If you read or write things on the internet, you'll know that nothing takes the life out of a post or article like a cheesy stock photo (see above). If you're trying to capture something 'authentic' about Paris, for example, a soft-focus picture of the Eiffel Tower is the last thing you want.
Sure, Creative Commons makes it easy to search Flickr or Google Images for free photos licensed for public or commercial use—that's how I found the lovely butterfly above—but the reality is that many avid smartphone photographers don't upload their work to searchable databases these days. There's really no point when there are countless gigs of storage available between your pockets and the cloud. That's why people tend to leave their pics on their devices—the 21st-century version of wallet photos—or upload them to Instagram or Facebook, platforms which keep tight control of their data. Little do they know that they could be converting those snapshots into cash, with the help of a new app by the Swedish startup Foap.
Foap's aim is to become the world's "largest marketplace for smartphone photos" by providing a way for amateur photographers to get paid to upload their pics and make them available for reuse. Photographers select which pictures to upload, tag them to make them easier for buyers to find, and decide whether they want their photos to be used commercially (by marketers) or just editorially (by people like me). You can only submit the "raw" image, so no Instragram filters. Foap will also reject any porn, or images of "weapons," "drugs," "war," and "fighting," according to its website.
If you want to purchase an image from Foap to use, it costs $10 a pop. $5 goes to the photographer and the rest helps the company keep the lights on. It's a win-win for 21st-century "content producers," who may be able to add a little bit more realness to their work, and for newbie photographers, who can potentially make a bit of extra cash.
Want to get started? The iPhone app is currently available in App Store. The Android app is still on its way.