Instagram Pix Make The Front Page!

Thanks to Katie Hawkins-Gaar of the Poynter Institute for calling attention to an historical event – at least for those of us who follow great moments in Citizen Journalism.  Yesterday’s front page of The New York times featured no less than 9 Instagram photos – images sent to The Times in response to the paper’s request that readers share their pix of this week’s snowstorm.

Hawkins-Gaar thinks it’s the first time that user-generated photos have made it directly from the creators to the front page of The Times’ print edition.  (A previous Instagram pic that appeared on the front page had been licensed through an agency.)

The paper credited the photographers by name (though not by their Instagram handles).  However, it didn’t inform them their work would be published – let alone on the front page.  It doesn’t seem that The Times paid any of the contributors.  But then they didn’t promise to do so in their request for submissions.  Nor did they state their terms of use.

Still in all, a very interesting development.  We hope Ms. Hawkins-Gaar will follow up on the story and also get some comments from The Times.

Photography is for Anyone – and Everyone

“Is photography meant only for the rich?”  That’s a question we recently stumbled upon in this Quora thread.

Our answer: a resounding “of course not!”

There’s no denying you can spend a good deal of money on pro equipment.  But inexpensive digital cameras do an excellent job too.  (Check out the side-by-side comparison on Quora of photos taken with both professional grade and inexpensive cameras.)  And if you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve already got a great camera in your hand.

This is a good thing.  It facilitates the on-the-spot documentation of the events and issues of our times. It allows us to visually connect near and far, and to foster robust dialog. And we believe it helps more people appreciate the challenge of creating truly great photographs.

There can be a world of difference between “taking” pictures and “making” pictures.  The great thing about photography is that by studying subject matter, lighting & composition, and shooting as often as possible, you can improve tremendously.  Photography can be very personal.  But it is also a skill that can be honed through practice.

That’s where YuVue comes in.  Our aim is to democratize the licensing opportunities for any visual image maker, whether professional or aspiring pro.  Photography is meant for everyone – just as proper compensation for the use of a great picture should be.

New Year’s Resolutions: Connect with Brands and Get the Most Value from Social Media

by William Fisher

Thanks to everyone for making our 2014 Kickstarter campaign a success!  Looking ahead to 2015, we’re focused on how to create the greatest possible value for YuVue contributors by maximizing the number of licensing opportunities for your work.  To that end, we have two New Year’s resolutions that we’ll be putting into practice during our Beta launch later this month: enable you to connect with brands, and make it easy for you to share your content on social media.

The commercial upside of connecting with brands is obvious: these companies have significant budgets and need real images of real people using their products.  Enabling our contributors to license their branded content isn’t intended to detract from our core editorial goal of connecting you with broadcasters, print and Web publishers.  It’s just a way for us to extend our network of buyers beyond media outlets to include other kinds of companies that value – and are willing to pay for – great photos and videos.  An excellent article in Ars Technica illustrates how photographers are being commissioned by brands and are selling sponsorships on their Instagram feeds.  “They shoot for advertisers, make money, and build a reputation for connecting with people on social media (an ability that still eludes many marketers.)”  A lot of these photographers are professionals who are – or could be – doing ad work elsewhere.  For them Instagram is just another venue for executing a campaign – and therefore one more business opportunity.  

At YuVue, we view Instagram as a potential marketplace for all our contributors.  Our goal is to help you use it to reach the broadest possible paying audience – whether your imagery is editorial (i.e illustrates a news story) or commercial (i.e. promotes a product).  Social media platforms are “monetizable places to hang your work,” and we want to integrate YuVue more closely with as many of them as possible.  That’s why we’re developing tools that will enable you to share your YuVue photo and video contributions on Instagram, Twitter and elsewhere, while ensuring that their attribution (and your copyright) is secure and that the companies that discover your work on these platforms can license them.  We will also be introducing a very neat way for you to submit content to YuVue via other social media networks.

In the coming weeks we’ll be announcing partnerships for our Beta test and beyond – with professional organizations, companies and publishers.  Meanwhile, we’ll be keeping our New Year’s resolutions as a way of growing our community of contributors.