Foap: What You Should Know About Selling iPhone Photos

As I was checking my email today, I was surprised to learn that the photo below (albeit in color) had earned me $5 on Foap.  For those of you who don’t know it, Foap is an iPhone photography marketplace that ambitiously promises to turn you photos into dollars.


Can they fulfil this promise? Keep reading to find out.

Foap was released last summer, which is when I first downloaded the app and played around with it a little. I uploaded about ten average-quality photos, got essentially no response, and decided that it was probably not worth spending time on. So I deleted the app and forgot about the photos that were put up for sale.

However, after today’s email I decided to give Foap another chance and write about it in the blog. So I downloaded the app again, cashed out my $5, and started to upload more photos hoping that people would buy them every now and then. Even if I only sell a couple of photos per month, by the end of the year I should have earned $120 for practically no work on my part.

Or so I thought.

First, I must warn you that it’s really, really painful to upload photos to Foap. I don’t know if they do it intentionally to keep people from posting their entire libraries, but you can only upload photos one by one. I had initially selected 100 photos to upload, but I soon decided to cut it down to 40. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my night uploading.

Each photo has to be individually selected, uploaded, tagged, and then you have to rate five other photos before your photo is published. Five other people will rate your photo as well, and if the average is high enough your photo will get published.

Unfortunately the upload process is made much harder by a software bug that keeps showing you the same photos and saying that you’ve already rated them. At this point you can’t just move on and rate the next photo. You’re stuck with the same photo until new ones come along in a few minutes. And then it happens again for your second photo… and so on.

Luckily, I discovered a way to get around this problem and make the rating process much faster. Just keep giving very quick 3-star ratings before the photos are even downloaded, and you’ll be done with this step in two seconds. Sure, it’s a bug that Foap should  fix as soon as possible, but for now it remains the only reasonable way to upload your photos.

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But even with this trick it still takes too much time to upload new photos. I’ve decided to stop at 50 photos for now, and I won’t be adding any more unless they are sold on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that will be the case. It seems that there are far more photographers than buyers on the market at this point. Flipping burgers at McDonald’s would probably earn you more money than uploading your photos on Foap.

If you decide to give Foap a try, I would suggest that you make a small gallery of your 20-50 most sellable photos. And make sure your tag your photos carefully. Potential buyers will only see your photos if they type in the tags you’ve used.

People, emotions, beautiful views and famous places will probably sell better than artistic photos. Also don’t upload photos that have been excessively edited with Instagram-style filters. Most buyers are looking for photos that haven’t been edited too much.

You don’t lose your copyright when your photos are sold on Foap. Buyers get non-exclusive rights to your photos, which essentially means that after the sale you can keep using them in any way you want. It also means that the same photo can be sold on Foap more than once.