ImageBrief – Crowdsourcing Image Requests

- - Working

ImageBrief is a company that aims to become the marketplace where Image buyers and professional photographers can connect. The buyers post a brief with their requirements and the photographers respond with images that match. Seems simple what could possibly go wrong? Plenty of course. This kind of thing has existed before. Back when I photo edited for Outside Magazine there was a fax service that would send requests out to thousands of photographers. You can imagine what happened when I gave it a try. A crush of submissions with many so far off the mark you wondered if they just had a package ready to send out no matter what the request was just to get something under your nose. You end up with this volume problem where there are so many misses it’s not worth it to wade through and see if there’s a hit.

It’s inevitable that crowd-sourcing would be coming to image requests. Advertising has version’s where people create commercial videos: poptent.net, tongal.com and zooppa.com. Graphic design has Crowdspring.com where a writer for slate.com was pleasantly surprised by the results (here) after he offered $200 to design his newsletter logo. The experts he polled were not impressed but generally concluded that he got what he paid for.

It’s not clear of image brief wants photographers to shoot on demand or simply offer up existing images that meet their needs. I’m sure they’d be fine with either. If done properly this could be a great way for image buyers to connect with high quality stock that’s not currently in circulation. The key is restricting the membership so you’re guaranteed great results and attracting clients with high paying requests. I would have loved to make requests directly to photographers studios with specific needs and a price I’d be willing to pay. The problem is companies working online generally go for the masses, wanting to make money in volume over quality. I asked the co-founder of the company Simon Moss how he plans to address this. Here’s his response:

Rob, Thanks for giving me the opportunity to let you know how we plan to tackle this, because we believe it is the most fundamental part of what will make this platform a success. To be clear though – our goal is about quality and not quantity, which is why we have only approved about 30% of the photographers who have registered interest with us so far.

At the moment we are watching extremely carefully as new briefs are posted, and how different photographers respond over time. We notice that the first couple of days the accuracy is not quite as good as entries that arrive on day 2/3 and beyond. We are still in embryonic phase so this may change as we approve more photographers to contribute.

We will soon test some mechanisms to ensure a continual improvement of accuracy and also quality of responses so that the buyers who do have good money to spend will flock to the platform, in the confidence they will get a great outcome.

Some of these include (but not limited to):

- Providing the buyer the ability to rate both images and photographers based on quality/accuracy
- Our team ranking images based on accuracy and ‘fit’
- Introducing the option for moderation (ie; the customer can choose to have us moderate before images are displayed publicly)
- Introducing a reputation ranking system for photographers and having this impact the way responses are presented
- Creating an increase in commission for photographers who consistently submit high quality, accurate responses (at the moment it is 70% to the photographer – we could potentially have premium photographers on a higher rate).

From the initial feedback (we are already engaged with a number of advertising agencies and editorial photo editors) we are getting a great response – we just need to keep tweaking and listening carefully to both sides of the market so that we continue to create significant value on both sides.

I hope that all makes sense!

It will be interesting to see what happens. I see potential for this to satisfy both parties but these things tend to never play out how you expect. Hopefully Simon will steer it in the right direction.

There Are 53 Comments On This Article.

  1. Hmmm interesting… seems some “ok” dollar amounts on the quick briefing I checked out, and some of your typical lows. Will have to see how it pans out for sure.

  2. This has definitely been done before…a company out of Seattle…not sure if their still around…it seems to me however that this has been around the block before which produced interest from both parties – the photog and the editor/buyer – get dissapointed eventually realizing that easy is not easy and in the end the good old fashion business to business relationship without a middle man ( or three ) gives the best results

    • That was a company called On Request Images which started out as a meeting place for image buyer & photographer. They soon switched to producing photo shoots only, but had a very exploitative model of payment , lack of industry knowledge, poor treatment of photographers & sub-par production. Countless horror stories are out there about working with them both clients & photographers. They found it hard to get repeat work as word got out about them, ran out of money & couldn’t build a sustainable business & word just started to get out that they are shutting the doors in July.

  3. I think it has a good base but lets see what happens. The idea is killer and if there is a lot of good photographers who get involved than I feel like it could really work. I am going to test it out and let you know my feedback.

  4. Glenn Zumwalt

    Sounds like a repetition of OnRequest Images. That didn’t work out either.

  5. Rob, you point out one problem with the crowdsourcing idea, wading through lots of bad images. That affects the buyers, but there is another inherent problem with this model that affects the suppliers, that is the cost of all these spec jobs means the photographers have almost no chance of ever turning a profit.

    If the photographers who join cannot build a sustainable business out of it this model will inherently harm the industry as it profits are driven down chasing away those who can produce the quality Image Brief promises.

    Sounds bad all around.

  6. Always Hope

    The prices offered in most of the briefs are so low it’s hard to imagine many professional photographers will be inclined to shoot on demand. It would seem most images offered will be file shots; making this service largely a variant of the stock image model (which seems to be imploding). Clearly there are differences from traditional stock agencies which may be attractive to both photographers and art buyers. Is that enough to differentiate the service? Not sure.

    Image Brief needs a lot more briefs (particularly ones offering more than a couple hundred bucks) to attract real professional photographers to the site. Without a greater depth, and breadth, of images it’s going to be hard to get more art buyers to use the site as their primary source for images. It seems like there’s a bit of a critical mass problem right now. I could easily see this site becoming populated by moderately talented wannabe photographers happy to make a couple hundred bucks on an image; and art buyers who are tired of stock sites, but still want bargain basement images. It sounds like Moss is trying to avoid that outcome. It will be a challenge.

    It’s worth watching. Any new, profitable, outlet for images would be welcome. But I have to say gut feel says the odds are stacked against this particular venture. We’ll see. I wish them well.

  7. orljustin

    Yeah, this has been tried before. Big fail. Isn’t Photographers Direct the same idea. No big success there.

  8. I looked into this some time back when it was first posted up on Linked In. I think it can be very successful for both the buyer and the photographer. It is really a collective studio that needs to be managed. I just looked at the open and closed “briefs” posted up and most of them on are the low side and with those, the only way I see a photographer making money is having the image in his most recent archive file.

    The usage for some of the images goes beyond the fees paid for the image. So if it is okay to continually submit an image request with low ball rates then it will drive down pricing and photographers will stop supplying images. The low ball rates are not the photographers problem but the buyers. The photographer(s) just have to not submit. Yet there are those who will do with low ball requests like they do with other jobs that are low balled, (the jobs a photographer in his right mind would never accept), they will take them.

    I also think that if you have a public rating system similar to Ebay, that would help with the quality of images submitted and those submitting the request for images.
    Overall the system does have potential, but professionals need to act like professionals. If a budget is really low and the buyer knows it explain it. I have to agree with Dennis Dunbar in one point, this could drive pricing down and hurt the industry as a whole. @Dennis I don’t think it is a bad idea all around though.

  9. I’ve been “accepted” by ImageBrief and received a few briefs. Nothing earth-shattering, but all have included usage, which is promising, regardless. Hell, I’ll play. Perhaps Simon and his crew will find a way to eventually direct queries to a filtered list of “members” who fit the briefs criteria.
    Who knows what new markets can be created “out there”. It’s fascinating watching new ideas take shape.

  10. This is pretty scary. I looked at the site + the video sites you posted. I wasn’t aware of their existence. Poptent especially is interesting. They have big brands posting there – Paypal, Clinique, etc. Most submissions are not good but some are very decent. And it’s only going to get better as more people get to know about this option.

    If you look at the graphic design market, where crowdsourcing started much earlier, the result a couple of years down the road is that now you can have 30 designers competing between each other to design a nice logo for you for 200 bucks (as you pointed out). A lot of these guys are based in third-word countries and are happy to work for these rates.

    If this is generalized for a big portion of the still work, and motion work, we are doomed. It’s one thing to bid against a bunch of other guys/agencies in your area. It’s another to bid against 200 people from all over the world.

  11. Hello everyone,

    Firstly can I say, I truly appreciate the opportunity to engage in this conversation. How amazing that I’m here in an office in Sydney, Australia and able to participate in a thread discussing our company with experienced industry professionals all over the world.

    Something that I notice has popped up a few times is the question about whether ImageBrief is targeted at commissioning photographers OR helping photographers monetize their existing portfolios.

    One of the absolute key things I must stress is that we have definitely NOT built an ‘on-spec’ commissioning platform. We give professional photographers a channel to connect directly with buyers and have the opportunity to sell their high-quality, back catalogue of images.

    We listen carefully to the photographers and buyers disappointed with services that have attempted to fix this problem before. In response, we have developed a platform (and more importantly both the business and quality-control processes) that will facilitate new buyer/seller connections in a way that hasn’t been seen before.

    I can assure you that this isn’t ‘just another version’ of something that has been seen before. We’ve developed it ground up with a focus on quality, ease of use and value for both sides of the equation.

    What is clear is this: traditional stock image libraries set the pricing for images and also take the lions’ share of the revenue. We have turned that model completely on its head.

    We give the power of choice to photographers to decide whether or not to participate based on the terms and price proposed by the buyer. If a photographer can meet the brief and is happy with the rate and terms, they participate. And, if their images are chosen they take 70% of the revenue (not 30%). There is no cost to participate, nor obligation.

    We’ve also listened carefully to buyers and know there is a real demand for high quality image that are not already in circulation. They are also prepared to pay for high quality.

    For buyers who don’t want to pay extortionate rates to stock libraries and don’t want or need to commission a shoot this is a perfect way to connect with those photographers who have high quality images who don’t want to lose the bulk of their sale to a stock library.

    I am sorry this is such a lengthy post (you can probably tell I’m very passionate about this!) – but to summarize (for fear of rambling!!):

    - Buyers want high-quality images (not currently in circulation) at a reasonable price determined by them, for the specific job and usage required and the budget allocated.

    - Photographers have high-quality images (not currently in circulation) that they are willing to license at reasonable prices that are not determined by a stock library.

    ImageBrief is a venue for these transactions. We believe it is also faster, easier and more profitable for both buyers and photographers.

    • orljustin

      “I can assure you that this isn’t ‘just another version’ of something that has been seen before. We’ve developed it ground up with a focus on quality, ease of use and value for both sides of the equation.”

      Actually, it is another version of something seen before. For example: http://www.sirimo.co.uk/2006/01/26/istockphoto-launch-buyrequesta-153-and-e/
      http://www.photographersdirect.com/buyers/submit.asp
      http://www.picturk.com/
      … plus all the disappeared sites from years past.

    • Simon, There’s no lack of photographers online, little difficulty finding any tier of image maker . The same can be said for stock images. Why will a discerning client go to your site instead of going client direct or to a stock agency? Getty Images provides creative research too.

      Of course the client might not be familiar with purchasing images. In that case they may not be willing to offer enough for the image maker to make a ROI. The client may also not have a good understanding of quality, and instead may want ‘good enough’ for a low price. On the other hand, a knowledgable client might want to use this resource to beat down the prices to the bare minimum.

      What if we changed the dynamics of the market. For every image maker there are 200 – 300 clients competing for the opportunity to work on a single project with an individual image maker. How will this affect the supply demand price chain?

      May I suggest you consider allowing other client viewer to outbid the image selected by the original brief detail client. This would put pressure on the client to offer higher rates, or possibly lose an exclusivity to the licensing for that market and period of usage . Do you have minimums budgets in place?

      How will this model impact the marketplace for commissioned imagery?

      With regard to residual use of -spec- images in the future. If the desired image is so specific it can not be found as a stock or existing image, there may be a good chance this specificity may limit future sales. (The specificity may also require more investment from the creator). One of the problems with existing or stock image licensing over time is the potential for styles to change and images to become dated. If a ‘spec’ image is rejected, where would this image be listed for licensing, the currently oversupplied and declining stock image market?

      Why do you “believe it is also faster, easier and more profitable for both buyers and photographers”?

      What other businesses (successfully) let the buyer determine the price and terms? What a buyer may perceive as reasonable, may be a loss for image makers. At risk here is a potentially viable commercial market flooded with camera operators who have very little understanding of business or return on investment. Even among talented image makers, it is not uncommon to see creative people make poor business decisions which impact their own sustainability and financial health.

      Even if image makers have to compete at a loss or break even point, your business model may allow your company to prosper. In an oversupplied marketplace, how will this model not degenerate into the lowest price point for the highest allowable quality – resulting in a model that may not allow a sustainable return for the individual photographer? Even for existing imagery, the client is externalizing their (search) job onto the image creators. 125 entries come in, the top pics go into a cage match – the ‘winner’ is the one that gets beat up the most on price.

    • Simon – One other consideration for the market and the creators. When I was with TSI/Getty Images, royalties were 50% on most image sales. That obviously changed as Getty rewrote contracts towards more self interest. There were a number of other changes in the way they ran things, the terms and conditions, etc. As they got more powerful, owning more market share they squeezed contributors more.

      Any other image licensing company could do the same – including yours.

      Now, in the vacuum which Getty & Corbis created, we have numerous micro stock companies. The rates they charge & pay are miniscule. Truly a race to the bottom. The oversupply of imagery accessible to the market pulled the bottom out for prices, value, and ROI. The companies themselves probably make a decent net, but their contributors usually don’t.

      What happens when we see another dozen plus companies like yours hawking images at micro rates, with possibly 70% royalties going to the company?

      One other thing to keep in mind. I don’t know how true this is now, but at least 5 years ago and further back Australian photographers used to price their work lower than in some other regions. They were known for these prices. ADs in SE Asia would use Aussie photographers on projects with tight budgets because they demanded less in fees for their creative work. I bring this up as a consideration on perspective as you continue with your company.

  12. @Dan – I just noticed your comment and appreciate your concerns regarding crowdsourcing.

    Crowdsourcing photography is very different to graphic design though. Graphic design is almost always spec work… ie a business needs a custom logo developed and designers must create very specific work for the buyer. In this model, It’s easy for designers to copy each others work, and its very time consuming for the creatives who don’t get chosen.

    However, with photography – unless it’s a commissioned shoot including products etc, its easy to sell existing catalogues of images to buyers in different parts of the world. Therefore the effort/time/risk for the photographer is decreased, and it becomes a process of back-catalogue monetization… something very hard to do in the ‘custom logo’ and graphic design world.

    I recently talked at the Sydney Opera House about crowdsourcing creativity – and showcase a number of different models – you can watch the 15 min presentation here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nCw-a21ai8 or on our blog.

  13. Here, at times you have a 1/150 chance of selling a speculatively shot image for a low price. Wow, where do I sign up.

    As ever, the website owners and buyers laughing all the way to the bank. Photographers hung out to dry.

    • Alex,

      Imagine this.:

      A client has $5000 to spend on an image.
      Its a full page Ad for the UK, and Australia.
      They want a gorgeous picture of a trekker, in the Arctic.

      They search on a popular website and find this image:

      http://www.gettyimages.com.au/Price/PriceRMPopup.aspx?ImageIDs=81989367&CartIDs=&Source=adp&BrandIDs=11&IsPriced=0

      Its $8,995. Too much for the client.

      You have this image – already shot (remember ImageBrief is NOT a commissioning OR spec work platform)…

      http://photo.alexhibbert.com/#imagegalleries/Places/Arctic/7

      Which the client doesn’t know about.

      You are happy to sell for $5000.

      Are you completely uninterested in getting an email about this brief, and having the opportunity to submit it as an option to the client?

      • Thanks for the personal response Simon. If this situation was to actually occur, all would be well. However, whilst I agree it’s not spec work in so much as the image needs to be newly shot, it is in terms of the submission procedure. To make any real returns it would take quite a time investment and then you’ve still got a 1/50 or 1/100 chance of making a sale.

        I wasted hours chasing non-existent sales with Photographers Direct which uses this business model.

        I just think it sends the wrong message. It pushes the industry away from building a relationship with a photographer whose work you like and just letting dozens of photographers do all the leg work and then choose your favourite, leaving the other few dozen photographers empty handed despite having invested effort.

        Having said that, I don’t like to write something off until I’ve tried it, so will sign up and see what happens.

        • Alex, I appreciate that.

          There are certainly essential elements here – well written briefs, budget’s need to be appropriate, and photographer’s entries must be accurate (and excellent quality).

          Our goal is not to have 50,000 photographers tendering on jobs like some of the other platforms mentioned in this stream. When that happens photographers get disheartened, buyers get flooded with rubbish and the reputation of the platform disintegrates.

          We have a lot of trust to earn – from buyers and sellers, and we take that job very seriously.

          • So why on earth wouldn’t you just target all the rep. agencies out there, who have a great majority of the best shooters going, if you’re serious about the job ? Certainly there are many other photographers to be considered, but they can’t be such a task to source. Clients looking for some low-ball result would move on.
            Assuming of course reps. want to be included in such a thing.
            At least then the fees would have a better chance at staying where they should be, rather than end up appearing from some time-wasting exercise like Photographers Direct, et al..

  14. @Bob – that’s a decision that can only be made by each individual photographer.

    What we do is give the photographer the opportunity to know about the clients brief, and available budget – then make that decision on a case by case basis.

    • Simon, understood. Photographers have a history as a group of often being their own worst enemy – making business poor decisions.
      600 photographers hired an IP attorney to fight Getty in the early 00′s, they caved in -after spending $250K on legal fees- and lost. That along with the vacuum created by Getty/Corbis, and the glut of supply helped create the race to the bottom we see today.

      There are still many pieces in the puzzle (questions) unanswered. For this to work (sustainability) it has to work (ROI) for all involved.

  15. One misgiving I have with your system is that the clients budget is essentially take it or leave it. Would not a mechanism for the suppliers to negotiate upwards be useful? If clients low ball then they just won’t see much work and everyone in the end will lose interest.

    • @Tim – that is definitely something we are absolutely looking at – it’s a fantastic idea. Thank you.

  16. Interestingly, I got to experience creative crowd sourcing from the other side not even a month ago.
    A client I had shot stills for wanted an informational video spot shot which led to me getting the editing/post portion of the job as well. The post also included sourcing a voice over talent. The budget was not very good and I had never dealt with professional voice over talent before so I was a bit stressed on where to source them.
    Long story short, I found a creative crowd source site for voice talent. Uploaded the script, the fee and it was approved at 9AM. By 9:15 AM, I had my first audition. By noon, I had over 40 auditions. Nearly every one of the talent did a cold read of the script – rather than just submitting a demo reel – and 90% of the submissions were produced excellently.
    I submitted 5 to the clients, we picked one, and within a day I was sent perfectly produced files for the spot. The talent was in Virginia, the client in Rhode Island and I’m in New York City. The Talent could not have been a nicer guy and totally professional, was happy to do a needed pickup and nailed what we needed. The client was thrilled and it couldn’t have gone smoother.
    The entire time I was a bit disheartened that so much professional talent was available for such a tiny budget (over 75 auditions came in with roughly 75% perfectly acceptable). But in the end, it was a perfect solution for the spot. Everyone walked away happy so I saw the upside to this for this sort of creative crowd sourcing.
    I think it gets down to the fact that if the powers that be abuse their position. Knowing they can get talent for $200 when they really have a budget of say, $1500. In my case I fought for the pittance I was able to offer. Everything fell in line for what I needed and it’s usage. No one felt burned. I didn’t ask the Talent for 100 pickups or 50 variations. I knew what I was offering money wise didn’t qualify me to run the talent through the ringer. The Talent listened to direction well, happily submitted a couple of different pacing takes and did a pickup on a minor part.
    Now all that said, looking a crowd sourcing for photography, there seems to be an amazing amount of crap and exceedingly low budgets. If you need imagery for say a website or local insertion, sure it makes sense. But thinking you’ll consistently land appropriate usage and fees is hard to imagine. And I think that’s the core issue here; photographers are quoting small jobs like they’re national campaigns and agencies looking for national campaign usage and caliber work on royalty free iStock budgets . There’s just no common sense or decency. How did what should be symbiotic relationship turn into such a contentious one between agencies and talent?

  17. I was excepted also, I am waiting to see how it pans out. I read a few briefs that came my way but they seemed to be a little low payment wise. If I had some images in my archive however it would have been fine, but shooting on spec did not seem worth it. It is early days though. So looking forward to reading some more briefs.

  18. Our PhotoDaily takes a different approach. We encourage our subscribers to specialize in something they love photographing e.g. architecture, travel, horses, mountain bikes and become an expert in a single field. Or maybe they already are (in their day job).. They become not only a stock photographer but a consultant. They aim to find contacts through our PhotoSource International service that result in long term value (many publishing house have a $50,000 a month budget for photography). In other words our subscribers are looking for long-term value contacts – not single picture sales. We have been in existence since 1985. We charge $375 a year. Yes, in the pre-Internet days, photobuyers contacted us via fax and phone, and of course, now, the Internet. Many current pros got their training wheels and learned about stock photography by subscribing to the original PhotoDaily We’ve had 7 copycats come along in the last twenty-fiver years but none are still in existence. Photobuyers worldwide have trusted PhotoSource International when they need to find a hard-to-locate photo(s). The Internet has been a big boost to this system. For example if you type in sell my photos or buy my photos — we are on a first page search for sellphotos.com. photosource.com, or photostocknotes.com/psn and have been for two years. It works for photographers too because photobuyers now know they can circumvent the eye-weary online galleries and instead ask Google to show them who has a photo of a particular mountain bike, lake or bistro.

  19. Interesting to come across this post on “A Photo Editor”.

    I first came across “ImageBrief” when it was announced via a LinkedIn Group called “Photo Editor, Creative Director and Art Buyer Network”, owned and administrated by Meg Moss, who co-owns and runs the Australian agency Picdesk. Meg was promoting this agency, but added a foot-note to her discussion which read as follows: “Disclaimer: I am not being paid for this announcement, however I am planning an investment in this company because I think it is a great idea!!!”

    Primarily, I work with a major international stock and syndication agent, who’s HQ in in NYC. However, I have exchanged messages/emails on numerous occasions with Meg Moss, do decided to sign-up with ImageBrief, and see how things evolved from there.

    Several weeks later I received an email confirming my acceptance, following which I started to take a look at the briefs in question. Many briefs seemed to be very much at the low-end of the market, with offers of a few hundred dollars or less, none of which was very interesting. Then I noticed a brief for a panoramic aerial shot of Dubai, so left a response stating that I’d be happy to accept a commission for such a shot (as did at least one other photographer). This resulted in a very rude and offensive email from ImageBrief, signed by Madison Parker in the capacity as “Content Manager”. I was informed that I had broken the rules, as I had posted a link to my website (which in-fact I had not, I had simply suggested that the client Google my name for additional info on myself). I was told that if this happened again my account would be suspended.

    Within minutes of receiving the aforementioned email, I received a further email from Simon Moss, obviously conscious of the fact that his colleagues email was offensive, and basically stating how great it was to have me on-board with them. He mentioned that “commissioning” was something the platform could not currently accommodate, but that they would be considering it for the future. In whatever case, my comment on their website, together with most other replys from photographers, were deleted (presumably we all broke the rules!).

    Naturally, I replied to these mails, and made it quite clear that I did not appreciate receiving offensive emails, and that this was not the way forward, if a collaborative agreement was the objective. I received a positive reply from Simon, so I decided to stick with it.

    A week or so later, I saw another brief of interest, this time for an advertising campaign for a new skin product. I decided to submit to this brief from stock, as I has many images on file that fitted the requirement. Now this is where things get ambiguous! I had entered into no physical contract with ImageBrief (unlike my agent in NYC), instead being asked to depend solely on the online agreement that one needs to affirm when uploading an image. ImageBrief terms require that all images uploaded are high-resolution print quality, so the big question here, is what happens to the images that are not used/accepted?

    The agreement you are being asked to endorse, pertains only to an image that is being used by the client, so if one uploads say 20 high-res images in response, and let’s say only one or maybe even none are accepted, what are the terms pertaining to those images? A quick browse of the forum section of the website revealed to me that I was not the only one asking this question. I also noted several briefs had been responded to with low-res preview images, stating that the high-res file was available upon request. As mentioned in one of the comments above here-in, I also noticed that many of the submissions were of very low quality, to the extent that some seemed not to be by professional photographers.

    I decided to make my submission by uploading high quality low-res images, with a comment to each, confirming that the high-res version was available immediately upon request. In my case, this submission related to around 50 images, and I was not about to upload 50 high-res printable images to any third-party server, except where a legally binding agreement already existed, defining the terms and usage of those images. However, before I could get to the end of that upload (the ImageBrief website is such that images can only be uploaded individually, so when making a bulk submission, it is a long a tedious job), I saw that all of my images had been deleted. Within minutes of that, my account was suspended!

    I immediately wrote to Simon Moss, who responded with the following: “Thomas, I instructed our staff to remove them because the quality of your entries are certainly not up to standard. We have deactivated your account and destroyed the images”. Now not to put too fine a point on it, but my images are sold world-wide, and my main agency certainly has no problem with the quality. To rub salt on the wound, the other submissions could only be described as adequate at best! In effect. this statement from Simon Moss is stating that my work is sub-standard, which in itself is slanderous. The fact that he decided to copy his mail to Meg Moss at Picdesk (a totally unrelated business according to Meg Moss’ previous LinkedIn statement), prompted me to send all and sundry to my attorneys, who are at this very moment preparing the claim for damages. Not a good start for a new stock agency, wouldn’t you say?

    A subsequent email from Simon Moss read” “Perhaps now you can stop harassing us and maybe try and find somewhere else to sell your images”. Well, I have no problem selling my images, and didn’t have even prior to signing-up with ImageBrief. In-fact, just a brief time previously, my NYC agent sold an image to U.S. Playboy Magazine (again!), along with numerous other clients.

    I believe the real issue here, is that I raised the issue of trms and conditions pertaining to the high-res images being uploaded to the ImageBrief server, none of which are protected contractually. I had previously suggested to Simon that he provide his contributing photographers with a contract, but this was ignored.

    Interestingly, I went back to the LinkedIn Group to comment as regard to this experience, and to warn other contributors of this situation, only to find that whilst I am still a member of the group in question, my ability to comment on any discussion has been restricted. It would seem ImageBrief wish to silence me and it doesn’t take a genius to work-out why!

    • @Thomas I too was disappointed that we had to deactivate your account. In truth, your images are not suitable for our platform… We are not targeting erotic nude or any soft pornography (such as your ‘Yakuza’ portfolio) on ImageBrief.

      Our platform is a venue for media professionals who wish to buy rights managed images from photographers who already own the images, but these images are not in circulation (or buried in stock libraries). This is normally for marketing material, branding etc. I think we can agree your images are not appropriate for this (nor are they meant to be).

      It’s important to note, that any agreement you enter into on ImageBrief is directly with a buyer. We provide a safe and secure platform for the tender process, license agreement and download. We employee the highest level encryption available to us using Amazon Web Services for the storage o images.

      Because we are in BETA, we have learned much in the short time we have been live. We are listening carefully. The concern about uploading high resolution images has been raised a few times by other photographers submitting images too.

      In response we are working on functionality that will support a high-res image transaction after the tender process (and image selection) is complete.

      Our goal in having the high-resolution available as soon as possble for the buyer is to maintain a seamless experience for the buyer, and ensure that should a photographers image be chosen there is no risk of losing the buyer due to delays etc We have many editorial clients who need images immediately due to deadlines etc.

      All said and done, I wish you the best for your image sales, and on behalf of the team at ImageBrief I am sorry the platform is not perfect for the style of imagery you create.

      • Simon, as an after-thought, I’m just curious how you managed to review my “Yakuza” portfolio, to which you refer. The portfolio was shot specifically for a book publication, which is also associated to a film, for which I also shot some stills. Whilst a few images from the very large portfolio have been made public (for promotional purposes), the portfolio has never been made public. Certainly it would never be proposed to a stock agency such as yours.

        As such, how did you even view the portfolio and why do you even bother to make reference to it, as it is completely irrelevant to the topic? My assumption is that in truth you have not viewed the portfolio (maybe you saw a few promotional images from a blog post of the like) and that you referenced as an effort to try and justify your unprofessional beahaviour. Tell me if I am wrong?

      • @ Simon: With the greatest of respect, you are talking total nonsense! The images provided to ImageBrief have no relation to the portfolios you reference, as you are very well aware. You state “We are not targeting erotic nude or any soft pornography (such as your ‘Yakuza’ portfolio) on ImageBrief”. Yes, a fact of which I am well aware, and as such, you have not been provided with such images. Your response is nothing more than a good attempt to try and justify your own unprofessional and unethical behaviour!

    • Interesting approach. I mean you are in effect trying to slander him and his business here as well right? Might want to check with your lawyers on that.

      BTW – Photography is subjective. Just because your images sell around the world and that you happen to think your images are good, doesn’t mean others think so.

      This is a pretty sad display man. Taking it public like this.

      • A factual statement of a series of events, is not slanderous, a fact which you can easily confirm with your own lawyer. My work is judged primarily by others, my own opinion is irrelevant.

        Making a public statement in regard to unethical and unprofessional behaviour of another party is and always be one of the most effective ways of containing such incidents. Conduct of this nature needs to be made public in the interests of others. It’s unfortunate you disagree, but then you are entitled to your opinion.

  20. So, a request gets made and photographers get to dance like monkeys and work for free to win a prize. And how exactly is that to the benefit of the participants or the photography industry? This is just chipping away at your profession and devaluing your work.

      • @ Des, Isnt that what happens already? Agency calls wants a quote photogs reply and the dance begins? What if there was a brief on there for a six figure job? Still devaluing?

        @ Thomas, Still chippin away hey!

        • @Shame, Just came upon this and can’t help.. joking right ? .. Do you seriously think there will EVER be a brief posted online, ANYWHERE, for a six-figure sum. Are we on the same planet ?

  21. Let the negotiations be between the seller and buyer. Clients should know limited budgets produce limited results.. I would never let a middleman set my prices.. I know what I am worth. OnRequest did send assignments that paid my dayrate and were equitable. ImageBrief might get a stinky diaper or two hopefully the will mature into a win-win operation.

  22. @ Simon: With the greatest of respect, you are talking total nonsense! The images provided to ImageBrief have no relation to the portfolios you reference, as you are very well aware. You state “We are not targeting erotic nude or any soft pornography (such as your ‘Yakuza’ portfolio) on ImageBrief”. Yes, a fact of which I am well aware, and as such, you have not been provided with such images. Your response is nothing more than a good attempt to try and justify your own unprofessional and unethical behaviour!

    @ Shame: A factual statement of a series of events, is not slanderous, a fact which you can easily confirm with your own lawyer. My work is judged primarily by others, my own opinion is irrelevant.

    Making a public statement in regard to unethical and unprofessional behaviour of another party is and always be one of the most effective ways of containing such incidents. Conduct of this nature needs to be made public in the interests of others. It’s unfortunate you disagree, but then you are entitled to your opinion.

  23. As I started to work as a photographer back in 1994 (I was 24 that time) I got the opportunity to try different models of selling my photographs or my photo services.

    Market is overcrowded now and we need to look at all new ways how to succes. And it is very difficult to find serious partners to cooperate with. Apple just approved my first application http://t.co/KMccM9L and to be honest I see my future here.

    Yes, we can check sites like ImageBrief or PhotographersDirect every day and try to compete with other photographers or we can take the final stage of our business (I mean selling our work) to our own hands …

    • John I thought it was interesting that you posted that comment, and you just happen to be running a stock image library. It is an unfounded statement, but one I should have probably expected to see.

      • It may not be a “scam” per-say, but the ethics of how you conduct things are without any doubt very questionable. You have many excuses, effectively just to dodge the real issues, and your manipulation of the real truths is a skill in itself!

        As regard John Fowler running a stock image library, personally I would have thought that was a plus, as it places him in a position of authority to speak on a subject that he obviously understands well. “Unfounded statement”? Maybe, but if not a “scam” certainly very questionable. Time will tell, but ultimately this business is a small world, and you can’t keep everybody from from speaking out. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a negative experience, and eventually the others will also come to light also.

        • Good grief man, would hate to give you the finger while driving. Do you realize how foolish you look with all your whining? Act like an adult and take it off line. This is border line harassment, all based on you feeling slighted. I hope Simon sees the light and takes the high road here as you are clearly on the low one.

          • As John Fowler so aptly insinuated, “How do you spell scam?”. Simon Moss runs his business unethically and unprofessionally and has stated within this thread of comments numerous mis-truths. Now if that puts him on the “high-road”, I’m very happy to be on the “low one”. Given your obvious passion for supporting Simon Moss, it begs the question as to which road you are on? As regard your allegation of “harassment”, my lawyers would be very happy to receive notice, as Mr. Moss would then be forced to be accountable for the numerous mis-truths he has written. It’s good to see your such a loyal supporter of his as he will surely eed them!

  24. We can’t blame a new company for the flaws of our industry. Those are what they are.

    I wish Simon all the best for this adventure. If it turns out well, we might all enjoy the results.

  25. Hi Simon, perhaps the discussion here is really about the positioning of your business. One of easiest ways to position a company is through price. If you simply made it a condition the all briefs must offer at least $1000 then you might find that you end up with a much better product with happier clients and happier photographers. Focus on the good stuff and leave the scraps to someone else. My 10 cents worth!