Are Crowdsourced Photos Really The Wave Of The Future?

Posted on 3/2/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

A new mobile-oriented, crowdsourced photography service called Twenty20 was launched recently. They claim to have the world’s largest crowdsourced commercial image catalog with 45 million imagers from 250,000 photographers based in 154 countries.

Photo buyers can license single images for fees ranging from $10 to $50 or through monthly subscriptions that costs $89/month for 10 images up to $499/month for 100. Creators get 20% royalties for subscription sales and 100% on “commissioned sales.” It is not clear whether single image purchases are considered “commissioned,” or whether a commission is someone hiring the photographer for an assignment.

Twenty20 says that every image appearing on its platform has been “vetted by an in-house legal team to align photos with the quality requirements of buyers.” Most photos are purchased with a royalty-free license allowing commercial or editorial use across multiple campaigns.

They make a point that their photos do not have that “old fashioned, stagey” look, and also emphasize that “the site’s mobile photographers offer a range of professional experience spanning pros, amateurs and even celebrities like skateboarder Tony Hawk, who are interested in getting their photo work out there. Twenty20 sees itself as a ‘democratizing’ influence by letting anyone who takes ‘compelling photos’ get recognized.”

After looking at Hawk’s portfolio I thought it might be interesting to check out some of the available choices in broad categories often needed by commercial customers. Since Twenty20 has 45 million images, I decided to compare their offer with Alamy’s over 50 million images and Shutterstock’s 49 million.

  Twenty20 Alamy Shutterstock
Business 1,847 2,004,268 5,809,409
Couple on beach 468 39,500 66,613
Office Computer 48 144,303 1,086,252
Automobile 731 288,161 272,611
Medical 336 506,471 898,109
Education 289 651,540 1,323,022
Women 2,286 1,848,140 7,283,138
Germany 5,869 1,886,424 258,956
New York City 6,922 727,354 199,694
Baby 12,487 570,463 970,820

Clearly, one of the big problems with crowdsourcing image creators is that they don’t want to bother to keyword. Customers may be able to find the images of a particular creator they know, but if they are looking for a particular subject??? Good luck!!

However, for me the most interesting thing about this new site is that Twenty20 has received $8 million in Series A funding, which it plans to use for scaling and opening partnerships with ad agencies and media buyers. It looks like there are plenty of people out there who are willing to throw money at any new idea that appears to be “on the cutting edge of technology, “ regardless of its likelihood of success.

Photographers interested in contributing to Twenty20 can purchase the app at the Apple App Store.

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:  


  • Sheron Resnick Posted Mar 2, 2015
    Please note that Twenty20 is in no way related to 20/20 Software, provider of enterprise management software and websites for the picture library industry. They have, unfortunately, chosen a very similar name.

    Don Resnick
    20/20 Software

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