LuckyOliver: stock photography for circus-folk?

Stock photography gone 2.0.

One of the companies showcasing its wares at the Web 2.0 Expo is LuckyOliver, a stock photography service that sells user-submitted digital photographs for use on Web sites and printed materials. The service has a kitschy carnival/circus theme, right down to calling its users 'carnies.'

LuckyOliver employs several Web 2.0ish technologies to categorize photos, including tags, a cloud of similar or related images, and a prestige system for heavy users of the site. Esteemed photographers also get special badges. Other users can comment on their work, and browse through their portfolio.

As a photographer, submitting photos to the service is fairly straight forward. You've got to upload three of your best shots, which get scrutinized by LuckyOliver's human quality control agent. If they think you're good enough, they'll get back to you to add more to the service.

Each photography sale on LuckyOliver is divided up into tokens. Smaller sizes of a print will only cost a few tokens (valued at $1 each); all the way up to the high resolution versions, which run up to 50 tokens for buyers interested in using the shot on things like promotional materials or product packaging.

LuckyOliver is one of many online stock photography services, and has been around since late 2005. For Web site designers, sites like these are a quick and easy resource for art. For photographers who take good pictures, they're a chance to sell and promote their work. Sites like iStockPhoto, ShutterStock, Fotoliaand Dreamstimeprovide a similar 'you shoot it, we sell it' service, they just don't do it with nearly the peculiar sense of humor LuckyOliver is bringing to the table.

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