Web community site takes on stock image market

The site aims to close the gap between designers and photographers

A new online stock image library aims to close the gap between designers and photographers.

The community-based site, called Mychillybin.co.nz, stocks royalty-free local images, by local photographers.

Founder Chris Hay, a graphic designer, got the idea for the site when he was struggling to find affordable images that represented New Zealand. A lot of the sites out there are “Americanised” and do not reflect New Zealand culture, says Hay.

Hay started the company with his wife and a business partner.

The website has been live for three months and has already signed up 600 members and 80 photographers. About 400 images are uploaded to the site each week, says Hay.

In addition to the local focus of the site, the main differentiator from other stock image sites is the aim to create a community. Photographers and designers are able to meet and get a dialogue going on the site, says Hay. They can talk on forums on the page and produce the results they want, he says.

Photographers can also network on the site, for example talk to other photographers, share tips and get feedback, and promote their own exhibitions, says Hay. Student photographers can, for example, keep their own portfolio on the site, he adds.

Designers who download pictures can upload images of how they use those pictures and at the same time promote their agency, he says.

Photographers get a 35% cut, and the more images they sell, the percentage goes up, says Hay. The site welcomes professional as well as student and amateur photographers.

However, every photographer is checked and every single image submitted to the site is reviewed by Hay’s team, to make sure it meets technical as well as artistic standards. Users pay a one-off fee for an image through a credit-based system, he says. Hotcreative in Auckland developed the site.

The main goal was to make the site user-friendly and to get a “community-feel” to it, says Hay.

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