Make money off your Instagram photos? There’s an app for that


Snapwire mobile

In four years, Instagram has gone from having one million to over 150 million users. The app’s reach as a platform for sharing photos is incredible, but for many, the value of what’s posted maxes out at a number of likes.

Many photographers with tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram have little-to-no prior professional experience. Yet they’ve managed to gather huge followings around the photos they take and share from their smartphones.

“My God, these guys have no idea how talented they are,” Chad Newell remembers saying to himself during Instagram’s early days. “We could sell this stuff.”

The lack of commercial opportunity for a new class of mobile photographers led Newell, a veteran of the stock image industry, to create a startup for buying and selling photography called Snapwire. Think of it like 99designs and 500px combined with Shutterstock.

While still in its early days, Snapwire is already drawing big-name advertisers to its growing of library premium stock photography. And it’s filling that library with the kinds of shots you would normally see in your Instagram feed.

How WWDC students made an app that turns iPhones into a surround sound system


Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

While sitting in on a session at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last year, Nick Frey, Chris Galzerano, and Veeral Patel got an itch to make something. As part of iOS 7, Apple had introduced “Multipeer Connectivity,” a framework for communicating with nearby devices.

Frey and his friends were at WWDC on student scholarships given by Apple, a tradition that provides the opportunity for hundreds of grade school and college students to attend the expensive conference for free each year.

Nearly a year later, the result of their shared itch is Audibly, a nifty iPhone app that can chain together iPhones to create a wireless sound system.

For young app makers, winning a WWDC Student Scholarship is a dream come true


Some of last year's WWDC scholarship winners. (photo credit: Apple)
Some of last year's WWDC scholarship winners. (photo credit: Apple)

For any Apple coder, attending the annual Worldwide Developers Conference is a coveted opportunity. But for the young recipients of WWDC 2014 Student Scholarships, a free ticket to the event means more than an adventure in geekery; it’s the crowning achievement of their blossoming careers.

Take Shaan Singh, a 14-year-old developer and designer whose iPhone finance app Budgetize helped him bag a scholarship to WWDC, a prize that’s something like winning a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

“It’s a big honor for me to be selected because I made an app that I feel was creative and smart, and Apple thinks so too,” he told Cult of Mac. “I’ve always admired Apple’s design, and I’m excited that they like mine too.”

Cole Rise on Instagram fame and creating Litely, the hottest new photography app


Cole Rise

Cole Rise has nearly one million followers on Instagram and the hottest new photography app in the App Store. He also made seven of Instagram’s built-in filters, which explains where the name for the “Rise” filter originates.

His app, Litely, is less than a month old with over 3 million downloads. Considering he was one of the first 100 people on Instagram, he really gets mobile photography and where it’s headed. During our conversation, Rise goes behind the scenes of Litely’s development, shares his influence on Instagram during its early days, and gives some great advice on how to take better pictures.