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


Our UGC Technology

A lot of people have asked – and challenged us – in what we mean when we say ‘proprietary UGC technology’. What do we really mean and have we really developed something of worth or are we just a glorified online photo album??

It’s hard to answer this in the correct frame – as everyone I know, data scientists, developers, investors and journalists have all asked it and they each have their own dept of technical ability.

Regardless, I’ll start at the top and work down

Artificial Intelligence System

At the heart of our system is a something called a ‘rule engine’ or ‘expert system’ (wikipedia here). Rule engines tend to exist in systems whereby many factors come into play in making a decision(s), typical examples for applying rule engines are in medical diagnostics and in financial lending fields. ie. areas whereby numerous pieces of data are combined to form a final decision.

What they are exactly is a clever way to store and manage many different predefined decisions in a single place.

As a basic high level example of a decision or ‘rule’ to use the correct term – Newslinn has a rule whereby if the image is too small – it is not accepted into our photo stream. So that’s a very simple rule and very easy to program.

But rules can get far more complex and involved an infinite about of data points. As another example (without going too extreme). Below is an actual rule we currently use – this validates the dimensions, the ‘dpi’ of a photo and also if the user is a known user to us.


Example Rule in PyKE

This is an example of a single rule – currently we have over 23 rules (as of September 2015) and growing, our aim is to have about 70-100 rules. Each rule caters for a particular use case, and for us declines or accepts photos. The rules can be as creative and inventive as possible and use a mixture data points from user internet devices, user session data, image data, photo metadata, photo object data et al.

What the rule engine allows us to do, is create an infinite amount of decisions, tie them together, and management them in a really efficient way.

There are 2 majors challenges with rule engines.

1) gathering all the little data points you need – we address this using our own proprietary image data extraction system which ranges from basic metadata collection to ELA and face detection.

2) identifying the rules you need ahead of time – this is the magic of the rule engine. It needs ‘experts’ to understand the domain and the application of the rule engine in the system. This is what we actively do each time we talk to journalists or analyse what photos people are sharing – and it’s the focus of our ‘Dublin Social Project’.

Machine Learning System

The Rule Engine aids in fraud measures and validation of photos – sitting outside of the rule engine is our machine learning application this is part of the validation workflow but can be thought of as separate from the rule engine.

So while the rule engine manages fraud, the machine learning system manages ‘classification’ of whether or not a photo is ‘more like’ a ‘good’ photo or if a photo is ‘more like’ a ‘bad’ photo.

To do this we’re using something called ‘supervised classification’ – which is a top level term for a method of grouping things together based on comparing it with other things that you already know about (wikipedia here).

This is part of our further research into the application of machine learning into news validation and UGC – so I’ll go into it further in another post.

We are currently experimenting with Sci-Kit learn SGD Classifier and Linear SVC.

Exact Technologies we use

Python, PyKE, Sci-Kit Learn, Django, PostgreSQL, PHP, MySQL, Celery, Redis, Mongodb, Nodejs,, Javascript, Jquery, HTML, Css, Less, Vagrant, Jenkins, S3, EC2, Ubuntu, Bash, Supervisor.

800 mobile journo usage

Online Beta Testers

We are looking for public beta testers to take part in our first public beta tests for Newslinn, this is open for participants over the next two months (until January 2016).

This will require sharing a photo and logging into the site.

You can also see our progress on LaunchSky and our CEO is doing an AMA on Reddit for those interested in posting a question.

Feedback Requirements

Feedback given can be given on any of the topics below – whichever is your strongest area. In particular we are looking for ‘honest first impression’ feedback. UX, Overall concept, Web Design, A feature on the site, Business Model.

Feedback will be on our LinkedIn Beta testing group.

Apply for Public Beta Test

Public beta testing is open to anyone. If you want to join our public beta testing you will need to first join our LinkedIn Beta testing group those accepted will be able to participate in testing.

Irish Postcard – Token of Appreciation

As a small token of appreciation for public beta testers we will send a postcard from Ireland to anywhere in the World with a custom message.

Unfortunately we can’t offer a selection of postcards to pick from but will do our best if you are looking for something in particular.

Q: What about sharing video?

We permit people to share high-quality screenshots / photo stills of videos and to
upload them via the web. By doing so you are giving journalists the right to use those screenshots for free.
This enables you to retain full rights of the video and it’s your choice if you wish to promote that the
original video is for sale or not. Alternatively, you can share screenshots and also upload your video to
your own video provider and require media outlets ‘link attribution’ to where your video is hosted online.

Q: What is ‘’?

We are using our domain to support sharing photos that are urgent or of sensitive nature.
After we progress with our social project in Dublin we will be working on the technology to enable communities
outside of Ireland to use our platform to share
breaking news photos from where ever they are. Photos shared via breakingnewsphotos will only be accessible
by trusted journalists in major newsrooms – photos will be still free to download and use.

About Newslinn

Newslinn is an ‘open crowd reporting platform for local communities and journalists’, it started in 2014 as a research project in UGC to validate photos in real-time – has ended up being a key part in the solution for local communities to easily share news. We are now starting a social project in Dublin to improve the technology and bring value to journalists, bloggers and local communities.

What this means is that if you can send a photo by email – you can now share local news with multiple journalists in real-time – bring more awareness to what’s important to you and what’s happening around your community. Photos are stored online in our proprietary real-time photo search engine that is accessible by trusted journalists and bloggers for free.
There are no smartphone apps to download and no social networks to join – you control who can access your photos and get feedback when they get downloaded.


Newslinn is a research project that is growing into a social project – the outcome of which will lead into a community based social startup.

Our focus is on the technology that enables people to share news photos in a trusted way that removes some of the headaches journalists and bloggers face when it comes to validating and verifying photos of news.

We exist to make sure anyone with a newsworthy photo can get their story told and can communicate directly with right journalist that wants to write about their story.

Our long term vision is to scale user verification and photo validation so that anyone in the World can simply take a photo and share it with journalists Worldwide.

Our technology uses two-factor user authentication, proprietary UGC photo validation and our real-time photo search engine technology.

We’re 100% free for any journalist so we don’t block communication of important events by charging for Photos.

Q: What photos can I share?

Any photo that you own and you think is noteworthy or newsworthy you can share. This can be business oriented,
community focused, local activism, weather changes, road incidents, personal success stories.
It can be ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ news and in any topic, you are free to include your own written pieces to accompany
your photos and give as much background as you think needed.
Our aim is to build and organise the photos and match them to the journalist and bloggers so that they can
use your photos and write on that topic.

Q: What about photo copyright?

In the majority of the cases the copyright of a photograph belongs to the person that took the photo.
People sharing photos via Newslinn agree to allow journalists and bloggers use their photographs for
editorial purposes only.
So people sharing photos directly from their smartphone are the owners of the copyright of photos
they took.
One of the key aspects of our UGC technology focuses on fraud prevention and filters out photos and
users that don’t match the fingerprint of a photo shared via smartphone, we also check for common copyright
metadata and validate if the image has been edited amongst other things.

Q: I want to sell my Photos / do you sell Photos?

In short we don’t sell photos. We focus on the communication aspect of sharing
news photos and building the technology to validate and verify photos in real-time.
Our service is more for activists, community advocates, entrepreneurs and local communities
to report on what’s happening in an easy and accessible way.
That being said, there are already some great
sites setup to be marketplaces and middlemen for selling photos to newsrooms and media.
I suggest checking out PicFair.
We also don’t sell the photos in any way – as this would prevent some journalists and bloggers
from being able to write about the story taking place and makes the news less accessible.