Michael Jay Fotograf Berlin

Selling photos across agencies

Toddler taking a bath, by Michael Zwahlen, available in the SMART Collection at Westend61

Westend61 launches true smartphone image collection

Toddler taking a bath, by Michael Zwahlen, available in the SMART Collection at Westend61

Toddler taking a bath, by Michael Zwahlen, available in the SMART Collection at Westend61

My German macrostock agency Westend61 has just announced the formal launch of its newest collection: Images taken and processed with smart phones! Say hello to the SMART Collection.

Well, this is not the first time an agency is making a move to the hyper modern smart phoneography thingy you are seeing these days. But Westend61 has taken it a step further than most other players by allowing the “real” smart phone processing, with filters, overprocessed images, artificial color changes and frames.

All of the images are taken by professional photographers used to deliver high end imagery to the well paying RM and RF markets. All in all, the collection looks like what people know so well from Instagram or EyeEm – except it’s not just cats and food. 😉

Reichstag Berlin. By Michael Zwahlen, available in the SMART Collection at Westend61

Reichstag Berlin. By Michael Zwahlen, available in the SMART Collection at Westend61

When first (internally) announced, I had to figure out how to use my iPhone to produce images that would look good and might sell. I mostly used my iPhone to just take snap shots on the go without much consideration of quality. Those images were meant to capture a moment to share on a small screen.

It took me a few weeks and a few dollars to buy some apps and packages but I am quite delighted to see that there is a lot of information shared in the internet. Today I am mostly using Hipstamatic and VSCO Cam to capture images. I am also playing around with “Pro HDR” a lot which combines two images into an HDR file automatically. I also had Snapseed and PicTapGo installed before this experiment started but currently I try to keep it to what I know.

Brothers hugging in front of Christmas tree, silhoutted. By Michael Zwahlen, available in the SMART Collection at Westend61.

Brothers hugging at Christmas tree. By Michael Zwahlen, available in the Westend61 SMART Collection.

You just can not compare the image quality to what you are used to see from a DSLR. I just looked at a 21 megapixel images shot at ISO 800 on my Canon 5DII yesterday and appreciated to find far less noise than I have seen these last few weeks. Besides the noise (which Lightroom can handle quite okay) it is very hard to get a sharp image out of the iPhone in my (short term) experience these days.

However, all of this comes second in the new collection as the most important part here is to offer clients the real smart phone look they are used to see everywhere around these days. I am not sure (no one is) if there are enough buyers in the market interested in this type of images with the consequences and technical deficiency involved in the process. But I certainly like the look of the new collection and I believe it is a very special and unique offer in the market. It might just work well. Prices for the RF images are moderate (ranging from €10 to €60 for most of my images) while some images are licensed on rights managed terms.

I have collected my images in the SMART Collection in my own lightbox on Westend61 if you are interested to have a look. I will report if and how it sells in future blog posts but as usual with macrostock agencies this might take a few months to really start.

Do you use your smart phone to shoot for stock? Which apps do you use? Where do you sell those images? Let me know and exchange experiences.

7 Comments

  1. Das Kind in der Wanne mit Blutspuren an der Wand? 😉

  2. Meine Güte, die Leute müssen sich doch mal austoben dürfen ohne diese Stockschere im Kopf. Wir wissen nicht, was der Markt dazu sagen wird, aber wussten das die Microstockagenturen anfangs? Deshalb lieber ein paar Bilder mehr als zu wenig. Und die Blutspuren an der Wand? Nun ja, für mich eher irgendwelche Farbflecken, nicht stockclean gesäubert vor dem Schuss. Da fragt man sich spontan oder inszeniert?

    • Wer es genau wissen will (oder falls mal ein Kunde nachfragt): Es ist farbige Seife, mit der man in einer Badewanne wunderbar Gesichter auf Kinderbäuche malen kann. 😉