Residual Income from ShutterStock and iStockPhoto Submissions

Homepreneurs recently blogged about photography as a home business.  We suggested that extra money was available via online distribution through channels such as ShutterStock and iStockPhoto.  These two websites accept submissions and – if approved – make them available to the public for a royalty fee.  Contributors get a specific percentage of each unit or units sold.

From ShutterStock’s submitter guideline page:

Submissions must be wholly owned by the submitter. Found or public domain images or footage cannot be submitted under any circumstances. If you do not have complete rights to the submission, you may not submit it.

Submissions must NOT contain any copyrighted material including paintings, other copyrighted photos, copyrighted logos, or any other art/advertisements/sculptures/exhibits or audio which are copyrighted. If submitted material contains any of these or other types of copyrighted content, you must either submit releases from the copyright owners or you must mark the images as editorial.

According to ShutterStock, contributors earn $.25 to $75.00 or more per image download.  This is a classic “make money while sleeping” opportunity.  You upload the photos, illustrations, videos ,vectors, and footage, ShutterStock handles the distribution and administration.  Contributors are paid via Paypal, Moneybookers, or bank check (drawn on U.S. funds).

Contributors are responsible for reading and following guidelines, providing model releases, keywords, and any taxes incurred on sales.  Please see ShutterStock’s contributor FAQ for additional information.  ShutterStock also has a referral program for additional earnings.

Similar is iStockPhoto contribution program.  Further information is available in the FAQ section of iStockPhoto’s website.  iStockPhoto requests a simple quiz when applying to be a contributor.  Contributions are free and iStockPhoto accepts photos, illustrations, flash, video, audio, and logos.

Similar to ShutterStock, iStockPhoto pays royalties based on contributions sold.   According to their website – iStockPhoto – iStockphoto pays contributors a base royalty rate of 15% for each file download and up to 45% for exclusive contributors.  iStockPhoto pays via PayPal, MoneyBaggers, Payoneer MasterCard, or cheque.

iStockPhoto requires a model release ”If a person is in any way identifiable in your image…” and also has a referral program.

Both ShutterStock and iStockPhoto have contributor lounges and forums.  Each has users that will critique potential submissions and both websites will request samples of your work: iStockPhoto requests 3 photos and ShutterStock requests 10 samples initially.  Both websites are well known, international, and feature millions of photographs and other media.  Selling works via these outlets is an excellent way to earn residual income – the user has little to do but contribute and wait for sales and payment.  🙂

Correction to passive income on 12-12-12: this income is considered residual income, not passive income as originally indicated.

By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.


Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

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