Technology is Turning Average Consumers into Freelance Photographers

- - Photography Business

Into the annals of jackassery goes web startup which proposes to have amateur photographers lowball each other for the chance to shoot an “object, structure, or physical location on the planet.” The press release is priceless as pure comedy. In a typical bloated web 2.0 style of over-hyped photo bullshit they provide a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

(openPR) – Inexpensive Digital Cameras Along with Innovations on the Web
Allow the Average Joe to Make Some Money on the Side –

Not long ago, the qualifications to be a freelance photographer were to own an expensive camera and possess the technical knowledge to manipulate shutter speeds and aperture settings in order to take good pictures. Although commercial quality images are still captured by professional photographers, the advent of inexpensive, sophisticated digital cameras along with new innovations on the web are allowing anyone who can push a button to earn a little extra cash.

These amateur photographers are snapping pictures of the multitude of objects and locales they encounter in their daily activities. The service they are providing as a whole is to photograph everything and every place on earth – a task so immense that all of the world’s professional photographers together could not possibly achieve.

The need for photos of almost everything imaginable is being driven by our fast paced society that has grown accustomed to obtaining information on-demand. Even the huge collection of photos available through Google’s image search function is not adequate when very specific images are required.

Where there is a need, there is a business opportunity. Innovative new web services are meeting the demand by harnessing a vast network of amateur photographers. For example, a service named GoSee4Me ( provides photos of any object, structure, or physical location on the planet. The service is inexpensive because amateur photographers bid against each other to provide the photos, driving the price down to a level that is affordable in almost every situation.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a digital image is worth a thousand Gigabytes in the Information Age. Amateur photographers are providing those digital images, and they are being paid for their efforts.

Press Contact:
Josh Rothman
P.O. Box 1983
Tustin, CA 92781

GoSee4Me is a privately-held web service located in Irvine, California. The company provides the first and only service that connects people who need photos of remote objects with other people who can provide those images inexpensively.

There Are 26 Comments On This Article.

  1. I’m damn glad my current client didn’t get that press release…

    Sounds very much like the “custom stock” model. I think there will be a definite split in the market and the key concept that photographers will need to think of is “where is my value add”. There seem to be three main routes:

    1) Focus on being creative, sell your vision, make people know that you will generate something unique that the average person couldn’t even conceptualise let alone shoot. Chances are you will be shooting pictures of mundane things with a view camera.

    2) Focus on providing the “service”. Get a reputation for getting the shot, come hell or high water. Coddle the client every step of the way taking away any vestiges of stress about the process. Chances are you’ll be shooting annual reports and weddings.

    3) Focus on being famous, there will always be a place for the superstar photographer. You’ll need to make sure that you get yourself into high end NY magazines, even better if you can get your own VH1 reality show or if you’re only 17yrs old. Once you are hot, it doesn’t matter if your work is actually any good or not, your name alone will be enough. Chances are this leads you to shooting magazine spreads.

    I would reccomend people take a look at the software industry as somewhere else where the value of good craft has reached almost 0 (due to outsourcing to code farms) and work out how they plan to move forward.

    Times they are a changing….

  2. Yet Another person with Yet Another in his name

    The problem of cheap digital cameras creating a low barrier to entry is getting worse all the time, true. But I don’t think this particular company is anything we need to worry about. No professional photographer is going to lose a job to this service, because it’s not competing with existing photography jobs that anybody wants (that I know of). It’s trying to create a new market that’s not really about photography. It’s about using cameras to simply capture information. Creativity and skill don’t matter very much if all you need is someone to “go see for me.”

    Heck, there are times I could have used this service myself as a photographer. There are times I’ve had to travel to shoot some out-of-the-way location I hadn’t been to before, and wished I could just get some snapshots of the place so I could see what I’m in for, what the lighting is like at different times of day, etc. I don’t need those pictures to be taken by a real photographer. Just someone with a camera who can e-mail me some snapshots. That’s not taking work from photographers. If anything, that’s taking work from location scouts.

    I too was initially repulsed by Yet Another “anyone can be a photographer” startup. But I don’t think this one’s worth the stress.

    I’m open to being shown wrong, though.

  3. From their terms of service–
    “9. By submitting photos to GoSee4Me, photographers relinquish all intellectual property rights to those images and implicitly re-assign those rights to the requester of the photos.”

    In other words, this is dirt-cheap work for hire. The “photographer” can’t even use their own pictures..

  4. Did you look at the Typical Uses on their site? . . . #1 – Some pro photog must have made that hotel look real nice, send an amature to show me how shitty it really is. #2 Obviously done with a cell phone camera. #3 Does the White House know about this? Can we get some GoSee4Me members to the tribal areas in Afganistan?

  5. Well, in a world where flickr is the next frontier of royalty-free stock photography, this makes perfect sense.

  6. My fav term & condition is….

    “If you accept a bid, you will pay the agreed upon price regardless of the quality or the suitability of the photos that are provided to you.”

    If this doesn’t drive the quality to the ground nothing will.

    I can bid, shoot garbage still get paid and not be held accountable

  7. Dear PE,

    Don’t take this stuff seriously. It could just as easily be a 12yro with mama’s credit (and, really, it probably is) as an actual business model.

  8. The wording is bad, but the developments are clear. Amateur footage and images in the news or even winning prizes is a reality, has been for a while, get over it.

  9. @Molly
    Nah, just send one of their photogs to check if it really is mommy’s house they are based out of…

  10. Personally I think, such things are not real threat. Since there’s no limits when joining and no limits or quality check when uploading, there’s whole bunch of low quality photos. This means it takes ages, before you can find something useful. And I don’t think people are ready to spend days, before finding something useful, just to save $100.
    So I would say, biggest problem for low price stock agencies is exactly this what made them so popular on beginning… huge amount of photos, where majority is low quality.

  11. So very true and is a problem for every photographer.
    We are living in very fast changing times and sometimes we must be ready to adapt…or disappear.

  12. I’m sure (cough cough) that everyone shooting for this service will stay on public land or get a property release if they don’t. Ugh. Lawsuits to follow…

  13. just one another web 2.0-happiness for the vaults. if buying photos the cheapest way why should I not use cc-stuff or flickr? let’s have look in 12 month if this cute url is available again ,-)

  14. Bruce Johnson

    I agree with the thinking of Yet Another person and others who realize that 1) change is inevitable and you can either embrace it or perish, and 2) this website is not about professional photography, it’s a different animal. I can think of a lot of neat applications for this site, and instead of trashing the attempt at innovation perhaps we should applaud those who try to think outside of the box. Most great developments are built upon risk taking, so let’s not scoff at it.