Online photo community Photocrowd.com, which recently launched a platform allowing photographers to create their own online store and sell prints of their work, has just gone public with a crowd-funding campaign. Fstoppers thought it was time to take a closer look at this community that’s drawing favorable comparisons with the likes of 500px and Flickr.
Photocrowd is a site that set out to connect photographers through a series of pretty cool sponsored photo contests judged both by pro photographers and members of the Photocrowd community itself, which now spans over 160 countries. But even better, they now want to help you make money too. You can upload and sell your images as high quality prints and canvases with the promise of commercial stock image sales later in 2016.
I found setting up my online store to be super-easy, and it looks clean and stylish. The images are big, look great, and the process of choosing a print, specifying the size and frame, and checking out seemed well thought through. The site also feels really snappy.
Your store page can be viewed by anyone visiting the site, not just registered users, so you can share your page with anyone you think might want to buy your work, or put a link to it on your own site and social feeds. You also have total control over which images on your Photocrowd profile are for sale. When someone orders one of your images, Photocrowd takes care of the payment, production, and shipping, then pays you your share of the profits — leaving you to keep focused on the fun stuff — shooting more great work!
The site is free to sign up on, and that gives you access to all of their photo challenges, your shop page with up to 20 of your images for sale, and you get a pretty generous 50-percent commission from any sales you make.
Subscription options range from about $4 to $14 a month, and if you take one out, you get unlimited images for sale in your store, the ability to set your own price for each image, and perhaps most importantly, you get a higher commission on any sales. On the highest tier, you get 80% commission on sales, which frankly, you'd be hard pressed to beat.
It’ll be interesting to see if they build out the subscription offers over time. For me, the mid-tier Pro subscription looked like the best value, but the most expensive Master tier maybe needs more features to make it a big draw.
It’s also worth noting that through Photocrowd, you can buy your own images as prints, framed prints, and canvases at what they call "trade" prices, which looked pretty competitive. Besides the opportunity to earn money from your work, Photocrowd has designed an innovative approach to the humble photo contest (although they call them "challenges"). You can upload one image for free to each challenge, with a chance to win prizes and some valuable exposure for your work, which in turn can boost the number of print sales you make, and even get your image featured in one of the Curated Print Collections.
On every Photocrowd challenge, the "crowd" will rate all the submissions to decide the end results. If you enter a challenge, you’re guaranteed to get it rated by fellow Photocrowders and find out what they think about your work. At the same time, a professional expert picks their own favorites, and the contrast between the crowd and expert results is pretty fascinating actually. They rarely seem to agree!
Some of the well-known photographers who have judged for Photocrowd include Matt Kloskowski, Michael Grecco, Jack Hollingsworth, Sophie Gamand, and Robert Caplin. And with sponsors like Lowepro, Manfrotto, Peak Design, ThinkTank, Photojojo, and loads more brands giving away prizes, the photo challenges are a fun and exciting way to help you hone your craft and promote your work.
Overall, my experience on the site was great. Photo challenges, professional judges, top-level gear as prizes, and the possibility to sell my work all on one site? Photocrowd has got it going on! And with the exciting plans it has for the future, we feel this is definitely one to watch closely.