Stock photography is the great leveller. Businesses of all kinds, through stock photographs, have access to a high quality, impressively diverse, fit for purpose catalogue of images that can boost sales and improve the professionalism of the customer’s website or business. Traditionally, these images have come from stock photo agencies, and thus customers, at the whim of the content producers, have had limited choice when it comes to price and producer. With technological progress however, things are starting to change.
When photography app Instagram was released a few years ago, hardly any would have believed the app would have made such a huge impact on social media and casual photography as one can see today. With the advent of Smartphones, and apps such as Instagram that run on them, the ability of an individual to take photographs of everyday life, apply a variety of filters, end up with a near-professional quality image, and finally, be able to post that image to the internet with a modicum of effort, truly revolutionised personal photography. The only thing that held it back from being used professionally was the quality of the image, a problem often masked by the filters employed. With the release of the iPhone 5s, and its ability to capture 2,500-pixel plus images however, this hurdle no longer existed.
Step forth, Snapwire, a new breed of stock photo agency. This recent start up takes a wholly different approach to stock photography; mobile photographers with skill and flair working with the company receive 70 percent of the cut whilst retaining all rights to their images. This unbelievably egalitarian agency model is not only incredibly refreshing, but allows those with a passion for photography, amateurs and professionals alike, to actually make a decent living from their passion. With hundreds of thousands of talented stock photographers out there taking pictures, the sheer volume and variety of images looks set to revolutionise the stock photography business; an innovation akin to the revolution in online gaming spearheaded by GamingClub.co.uk a couple of years back.
Snapwire is also the harbinger of a wholly different way of doing business. Whilst there are still those customers who will browse and find what they need from the huge catalogue of photographs, the ability of businesses to put out a request for a certain image, broadcasted to Snapwire photographers who then may submit their photos for consideration, is a refreshing and collaborative new way of conducting business. As photographers post more work and are shortlisted for jobs, their exposure increases and the opportunity for them to work one-on-one with buyers is presented to them; photographers can earn between $7 and thousands of dollars for their work.
Only recently released, will Snapwire have an enormous effect upon the stock photography industry? We certainly hope so.