Sometimes when you go for a six mile hike in the mountains, Mother Nature blesses you with perfect light and subject matter for photography. Sometimes she gives you overcast skies, boring vegetation, and no wildlife to speak of. Today was one of those days, so I busted out the Moment macro lens for the iPhone and went small photographing all sorts of tiny objects of nature. Using the Moment macro is tricky. Depth of field is razor thin, and it requires you to move the iPhone in and out from the subject, with a lot of room for trial and error. Also wind will mess with your shots, since it jacks with focus. None the less using it was fun, and added to the walk.
Social Selling, the Problem with Foap.
About a year ago I downloaded and installed Foap on my iPhone. I liked the idea of selling my photos to a stock service with little effort. Like many apps, I tried it, put it back on the shelf and stopped using it until I saw a couple of weeks back that Foap had snagged another round of funding and was expanding the service globally. So after seeing the news about funding, I opened Foap to see if things had changed with the app,, and the service.
I’ve been using Foap for the last two weeks and have uploaded 50 or so photos to the service. If you are unfamiliar with the way Foap works it’s pretty simple. You upload a photo, then you rate 5 photos on the service and your photo gets placed in line to be voted on. All photos go through a Foap user review process. You get enough votes, your photo goes live and is up for sale. The higher the rating, the better your chances, thanks to ranking and exposure.
Here’s the rub though. Because everyone is voting, and wants their photo to be ranked high, people tend to give everyone a 3 stars or higher rating. Even if the photo is completely awful. Consequently, a large portion of the Foap catalog is for lack of a better term useless. Now before anyone starts typing up a flaming hate comment, I am not slamming all the photos on Foap. There are a ton of absolutely amazing images out there. The problem is using a peer based ranking system, in an environment where everyone wants to be popular and sell there images.
The lack of objective curation of the app effectively neutralizes all of the content housed on the Foap servers. As a person that purchases stock photography on a regular basis I have browsed thousands and thousands of image on Veer, Getty, iStock etc. The images that are on those sites, have been curated and edited by professionals that know what is going to sell, and what is going to make their catalog superior to the competition. Foap might be a peer driven social network of stock imagery, but in the end Foap and it’s users are competing with every stock library in the world. Because of that, I think Foap needs to have some level of professional curation and editing. Why? Because its all about quality.
All of the images below are within 1 point of each other in ranking. They all average about a 3.8 of the Foap scale of what is good. I know the subject matter is different across the images that are shown, but you have to admit the quality of some photos is much greater than others with the same ranking. And this is why Foap needs some form of editing, or enforceable guidlines for how a photo gets rated.
Just to let you know, I am no a disgruntled Foap user. I’ve been lucky enough to sell 2 images out of the 700,000 that Foap has in it’s ever growing catalog, and I actually think that Foap could work. It’s a great idea, but it needs some form of policing if it wants to be successful long term.
Aluminum Photo Prints from PostalPix.
I’m a guy that has fully embraced the iPhone photo revolution. For every image I capture with my DSLR, there are probably two or three more I get with my phone. Not because its a better camera, but because its always with me. Plus the iPhone snaps some pretty good images, and when combined with the right app the results can be extremely interesting.
So, lets say your like me and you have a boat load of iPhone images. Lets say you want to print them out, but on a more durable substrate than paper. That’s where PostalPix comes in. PostalPix prints to aircraft grade Aluminum, and the prints will run you $8-$25 depending on the size. Using a sublimation process to gas-infuse your image onto the aluminum substrate PostalPix prints have a unique visual quality that sets them apart from standard paper prints. If you’re not into the aluminum look have fear, PostalPix offers standard paper prints as well plus frames for them.
There is a free iPhone and Android app that let’s you order directly from your phone.
PostalPix was originally developed with the purpose of enabling parents everywhere to easily order prints of the moments they capture with their iPhone of their children’s lives. It was soon realized, however, that people other than just parents were interested in PostalPix. Now, our goal is to allow all iPhone users (and soon other mobile devices) the ability to easily order photo prints of images captured with their phone.