Shutterstock: I am an Art Director. In layman terms, I am artsy and I make pretty things.

The color that brings me life: I love pastel colors (baby pink, mauve, baby blue, mint green, peach, periwinkle, and lavender), but if I have to pick one, it’s baby pink.

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: In my free time, I work as a portrait and boudoir photographer (@thanh.tastic), and I am in love with rock climbing. I love being out in nature and surrounded by good company.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Rock Climber

Incense Sticks

Product Display
Images via Photobac, saravutpics, and mim.girl.

2. The Illustrator: Kate Voisin

Where I live: New Jersey

What I do at Shutterstock: I coordinate 3D content for the Shutterstock blog in addition to lots of other market-y things.

The color that brings me life: I’m really into pinks and greens lately—together, they look so alive and fresh! I also really like a pop of stark, bright red.

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I’m a marketer by day and an illustrator by night. I watch a lot of animated films to keep me inspired and, weirdly, a lot of old stop-motion or puppetry.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Yen River

Straw Buffalo Puppet

Water Puppets
Images via Vietnam Stock Images, Korawat photo shoot, and GROGL.

3. The Jazz Guitarist: Andy LaViolette

Where I live: Texas

What I do at Shutterstock: I work as Manager, Content Strategy, alongside a team of creative and cultural experts based all around the world. It’s our job to have a deep understanding of Shutterstock’s assets, products, and services, and to work closely with Enterprise clients to identify ways Shutterstock can be their partner in creativity.

The color that brings me life: I am subconsciously motivated and supported by earth tones, specifically brown and green hues. I love working outside in our yard and in the garden in my spare time, and many of my ideas and approaches to problem-solving are inspired by quiet time working in the yard. 

My desk is situated to look outside as I’m working and I find that on video calls, I am able to communicate my ideas more clearly when I’m looking at the trees’ canopy in my backyard as an alternative to my computer screen.

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: Anything involving improvisation with quick thinking has always been fun for me. I have a degree in jazz guitar and have studied music for almost thirty years. But, now I’m thankful to not rely on music as a source of income, only as a way to be creative and to spend time with my daughter, who is a blossoming musician herself.

I was also a cinematographer for fifteen years or so before my time at Shutterstock, and still film projects from time to time. In fact, since working at Shutterstock, I started a DIY web series called, “Life at the House,” where I film myself tackling odd jobs around the house in a fun and playful way. I look forward to launching Season 2 of my adventures in the Fall of 2021.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Dog Sunbathing

Golden Hour Lake

Animals in Clothes
Explanations (clockwise from top-left): I love my dog Buford, and watching him when he goes outside on a hot day to sunbathe. I love taking day trips with my family, taking pictures, and soaking in the beautiful parts many people will never know about Texas. And, I wear a lot of hats (metaphorically speaking). Images via MMCRP, MMCRP, and Cranach.

4. The Cajun Cook: Claire Fontenot

Where I live: New Orleans, Louisiana

What I do at Shutterstock: Business Intelligence Analyst. I am called to divine answers to the great mysteries of the Shutterstock universe. 

The color that brings me life: I surround myself with greenery! My office is my own personal jungle that I accent with purple amethysts and colorful pottery made by my mother.  

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I’m an excellent Cajun cook. The trick to making the quintessential gumbo is making sure the roux is a perfect chocolatey brown.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Purple Amethyst

Florida Sunset

Indoor Garden
Images via dr_cloudberry, jaimie tuchman, and Shannon West.

5. The Task Master: Kaori Abe

Where I live: São Paulo, Brazil

What I do at Shutterstock: I handle Field Marketing for Latin America. Does that mean I play soccer for the crowd? I wish. Field means I’m on the ground, making things happen. From choosing images, translating or crafting messages, to organizing events and engagements. I do everything having the local audience in mind—the background, the culture, and the marketplace.

The color that brings me life: OK, you can laugh. My favorite “color” depends on what subject we’re talking about. They vary from vibrant (my Apple devices and favorite cake are red) to extremely boring (80% of my pants are gray and 90% of my sneakers are white). I know, gray and white are not colors.

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I love yoga. I also love planning pretty much everything—my next trip, my next outfit, the menu for the next dinner with friends (so yes, I cook!). I love envisioning before accomplishing.

On the other hand . . . I’m a cat lover, and my youngest kitten, Jesus, is totally unpredictable, shattering my control freakiness and my quest for mindfulness.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Mature Yogi

Red Velvet Cake

Naughty Cat
Images via LightField Studios, Aleksey Khoruzhenko, and Selena1981.

6. The Shameless TV Addict: Patti Greco

Where I live: In a possibly haunted Airbnb in Hampton Bays, New York. My boyfriend and I are here through February, trying to figure out if we want to return to Brooklyn, where we used to live, or move somewhere else entirely. It’s an adventure!

What I do at Shutterstock: I’m a content marketing manager, which means I get to support the company through storytelling. Gather ‘round, children.

The color that brings me life: I love bright colors, in theory, but they’re nowhere to be found in my home or closet. I’m surrounded by neutrals. A metaphor?

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: Television. I also read, write, play with my dog, run, watch movies. But, yeah, I usually watch at least a little bit of television a day (scripted) and have since I was a nine-year-old kid addicted to Beverly Hills, 90210. TV brings me an enormous amount of joy and inspiration. Perhaps one day I will have a show of my own—you heard it here first.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Hot Pink Flower

Girl Watching TV

Continuous Hand Drawing
Images via oekka.k, Liderina, and DODOMO.

7. The Anime Enthusiast: DeLonna Scott

Where I live: Slidell, Louisiana

What I do at Shutterstock: I’m an SEO analyst! Googling things is basically my job. 

The color that brings me life: I often say that I love all colors equally (I have a rainbow tattoo on my ear), but that’s kind of a lie because I am very partial to shades of blue. I’ve dyed my hair tons of colors, but I keep coming back to blue (blue hair was my “something blue” when I got married).

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I’m big on audiovisual experiences, so I’ve been drawn to anime and electronic music since I was a kid. You can find me at a music festival or an anime convention on any given weekend. And, from that, I’ve acquired bonus hobbies! Anime inspired me to be an artist (traditional methods are my favorite) and electronic music makes me dance! I do both in my spare time. 

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Sci-Fi Military Base

Pirate Ship

Healing Scenery
Images via Liu zishan, jdrv_art, and

8. The Surfer: Timothy F.X. Plant

Where I live: Pacific Palisades, CA

What I do at Shutterstock: I work on growing the Editorial Business in several different ways. I manage the Shutterstocknow Social Media channels, find Live Assignments we can fulfill, create unique curations for the Trending Now page and pitch them out to clients, find and work with Newsroom photographers, troubleshoot with clients, sell exclusive images, and more. I guess a better question would be what don’t I do 🙂 

The color that brings me life: Cyan!The color of the ocean waves as the sun shines through them while I surf, the color of some of the leaves on my mountain bike rides, and most importantly, the color of my daughter’s eyes, which reminds me everything is right in the world. 

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: See above. 

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:


Male Tiger

Images via Abhishek Basak/Solent News/Shutterstock, Neville Clayton, and Christian Weber.

9. The Saxophonist: Andrew Raff

Where I live: Montclair, NJ

What I do at Shutterstock: Assistant General Counsel, Privacy & Security. I advise the company on our privacy, data protection, intellectual property and product, advertising, contract and licensing matters. 

The color that brings me life: We painted our living room a classic and bold Prussian Blue. 

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I’ve played saxophone and keyboards and some other things for many years, in rock bands, jazz combos, and classical wind ensembles, in various contexts—from Shutterstock open mics to clubs, tours, and Symphony Space. Though over the last eighteen months, I’ve been spending more creativity and improvisation on cooking than music. 

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Rock Band


Hunter Mountain
Images via Dylan Armajani, kovop58, and Andrew Raff.

10. The List Maker: Nadia Khan

Where I live: Brooklyn, NY

What I do at Shutterstock: I’m a Senior Project Manager of Marketing Operations. It’s my job to take our Marketing team’s bold ideas and figure out the plan to bring it to life in the most productive and efficient way possible. 

The color that brings me life: Shades of blue are my absolute favorite. Recently, I discovered stick-on-and-peel-off wallpaper. I got some in powder blue with silver constellations put up in my office to make a statement wall and I love how fun it looks while also making the room feel relaxed while I’m working. 

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I’m a sucker for stationary things. I love notebooks, pens, planners and all the things that come with it. I’m a huge believer that writing things down is one of the most powerful things you can do for your mind. So, I have one notebook for journaling, one to write down random ideas that come to mind, one to plan my week in, and one to write down things people say or that I read throughout the day that really resonate with me.

It may seem like a lot of notebooks, but it’s my way of slowing down and enjoying the little things in life. I use a fountain pen to write because it’s more environmentally-friendly than using disposable ballpoint pens. And, of course, the ink I choose to write with it is blue 🙂

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Small Journal

Mindfulness Concept

Blue Watercolor Splash
Images via Silatip, Song_about_summer, and evlmint.

11. The Painter: Erin Oostra

Where I live: Ellensburg, WA

What I do at Shutterstock: I am a visual designer working on the Shutterstock Create tool. I design templates and create additional visuals to further show people how to use the tool.

The color that brings me life: Cerulean, hex code: #9BB7D4. 2020 was weird. All of my best-laid plans seemed to fly out the window and into an abyss. What this made room for, however, was an open door for new plans and opportunities that I would have otherwise passed by. In the stress of all the change, I found peace and continue to look for more of it in this cerulean color.

Its lightness reminds me of views of the big, open sky on a serene, crystal-clear day. The freshness of this blue reminds me to move like a mountain river, winding around every obstacle in its path. And the hue’s softness reminds me that things will all work out in the end, the way they’re supposed to.

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I love to paint and hike. I fell in love with hiking throughout the Pacific Northwest in my college years, then shortly after I picked up a paintbrush to spend some time away from the computer.

I am best known for my abstract and impressionistic paintings inspired by the mountains and oceans of the Pacific Northwest. With strong, fluid strokes, my latest works capture an awe and respect for the dangerous beauty of nature.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Cerulean Paint

Snow Covered Mountains

Crashing Waves
Images via LARISA DUKA, Tobin Akehurst, and Brett Allen.

12. The Screenwriter: Joe Wolff

Name: Joe Wolff

Where I live: Chicago

What I do at Shutterstock: I arrange words into sentences in an effort to connect with people. 

The color that brings me life: Blue. It’s a dominant color in pretty much each of my favorite sports teams’ uniforms (Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, Florida Gators), so it brings me daily joy (and misery?). 

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I write, which considering I also write at Shutterstock, might seem like a cheat code answer. BUT, in my spare time, I write fiction. I self-published a time travel novel in 2019 and actively write screenplays. It’s a truly terrible existence that I enjoy very much. 

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Chicago-Style Pizza

Florida Gator

Vintage Typewriter
Images via Brent Hofacker, Ernie Hounshell, and Victoria M Gardner.

13. The Sci-Fi Cartoonist: Andrew Balfe

Where I live: New Orleans, Louisiana

What I do at Shutterstock: I’m an Analyst on the TurboSquid QA team. My job is to test changes to various parts of our site before they get released to customers or contributors. In addition to testing, I help maintain our testing tools and do a little bit of project management on the QA side.

The color that brings me life: It’s hard for me to choose just one! But a color that’s always appealed to me is purple, probably inspired by the lavender my family had in front of the house when I was a kid. Purples show up rarely in the world but when they do, it’s always for something special (dramatic sunsets, flowers, New Orleans houses, etc.).

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: My main hobby is 3D art and animation. I’ve worked in 3D programs in some capacity since middle school and studied architecture at university, so design has always been a passion.

With that said, my love for the medium really took off after college, once I started focusing less on abstract designs and more on silly sci-fi cartoons and vignettes. In my work, I try to straddle the line between cute and unsettling, and finding the right balance between the two is really fun!

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:


Lesser Bushbaby

Images via Simia Attentive, EcoPrint, and John D Sirlin.

14. The Photographer: Sera Borelli

Where I live: San Francisco, CA

What I do at Shutterstock: I’m a Contributor Account Manager so I work with our contributing artists, specifically the wonderfully talented photographers and illustrators who submit their work to OFFSET by Shutterstock collection. 

The color that brings me life: I’m pretty loyal to a rich olive green. I have a cashmere olive green scarf that I use nearly every day—it’s my signature accessory. 

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: Keeping up with my photography journal! As someone who looks and thinks about images all the time, I love challenging myself to make my own pictures. It’s a great creative exercise that gets me to document my life and find beauty in simple moments. When I’m not keeping up with my photography journal, I’m probably learning about design, making homemade pasta, and dreaming of becoming an ikebana artist.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Skeleton Leaves

Concrete Background

Images via saras66, Oleksii Dubrovskyi, and Horizonman

15. The Craft Enthusiast: Alexandra Zusman (also known as AZ)

Where I live: Downstate New York

What I do at Shutterstock: By title, I’m the Director of Customer Care Operations. But as a six-year Shutterstock veteran, I like to think of myself as our unofficial Historian, helping to connect dots about where we’ve been, what we learned, and how it connects to where we’re going next.

The color that brings me life: Color has always been a huge part of my personality—I wear bright, bold colors and prints, and often dye my hair to match. One of my favorite childhood drawings was a self-portrait in which I imagined myself to “have different colors of hair.”

Painted Hair
Image courtesy of Alexandra Zusman.

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: Crafting keeps me sane! Tie-dying, Cricut die-cutting, sewing, 3D-printing, knitting, calligraphy, watercolor painting, drawing, basic woodworking, macrame, embroidery—I enjoy dabbling in all of it! I love that these hobbies tap into a completely different type of creativity and productiveness than what I use in my day job. 

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Hand-Drawn Waves


Knitting Tools
Images via Yana Fefelova, NASA images, and Evgeniya369.

16. The Adventurous Traveler: Elena Antonaci

Where I live: Currently in New York City. I was born in Milan but I’ve lived in many places during my lifetime. Some of them are still very close to my heart: Barcelona, Houston, Bologna, Lecce. You can tell my suitcase is always ready!

What I do at Shutterstock: I’m a Senior Sales Support Administrator. I take care of our beloved Sales Reps needs and their requests. I love to juggle between different tasks and make sure every inquiry is handled in a detailed and timely manner while having fun.

The color that brings me life: I’m a creative person, therefore my life is full of colors, but if I had to choose it would be emerald green. It’s such a pure and peaceful color, it reminds me of my beloved Salento (South Italy)—ohh! The sea, the wind, the sun, the Bella vita! 

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I consider myself an avid creator/hobbyist. I make illustrations and drawings focusing on children’s content. I might create a series of books someday.  

I am also an enthusiastic photographer, traveler, and curious soul. Visiting new countries and diving into each and every culture makes me feel alive. Fun fact: In one of my travels, I happened to eat a grilled scorpion and also rode a camel for twenty miles. Guess where?

Cooking meals is a great way to spend time for me, especially if I’m surrounded by friends who repeatedly say (not to brag!) that my parmigiana is unbeatable! 

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Girl on a Tightrope

Exotic Beach

Travel Concept
Images via Yevgenia Nayberg, Nowik Sylwia, and aanbetta.

17. The Cosplayer: Misti Morrison

Where I live: Austin, TX

What I do at Shutterstock: Content editor. I make sure the words on the Shutterstock blog make sense!

The color that brings me life: I find green and purple hard to resist, but today my answer is orange. Fall is my favorite season, and orange reminds me of home-cooked meals and sunsets over golden autumn trees. To me, orange signifies warmth and coziness on cooling nights. It also happens to be the color of my younger cat!

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I dabble in a lot of crafts: drawing, painting, hand embroidery, even weaving. However, I spend most of my off hours sewing. I learned the basics in high school on my aunt’s extremely fancy computerized Bernina. (I swear I had nothing to do with that machine eventually catching on fire!)

I didn’t touch a sewing machine again until 2016 when I picked up a cheap one at a thrift store. It was a bare-bones machine, but it was enough to get me started and I’ve been sewing regularly ever since. When I’m not reading sci-fi novels or brewing a cup of tea, I’m at my sewing table learning how to construct something new. I’m I mostly make costumes, and even met my wife because we cosplayed from the same game!

Obviously, I’ve been sewing a lot of face masks since 2020, but as life is slowly settling back to something like normal and events are coming back, I’ve had more reasons to take on bigger projects again.

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Ginger Kitty in Library

Ginger Kitty Sewing

Coffee with Ginger Kitty
Images via naskami, Konstantin Aksenov, and perfectlab.

18. The Runner: Bridget Johnston

Where I live: Downtown Indianapolis

What I do at Shutterstock: I dig into a ton of data to determine which creative trends make the biggest impacts today. These creative insights then get interpreted into blog posts, special marketing campaigns, social media interactives, and more.

The color that brings me life: The reddest red is my absolute favorite color. I love that pop of pigment a very deep, yet bright, red can bring. My car is that color. I have several sets of shoes in that color. All my kitchen appliances are that color. I even try to refresh my greyhound’s bandanas, so she can be colorful and chic too. 

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: Cooking, running, and traveling are my main hobbies in life. My passion for travel was ignited at a young age. My family would travel from Cincinnati to Philadelphia every summer to visit relatives, and that gave me a taste for how much bigger the world was, beyond our suburb.

As I grew up, my wanderlust was influenced by a variety of things—trips to Epcot at Disney World, watching Anthony Bourdain on TV, etc. Once I was in my twenties, I started exploring the world on my own, and have traveled to several countries and continents with friends, family, and coworkers. 

When at home, I love to run. It was something I always thought of as a punishment (thanks, P.E. class!) or that I was bad at. A few years back, I was inspired by a friend who signed up for the Chicago Marathon, and I signed up for a 5K. Immediately, I had to learn how to run 3.1 miles without stopping . . . and I did. Since then, I’ve gone greater distances and have pushed myself further. I love the discipline a regular running schedule brings me. Through the sport, I have learned so much about my mind, body, and heart. 

And, finally, I love to cook! I make a lot of food from scratch, and now that I work remotely, I make really delicious and involved lunches during the workday. I have a bucket list of dishes that I’m working through. I’ve already made a croquembouche, a king cake, Portuguese francesinhas, B&W cookies, Julia Child’s beef bourguignon, etc., etc. etc. I think beef Wellington will be next . . .

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Red Cooking Utensils

Greyhound on Trail

Thai Street Food
Images via united photo studio, TierneyMJ, and Anansing.

19. The Historian: Grete Miller

Where I live: New Jersey

What I do at Shutterstock: I’m a Product Operations Specialist for our fantastic Global Customer Care team! I get the honor of advocating for the voice of customers and contributors throughout various cycles of their experience. Everything from bug management to project planning, my team is there to collaborate and problem solve in order to support our creative users and our rockstar frontline teams. 

The color that brings me life: Blue and purple are my favorite colors, as they’re super calming. I’m a big organizer and love post-it notes. I have blue and purple post-its everywhere!

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I’m an experimental and documentary filmmaker who relishes working in 16mm film! I’m also a LGBTQ+ community activist and an inclusive history advocate. I love digging into the past to uncover unsung heroes and information that help to educate, inspire, and empower today’s younger generations of changemakers.

Libraries, archives (especially the NYPL), my community, and public service are important parts of my life. I’ve gotten to work with amazing materials and have gotten to know so many incredible stories and people through these avenues. They’ve made me who I am today. It’s such an awesome gift! 

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

Vintage Film Equipment

Film Canisters

Rose Reading Room
Images via alexkatkov, Thorir Ingvarsson, and Ritu Manoj Jethani.

20. The Oil Painter: Ron Domingue

Where I live: New Orleans

What I do at Shutterstock: Designer for 3D Marketing. I basically make you want to buy 3D models from Shutterstock to use in your projects. 

The color that brings me life: I vary my color palette depending on the project, but I’ve been liking more muted schemes with a pop of color for the object of focus. I tend to favor muted green and blue hues combined with orange or purple. 

My Hobby/Passion/Creative Pursuit: I enjoy cooking Cajun and Thai cuisines, running, and playing basketball. I also love cinematography, practicing mindfulness, learning French, and oil painting. I’ve been writing a horror screenplay for a while now—A24, are you interested? 

Three Shutterstock images that show my colors:

I created the imagery below in Cinema 4D and Octane utilizing TurboSquid models and assets. Hopefully, it gives you an idea of my own color sensibilities. 


Race Car

Haunted House
Images created by Ron Domingue.

Cover image via Brett Allen.

The post Share Your Colors: How Shutterstock Employees Express Their Creativity appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.

Did you miss our previous article…