Love it or hate it, Microstock libraries are here to stay and boon or bane, photographers have little to lose if all those Facebook photos are going to waste as it gathers dust after getting a few "likes". 123RF Microstock Library isn't new. It's just that they have been too lazy to venture into the Android domain and has only done so recently with a OTG (on the go) App for Android. They have had a iOS app that did the same thing for years and didn't quite attract the interest of the mobile totting photographer.
Making the Cut
First, you have to submit a photo that is shot on at least a 5 megapixel camera, have that vetted by their own team of photo editors before being approved for sale on the site. Now sale is misleading as they count towards downloads instead of image sale. What you get is 30 percent if you make it pass their censors and more if you happen to contribute more regularly.
Unlike FOAP that specialises in Editorial images, 123RF has commercial potential as they accept images with models and sell them with verified model releases. If it was at a specific location, you also need a property release, like if you pose a model next to the MI5 Building in London or the CIA headquarters in Langley, USA. Failure to do so could land you in a jail with the keys thrown away for good measure.
The vetting process should take a few days, depending on how free they are to look at your badly mauled Instagram inspired pictures. Once it is up, you also need to send in your complete verified details as photographer and owner of the images you have submitted. This way, no one will claim that you lifted their pictures off Flickr for misrepresentation.
At the moment, 123RF also accepts news pictures and video feeds as well but that's another story. You cannot be shooting a video and posting it to them via this app they have created. They take any 1080p video feed so you can try to shoot something with your smartphone and see if that sells.
There is one benefit, that is 123RF has specially created contest submissions you can take part in just to spice things up on your mobile. The contest will have different themes and you can submit any photos that fits into the category and win yourself US$300 bucks. That's a pretty good deal compared to the returns you get from your images to the stock agency.
The other benefit is that the contributor account you have with them also qualifies you to submit artworks, audio and video files. This is pretty interesting as you can record unique soundbites and have them submitted as well.
Before we jump the gun, the smartphone app only allows you to submit photos and not anything else. All other submissions have to be done via their web browser.
Can I Afford to Buy A Car?
In your dreams! Thinking that this new money making idea will earn you enough to make that downpayment for that Ferrari you have been dreaming? Dream no more. It's just not possible. Let's be clear, it is not very lucrative for the smartphone photographer to devote his entire life shooting stock images in the hope he or she will earn enough for a trip to Norway. 123RF works on a per-download basis so you don't get paid on per use. They use a popularity download system and pay 30 percent on that but it can go as high as 60 percent. If you have more downloads from that image, you score more on their scale. It is a highly confusing method of calculating your earnings so expect to be toss some scraps when you least expect it. So don't go out making those business cards that say you're s qualified stock photographer. This is not something you can quit your day job at McDonalds in the hope to make it big as a pro photographer.