Residual Income from Photos

try their residual income pizza
Yup, I took this photo.

The residual income is passive income that happens to be paid on intellectual property (royalties). Let’s try selling some on the internet and see if it makes any money. This wasn’t really part of my passive income plan that I laid out in day 9’s post, PIP, PIP, PURRAY! but why would I turn down an idea just because it wasn’t part of my initial plan?

I’ve been to a few countries around the world and I have a substantial number of photos that I’ve taken from various places. I figured I’d put these images to work. getting started for some residual income

I decided to sign up with Shutterstock. Creating an account and verifying my account was pretty easy. You can upload your photo through the web interface or you can use their FTP site. To use the FTP, you can download FileZilla and they’ll provide the FTP info (, and your login/password). What the FTP won’t tell you, is that your files are too small. Shutterstock requires that the images be at least 4mb in size. When I used the FTP all I got were errors and no explanation.

I finally uploaded some photos from New York and Washington DC.

After I got a selection of my photos uploaded then I had to add titles, categories, and tags about the photos. The suggested tags/keywords were pretty close to what I would have written. Their photo identification algorithm must be pretty good. Sometimes it was off but for the most part, I was impressed. The suggested keywords made preparing the photos easy. The photos are now waiting to be approved which can take up to five days.

If you’re interested to see what I’ve uploaded you can view my portfolio here. If you don’t see anything yet then you may need to wait until the five days is up. You can also assume that as time goes by, I’ll upload even more photos.

Conclusion on residual income photography

That was pretty easy. I have a lot of other photos I’ll likely upload but for now I believe I’ve opened up another potential revenue stream. It’s also likely that I’ll try out some other stock photo sites to see if I can sell photos through them.

How much do you get paid through Shutterstock?

$0.25 per download. It’s not a lot but it could add up. There’s a tier system too so you’ll receive more per download when you hit lifetime earnings milestones of $500, $3,000, and $10,000.

It’s currently producing zero money but if I do receive any money, I’ll surely report back on how it’s going. If I create other accounts to sell photos, I may also do a comparative review to see which one works best.


The majority of my photos were rejected. Only five of 16 were approved. I had no idea they were so strict on what would be accepted.

Here are the reasons.

  • Title / Keyword Trademark: Title and/or keywords contain trademark issues (e.g., brand name, company name, etc).
  • Intellectual Property: Image potentially infringes on another person’s intellectual property rights (e.g., image contains artwork, writing, sheet music, or objects protected by copyright).
  • Missing Property Release: A property release is required for this submission but was not provided.
  • Missing Model Release: A model release is required for this submission but was not provided.
  • Visible Trademark: Image contains visible brand names or logos.
  • Noise / Artifacts / Film Grain: Image contains excessive noise, film grain, compression artifacts, and/or posterization.

The only ones that were actually accepted were photos of bridges, cityscapes, and the Washington Monument. Any single building, any person, any art, any sign, all rejected. Even things without signs which they considered art were rejected. Also, the noise, artifacts, film grain…that’s just what the photo was, it was photo of an imperfect mosaic and it was rejected too. So, if you’re going to do this. Keep it simple unless you can get releases. Landscapes, cityscapes, macro images, etc.

Cheers, and good luck with this one.

Categories: Freelancing, Passive Income, Residual Income

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