What the Foap?! How to Sell Your iPhone Photos [But is it Worth It?]

The iPhone application Foap says $10. Actually…$5 after they take their cut. Here’s the rundown…
Foap is a micro stock photography app made exclusively for iPhone photography. You upload your photos for review using their app, and then when/if they’re approved they become available for purchase in their market for editorial or commercial use by third party companies. There’s no end to the number of times a single photo can be sold (at the fixed $10 rate), so there’s a lot of potential to earn money  ($5 per sold photo) if your work is popular enough.


So what do you think? Sound like a good deal? Personally, I’m torn about whether or not I like this concept. Photographers get an incredibly easy way to put their photos on the market, buyers get super cheap images, and Foap gets to split the profits. So who wins in this scenario? Have any of you used this or other micro stock photography services with any success?

If this sounds intriguing to you, check out the Foap site for more information, or better yet, take the app for a test drive.

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Milo says:

I have sold a picture but I can not get paid! When I go to set up my paypal account nothing happens? I have even contacted their support team and still I’m unable to get paid. So I have stopped uploading image and would not recommend the site.

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Dar says:

I thought it would only be photos shot through the phone. It is obvious that people are using other cameras and uploading to their phone and then to Foap. I don’t like that. It’s an unfair advantage. I’m a professional photographer, so I should be able to upload my pro work then??? Is this ok? I couldn’t find anything on the terms and conditions about this.

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Rajesh Jaimini says:

How to earn through Photography?

I always was interested in this subject and still am, appreciate it for putting up. iphone unlocking is just so important!

cool idea, thanks for the tip :)

FcojGomez says:

Forget to be identified as a photographer

studioelan says:

Well, I think this has great potential in the ‘mobile amateur photo-journalist’ area of the photo-market.
News coverage requires much less paperwork (permits, model releases, etc) than standard commercial work.
And this (10$) sure is cheaper than sending a pro to a remote place when all the newscaster needs is one vga-resolution shot of a wrecked car, burning building, etc…

Cameron says:

I’ve already heard tell of professional stock photographers finding copies of their work being sold on FOAP by different users. This has legal disaster written all over it. Please use with caution.

Andre says:

Why someone should buy pics from them when agencies like istock, shutterstock, fotolia ecc ecc…have muuuuuch better qualuty photos of any kind for cheaper prices?

faisal says:

I think $10 per photo is worth it if the photos are nice.

Wow. I’ve gotta say – I love this idea. Seems great for a person like me. That is, an aspiring photographer without the proper gear to do it professionally but with a pretty keen eye for composition and great timing. As a matter of fact, Chase chose a couple of my snap shots to use in his Dasein project at the Ace Hotel. Hopefully Foap will be interested in some of my shots. It’s better than having them sit on my HD not earning any money. Thanks so much for sharing.

tom says:

Interestingly enough I am currently doing a multi day shoot for a large company who requires a library of images to use in various internal campaigns. Anything from posters to email and web sites. Their budgets are not particularly huge and in many cases specific posters and email have no budget but would be greatly enhanced by an image.

I did a quick search for some of the concepts we are covering in the shoot. There are certainly a lot of quality photos available in those categories. They are different type of shots to high end agencies though. I would call them cut away shots. We actually try and get them during the shoot. Quick snaps. Close ups. Shots with no setup.

I think people like my client would greatly benefit to add this web site to their resources.

On the other hand I can’t see how an individual photographer would make any amount of money that makes the effort worth while. Maybe if the photos I shoot go up automatically without doing any additional work. But I still can’t see how in an ocean of photos you would get any meaningful sales.

Libby says:

I just had a look at this one here


It is listed as Commercial. There is no disclaimer as to the released status of the image. If I buy this image for a client, I cannot assure them that the image has been indemnified by the agency as Released. A look at the TOS tells me that their release system is an “honor thing”. Sorry, not acceptable. Having been in the stock business as an administrator, I will tell you for a fact that submitters lie, cheat and steal.

And while I’m on legal and TOS, this is troubling:


Apart from the Model Releases detailed above, the Buyer is responsible for arranging any and all consents required for the Buyer’s intended use of the Content, including but not limited to any consents required from trademark owners, building or land owners or owners of other intellectual property included in the Content. The Seller shall not be responsible for obtaining any such consent, unless otherwise agreed in writing directly between the Seller and the Buyer.”

So that it means is if you want to use an image of that Car Tree Freshener


it is the BUYER that needs to clear the content. While art directors know about product clearances, today’s bargain basement stock photo buyer does not. And it is very doubtful that they will take the time to read and understand the TOS. Misuse, even seemingly innocent enough, will likely land them in court in the US.

Agree with Neil Watson – I really see the service as a legal hornet’s nest.

I just read about this app on fstoppers.com literally 10 minutes ago before visiting chase’s blog for the day. It seems interesting. I downloaded it and willing to give it a try. Fstoppers also wrote about scoopshoot.com another great app with the potential to make money. I’m going to check them both out.

To answer your question chase I think all parties win. If I’m uploading all my awesome pix I might as well get paid for if I can instead of all my rights automatically benign handed over to instagram, Facebook, etc.

I recently got the Foap app on my iPhone 4S and started uploading some photos.
The app is better than I was led to believe from some of the comments on iTunes & the web – I guess they updated the app to fix some of the issues.
I’m a fairly active photographer (Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr etc.) and I know I’ve gotten some good shots from my iPhone (usually processed via Snapseed). I only uploaded about 7 images to se how this works out – and I’ve no problem with the $10/$5 split if my images actually sell, bearing in mind that they are more casual style images shot on an iPhone and do not have the time overhead of a big set-up.
So far though no sales. I expect, like many of these services, one has to commit a considerable amount of time in acquiring followers to get to a large enough tipping point where one may actually have some sort of market, but I don’t know how much time this particular service needs for that.
It looks pretty good to me though, as a more serious effort to make a business out of mobile photography (for Foap and the photographer) and I do like their advice to ‘play down’ the ‘art filter’ effects, it makes sense.
Another nice touch is the Foap ‘Missions’ – which are briefs for photographers to work on, I think that’s one of the best ideas I’ve seen in this line of business yet.

Maybe you folks have something in mind for the future of ‘Best Camera’? I always liked the way it worked.


Mark says:

Stock photography has been a race to the bottom for some time, I wonder who will actually license these images when stock agencies are chock full of professionally shot pictures for tiny amounts. I suspect it will also get so full of garbage images no one will even look in the first instance anyway. Happy to be proved wrong of course.

Amanda says:

agreed on all counts.

Anonymous says:

I tried the app out when it first came out. It is a horrible app that is halfway functioning and they couldn’t care less about who uploads what.

Demian says:

he’s 100 percent safistied with his purchase.As for me, I bought a Sony Ericsson w960i recently. Its looks and interface may not be that cool. But I’m a 100 percent safistied customer too. All because this little phone is feature-packed with Wifi, Chinese-English dictionary, Business Card scanner, timer, stopwatch, walkman, FM radio, etc.

Neill Watson says:

Initial thoughts:

A potential can of worms when it comes to model / property releases of images uploaded by people who don’t understand the implications.

Is it worth it? No. It’s RF and I know the argument will be “but it’s just and iPhone shot” a view that will just reduce images to being sold on file size instead of creative impact. As you say yourself, the best camera is the one you have in your hand. There’s no reason why I wouldn’t licence an iPhone shot as Rights Managed if the image had the impact the client wanted. And I’d want more than $5….

Ref your earlier commenter, quite what being based in Sweden has to do with copyright issues of images licenced globally is beyond me.

Just my 50% of $10… ;)

Herman says:

I wonder if it matters if you use dslr pics and upload them with your iphone…

Wendy says:

No, I’ve been using Foap for a while and have been doing this regularly. The types of photos they say sell well (e.g. close ups) need a better camera than an iphone to take.

Jollence says:

This is why I like following your blog. Thank you.

Oh, and they’re based in Sweden. This means vastly reduced copyright issues ;)

Sounds like a money making business concept to me. In my opinion it could take off if marketed correctly.

wendy says:

Ive been using Foap since last summer, mostly beach scenes ive already made $326.00 for 4 pics of different boats that were on the water. Believe me its LEGIT!! I continure using it. it pays via paypal which makes it simple. dont knock it till youve tried it. Just sayin.

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