PicoImages Hopes to Shake Up the Stock Industry Through Crowdsourcing


Most stock photography websites and agencies work the same way: photographers upload their work, set prices, and let clients browse for what it is they’re looking for. If the client wants a photo of a family on the beach, they’d better hope someone came through. And on the other end, the photographer has to hope that they’re putting work out there that people will actually want to use.

Advertising creatives Cassandra Nguyen and Grazina Snipas’ new website PicoImages does away with that model, replacing it with more of a “stock photography to order” sort of system.

PicoImages works by allowing clients to request the photographs they want, describe how they plan on using them, and set prices. Interested photographers can then upload the photo (one per request) they believe best represents that request, and hope that their photo gets picked.


PicoImages will make its money at three different junctures along the way. First, clients must pay $10 to post a request. Second, they will pay an additional 9-percent transaction fee on top of the price they originally specified. And third, the photographer will be charged a 9-percent transaction fee out of their payment once their photo has been selected.

This opens up the stock photography world to a lot of people who might otherwise never try to sell a photo, and that’s the creators’ intent. Nguyen explains:

We had the budget for photography but couldn’t find anything that looked good on the popular stock sites. At the same time, we were seeing all of these great photos pop up on our social networks but didn’t have an easy way to contact the photographers or to license them. PicoImages plans to bridge that gap.


It’s an interesting business model that has the potential to help streamline the stock photography process. On the photographer side, no more guessing what might sell well. On the client side, no more scouring stock sites in search of the perfect picture.

To check it out for yourself, learn more, and maybe place or fulfill a request of your own, head over to the PicoImages website by clicking here.

(via SLR Lounge)

  • Ian

    Cool concept – I hope it takes off!

  • João Almeida

    “we can only pay users with US bank accounts. Sorry rest-of-the-world :(”

  • Marko Raos

    Awesome concept, but the fact they accept only US contributors is so amazingly daft, that I’m… I really don’t know what to say. Sigh, guess someone else will pick up the idea and actually run with it.

  • gizman

    so much for “opening stock photography to the world” comment!

  • Rabi Abonour

    Can we take a moment to consider the (lack of) logic behind the phrase “stock photography to order”…?

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    So I’m supposed to go out and shoot a bunch of photos for a prospective sale with no guarantee that they’ll be chosen? Alternately if I want some stock shots I have to ask for what I want and then wait for a bunch of random people to maybe shoot what I want? I dunno. Seems daft to me.

  • Oskar???


  • Marko Raos

    1) Yeah, but you get to keep the results – sell em off on microstock or frame them on your wall. When going out on stock shoots, i find one of the biggest problems deciding what theme to pursue today.. This takes care of that nicely.

    2) Instead of trawling through thousands (millions!) of pictures trying to find the right one, you’re presented with a nice, hand-picked range to choose from. I’d say the savings in time are well worth the price.

  • Pico Images

    Wow, we’re super excited to get feedback from everyone. We just launched a few weeks ago, and we are optimizing as we go!

    We’re working on International integration as well as mobile, so keep an eye on us to see how we grow.

    Just to clear up – we don’t support spec work – we are creatives, too. We just know that so many people have a good eye and take great photos for their own enjoyment/hobbies/social networking, and we think that they could make some money from those photos they are taking anyways. As Art Directors we have seen that to be true in our own circles so we thought why not expand that outwardly?

    Also, we are allowing people to skip the $10 fee and just pay with a tweet. Simple!

    If you have any questions or more feedback, please reach out to us! We want to here what you think :) [email protected]


  • Cekirge Ziplar

    And Elvis has left the building.. Unannounced. (Closed site)