FocalPop and 'reverse stock photography'

There are a lot of reasons why photographers are interested in making some extra money these days. An obvious reason is the economy in general, which has left many of us without our day jobs and photographers with less work.

There’s also the shift towards microstock, which has made it easy for buyers to get very cheap photos while photographers’ commissions continue to get smaller. For many new photographers, it may be the case that you’ve never sold your photos and you’re not sure what kinds of things to shoot or how to go about selling your photos.

A new site called FocalPop is aiming to build an alternate marketplace for photography that that shakes things up a bit.

Here’s how it works:

  1. People seeking photos fill out a detailed request on
  2. Photographers are notified of new requests and can submit their photos if they fit the bill
  3. The seeker selects a winner and that photographer gets paid the request.

The idea is to give photographers more information about what buyers want, when they want it, and how much they’re willing to spend. It’s free to sign up and anyone can participate in the photo requests. Photographers can upload photos they already have or shoot new work providing just what they buyer wants. The best part is that the commissions are high, starting at 70%, and FocalPop has a suggested pricing tool to ensure the buyers are pricing their requests fairly.

FocalPop is celebrating its official launch this week, after a three month beta period that began this fall. Looking at all the photos uploaded to the site during beta, it appears that quite a few photographers are interested in this kind of solution. What remains to be seen is if the photo editors of the world have the time to wait for custom photos, or if they’d rather just get their photos off a regular stock photography site…