Press Release: Leica Majority Shareholder Buys in to Internet Photo Platform

PRESS RELEASE: Leica Majority Shareholder Buys in to Internet Photo Platform

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder of Leica Camera AG, has acquired a 25.1% stake in the Internet platform “I-shot-it”. For a small fee, enables photo-enthusiasts—from amateurs to professionals—to take part in photographic competitions. An independent jury of internationally acclaimed photographers selects the prizewinners and in the open competitions, members of the “I-shot-it” community select the prizewinners by direct online voting.


“Many amateur photographers, and professionals, too, think our platform is great, because this is where their work finds the recognition they would otherwise often never find”, explains “I-shot-it” founder Hartmut Hennige. “The majority of photo competitions are so restrictive or have such strict rules that many photo enthusiasts are barred from entering right from the start. We let everybody try their luck. The jury members, all independent, acclaimed photographers, know nothing about the entrants or the camera they used to take the pictures.” According to Hartmut Hennige, around five million pictures have been uploaded so far. Around one half of these were submitted as competition entries.

Winners of the online photography competitions receive cash prizes –financed by the charges due for uploading image material—and a Leica camera. The current thirteen categories include genres such as wildlife, landscapes, black and white, cars, transport, flowers, street photography, sports, food and more.

The majority of visitors to the “I-shot-it” Web site come from the USA with more than 132,000 visits and 1.85 million page views. Dr. Andreas Kaufmann from ACM in Salzburg, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Leica Camera AG, reckons with high growth rates in the coming months. “There has been a tremendous upswing of interest in photography over the past few years. The wish to be able to present your own photos to a virtually unlimited number of people in competitions is widespread”, says Dr. Kaufmann. “The growing numbers of fans and users shows just how enormous the demand is amongst photographers around the world. We intend to satisfy this demand.”


  1. The connection between a juror and one of the winners can easily be addressed by introducing clear policies and guidelines. The I Shot IT business model is quite smart, but there is one fundamental flaw, imho. I Shot It should disclose what percentage of fees collected are eventually used to fund the winners cash prizes and how much to buy Leica cameras from its 25.1% shareholder. Leica`s shareholder is benefitting twice from the participants` fees collected: First, Leica Camera AG sells cameras to I Shot IT, and what a surprise, V40s and X2s`, two of the Leica models which do not fly off the dealers shelfs, to say the least and its fair to assume that Leica has no shortage of inventory of these slow sellers. I Shot It is probably the largest single buyer of the V40 and X2. When comparing the prizes, the cash prize is rather insignificant as compared to the Leica camera “value”. And secondly, 25.1% of the I Shot It profit goes to the main Leica shareholder as well.
    As said above, a smart business model, but I wished transparency was better and prices more attractive.

  2. Leica majority shareholder is i guess the owner of Leica it did go private you should be ashamed of yourself

  3. I really just think its a gambling site a money grab personally its a load of crap a pic of 2 women taking a pic with their cellphone deserves an honourable mention not very likely and I wouldn’t associate myself with it unless of course I made allot of money from it lol .i think I’ll start a for profit charity called me myself and I

  4. “My problem, with the B&W competition at least, is that it is too broad.
    How can one compare a fantastic portrait against a fantastic landscape, for instance?
    One is not better than another, they are different.

    It does seem , now looking at the past big winners, that to win you must have a photo with a social message, something that describes a human story.”

    This issue has been brought up before. Didn’t seem like the critique of the judges’ tastes went anywhere. I figured I’d just go out and find a situation providing the sort of photo they would like. If anything, it’d make me explore and break from the routines I’d fallen into.

    I’m hoping there’s a reasonable explanation for the professional connection between a judge and a competition winner. It looks more than a little suspicious, so some light shed on the matter would be nice.

  5. My problem, with the B&W competition at least, is that it is too broad.
    How can one compare a fantastic portrait against a fantastic landscape, for instance?
    One is not better than another, they are different.

    It does seem , now looking at the past big winners, that to win you must have a photo with a social message, something that describes a human story.

    If the link between this year’s winner and the judges is true, as implied by some, well that is just awful. Maybe Steve can look into this and give us his response?

    I really enjoy this site, and a link to a photo competition will not change that.

    • I have no clue who the winners were before this last premium competition. The guy who won the latest $25k and MM prize came from this website, as in, he is a reader of this site and found out about the competition from this site. He would have never have won that cash and camera if it was not for me posting it here, so for that I am truly happy. They have 4 of these premium contests per year and many others as well, it is not a “yearly” winner.

      It is a fine contest and if you want to enter you can, if you do not , you do not have to but it can be a way to fuel creativity as well and for that I love it. The prizes are a bonus and I have no issues with the way they run it or who their shareholder is.

      This post was a PRESS RELEASE, that is all.

  6. I think that people (site users) often get concerned when a company is being advertised on a website gets promoted heavily as well. There’s nothing wrong with this so long as things are transparent, but everone knows that you can’t say anything critical or in conflict with the sponsors interests.

    Have you ever considered asking for donations from the users Steve instead of advertising on the site? It’s a sure way of knowing that what you are offering is what people want.


    • Ive been offered donations for years, almost on a daily basis. Don’t do it, never will. I write about what I enjoy, what I like and what I do..always have, always will. I have also always said to whoever does not like it, then do not come here :). It is 100% free and always has been. I am not interested in donations or charging anything. As for sponsors, I turned down 26 of them last year mainly due to space but also due to the fact I did not care for those 26. The ones you see on the site are here because I approve of them, like them and would use any and all of them personally. Those are the facts.

  7. Competition participants pay an entry fee to:
    1. finance jurors` compensation; 2. to fund the “I shot It” marketing budget; 3. some of the marketing budget being used to sponsor this site; 4. to fund the cash prices; 5. to buy cameras from Leica, i.e. Leica benefitting from camera sales to “I shot it”; 6. to produce profits of I shot it; 7. 25% of the I shot it profits going to its shareholder Leica.
    TVO as the head juror names Mr. Garup a winner in one of the competitions. TVO runs a fund raiser for Mr. Garup on his blog (is Mr. Garup paying TVO for the fundraiser?). This site blogging enthusiastically about its new site sponsor “I shot it” and declaring everybody “jealous” who has something bad to say about.
    Did I get the facts right? Now I`m not saying anything bad about I shot it and neither am I jealous, just stating facts. As long as everything is transparent I`m ok with it, as it allows me to decide open eyed whether I want to participate in any of these competitions or not. If above facts are true, however, …………..

  8. ‘The current thirteen categories include genres such as wildlife, landscapes, black and white, cars, transport, flowers, street photography, sports, food and more.’

    I haven’t seen a street photography catagory. Is that a typo?

  9. This was meant to go as a reply to Mike’s statement at 9:41

  10. That flushing sound you heard was my enthusiasm for I Shot It going down the toilet. As a once-hopeful participant in their competitions, I find this information disheartening.

  11. There is one problem however with the i-shot-it. The previous winner of the b&w competition, Jan Grarup, is being actively endorsed by Thorsten Overgaard on his site. There is no mention that the winner is Grarup but the image ( protected from regular right click ) does have the copyright claiming Mr Grarup.Do we look at it as conflict of interests or plain unethical?
    While Jan Grarup is an exceptional photographer worthy of the award, it feels wrong to have the main juror of the competition give it out to someone for who he is running a fundraiser on

    hopefully, Leica getting in will fix this problem and make the competition more transparent and WITH RULES on who cannot enter.
    Cheers ya’ll.

    • my goodness, I seriously have not even looked at the website and was not aware that TVO was on the judging panel. That fact alone would disway me from going anywhere near the thing:) haha!

    • Yeah that’s pretty lame all right….I’m for sure going to join right now going up against pro photographers like Jan Grarup! I’d have a snowballs chance in hell! I’d be like me sponsoring a baby photo contest, with my mammy judging. I’d submit a photo of myself and win for sure!

    • It would be very good to hear Steve’s opinion on this.
      And it would be interesting to hear i-shot-it stance on this. I think people who participated in the contest deserve an explanation at the least.

  12. Well, the more things change the more they stay the same. “Pay for play” “competitions” have been around for a long time – this seems to be the latest iteration. The Internet is the ideal venue for this sort of thing, yet the last stop for the artistic filtering process is one’s own imagination not one’s ego.

  13. Thanks for the post Steve! I think that this website showcases some extremely incredible work and is just a joy to look at. I also feel that more profits for Leica could possible be beneficial for us consumers.

  14. They have a “free competition”, do not charge to upload images. Award “credit” that can be used for entry fees. They also have an option to sell your Photograph. It’s a good idea.

  15. I could have agreed with you Neil if it was expensive to join the competition. It´s not, and there is a possibility to to win both cash and nice cameras. What is the problem with that? Off course someone is earning money this way, but that is just how the world works.

    • I could not disagree with you more. I found their last premium competition to be amazing. It was inspiring with some of the most beautiful photos I have seen in YEARS from anyone (many much better than “Magnum” photos I have seen) and the winner walked away with $20k and a Leica Monochrom camera. The winner came from this site as well..incredible and FAR from worthless. In fact, much better than any competition I have seen in my lifetime. If you have the skills you can win some amazing prizes and cash. What is not to like? Do you expect them to give away $20k and an $8k camera every time for free entries that would be filled with garbage?

      By charging a small fee for entry this makes sure they get quality entries and can give amazing prizes with cash. It’s a win/win for all involved. Even those who lose get to take part in the fun, excitement and learn from others.

      I wish them much luck and it couldn’t be run by nicer guys. Anyone who has anything bad to say about it must be jealous of something as there is nothing bad to say.

      • jealous? really? I don’t run competitions, I enter them sometimes but I have nothing to be ‘jealous’ of:) Most competitions like this are really mostly about the money, the profits are ‘humungus’

        And this one is just another goldmine:) there’s no kudos in winning this competition, just “BIG BUCKS” (in pink neon) its more like a lottery really. I’ll stick to entering competitions run by organisations like the AOP or the Taylor Wessing (where the best 60 prints get hung in the National Portrait Gallery) There must be about 50,000 online photographic competitions out there now, with very little to differentiate them.

        People are entitled to make a profit, that’s cool but they’re not getting my cash:) And thank god for ‘free speech’ lest we all become oppressed with the stench of excessive and unwarranted ‘positivity’…… ‘man’:)

        • The wise man says, “If you don’t want to participate… then, don’t!”

          That is all!

        • With your there Neil.

          I am sure Steve has his reasons to publish this blog entry. And I am sure he enjoys looking at the photos. However, for some of us such competition is in the grand scheme of things meaningless.

          I am not sure why Leica’s shareholder is buying into it. I don’t know if such site really has any long term potential. Mostly don’t you think people would just get bored of it? I mean how many times would someone enter and win nothing before they decide they would get more enjoyment from blowing that money on beer instead? I am sure a fool is made each minute but in my mind there’s an upper limit to the possible profitability of such a site.

          • There’s only one thing that makes the world go round Gotak, and its not the love of fine photography:) The reason Mr Leica has invested is quite simple, he’s going to make a lot of money:)

            I don’t mind getting the emails from Steve’s site telling us about the latest deals on gear, he has to fund his site somehow and we all buy gear. But frankly I was disappointed to see him pushing this competition quite so blatantly, its cheap and opportunistic and it devalues what is otherwise a good site.

          • I like the I-shot-it competition as do I like a lot of online competitions but I certainly get your point, Neil. I definitely do not see your arguments as “jealous”.

            Steve Huff… I have over the years always been on your side against bullies, Neil is not one of them. I see him as one of the best portrait photographer out there, even better than Thorsten… Period!

            “Anyone who has anything bad to say about it must be jealous of something as there is nothing bad to say, period.”

            Probably the most stupid statements made… Sad, very sad

          • I am well aware Neil is not a “bully” – he has written some great stuff for this site, and I am a fan of his work. Never said he was a bully though he does have a personal beef with Thorsten due to his workshops (which he commented on in the past), while I do not, at all. But hey, that is OK. I have a beef with a guy who I dislike that others love. It’s just life.

            We can all have our opinions and live happily 🙂 Mine is that I love what they are doing with I-SHOT-IT, if I did not, they would not be on the site. Neil can hate it as can anyone else, but just as you have a right to say what you want, so do I. It is my site after all.

            I have no issue with anyone and there will never be a time when everyone will agree with me, but that is OK. Just know that I can disagree with you as well. Life is too short, we should enjoy it instead of bickering about silly things. You either did it or you don’t 🙂

            As for my Jealous comment, it was a bit harsh so I apologize for that. I meant no disrespect to Neil or anyone here with that, but I am human like you and sometimes say things I do not mean.


      • I agree with Steve, I think charging for entry basically filters out the rubbish. You may filter out some good stuff too, and that’s unfortunate, but probably necessary to keep out the dross.

        I don’t agree with Steve that you’ve got to be ‘jealous’ to not like this idea. Basically, that’s an ad hominem attack, and not a reasonable argument. I don’t think it’s necessary to to insult someone who simply disagrees with you.

      • “Anyone who has anything bad to say about it must be jealous.”

        I think that Neil offers a fairly decent critique of such photo contest and I sincerely doubt that it is motivated by jealousy. Saying that ANYONE who criticizes this contest is motivated by jealousy is a bit simplistic, bordering on disrespectful.

      • A shame a third party press releas turned into jabs. There was no initial endorsement of the contest, just a press release. Neil is probably not jealous and if he were, let him be. Conflicts of interest are everywhere and life’s not fair. I prefer to shoot photos rather than whine about BS I have no control over. Neil and Steve both take killer photos and spread information they deem helpfull in step with their own personal biases and interests. Let’s be nice and have fun.

          • Sure, because I am a fan of the competition they run, as are those who win :). Since these are my feelings, I will write about it on my site. You do not have to like it, no one does, but I do as I find it motivating, inspiring and the prizes are quite good. They offer free competitions as well. You get out of it what you put in and no one is forced to join, only those who want to do so. Nothing wrong with that and nothing “distasteful” about it either. I am aware of your dislike for Thorsten, so I understand why you are complaining about this on my website. But really, you do not have to enter if you dislike it. Others do though.

      • “Period.” What does that mean in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Anyone who disagrees with my view, shut up?

        Interesting approach. Maybe this blog should charge a small or less small fee to “filter out” the garbage.

    • It also could be an opportunity for someone to get exposure they might not normally get….just my two cents

    • I agree with Neil . Steve is not the same person and maybe is because the visits to his site are falling

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