Many people didn’t know about EyeEm until the Instagram ToS incident late last year that resulted in many of its faithful users to quit and went to find other ‘home’ for their photos, EyeEm being one of the favourite destination. But EyeEm actually has been around since 2011, and although in general it’s yet another social photo sharing platform, unlike Instagram it has a more ‘mature‘ feeling. To go to EyeEm after having been using Instagram for long would make you feel as if you have grown up from your adolescence, that you have entered to a different – higher level of Photography.
Today EyeEm is growing with about 1 million users a month, it has very faithful communities in 150 countries and special members called EyeEm Ambassadors in 66 cities around the world who regularly organise meetups, photo walks and other EyeEm related events.
But it looks like EyeEm’s path in photo sharing world is not stopping at just this. They seem to be determined not to be regarded as yet another alternative/clone of Instagram.
Following its announcement on their taking $6 million Series A round VC investment, EyeEm was also revealing their big plan on disrupting the $5B Stock-Photography and $12B Commissioned Photography and more!
On one interview I asked Severin Matusek, EyeEm’s Head of Content and Community, what they are planning to do with that much money. He said that they will use the new funding to grow their team, expand internationally and develop their visual search engine and marketplace.
Furthermore Sev explained, “Essentially we’re working on creating a platform where users can make money with their photos. Millions of photos are being taken and shared every day – and we want to enable a new generation of photographers to take their passion to the next level.”
The idea of Photo Indexing and Visual Search are certainly not new, but EyeEm seems to have a couple of tricks under their sleeve. Indeed the press release was mentioning that EyeEm is employing some kind of Smart Tagging and Data Enrichment technology to do this ‘magic’. Severin wouldn’t comment on the details of these 2 technologies when I pressed about it, but he elaborated the impact this technology can have on user photos:
“The visual search engine will make finding images much easier. Imagine you can search for a specific time, place, theme, weather, style or age of the photographer. We’ll have the options to do that and show you the images that really relate to your interests.”
If we relate this unique searching capabilities with EyeEm’s plan of creating a marketplace, then the feature will definitely help buyers to find, or at least to better narrow down, the type of images they need.
The idea of microstock photography marketplace that is crowd-sourced via mobile app has been quite in the rise recently. Mobile app like Scoopshot and FOAP are enabling users to upload their photos and potentially earn money from it. As Severin has confirmed above, EyeEm too is developing its own Marketplace which will give EyeEm users the opportunity to sell their photos directly inside EyeEm platform. He stopped short on giving me more information about how exactly this will be implemented, but he said that it will definitely be exciting for everyone who’s enthusiastic about Photography.
As for the Commissioned Photography part, we can already see how this might play on in the future. Currently EyeEm has one feature called Missions. For anybody who are Instagram users, the basic concept of Missions is similar to Photo Challenges that are regularly organised inside IG. A challenge or a mission is a contest where people are given a specific photography theme that users need to adhere to be allowed to enter the contest. Normally some sort of prize/s will be given to the winner/s of the contest.
The interesting thing about these contests is that Companies and Brands can use it to run a cheap marketing campaign. They can create their own contest and offer prizes which normally related to what ever product or service that they are trying to promote. The Brand would get some exposure and contest participants would get prizes (if they are chosen).
EyeEm’s Missions run in similar way, and there is nothing to stop them to collaborate with Brands and Companies to run a marketing campaign as a mission. Or back to the idea of commissioned photography, it can also be offered as a mission where photographers would have an opportunity to submit their photo and get financially compensated for it.
All in all, it is exciting time ahead for EyeEm users, and even if you haven’t thought about selling your photograph, then this is a good time to think about it. Nobody would blame you for earning a little bit of money from something that you love doing, why not?
So, if you are ready to take your photography to the next level, Severin is giving us some tips on how you can prepare yourself for this new venture:
“From my experience any kind of photo can be relevant. Sometimes brands are searching for very specific images, i.e. city views at a specific time or place, sometimes partners look for blurry snapshots of parties. My only tip is: follow your style, get inspired by others and constantly learn. Then you’ll definitely be successful in one way or another.”
Sev didn’t want to tell me when exactly this new features will be out, so let’s stay tuned and keep sharing those photos.