Recently, I had the utmost privilege to meet two amazing people.
Ling and Vincent, both ex-colleagues at an ad agency in Singapore, were in town when I accidentally bumped in them and somehow got their namecard.
They spoke about how passionate they were about their start-up, and more importantly, how this idea can empower so many individuals out there with a passion that might be still hidden under the lamp.
Enter Lensy, a community marketplace where the everyday photographer can sell his or her photos to other individuals and businesses that require high quality images.
Did you catch how strong their passion is?
Lensy is more than just another virtual community. It is a platform that seeks to democratise stock photography by championing the everyday photographer and photography enthusiast. Now, you as a person armed with a camera can be given an equal opportunity to grow and develop your passion and craft, while making your photos available for sale to brands and businesses.
What’s unique about Lensy is that it focuses on photography from Asia, addressing the lack of them from typical stock photography libraries we find from the U.S. or within Europe.
Speaking on the revenue model of Lensy and how it can serve the community, Ling and Vincent were quick to point out, that “most current stock photography licenses are complicated and expensive for buyers, with only a small percentage of revenue generated from each sale going back to the photographers.”
For Lensy, they are going to change just that. Now, for every photo sold, Lensy gives 50% of the revenue to the photographer, and retains 50% to cover maintenance and transaction cost. That simple.
On top of this, I am also thrilled to talk about Lensy Tasks.
Lensy Tasks is a place where brands, big or small, can engage their fans and involve the Lensy community. This crowdsourcing method avoids the usual costly photoshoots and allow for unique and tailored photos to be generated for brands’ content strategies. There is also no enforced subscription model, so brands can just buy what they want – royalty free at $10 with no hidden costs.
When asked on how Lensy is changing the landscape for pseudo-photographers, both founders were clear on their mission.
“Lensy is built upon The Sharing Economy, where people are able to leverage on unused or excess capacity (in this case, great photos that they have taken and are really proud of but would otherwise sit in their hard drives, image hosting sites like Flickr etc) and monetise these assets; in a similar fashion in which Airbnb has done by allowing everyday people to rent out their spare rooms or houses to others like hotels,” said Ling and Vincent.
In terms of copyright content, both founders were also quick to share that it is fundamental for their business to make it fuss free (no complicated licenses) and low cost, so that that buyers will be willing to pay to licensed photos and not choose the other awry path of content theft.
For everyday photographers and photography enthusiasts, the founders emphasised that they also want to help them understand their copyrights as owners and provide a platform for them to easily license their photos to brands and businesses for a usage fee.
Yet, perhaps, all these still don’t sound all too enticing.
I spoke to a few friends who are heavily involved in photography, and some mentioned that the root problem of stock photography platforms is not the pricing itself, but the ability to find what you really want.
In Lensy’s case, their photo discovery process is made easier with descriptions and tags. Not necessary the finest of platform filters, but hey, it is pretty user friendly given the fact they launched only November last year.
Lastly, here’s a shout out to all photography enthusiast- This Valentines’ Day, take part in Lensy Task’s Love is in the Air by uploading photos that can portray the rosy sweet mood of this special day.
The task ends in 9 days and the chosen photograph by the organising brand will stand to win a reward prize of SGD $200!
As for Lensy, I can’t wait to see how they will improve their user experience as more users jump onboard.
Now hurry and whip out that camera of yours.