I’m pleased to publish an introduction to Photocase kindly written for us by Peter Read, Vice President at Photocase.com, with some additional thoughts about the vision for stock and how Photocase, playing a niche role, fits into it.
Photocase.com was started in 2001 as a way for a small group of graphic designers to freely and easily share photos between each other. They shot their own photos, uploaded and shared them to create a little pool of reliable, unique, good-quality and -above all – free photos that they could use in any given project. It grew from a server in a closet to what it is today, a community of more than 360,000 users, 12,000 photographers and more than 160,000 photos.
What hasn't changed since the beginning is the idea that stock photography doesn't have to look like stock photography. There will always be a market for a woman in a headset, or smiling businessmen around a boardroom table, but the vision for Photocase was something different. The founders didn't want to be a part of that segment of the market, besides it was already pretty well covered. The founders instead used their ideals and experiences as designers and focused on the desire that all creative professionals have, and that was to find more creative, more unique, more true-to-life photos and so Photocase became a home for that kind of photography.
When one browses through the collection, the images do a great job of illustrating just how successful that vision was. The site is full of inspiring and exciting images, and the passionate contributors are constantly out shooting new photos and trying new things so that their photos remain inspiring and exciting and so they can get their photos through the notoriously strict Photocase approval process. More than 90% of submitted photos are rejected, all in the interest of preserving a place on the internet where creative professionals can find exciting new imagery without having to spend half their budget.
Photocase has a strong hold in the German market, but are now working towards becoming established overseas, particularly in the English speaking market. To help in this goal, they have a highly sophisticated keywording system that translates the given keywords into 4 languages (English, French, German or Spanish), and marketing and advertising plans are constantly being created and adapted to improve visibility in various new markets.
Photocase feels that there is a big demand for the kind of creative, unique stock photography that their database is full of, and hopes that their narrow niche will soon hit the mainstream. Not everyone wants a photo of a smiling woman in a headset for their contact page.