Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Shutterstock’s app turns phone photos into potential payday

Do you love taking photos on your phone but have no idea what to do with them? Shutterstock is adding a feature to its app that could help you make a bit of moolah, though it will probably take some time.

We’re taking more photos than ever, and your phone is probably the reason why. It’s a camera that goes everywhere you go, and it can take photos at a moment’s notice.

There’s little wonder why we’re using our phone to take photos more often than a dedicated camera, as it just makes so much sense.

But what are those images doing? Is there a chance they could be doing more?

Shutterstock thinks so, and if you happen to take more than the occasional selfie, it has released some functionality to its app that makes it possible to make money from your photos, adding them to the Shutterstock library, which sees stock images sold around the web for use on websites, printed materials, and more.

It’s part of its app the company has switched on allowing in-app contributions, making it possible for anyone with a smartphone — that’s iPhone and Android — to take their photos and add them to the Shutterstock library.

“Our growing base of over 650,000 contributors around the world upload nearly half a million assets from the Shutterstock Contributor app every month,” said Shutterstock’s Jon Oringer.

“We’re thrilled to enhance the in-app experience for today’s generation of highly-visual, mobile-first users,” he said. “Now iOS and Android users can sign-up to become a contributor straight from the app and start making money from their mobile imagery instantly.”

Now before you automatically assume that any random picture of cats, dogs, bridges, landscapes, brick walls, ducks, and cute children are going to make you a tremendous amount of money, it’s probably worth noting some things we managed to squeeze out of Shutterstock’s people.

“Contributors earn a royalty every time someone licences one of their images, a payout amount is then added to their account,” said Paul Brennan, Vice President of Content Operations and Contributor Success for Shutterstock.

“The amount people can make varies, depending on their dedication to the craft,” he told Pickr.

“It can sometimes take a few months to get the hang of the process, to understand and uncover their niche. Stock imagery is a long-term investment, a volume game. The more images you have in the collection, the more that can be found and chosen.”

Shutterstock’s earnings breakdown suggests it’s in the cents per image, and while it’s possible to rack up money adding contributor images, it’s fairly clear that to start with, you may not be making much at all, if anything.

However Brennan did say that image format doesn’t matter, so whether you shoot in JPG or RAW, its system won’t really pay out extra.

“Anyone can apply to become a contributor,” said Brennan. “You don’t need a fancy camera or any additional equipment.”

“We accept images taken with smartphones. While we do not prefer one device over another, we do evaluate every image we receive against a well-defined set of standards,” he said.

We’re not sure whether that means just anyone will get any and every image in, though it does imply practically anyone can become a stock photographer simply by taking out their phone and capturing some images.

And just think, if the images aren’t doing anything else but occupying space from something you thought was pretty, you might be able to eventually turn it into more than a hobby. Maybe. If you’re lucky.

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