Every photographer starts out as an amateur one and with phones sporting such excellent quality cameras, just about everyone with a smartphone is an amateur photographer these days. You can discount people who take pictures of food and their pets, but there are some truly amazing pictures taken and shared on Twitter and Instagram everyday. Dotspin is a service for protecting the rights to photos taken by amateur photographers as well as a place for photography enthusiasts to have their photos reviewed by experts and voted on by a community that shares their interest. It works on a surprisingly simple concept: most people share photos via Twitter and Instagram, and both these services allow you to add hashtags to your posts. Dotspin asks that once you’ve signed up for the service, you add the #dotspin tag to what you share online, which will prompt the service to add your image to their database where it will be accompanied by a license for how it can be used.
The genius to this service is that once you’ve connected your account, you can use the two services, Instagram and Twitter, any way you like to share your photos, as long as you add the hashtag. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a mobile app, Twitter’s web interface, or Dotspin’s own interface for that matter.
Sign up for the service by using either your Twitter or Instagram account. Take a photo, apply filters, mess with the lighting, and upload it from the ‘New Photo’ tab on Dotspin.
Next, set the license for the photo. It is set to Creative Commons by default, which allows other people to use your work, change it, and distribute it freely as long as they give you credit for it. The pictures take some time to process and upload, during which the service checks that they’re original and, as claimed by the description on its welcome page, a group of experts evaluate them.
If you visit the ‘My Photos’ tab, you will see photos that you uploaded directly from the service’s page and any photos that you posted with the #dotspin hashtag. To change the default license that’s applied to all your photos, go to the settings page accessible from your profile picture’s drop-down menu.
Instead of choosing between different license types, you can simply choose how you want your work to be used, and the service will apply the correct license to it. Processing an image takes time and we’re guessing that your claim to the photo is being verified in that time period. You can opt to be emailed when a photo has been processed and uploaded.
As mentioned earlier, Dotspin has a voting feature as well. It compares two random pictures uploaded by users and asks you to choose which one you like better. There’s no criteria for what type of pictures will be compared so it’s very likely that you will be asked to select which is a better photo; the selfie of a young girl wearing a t-shirt that says Swag or a beautiful shot of an old tree (not just an example; this actually happened). The service then rewards the uploaders who get the most votes on their photos with ‘dot¢redits’, which can be used to get real rewards like giftcards, free or discounted iOS apps and gadgets.
The service has Android and iOS apps in the works but thanks to the power of a simple hashtag, you can still use it from the official Instagram and Twitter apps.