I recently read an article about Snapwire, a new ios app that is an Instagram-esque stock photography site. But despite a long internet search, I couldn't really find out many details on the ins and outs, except for the standard press release information. So I decided to sign up and see what it is all about. So here is Snapwire, as far as I know it.
The basic premise is for photographers to submit images to specific buyer requests, at varying payouts. In addition, Snapwire itself creates challenges with payouts for the best or most creative image within the theme. Buyers will give a brief on what kind of images they are looking for, and sometimes include inspirational shots. There is a deadline for each request, varying from one day to a month. Some of the requests, like the one for portraits are very specific, and others are quite open, like the one for plaid. As the timeline progresses you can see images that have been “nominated” by Snapwi.re or the buyer, which indicate photos that are in line with the request expectations.
As a photographer, there are several levels of experience within Snapwire, and each come with some additional benefits. Everyone starts at the Explorer level and you stay there until someone at Snapwire reviews your initial portfolio items. After than, points are earned by submitting images to requests or challenges, though in the lower levels you are quite limited on how many images you can submit. You also earn points each time an item is selected for the Snapwi.re Premium Collection (the searchable stock portfolio), have a photo nominated, or have a photo purchased. As you increase in levels of experience one of the perks is the ability to submit more photos to each theme. And if a buyer is already familiar with your work they can invite you to participate in their requests. Eventually you can reach the Pro level in which lands you a feature on the Snapwire site as well as on their Instagram feed. At that point a buyer can also commission a work from you directly.
The social aspect on Snapwire takes a backseat to the buying and selling of images. If you find a photographer that you like, you can follow them. But it seems like this feature is meant for the buyer side of the business arrangement. Obviously the goal is to sell images via Snapwi.re, and the commission rate is 70% to the photographer. But I also like the fact that the images do not have to be exclusive to Snapwire. I’ve started looking through my old files to see what sleepers may fit some of the requests, but I’m also starting to think about stock images when I’m out photographing. It’s interesting to see what customers are looking for, and to see what stock images other photographers are shooting.
While Snapwire is an app for ios smartphones (or ipads), you can also go to Snapwire on a web browser from any computer, using www.Snapwi.re. This is especially handy when uploading an image. As of right now, you cannot upload an image directly from Instagram to Snapwire, but you can upload directly from Flickr, Google Drive, Picasa, Dropbox, or your computer (when using the browser option).
- To fast track your portfolio review by Snapwire try submitting a question to their support team after you upload your initial images. I stumbled upon this accidentally as I noticed my portfolio keywords were not actually showing up as keywords in any general search. Not only was Snapwire very quick in responding to my question, but my portfolio was approved and I advanced to the Shooter level immediately. Since you are given 10 “invites” to share with other photographers, promising those photographers a faster review, it seems that the review process normally takes a fair amount of time. And the answer to my question regarding keywords is that only items selected by Snapwire to be in their Premium Collection have any searchable keywords.
- Read the creative brief for the request. Read it again. Before you submit any images read the brief one more time. This is the buyer telling you exactly what they are looking for. I’m amazed at the people who submit images to requests, obviously only having read the request title. Don’t waste the buyer’s time, or your limited submissions.
- From my research, images are more likely to be nominated earlier in the request timeline. Since nominations are worth more points in terms of leveling up, and since a nominated photo is more likely to catch the buyer’s attention, it is always good to have a photograph nominated. I submit several images as soon as I see a new request, and then wait to see what kind of images are selected for nominations. I use my remaining number of images I can submit (based on my Snapwire level) to follow those examples.
- The whole premise of Snapwire is to create stock that doesn’t look like traditional stock photography. This is especially evident in challenge nominated images. Think of low contrast, low saturation, medium depth of field photos.
- Learn more about Snapwire in my updated posts – 2 years in and Geographic requests