On August last year I brought you the news about the grand plan that EyeEm had to disrupt the $5B Stock-Photography arena by creating a Marketplace for their users.

Today that plan has finally come into reality. The EyeEm Marketplace is here, and you are all invited!

On an interview leading to me writing that last post I asked Severin Matusek, EyeEm’s Head of Content and Community, what they are planning to do with the massive funding ($6 million to be exact) they had secured from VC investment. Sev explained that one of the plan was to develop their visual search engine and marketplace, “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.”

For the past few weeks I’ve been involved in a closed beta-testing of this so-called marketplace. And I can say that EyeEm Marketplace creation has been a very well-thought design.  It is quite simple to put your image onto the Market and EyeEm will guide you along the way with very clear instructions.

EyeEm founders, on their introduction letter to the users about the newly opened EyeEm Market says, “Together with you we want to build the world’s premier marketplace for photography that brings together a new generation of photographers to meet, learn and eventually earn money with what they love. The EyeEm Market gives you the opportunity to sell your images to global audience of clients and get them featured on the cover of a magazine, in an advertisement or on a brand’s website.

The EyeEm Marketplace is now officially open to EyeEm users, although it is invite only at the moment, so watch your email for invitation. If you are not an EyeEm user, maybe this post will convince you to join, so please keep reading 🙂

How does EyeEm Market work?

Simply said, if you are an EyeEm users, you are practically ready to start selling your photos! You do need to be an EyeEm user though and you can only sell photos that you have been posted to EyeEm, i.e. you cannot just upload any photo outside your EyeEm album (e.g. from your local hard disk), at least for now (I have added this feature to my wish-list).

Also, right now EyeEm Market only works via the web browser, i.e. you can’t do this from inside the mobile app (another feature I added to my wish-list). I am hoping that this will be the first thing they will add on the next app release. I think it’s quite important to be able to manage the Market  via the mobile app, especially since other microstock competitors has this feature.

Choose images from your EyeEm Album

Choose images from your EyeEm Album

There are couple legal things that you need to explicitly take care of before your photos can be sold in the Market, namely the Model Release and the Property Release. If you’ve done Stock Photography before you would understand what these two mean. But for the rest of us who’ve never been involved in selling our photos professionally, it is very important that we understand what they are and deal with these issues for each of the photo we are selling.

Don’t worry though, EyeEm will help you every step of the way. As a matter of fact, you must go through the 2 legality aspects explicitly when you are choosing the photos you want to be included in the Market. It is part of the process. EyeEm also provides a very clear information about what these 2 Releases mean and how to identify which photo that needs them.

I am very happy that EyeEm really care about these legal matters and has included them as part of the process. I’ve seen other competitors deal with these issues half-heartedly or not at all, which left the users to find them out by themselves, and that’s assuming if the user is even aware of them.

As soon as you get the Releases signed by either the model or the property owner (these are all done electronically via email of which templates are provided by EyeEm), your photos are ‘in the green‘ and will be added to the Market.

What about my copyright?

No need to worry about this issue, EyeEm statement about this is clear: You took the photo, it’s yours, you always retain the copyright.

How much could I earn from the Market?

According to EyeEm’s FAQ, a photo can sell for a minimum of 1 Euro and you will get 50% of net revenue from each photo you sell, it’s as simple as that. What the client is buying is not the exclusive right to your photo, but only a ‘license of using‘ your photo. That means your photo can be sold many times. And a good stock quality photo may sell hundreds of time. Again, you always retain your copyright.

What type of photos that the clients look for in Stock Photography?

Now with all the practicalities and legal issues out of the way, let’s have a look on the most important thing, what photos sell? Or in other words, what the clients are looking for to buy?

This is important questions because no matter how great photographer you are and how amazing your photos are, if they are not the one the client is looking for, they just won’t sell.

Unfortunately, the stock photography genre is quite different to the other genre we are used to see, and it needs a certain frame of mind to produce stock photos that are saleable.

Fortunately, EyeEm has put together some guidelines about what type of images their clients are looking for. Here are the summary:

  • Well-composed, well-lit shots with a clear message.
  • Images that are taken in particularly specific, unusual or identifiable places.
  • Images in places that require a permit to photograph.
  • Images of Landscapes.
  • Images of a person (preferably while doing his job or in action).
  • Images of a group of people.

You can read about the above points in more details here.

Also remember about the issue on the 2 Releases – Model and Property.  These 2 legal issues would basically rule out almost all Street Photos, especially ones that show faces clearly.  They will also rule out most photos inside and outside a building when the photo clearly identifies the which building it is.  You can’t also sell a photo that clearly features a brand in it (this so much is obvious).

You can get more info about what type of photos need release or not from the Model and Property Release guide.

Final Verdict

While all the important features necessary for the Market are there, clearly there are more improvements that can be done. For example, as I briefly mentioned above, the addition of the Marketplace in the mobile app would be a great feature to have, as well as the ability to choose arbitrary images not necessarily from EyeEm album.

But above all these, EyeEm is probably the first social photo sharing service that features microstock market place. While other competitors have been adding features like video sharing, or cool photo tools, or massive storage; EyeEm has recognised the value of community and the quality of photos generated within it. EyeEm wants you to realise this value and wants you to take the next step.

If you are an existing EyeEm user, this is a no brainer to you, you have been part of the community and you have your photos ready to be added to the Market. Even if you don’t want to sell your photos, I urge you to check it out when you get the invitation, you never know what inspiration might come from this.

If you are not an EyeEm user yet, why not try it out? EyeEm is for me a more mature (in a way of the type of photos being shared and the individual photographer) platform compared to Instagram for example. And now with the addition of the Market place, there is one more good excuse to join (it’s FREE).


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