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Supshot makes smartphone photos pay

Those photos stored on your smartphone could be worth a few bucks. We’ve all seen breaking news reports featuring photos and videos shot by passing amateurs. But even everyday snapshots can be of value; magazines and advertising companies often buy “stock” photos to decorate their pages.

A Boston software startup called Supshot wants to help smartphone owners cash in on these opportunities, by uniting photo buyers and sellers in an online marketplace. “It’s a platform to sell your photos and videos to any interested buyer,” said co-founder Azeem Khan.

Supshot has created a free app for Apple Inc. iPhones and iPads. It gives users an easy way to upload interesting photos and videos to the company’s cloud service, where interested parties can look them over and decide whether to buy. Before accepting the photo, the Supshot app lets the user choose a licensing plan for selling rights to reproduce the image. You can choose an open license that lets anybody reproduce the image for free. Or you can charge flat fees of $15 or $30 per photo. There’s also a custom option where you can demand a bigger payout for a photo or video that you consider especially valuable. Supshot plans to make money by taking 30 percent of whatever a seller receives.

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Meanwhile, Supshot is peddling the service to news outlets and publishing houses. The company plans to open an online marketplace where businesses can purchase uploaded photos. Companies will also be able to post “assignments,” offering to pay a certain amount of money for photographs of specific events.

Supshot will have lots of competition. There are already several online markets for smartphone photographers, including Snapwire, Scoopshot and Rawporter. Khan is unfazed; he figures that the horde of competing services proves there’s a lucrative market for amateur photos, and he thinks Supshot can become the dominant player.

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