Apple Says it Will Now Pay iPhone Photo Contest Winners After Backlash

Earlier this week, Apple launched a new Shot on iPhone Challenge photo contest, asking customers to submit their photos in exchange to have their images featured on billboards across the globe, at Apple stores and online.

Shot on iphone xs

The problem? Apple said the contest would not pay winners—instead offer their images free exposure—which sparked a huge online backlash from creators and photographers, claiming the company was exploiting its customers.

It now looks like Apple has heard from critics loud and clear, as it informed The Verge it had changed its policy for the contest to now pay winners a licensing fee.

The company updated its press release to now say:

Apple believes strongly that artists should be compensated for their work. Photographers who shoot the final 10 winning photos will receive a licensing fee for use of such photos on billboards and other Apple marketing channels.

The fine print on the contest rules now mentions, “Winners will receive a licensing fee for use on billboards and other Apple marketing channels.”

Timothy Reynolds, a 3D illustrator from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, criticized Apple’s contest on Twitter and his tweet went viral.

He told The Verge, before Apple changed its stance on the contest, the following:

“I don’t think I should have to explain to Apple that artists deserve to be paid for their work,” Reynolds said. “They’ve always acted like huge advocates for the creative industry with their products and marketing campaigns, yet they are asking for free work from the very audience they pretend to care about. It’s ironic at best and predatory at worst. They know exactly what they’re doing here and someone needs to call it out. I just hope they’re listening.”

After Apple made the change, Reynolds tweeted, “Kinda amazing to hear Apple has decided to pay the 10 photographers chosen. I’d say we won one.”

He also followed up to say, “I doubt I’ll personally ever have a chance of working for Apple again (lol) but I’m glad they’re listening.”

I’m glad Apple made this change because ‘exposure’ doesn’t pay the bills, if you’re a photographer and your image gets picked.