Does Anyone Like Your Photographs?

Posted on 6/12/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Photocrowd is a relatively new social media site (launched in September 2013) that is designed to encourage photographers to shoot more pictures, work on assignments, participate in contests, build cool portfolios and socialize with each other.

The hope is that those taking pictures will learn to be better photographers and enjoy themselves. The appeal is “knowing that when you enter your image into a contest or assignment you’re guaranteed to have a large number of fellow photographers look at and vote on your image.”

New contests launched almost every day. Some of them are open for a few days, others for an entire month. Some are sponsored by organizations like PhotoPlus, B&H and Digital Camera (the UK’s largest photo magazine). Most offer small prizes to the winner who gets the most votes.

Alamy is sponsoring some of the contests. In addition to other prizes the winners of Alamy contests get a “A 12 month, 100% commission contract for new images on Alamy.” Another advantage for Alamy is that they may spot new talent that might be encouraged to be regular contributors.


In order to vote you are shown one picture at a time and given three choices – a full heart, half heart or empty heart. You must click on one of these choices before you can see another picture. Compared to looking at a page of 20 to 25 images and clicking or opening only the ones you like this is a very slow process.

However, evidently lots of users like the system. Over 200,000 visitors have voted on over 8 million images since Photocrowd’s launch. There are 14,000 registered members from 76 countries (predominately USA and UK) and 6% of them describe themselves as “professional photographers.” Photocrowd has conducted 140 photo contests and assignments since it began and in the first three months of 2015 there were 4.8 million page views.  

Images that score highly make it into the Top 25%, and their rank is shown, from #1 downwards. If you vote for an image that is in the top 25 you’ll be able to see it in the rankings, but have no idea how many votes that image received. You may have given the image an empty heart, but it could still turn up in the top 25 depending on who else has voted. You don’t have to upload images in order to vote.

Once one of your images has been voted on your name appears next to the image. By clicking on the name it is possible to see an entire portfolio of the images you’ve entered in various contests. If a photographer chooses they could promote their work by providing a link to their portfolio page. It is possible to share this link on Facebook, Twitter or to email it.

Getting the most votes from the crowd doesn’t necessarily mean that a particular image will win the contest. Each contest has an “expert judge” and these people choose the winners. Often they choose different images than the voters. The experts include some of the finest photographers and imaging professionals around and provide an experienced but subjective alternative to the opinions of the crowd. Their reviews give everyone an idea of why they choose certain images and how they think others might be improved.

From a commercial point of view the big problem with this site is that most of the voters are amateur photographers. The images they like and choose may not necessarily be the kind of images customers will want to purchase when they are trying to design something that will help sell a product of service. While it may be an ego boost to know that other photographers enjoy looking at your images it may not be all that useful in helping photographers take pictures that will sell.

On the other hand if you just like looking at interesting pictures this may be a place to spend your time.


Specialist agencies looking for new suppliers might want to consider sponsoring a contest. If the contest is focused enough they might find someone in the 14,000 (and growing) member base that has experience in photographing the kind of subject matter they need.

Copyright © 2015 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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