updateShutterstock, one of a host of "microstock" sites that lets photographers sell stock photography online at low cost, plans to announce a program called Red Carpet that strives to endow its members with press credentials.
"The company will work to facilitate the acquisition of coveted press passes, whether at film premieres, awards shows, concerts or political rallies," the company said in a forum posting on Monday. "While taking steps to secure preferred access for its photographers, Shutterstock will expand its library of celebrity images, a popular category among buyers."
Press passes typically enable photographers and other media representatives to cover events for free and often from preferred photography vantage points.
Shutterstock has 61,627 photographers submitting their work, but not everyone is automatically granted a press pass. To get one, they must sign up at Shutterstock for each event by submitting a form (click for PDF). Shutterstock will expedite the request process, the company said.
The service won't be for any old Shutterstock member or folks hoping for an easy trip to the latest concert, said founder and Chief Executive Jon Oringer.
"The only people who will be applying for this are established Shutterstock photographers--we have a relationship with them, have confidence in their ability as photographers, etc.," he said in an interview Monday.
And the company will monitor the photos from each event, he added.
"There is little room for abuse here, but if that were to happen, that photographer would immediately be banned not only from the program but from our site as a contributor," Oringer said. "We...want to be able to monitor each press pass and what comes from it--to make sure that we're adding quality pictures to the site (and) that the photographers and event coordinators are comfortable with the process."
Images from such events may only be sold through Shutterstock, the company said.
Shutterstock already has worked with event coordinators in the past to obtain press passes, for years in some cases, but the new Red Carpet program will formalize the process, Oringer said.