Get Paid for iPhone Photos: Twenty20
As someone who wants to make a living from photography (and likes money in general), I decided to investigate ways to go about doing so from my iPhone. Stock photography is a genre and art in it’s own right and why not monetize photos that are sitting on your phone? As Chase Jarvis once put it, not to mention wrote the book on it, The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You: iPhone Photography by Chase Jarvis (Voices That Matter). Anyway, I digress. Some agency, somewhere, needs a photo of a leaf with water droplets on them or a woman holding a dog against a really cool pattern. Super random, but also super inclusive. It seems like there’s something for everyone in this realm and that’s a beautiful thing. So, how do you get paid for iPhone photos?
My first stop on this iPhone Stock Photography excursion is Twenty20.
I chose to run this learning process concurrently between my laptop and iPhone just to see what the experience was like in both places. You can upload photos from your fancy dSLR or your handy iPhone. Both interfaces are super user-friendly and easy to use. I completed signup on my iPhone and was immediately greeted on the home screen with three selections to help me get started. On the desktop version, you get started by choosing two or more collections of work to follow. I would identify the collection as a portfolio of images submitted by different people surrounding the same subject matter.
Switching back to the iPhone, I got started by reviewing the Seller Guide. Main takeaways include:
- Photos are automatically for sale once you upload to your profile.
- You always retain the copyrights to your photos- they belong to you.
- Commission is $2/photo.
- Photo do’s and don’ts, what is going to help your photo sell.
- How to stand out from the pack. Spoiler alert: keywords and model releases
- And finally, what matters the most: What the customers want.
After I finished the guide, I uploaded a photo. I made sure to include at least four keywords, provide a location, and verify whether there were recognizable people in the photo. Once I finished the gate checks, Success! I was live. My next step was to check out some of the featured photographers. One of the things I already like about this application is the sense of community. It’s nice to see what other photographers are doing and be able to support their work first hand. The featured photographer’s page is very educational in terms of what your potential client is looking for.
My next action item was to enter a challenge. Another cool feature of this application, challenges can be anything from photos that carry a strong color preference to Urban Portraits and Our Earth. Upon selecting a challenge, you’re provided with details of what they’re looking for and images to conjure inspiration. For the competition I entered, the prize is being featured on the Twenty20 Instagram page, which currently has over 50 thousand followers.
On to housekeeping: Be sure to check out the settings for your profile. You’re going to want to make sure that you’ve entered your PayPal payment email address, as well as having an actual PayPal payment account. You can find your earnings directly below this setting. The other component I checked out was the Frequently Asked Questions section. Knowledge is power and the key items, for me, on this list were: Understanding Photo Licensing, How much do I earn on Twenty20?, and When do I earn from my sales? All solid questions when investing time and energy into your product.
Lastly, nominations and votes. Every 24 hours, you have the opportunity to nominate three of your peers to a Signature Collection. Signature Collections, “Are featured for all photography lovers and buyers to see. Additionally, Signature Collection photos get premium search placement, which means more potential buyers see them,” per Jess Mays. I’d like to think of this as spreading good karma. With voting, it’s a little different. In the same location as Challenges, there is an option for votes. You can rate, in swiping style, photos that you feel are in contention for winning a given challenge. Engrossing yourself in the community this way really gives you an opportunity to see all types of work and make new connections.
All in all, my experience so far has been very pleasing. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how and if my work sells as well as making new ‘tog friends and seeing a lot of really cool images.