VIRGINIA BEACH -- If you're like most people these days, you rarely part ways with your smartphone and use it to record the most important events in your life through photos.
There's now a free app available for Android, Apple and Microsoft smartphones that can monetize your pictures and videos. It's call Scoopshot. It's a crowd-sourcing, photo sharing Web site that offers an app for folks to turn their photos into cold, hard cash. News making events are one way regular people are making cash.
Smartphone user, Sheilah Davidson likes the idea.
'People are always doing that and posting it on Facebook, why not post it as a news source,' she said.
All you have to do is download the free Scoopshot app to get started. Scoopshot founder and CEO Petri Rahja says it's as easy as point and click.
'You don't need to be a professional photographer. You are just you and more and more media and brands are looking for photos and they are looking for how you see the world,' he explains.
Here's how it works. The application gives you 'tasks' available in your area. 'Sell a News Photo' is always on the app, but other tasks change. The day 13NewsNow shot this story, the tasks included 'What's Cooking,' 'Summer Festivals' and 'Dog Tricks.'
Users simply choose a task, either takes a photo through the app or upload a photo, type out a detailed description of the photo, verify ownership of the image and then hit 'send now.' You wait for the worldwide audience to bite. Yes, your photos are going global.
There are 500,000 Scoopshot users in dozens of countries. There are 70,000 users here in the United States and Rahja says that number is growing.
Regular people, just like you, are making money with Scoopshot -- lots of it. Brands like Heineken, Fiat, McDonald's, Axe and Kibbles N Bits are paying big bucks to get authentic photos and videos taken by 'average' consumers on their smartphones.
'One guy actually sent in more than 10,000 photos and he sold all of those and he got more than $20,000 out of it,' notes Rahja.
That was in Finland for a directory service called Fonecta. It 'tasked' users with sending in pictures of businesses across Finland. That particular user took thousands of photos, priced them at around $2 a piece and sold them all to the directory.
Local Scoopshooter Lisa Hyder isn't making that kind of bank, but says she has sold a few beauty shots of the Chesapeake Bay.
'I have made 20 whole dollars! I haven't cashed it out. I'm kind of using it as a savings account at this point. But, I'm hoping to make a little bit, some extra money (using the app),' she says.
You may be asking 'Why use Scoopshot' en lieu of other similar websites and apps? Rahja says Scoopshot is different from other photosharing sites.
'We don't take the rights to your photos. You can basically share them, but you don't lose your rights and you can still monetize them,' explains Rahja. 'If you now upload a photo to Facebook or Twitter, you don't know who is exploiting it and you don't actually get any money out of it.'
Rahja suggests users take photos directly through the app to ensure authenticity.
Hyder says she'll continue to use the app.
'I'm pleased with the results. It was very easy to download and start taking pictures.'