How to sell photos on Amazon, Shutterstock and Istockphoto

I often see a lot of young ladies and men uploading tons of pictures on social media every time, all in the bid to get attention, but what they do not know is that they can make tons of thousands of dollars from those pictures (pictures of virtually anything, e.g. cities, animals, humans, schools etc.).

Number one rule is that those pictures must be taken by you, and not some random pictures gotten from the internet, your friends or colleagues’ phones. Secondly, public domain pictures are not allowed – they are photos that do not have copyright, this means that anybody can use them for free without any legality issue. Now that you’ve learnt about the few rules you have to abide to in this platform, let’s talk about where you can upload your pictures and start making money.

This article is of two parts. I am going discuss about Shutterstock, istockphoto, and the like, before jumping over to Amazon.

How does this work?

I suppose you must have seen pictures with “shutterstock” embedded on them. Shutterstock is a website which allows people to download photos for a certain amount of money.

If you’re a contributor, you will get paid every time any of your pictures are downloaded. They pay $0.37 for each download, this means that if your pictures are downloaded 2000 times you will earn $740. Imagine if you get up to 100000 downloads, that would be approximately $36,000+. Also, imagine if you have about 100 approved photos, and you end up making thousands of dollars from each photos…

There are tons of millions of people (individuals and companies) who are ever willing to pay to download photos on shutterstock on a regular daily basis. Another good news is that this business does not end in shutterstock; there is also another website – It serves the same purpose as shutterstock. It does not also end here, there are other websites that are also into the same business, but shutterstock and istockphoto are the most popular, trusted and more recommendable in the platform. Let me also draw this to your attention, these websites have certain requirements that your photo must meet before it can be approved.

Like I said earlier, your photos could be anything: animals, humans, buildings, flowers, objects, etc. as a matter of fact, 60% of the photos on shutterstock are pictures of flowers, animals, building etc. Based on experience, human photos seem to be more lucrative than the others; they tend to get more downloads than the others. Although, it all depends on how fine the pictures are.

Where to upload your photos and start making money

Now, to get started, go to and sign up as a contributor. When you get to shutterstock, keep scrolling down until you see “become a contributor.”

Tips on how to get more downloads

Remember, you’re not uploading your pictures just for fun, you are there to make money. Although, some people upload their pictures there with the motive of getting famous, or noticed. This is because the more a picture is downloaded, the more popular it becomes. The pictures go worldwide, therefore, making the person in it popular. Now it is important that your pictures get popular, because, the more popular they become, the more downloads you will get. You don’t need to apply any special tactic in order for your pictures to get popular, just make sure you take good and attractive photos with a good camera. Remember, just like other online money making platforms, this is not a get rich quick platform. Although, you could become rich overnight with this business, if properly done, but that does not mean it is a get rich quick scheme.

What you have to work towards is getting very attractive photos that will capture the attention of your potential downloaders. The better pictures you get, the more downloads you will get, the more downloads you get, the more money you’ill make.

2nd Method

How to make money by selling photo book on Amazon

Now, this method is even easier than the aforementioned. All you have to do is to create a photo book; this is a book that contains some photos, then you can sell it on Amazon. Believe me, it’s easier than it sounds.

One good thing about Amazon is that they do not have requirements for picture quality. This is because you are not selling it to them, you are selling it directly to your customers using their platform. Although, this does not mean you should add stupid pictures; don’t forget that your buyers have a choice, if they don’t like yours, they’ll move on to the next person.

Things to consider when creating a photo book on Amazon

When creating a photo book, you can add pictures of anything or person, as long as they were taken by you. You can even add pictures of yourself. For example, you can create a photo book of the towns in which you live. For example, if you live in New York, you can create a photo book about the towns or buildings in New York. You can take a stroll to Times square and snap some attractive buildings, objects or people.

Uploading your photo book on Amazon

There are two ways to do this. You can do it directly on Amazon or through

(first method)

Firstly, create a PDF document and add all your pictures inside. Amazon has an automatic software that will convert your photo book which is in PDF form into the required format. So save yourself the stress of converting it.

There are a lot of photo books on Amazon, and some of these photo books get sold thousands of times. Now imagine if you sell your photo book for $4 which is the minimum price, and you successful sell up to 1000 copies, that will amount to $4000. Now, if you ask me, that’s a lot of money.

NOTE: You can create as many photo books as possible. You can create a photo book with just 20 pictures.

(second method)
Signing up on Amazon through
  1. Create an account here: in order to have access to sell your photo book on Amazon.
  2. Now, go to your dashboard and click on “sell my book”
  3. Enter the information about your book on the details tab. Click save and continue.
  4. Now, select the Amazon option on the Sell and Distribute, proceed by setting your book pricing. When you’re done setting up your book, click save and continue.
  5. Give your book details, pricing and format availability. Finally, indicate that you have reviewed your book, and that you understand ISBN ownership, also, agree to the distribution services agreement. Click Submit to submit your book to Amazon.
  6. You will see a confirmation at the top of the screen. Something like this “Your book has been submitted to and you will be listed within three days.”

A quick advice about Amazon

If your price tag is $20, it means that if you sell 200 copies you’ll make $4000, right?. But if the price tag is $4 that means you need up to 2000 sales in order to be able to generate $4000. Does this mean you should set your price tag to $20? Absolutely no!

A book worth $20 might not be able to generate quick sales like a book that is worth just $2. Although, this does not mean that a book with high price will not be able to generate huge sales. If for example, your book is a bestseller, then you can even sell thousands of copies despite the price. And this does not also mean that you should place your books at very high prices.

Imagine giving your book a price tag of $1000, LOL, and you expect it to generate more sales than the one with $100 price tag, having the same quality and information. That’s absurd!

One final thing to note, if you upload a picture on shutterstock or istockphoto, do not include it in your photo book on Amazon. So, it’s either you upload it on shutterstock or istockphoto, or you add it to your Amazon photo book. You can’t use one stone to kill two birds, LOL.

How to find your photo book on Amazon

To find your book on Amazon, search for it using which ever ISBN you used when setting up your book. If you used a blurb ISBN, and you can’t remember it, follow these instructions to find it out.

You can also find your book using the book title and author.

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