Contributor Guides

Any images that you submit to the marketplace must meet our basic technical standards regarding image resolution and image quality. These are industry standards, created to make sure images can be purchased for as many different uses as possible and to reassure clients that they can use images they select in the way they want to.

Phone Images

The phone is the perfect tool for capturing those spontaneous "in the moment" shots that no other camera can easily catch. It’s perfect for fulfilling our “as it happens” Briefs.

What you should Shoot

People shots sell best! Studies have shown that images of real people, cultural nuances and lifestyle choices grab the attention and imagination of the consumer more than generic or staged shots ever will.

Gone are the days of stiff poses and fake smiles. Brands look to reflect real people, couples, families, friends or colleagues in real situations. These brands are turning their eyes to user-generated content and photography communities for images that depict the human experience in a credible way.

Your phone is all the equipment you need to capture real moments that have genuine emotion, natural body language and believable relationships. There are however a number of rules to follow when submitting people images.

The first rule - you must submit signed model releases for all people in your image. See the Model and Property Release Apps section below for more details or click here.

The rest of the rules are in place to ensure we provide the best people imagery to our clients, and that the images will be the best on the market.

What clients look for in Phone Captured People Images

We curate (edit) all images, however we do expect you to take charge and make sure your image is top quality. Here are our 10 rules that will help ensure you upload only the right content:

  • Candid moments – camera phones have opened up the possibilities for documenting our lives moment by moment, capturing ‘real’ as they happen situations and expressions. But real doesn’t mean grungy or dismal, spontaneous images should depict upbeat and life affirming subjects.
  • Authenticity – In body language, emotion, even in the objects and food we use everyday. This is key, and it is best obtained from real people in real situations. Over stylised or heightened realities have been replaced by imagery delighting in real scenarios and imperfections.
  • Humor – Genuine reactions to funny situations, humor and smiles are the best way to express personal wellbeing and achievement. Keep things light-hearted and upbeat.
  • Nostalgia – Nostalgia sells, but it may just be a current fad, so don’t over do it. A few subtle indicators to past eras relate to consumers as they evoke memories of their own lives. For mobile photographers this can be achieved using vintage filters or color palettes giving modern scenarios a vintage twist. But use these filters only for appropriate shots. They should not be used to make boring shots look interesting.
  • Relationships – Personal connections and shared experiences are at the heart of a great image. And nothing does it better than a phone image showing the true bond between people.
  • Personal Perspective – The first person experience can be seen throughout modern advertising. One person’s genuine reaction to a situation in their life is so engaging it becomes a shared experience through evoking memories or inspiration.
  • Travel and Local Culture – People have become fascinated in learning about other cultures. First hand travel experiences captured on a phone is exactly what travel industry clients look for.
  • Leisure – Leisure time is an important factor for people as busy lives lead to growing stress. There is no better way to capture this than showing a person engaging in an activity they truly enjoy, whether alone or through social interaction with friends.
  • Communication and Connection– Images showing people connecting with other people through technology are used globally, in every industry. Tech is part of our everyday lives so use your phone to capture images of real people using their phones and other tech.
Who to Shoot
  • Kids – Children make up nearly half the global population, they represent the future and remind adults of their own past. Kids shots have to be spontaneous, the real reactions kids give, the moments that happen every day with all the paint splotches, dirt and worms your kid’s find!
  • Young adults – The roles of men and women are changing in society and young adults don’t choose traditional life paths. Phone images should celebrate diverse lifestyles.
  • Families – Families come in all compositions. The mainstream is now seeing images of unique family dynamics including same-sex and blended families.
  • 50+ - With life expectancy increasing the senior and elderly population will double over the next 25 years. Celebrate the senior members of your family, capture them enjoying life and use your phone to bring their positive attitude to the world.
Tips for Better Mobile Pictures

Mobile phone cameras can produce stunning images but it’s all about taking your time and understanding that the device does have some limitations, most importantly:

Limited Shutter-Speed Range and a Fixed Aperture

This means adjustments to the in-camera exposure are made by adapting the ISO. Camera phones are okay for many lighting situations, but the small sensor might struggle with low or very bright light and dark shadows. The small sensor is also not good for controlling depth of field.

Being Still

Hold the phone with two hands.
Rest your elbows against your chest.
Stabilize your self against a handy wall or structure.

Pay Attention to the Light

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: think about the light. We want well lit images with no hard shadows.

Camera phone shots are better taken outdoors, where there’s the opportunity for images bathed in light. Lifestyle images are greatly improved by having the people fully lit, and remember the eyes should be sharp.

Being in areas of lots of natural light compensates for the limited settings on a camera phone. The brighter the light, the less likely you will get blur, and the better the shutter will be able to stop the motion.

Know your phone camera

Practice - try out all the features. Knowing the quirks of your phone will make taking images easier, make them better quality and make it more fun.

If you change phone, don’t assume the pictures will be the same as your last phone, get to know it too.


Take as many shots as you can, but as our self-editing guide in What We Want, says choosing the right shot is so important.

We’d therefore recommend that you keep shooting your subject until you feel you have captured it in the way you want, but only give us the best images after editing.
Delete! Don’t keep every shot for sentimental reasons. It’s easier to make a final choice if you narrow the selection as you go, until you only keep the one you want to upload.
Remember your choice of best shot should be the one that includes the best mood, moment and technical quality as well as best representing the subject and a strong idea.

iPhone Specific Tips

The cameras on the 4s and 5 are very similar, but the difference between them and older models is very significant, as phone cameras have improved greatly in the past couple of years. You can take good pictures with an older model, but you will have to put in some extra work to get them right.

Press down the shutter button before you line up the shot; lift your finger to shutter. This will reduce camera shake.
You can touch the screen to set where you want it to focus.
Make sure your images are as good as they can be before you upload them. We are big fans of phone camera enhancement Apps that give you greater control over your phone camera settings when you are shooting, and also give you the ability to improve and adjust your images without affecting the image quality or size.

Filters and Apps

Over treatment – Avoid over using filters and treatments on images unless it enhances and supports the subject. For example: images of people should look natural and believable, a true representation of the person.

Using your iPhone camera and apps allows you to take your iPhone images to the next level. Here some of the apps we recommend.


Size Reduction

Filter Apps can reduce the image size. For example, when using an 8 Megapixel camera, Instagram will output a maximum file size of 4.2 megapixels and Hipstamatic, 6 megapixels.

Photo enhancement Apps such as Camera+ and Snapseed both maintain the original file size produced by the camera.

File Check for Phone Images
  • The subject is key - Think about what you are shooting and why you are shooting it. The best shots embody broad concepts such as family, fun, communication, togetherness, learning, wellbeing, energy, power, security and so on.
  • Bright is best - The iPhone has an amazing camera but like every other camera, it does have limitations. Images taken in gloomy or dark conditions may look great on the screen but close-up, they may be too grainy to pass the technical check. As a rule, your iPhone camera will perform best in bright conditions.
  • Try to keep the filters to a minimum - We want shots that reflect your style, not an app developer's. Also, it's worth remembering that some vintage filter Apps change the quality of the image to such an extent that they won't make it past our technical check.
  • Don't lose it - Make sure you save an original version before you start applying filters. Not all Apps will let you undo the changes you make to your shots. So, it's a good idea to always experiment with a copy of your image, just in case your tweaking doesn't turn out the way you expect.
  • Not all Apps are the same - We want you to make sure your submitted images are as good as they can be before you upload. So, we are big fans of Apps such as Camera™, Camera Awesome™ and Camera Superb™ because as well as giving you more control over you iPhone camera when you are shooting, they also enable you to edit and adjust your shots, without affecting the image quality.
  • Size Matters - The bigger your image file, the more ways it can be used. So, it makes sense to ensure your phone always captures images at the maximum resolution. Beware though, some Apps may automatically default to a lower resolution, so always remember to double check and change your settings accordingly.
  • Logos - Remember, in order for us to offer your images for sale they cannot feature any logos or branding, even if they are very small in the frame. Also, all recognizable people and most privately owned locations will need to be released before we can add the images to our collection.
Image Format

All images need to be uploaded as JPEGs.


During content review, our cut off point for the minimum size is 3MP. Images below this will not be accepted. Why does size matter?

Megapixel size is the most important factor; it gives the best indication of how large and image is. Very small images lose too much detail and quality when they are sized up. This is important to clients with strict requirements for usage. So if the image is too small, we can’t sell it.

The larger the image, the more ways it can be used, and for more prominent types of usage. See the possible usage examples below:

iPhone 3GS 3MP

  • Half a page image in a glossy magazine
  • Half a page image in a newspaper
  • 8.5-foot by 6.5-foot billboard poster

iPhone 4s and iPhone 5s

  • Full-page image in a glossy magazine
  • Full-page image in a newspaper
  • 13-feet by 10-feet billboard poster

Always capture images at the maximum resolution possible.


Adding borders to phone images is popular on Instagram and the effect can be aesthetically pleasing. However, you should only upload images with borders when the border supports or enhances the subject. Also, bear in mind that adding a border could very likely restrict the usage and therefore the salability.

You should also consider that the addition of a border could alter the file size of your image.

Model and Property Release Apps

If your image features a recognizable person (including you) or people, then you will need to get them to sign a model release

You will need a signed property release for images that feature private homes and buildings, places where businesses are conducted and commercial venues. If it’s an internal or external shot – if a property can be recognized you will need a release.

The easiest model and property releases to submit are via a number of model release apps approved by RooM. You can use the links below to download the apps. Only the RooM approved apps listed in this section may be used.

Important Information:

Currently we are unable to accepted model and property releases generated via any app in China. However, we may be able to accept a Chinese language model or property release generated via an approved app and signed outside of China. Images associated with this release may still be licensed in China.

RooM will continue to review new model and property release apps as they are launched. However, contributors are responsible for ensuring they are using the correct version of our approved model release apps at the time of image upload to RooM.