I'm doing research on food courts (clusters of restaurants in the basement floor of malls and alike), and have a recommendation list of great places from all over the world.

I'd like to get photos of the cuisine and interior design (for personal research purposes only), but obviously I can't fly all over the world to do this myself.

I've tried contacting the malls, but they don't get back to me or refuse to give out material.

I'm trying to come up with creative ways of getting those photos. I thought about paying some local dude five bucks to run down and just snap the photos with a mobile camera and e-mail them to me.

Is there a marketplace where I can put out offers like this?

I know there is fiverr.com, but that works the other way around (people offer to do something predefined for five bucks, there is no way to post "I need someone to do x for 5 bucks".)

Or can anyone come up with other creative and cheap ways to get photos?

  • 1
    craigslist in US might work for you ... also you can try crowd sourcing Dec 11 '13 at 18:44
  • Be aware that many commercial retail properties such as malls forbid any form of commercial photography or videography on their property without a signed release from the property management company first. Although I doubt security will escort an average looking dude with a camera phone from the premises there could be legal implications if the wrong person sees the images once they are posted on review sites. And you can pretty well count on any negative review getting attention from those who stand to lose anything because of it.
    – Michael C
    Dec 11 '13 at 21:17

The options are nearly endless in this arena, and many exist. The closet option to what you described, "opposite of fiverr.com" would be Zaarly - but unfortunately it has limited availability currently.

I would take a look at:

Of course this is highly dependent on geography, so you may have better luck with some services over others depending on their market share in areas.

If you are simply looking for "creative and cheap" ways to get the photos, you could just search something like Flickr or Panamino for already captured images which you like and try to contact the original creator. In some instances you might even find images that are available free for the uses you have depending on copyright.


Take a look at ImageBrief.com - these guys definitely work the way you're describing, but since they focus on commercial photography, their prices are well north of the "fiver" scenario (if you really want a five-dollar-photo, of course, you're five dollars away from a Creative Commons photo on Flickr). The value that ImageBrief brings is that they're dealing with photographers who understand things like model releases and property releases, which are pretty important in commercial scenarios.

  • +1 Releases are vital for anything you plan to post publicly that pictures the interior of a commercial property.
    – Michael C
    Dec 11 '13 at 21:19

It'd take some work to set up, but you could certainly use Amazon Mechanical Turk for this. AMT is a platform for offering small units of work to real people. You could create a "human intelligence task" (HIT) for each of the malls that you'd like to know about. Most HITs are small units, like filling in a short survey or examining an image, but you're not necessarily limited to tiny jobs.

Requesting work via AMT is probably about as simple as it can be given all that's possible, but it's not a turnkey solution. You're going to have to do some work to set it up or get someone who's familiar with it to help you. The Requester site is a good place to start -- you can create an individual HIT to get a feel for how the whole thing works.

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