Emphas.is is an online platform where photojournalists can submit projects for crowdfunding by the public.
Crowdfunding is a form of online fundraising. It has already proven successful in a number of fields, including music, film and grassroots development aid. Emphas.is is the first to apply crowdfunding to photojournalism.
Crowdfunding means that individuals can make projects they care about happen by pooling their resources.
Simply put: 100 people contributing $10 = 1 person contributing $1,000.
Emphas.is proposes a unique dialogue between the public and photojournalists in the field. We believe this dialogue will be mutually beneficiary.
It gives the public a chance to be part of the newsmaking process, by playing a role in deciding which projects get executed, and by receiving exclusive updates straight from the field.
It gives photojournalists a chance to be less financially dependent of the struggling mainstream media, and to have get immediate feedback from the public.
In the traditional media model a photojournalist is either put ‘on assignment' (he or she is paid by day for as long as it takes) or given ‘a guarantee' (a fixed fee to cover the photographer's expenses).
When you back a photojournalist on Emphas.is you are contributing to his or her ‘guarantee.' You are making it possible for the project to happen by covering the photographer's basic expenses.
You are not paying their rent, child support or next holiday. It is up to the photographer to derive life expenses by selling the story to the media afterwards.
Each project has a funding goal and a deadline. Only projects that are fully funded by the time of the deadline will go through.
If a project does not reach 100% funding all contributions are canceled and the backer's money is returned.
Yes, if a project is fully funded Emphas.is takes a 15% fee towards operational costs.
Why? We have made a conscious decision to make Emphas.is a for-profit operation. We believe that in order for this project to be sustainable it should not be dependent on charity or grants. The 15% fee goes towards paying a small staff to run daily operations and maintaining and developing the platform.
There are many reasons why someone should want to back a project on Emphas.is.
you are a fan of a particular photojournalist and are interested in personal contact with him or her and in furthering their work;
you are a photography student or you are just starting out as a photojournalist and you are interested in getting advice from the professionals;
you are an amateur photographer and you are interested in getting technical advice from the professionals;
you care about a particular issue and you want to help bring it to the public's attention;
you are interested in the newsmaking process and you want to go straight to the source;
you are interested in one of the rewards offered by a photojournalist (books, prints…)
Apart from the satisfaction of seeing an important project realized, you are invited to tag along on the journey.
Participating photojournalists agree to enter into a dialogue with the people backing them. You will receive exclusive updates from the field in the form of blogging, video and of course pictures.
Photojournalists are also encouraged to offer other rewards. These can be exclusive prints, invites to screenings or exhibitions, or signed copies of photo books. It's all up to the photographer.
When you see a project you like the first step is to register.
On the project page you will see more information about the project and the photographer, as well as a link to contribute money.
Pick the amount you would like to donate or the corresponding reward, and you will be taken to our secure automated payment system.
Contributions start at $10. For this you will get full access to the ‘project zone' where the photojournalist communicates with his or her backers. Photojournalists may offer extra rewards for bigger contributions.
When you back an on-going project the money is taken from your account. When and if a project does not reach 100% of its funding goal, you will get a reimbursement of your fee via Paypal.
You can always cancel a pledge through Paypal. We hope you won't.
The photojournalist is responsible for delivering the rewards he or she has offered to backers.
Photographers and backers can download a widget which you can use to promote the project on your own website, blog or social networking site.
The making-of zone is where the communication between a photojournalist and his or her backers happens. Only backers have access to the making-of zone.
Yes. You will need to register on Emphas.is, but you do not need to disclose who you are to the public.
All photojournalists on Emphas.is have insurance. Emphas.is has an agreement to this effect with Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders and Escapade Insurances in Canada. The insurance is automatically included in the budget unless photojournalists already have their own insurance.
Once the funds have been transferred to the photojournalist, it is their responsibility to complete the project and keep their promises to their backers.
If a project doesn't reach its budget needs by the time the pitch expires, all contributions will be canceled and the money is returned to the backers. We want to make sure that a project is doable and we rely on the accuracy of a budget assuming that a photojournalist will need the full funds to realize his project successfully. That is why every project needs to reach 100% of its funding goals on Emphas.is for it to get on the road.
You can buy access to the making of zone after a projects fundraising period is finished. We have included a button "buy access" for all successfully funded projects on their project pages. The fee to buy access is $10, but you can give more as a donation to the photographer if you want.
STARTING A PROJECT
Any visual journalist can submit a project proposal to Emphas.is. However, you should be able to demonstrate your ability to narrate a story visually. Emphas.is is about story telling. All participants are expected to adhere to professional level standards of journalistic credibility. Each project will be reviewed by three members of our review board who will check it against 12 criteria.
You need to enter a written story proposal, a short bio, a video pitch, a list of rewards and a budget for your project. You can find the guidelines here.
Due to the volume of submissions we get at Emphas.is, you can only enter one project at a time.
Your funding goal should be based on how much money you need to make your project happen. Emphas.is is a production platform, not a distribution platform. This means that your budget should only cover the actual production cost of your project.
After the public has helped you realize your project, you can then generate income through sales to the media or other distribution channels.
You will increase your chances of fully funding your project if you enter a realistic and transparent budget.
It is up to you to determine how much time you need to reach your funding goal depending on the budget you are trying to raise. The maximum time frame is 90 days.
Yes. Think about offering exciting rewards to your backers. Every backer will get access to your ‘making-of zone' for the minimum contributions of $10.
To get to your goal faster you should create rewards for people to make a bigger contribution, such as limited edition prints, a private showing, a meeting with you, a lecture to a backer's circle of friends or colleagues, or whatever you can come up with. People love unusual, one of a kind rewards.
You are responsible for delivering the rewards you have offered to your backers. Remember: if your backers are unhappy they are unlikely to fund you again next time.
Yes. If your project reaches 100% of the funding goal before the end of the time limit you set for your project, the pledging will continue until it expires.
If you don't reach your budget needs by the time your pitch expires, all contributions will be canceled.
We want to make sure that a project is doable and we rely on the accuracy of your budget and assume that you will need the full funds to realize your project successfully.
You will want to raise as much awareness about your project as possible.
Being on Emphas.is is only the first step to reaching your audience. The success of your pitch depends on how big a crowd you can gather around your project.
Online social networks such as Facebook are a good starting point. Reach out to family, friends, colleagues and encourage them to spread the word.
Start personal email campaigns. Use your own and your agency's newsletter to promote the project.
Reach out to organizations/NGOs that work on the issues that you are addressing with your project. Ask them to mention your campaign on their website, Facebook page or in their newsletter.
Place your pitch on relevant photography, special interest or other blogs.
Emphas.is will provide you with a widget to help promote your project.
You agree to enter into a dialogue with your backers, keeping them informed about your work in progress and sharing your thoughts and insights about the subject matter in a special ‘making-of zone' created for each project on Emphas.is.
This zone will only be accessible to backers of your project.
Once you're on the road, it is up to you to keep your backers informed and engaged. Whether people will want to fund your next project will depend largely on how you interact with them during your first project. It is in your own interest to keep your audience engaged so that they will come back for more.
The Emphas.is platform allows you to communicate with your backers through blog posts, photography, audio and video and other media tools.
Yes. A media organization can secure first publication rights for their territory by paying up to 50% of the proposed budget.
Why 50%? Because we believe stories should be co-funded with the public.
The idea behind Emphas.is is that photographers should build a steady base of followers that are passionate about their work and can be called upon to back future projects.
In a media landscape where budgets are continually shrinking, co-funding a story with the public allows media organizations to do stories that they could otherwise no longer produce.
Absolutely. Before a pledge by a media organization is accepted, we will contact the photojournalist to get his approval.
If a media partner pledges up to 50%, they will have the first publication right in their country. In addition, they will have to negotiate an appropriate fee with you or your agent for the publication of the story. This is and will remain your business or that of your agent and Emphas.is plays no part in those negotiations.
You will receive the money as soon as the deadline for your pitch has expired and you have reached 100% of your funding goal.
Because of the wide range of projects and the different home bases of project creators, Emphas.is can't provide tax advice. We recommend that you get advise from a tax professional in your country about the specific tax situation of your project.
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