How One Startup Is Helping People Get Paid for Their Instagram and Twitter Photos

Before learning how to sell photos online, let’s backtrack a little bit. In fact, let’s set our hypothetical time machine back to the turn of the 20th century. The second modern Olympic games are going on in Paris, and women like Hélène de Pourtalès — a Swiss sailor and first female Olympic medalist — compete for the first time. US President William McKinley, with his bold ideas on foreign policy and penchant for protective tariffs, earns a second term as Commander-in-chief, and work begins on New York City’s expansive subway system. More people are speaking out, and the world is becoming more interconnected.

The Kodak Brownie also makes its debut in February 1900. This relatively affordable point-and-shoot film camera democratizes photography, introducing the concept of the snapshot to the general public. Photography is no longer just an art form or pricey activity exclusively for the wealthy. And over the next few decades, children and adults alike cart around their Brownies, record their lives and send film off to labs to be developed.

It’s 117 years later, and photography is still an art form for everyone. But instead of sending film to the processing lab, we point and shoot with our smartphones, upload the resulting images and videos onto social media and share life’s moments with friends, family and followers.

Since this user-generated content — or extraordinary photos and videos from everyday people — is more authentic and cost-effective than stock photography, there’s a huge opportunity for social media photographers to profit. Scopio offers a way for social media photographers to share these moments with forward-thinking brands and companies.

We spoke to three photographers who were scoped out, published and paid by our clients.

Here’s what they have to say about the user-generated content revolution.