SMALLER mockDrop_reading the news

Guide for Citizen Journalists Taking a Photos on their Smartphone

Some quick tips on using your smartphone to take photos or videos to later share or sell to newspapers.

Most important!

  • Don’t apply any filters or post editing to the image.
  • Take photos horizontally (see the top photo? that’s the WRONG way! see below). Photos taken horizontally conform to a better standard for both print and web usage.

Photo being taken horizontally

Basic tips

  • Take many photos.
  • Capture the subject matter within the centre of the frame, and imagine most photos will be cropped.
  • Don’t zoom-in, typically this reduces quality as it uses ‘digital zoom’.
  • If possible, be mindful of the position of the sun. Shadows over people’s faces are a no-no.
  • Avoid Flash. It takes away from the natural setting and introduces a false element into the photo.
  • Try to capture the subject without any telephone cables, pilons, lights, trees or other objects obstructing the view.
  • Use a good smartphone. Anything in the last 3 years should be fine. The minimum print resolution for newspaper print is about 4MP camera – and even then that will be very touch and go, so it will depend on how important the story is (iPhone 4, circa 2013 is 5MP, Samsung S5, circa 2015 is 16MP).

‘Depends on the moment’ Tips

  • Smaller groups of people are better than huge crowds – typically this means emotion, is more expressive and easier to relate with. It gives the person viewing the photo a better feeling of being in the action.
  • Be subtle when taking photos, ie. take photos when your smartphone is at your hip instead of eye level. Increases the chance of a more sincere photo when the subject is people.

Interesting links

Samsung S5 vs iPhone 6 camera

iPhone 6 appears to have superior night time shots.


SMALLER mockDrop_reading the news

Sell your Photos – what are your options?

Sites that sell ‘citizen photos’ and other options

One of the common questions we’re asked is:

“Does Newslinn sell photos? and why not?”

Let me cover some ground before we get into options for selling your photos – the Newslinn Social Project (in Dublin, Ireland) is focused on news communication – so we don’t sell photos – we’re aimed at facilitating local communities in sharing local news with journalists and bloggers – so if we charged for using photos – this would go against what we’re doing.

Using Newslinn vs. Photo Marketplaces really comes down to your motivate and involvement in the photograph you are taking – and just because we don’t sell photos – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what your options are for when you want too.

What are my options for selling photos?

My best advice to anyone wanting to sell ‘breaking news photos’ to local media – is to go direct. There are obvious challenges there, three of the biggest are 1) knowing who to contact 2) knowing your price point to sell, 3) chasing the money and invoicing. I will write further about the best methods for this in another post. In terms of point #1, contact the Picture Editor in the Newspaper in question.

Another strong option is to go to the people that already sell to the media – ie. existing pro-photo agencies. Photo Call Ireland / are the main contenders in Ireland. Although I haven’t tried this tactic myself, it would be interesting to see if others have had success.

If you fall under the heading of amateur or professional photographer looking to make a living then you’ve probably already come across the options open for you for selling photos. ie. joining photographer associations, maintaining your own online presence, using Zenfolio, Pixieset et. al., joining the ‘photo assignment’ sites mentioned below.

This leaves us with marketplaces.

Marketplaces that sell your news photos

So let’s talk some of the options and marketplaces for selling news photos in particular. Demotix is still the major player when it comes to news photos – but other sites do cater for news by having a ‘news’ category among their stock photography sections.

PicFair – PicFair is an interesting one, I’d link it to ‘etsy for photos’. I haven’t seen much news photos but what’s there looks very professional and creative. PicFair Ireland Search I’d keep PicFair in mind if I took any creative photos while I was out and about, the standard looks high though.

Demotix – have been around since 2009 and stood the test of time, they are the mainstream photojournalism site in the UK. They sell newsworthy photos to the media. Probably the longest living new photo marketplace and also the one most saturated. A core of their business comes from professional photojournalists in different countries. Demotix is a Corbis company ~ Bill Gates company.

CitizenSide – is the other contender aside from Demotix. Its routes are in France but have already gone international. I would pay attention to NewZulu (CitizenSide’s parent company) before sending in photos and they are also tied to Getty Images.

Alamy – is another option to consider, more on the stock photography side of things, but they do have a ‘news’ category.

Other  marketplaces worth looking at

Scoopshot – not sure if they are still selling news photos, they seem to have pivoted. In 2015, they have brought out photo assignments.

Colombio – citizen journalist app where they accept photos and try to sell them to the media.

SellYourStory – UK based, more on the journalist side of things, they do accept people to send them in photos – in the same tone is NationalStory – although I don’t get a strong first impression.

Clashot – mobile app for you to sell stock photos. Photos uploaded are sold via depositphotos

Fresco News – the new one on the block. Similar to colombio, it’s app based on they sell your photo to the media.

EyeEm – leans more on the stock photo side of things.

Foap – Foap has been around since 2013, similar to PicFair, but implemented as a smartphone app.

Fotolia – Adobe’s version of stock photography marketplace.

Twenty20 – Marketplace for creative stock photography.

Photo assignments / photographer hire

None of these seem to be over in Ireland, but I guess that doesn’t matter.

Crowd Media

Allows anyone to create photographer or videographer assignments. More of a marketplace for finding professionals – instead of selling stock video / photos.


Allows journalists to create assignments – so they can get photos of what they are writing about. They also have a professional photographer database that you can use to hire a local professional photographer.


Both a marketplace and a place to request assignments.


Some Interesting Articles

Are citizen journalists killing reportage?

Tips on setting up wordpress purposefully for selling photos

Links to the mainstream stock photo sites for selling your photos