Stock Photography

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.

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Foap, Selling Your Smartphone Pics to the World.

If you are unfamiliar with Foap, you should maybe think about getting acquainted. Especially if you are one of the millions of photo snapping smartphone users around the world. The company allows users to earn money from their photos by uploading them to the Foap platform. The platform like any other stock image house pays royalties on all images purchased through their site. The Foap iOS app is available here if you want to sell your images via Foap to the world.

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The swedish mobile stock photography startup secured another round of funding to the tune of 1.5 million dollars earlier this week. The company is also dipping it’s toes in the American market for the first time, extending it’s user base beyond Europe. In addition to new funding, Foap has launched Foap Missions, a similar service, but for brands who want to build an image gallery for marketing. Foap Missions already has heavy hitter brands like Puma, and Lavazza signed on. Missions works by setting their communities “photo missions”, getting users to upload specific images competing against each other for the best photo. The chosen winner receives a cash reward and their image will then be used in future marketing campaigns for that brand. Additional images from the contest can be bought for $10.

 

 

The First Photoshop Film.

I work in Photoshop everyday of the week. At home I use it quite a bit in conjunction with video projects as well as creating illustration, and photo-retouching. This is not a slam, but most of the art directors  I work with on freelance projects never use Photoshop to its full potential, or are aware of its more advanced features. Like I said this isn’t a slam against them, they are to busy art directing to have time to sit and play with the application, and learn all of its features.

One thing I do know is this, the art directors I work with do spend a lot of time searching for stock images, and in some cases stock video to use in the projects they are on. So if you are a stock company, how do you get an art directors attention? Especially when there are hundreds of stock houses vying for their attention. In the case of Latinstock, they chose to do it with the tool they know most art directors are familiar with. Photoshop.

Latinstock has created a Photoshop based film that is played back directly within Photoshop itself. This is pretty damn brilliant if you ask me. It not only shows the potential client a feature they might be unaware of in the software, but it also highlights the stock houses product in a unique and memorable way. Latinstock provided the .PSD Photoshop file two ways, first via a USB drive that was sent to potential clients, second via direct download on their website. (you can get the file here)

This is a great example of creating a standalone piece that communicates directly to your target audience and is guaranteed to generate buzz amongst creatives. At the end of the video above there are numbers that show just how much traffic to the site increased and how much sales were up for Latinstock after this campaign launched. They are pretty impressive.