Sourcing Images From Cell Phone Users

Posted on 6/9/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Should traditional agencies be making more of an effort to source images from cell phone users?

Sixteen months ago Alamy introduced its Stockimo app and started accepting images into its collection that are taken with cell phones. To date about 350,000 images have been submitted and about 170,000 accepted.

Traditionally Alamy has allowed its photographers to upload any images they choose. This is one of the reasons that to date the company has over 58 million images in their collection. However, when they launched Stockimo the decision was made to edit cell phone shooter submissions.

Sales of these Stockimo images relative to total images in the collection have been as good, and maybe even a little better, than the rest of the collection according to Alan Capel, Director of Content.  The fact that this segment of the collection is edited may have something to do with the number of images licensed, but it also could be an indication of the increased demand for the “more real, natural and spontaneous” look that buyers seem to be asking for these days.

Unlike many crowd sourced sites that make images available at very low prices Alamy licenses the cell phone images at its regular prices. There have been a few big sales, but on average the images have been licensed in the $60 to $80 range.

About 30% of the images submitted are from Alamy contributors who primarily use SLRs, but also occasionally shoot pictures with their phones. The other 70% are from photographers who have never contributed to Alamy. In this manner the company builds its contributor base.

In the early days the acceptance rate was about 45%, but that rate has climbed to about 60%. In the latest version of the app Alamy supplies feedback about why shots are rejected. This helps contributors improve their technique and may explain the higher acceptance rate.

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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