Erica Flores

Apple changes its iPhone photo contest page to …

For the past two days, Apple has faced criticism from artists and creators for its new “Shooting at the iPhone Challenge,” which will use photos of 10 photographers in a series of marketing campaigns without any compensation. In our original story, I spoke with an artist about the frustrations caused by a major company like Apple that uses artists’ work for its own marketing purposes without compensating the artists in question.

But around the time this story originally ran at 6:33 PM ET, Apple updated the original newsroom announcement for the contest. Apple informed us after the post that it had added the following language at the end:

Apple strongly believes that artists should be compensated for their work. Photographers who take the last 10 winning photos will receive a license fee for the use of those photos in posters and other Apple marketing channels.

Apple did not comment on whether or not it had intended to pay the artists up front, nor would it (obviously) reveal how much those licensing fees would amount to.

Additionally, Apple changed the language in its PDF of the official contest rules. The line that originally read “Prize has no cash value” has been changed to “Winners will receive a license fee for use in billboards and other Apple marketing channels.”




Artists “working for the exhibition” are not a new problem facing the creative community, but it is a problem that people are trying to combat. Drawing attention to Apple’s contest, and acknowledging that it didn’t originally have a cash prize, is one way artists can express their frustration with the company’s approach.

The original story follows below.


The contest asks iPhone XS, XR, and XS Max users to submit their best photos via Twitter, Instagram, email, or Weibo. The top 10 photos, selected by a panel of judges including Apple’s chief marketing officer Phil Schiller and former White House photographer Pete Souza, will be featured “on posters in select cities, Apple retail stores, and online.” according to the contest site. The company has used its “Shot on iPhone” marketing in previous ad campaigns, but Apple has typically reached out to photographers, including fans, on its own and has never requested photos from the public under these specific contest terms before.

The only prize Apple offers is exposure, but even that has its problems. The 10 winners will not receive a cash prize of any kind, and Apple’s contest terms and conditions state that “any reproduced photograph will include a photographer credit in a format to be decided by Apple in its sole discretion.” Essentially, Apple can pick the winning photographers, however they see fit; In recent years, that means the photographer’s name and the initial of his last name.

The artist community has since called out Apple for its approach to the contest, with many referring to it as a predator. Timothy Reynolds, a 3D artist who often tweets about companies taking advantage of artists, was one of the most notable voices.

His tweet, which called out Apple CEO Tim Cook for failing to pay photographers when the company has a market capitalization of $ 730 billion, quickly caught fire. Reynolds said The edge via email that what bothers him the most about Apple’s approach is the company’s attempt to “spin it as a” challenge “(contest) to get free photos for their mass marketing campaign.”

“Anything less than paying people to use it is pure exploitation,” said Reynolds, who addresses the lack of compensation from artists. “The rules [and] The conditions are dire, and that’s what I wanted to draw attention to: the fact that they are stealing your rights and the ability to be adequately compensated for work simply by submitting. ”

Other artists have agreed with similar concerns, acknowledging that while Apple may market the contest as a way to engage with its community, in the long run, it continues to hurt artists. Contests that ask artists to submit their work for no financial gain don’t just hurt the individual photographer, Reynolds said. Create a precedent that hurts the entire community. Facebook groups like Artists Don’t Work For Free and entire memes surrounding “work-for-exposure” trends within the art community have emerged to draw attention to the issue, but Reynolds said it won’t go away completely until people stop participating in unfair activities. Competitions held by large corporations like Apple.

“It’s a vicious cycle and it seems to be getting worse these days.”

“It’s a vicious cycle and it seems to be getting worse these days,” Reynolds said. “One more time, until people stop allowing it [and] submitting to these things, he will not stop. “The people who enter the contests definitely share some of the blame along with the companies that take it out.”

It’s not just Apple, either. Epic Games, the popular publisher behind Fortnite, has been accused of profiting from a dance submitted to a pageant last year. The emote, known in-game as Orange Justice, was added to the massively successful battle hit after a Fortnite gamer, known to the community as the Orange Shirt Kid, lost in the publisher’s Boogie Down contest.