Image (c)Roy Riley/Stockimo/Alamy

Alan Capel explains how their new app is driving sales and delivering the look advertisers demand.

Nearly gone are the days of taking snaps with cell phones just to share them with our followers. Today, dozens of tech companies are promising to fulfill dreams of becoming a professional creative by making money from the photos we are already taking and uploading. Alamy, arguably the world’s largest website for picture buyers, is another enterprise banking on the promise that spare moments can be turned into spare cash with their new app, Stockimo.

In a way, Alamy was one of the first stock photo agencies to embrace user-generated content, simply because they always accepted imagery from non-professionals, as long as Alamy’s specifications were met. Naturally, their next step would be to widen that net by entering the explosion of image marketplace apps. “We’ve always believed that Alamy should be open to anyone with the eye and creativity to take a great shot. Our business is selling photos so we’d be mad to ignore or disregard the opportunity presented by mobile photography,” says Alan Capel, head of content at Alamy.

© MARKSY/Stockimo/Alamy
© MARKSY/Stockimo/Alamy

Their idea was for Stockimo to be the first mobile app that really spoke to established photographers. Alamy wanted the collection to be distinguishable as a subset within Alamy’s regular stock offerings, trading on the look-and-feel trendiness of mobile photography. “There’s vibrancy—and perhaps less posing and a greater deal of serendipity—about the work captured on phones,” Capel claims.

Evidently, slice-of-life images are the ones in demand. AdAge recently reported that social media agency Laundry Service discovered that Instagram photos have a higher click-through rate than more professionally shot photos. But Capel warns against going overboard by “believing the whole world has gone Instagram crazy.” He says their customers love Stockimo but not all Stockimo shots have the Instagram guise. “Unfiltered, well-composed mobile shots can still offer something new,” he adds.

© Mathieu B.Morin/Stockimo/Alamy
© Mathieu B.Morin/Stockimo/Alamy

Stockimo currently has about 62,000 images with thousands more being added each week. The app is bringing Alamy a new stream of salable photos, both from a small group of their existing contributors as well as from newcomers to the stock scene, including those who never considered their work saleable. To eliminate rubbish, the collection is curated by raters to maintain Alamy’s standards of quality and diversity. As the app builds momentum, more pros and amateurs are climbing onboard.

Images in the collection are available under all of Alamy’s licensing models and can sell under any license type Alamy feels is most suitable. Capel indicates that this could extend in the future to more dynamic licensing options, but at the moment, licenses are RF if the photographer provides releases or no releases are needed and RM for the rest. Capel says it’s too early to make accurate predictions about sales projections for the Stockimo collection but the revenue is growing and the percentage of sales compared with the number of images is already very strong compared with Alamy as a whole.

Right now, the only way to search for Stockimo images is to type “Stockimo” into the site’s main search bar. Alamy is planning changes to their site and exactly how Stockimo is represented will come into those discussions. Capel explains that isolating the collection might be advantageous but they also want to present Stockimo images alongside the rest of Alamy. Decisions will be driven by customer need and usability.

Alamy also launched a live news service about three years ago, and this feature is soon to be integrated with Stockimo. Capel explains: “As a user, you will be able to opt in to the news mode of Stockimo. Once opted in, any shots taken in the last 24 hours will have the option of being uploaded directly to our news feed. Our news team will also contact Stockimo users in real time and point them at newsworthy events and situations.”

There are no plans for a paid or pro version of the app. Alamy feels that could be restrictive and possibly eliminate casual users who take great shots. In coming versions, Stockimo will add new capabilities for passing rejection reasons back to users and providing live feedback as to which shots are proving popular with customers. “Even the most experienced shooters want to know what’s selling, what customers want and what they should shoot. We have a wealth of information and the mobile nature of Stockimo makes it a great platform for this insight,” Capel offers.

Alamy has long been applauded for their technical excellence and for mobile, they turned to notable app developer Mubaloo and Amazon cloud services.

Engagement is the aim of marketing departments and Stockimo images can provide wider access to real life situations. Brands and retailers are looking through stock sources to find shots that convey a community feeling with a personal perspective. With something close to a billion images being shared online every day, apps like Stockimo are crafting the image marketplaces for a fresh generation of creators and buyers.

This article originally appeared on the Visual Connections blog.