Get paid to take photos where you live

Hi there. This is an open call to photographers around the world: we're paying up to $160p/hr for photos that you can take where you live.

We are Poliigon. A site of textures and materials that 3D artists download for use in their animations. You may have already seen our work in use by the many Hollywood and gaming studios that use our site.

We are in constant need of photographs of ground surfaces from around the world. Mud, dirt, rocks, sand, pebbles, etc. We then take these photographs, and convert them into 3D materials for your website.

In a nutshell: if you have a good enough camera, and access to clear grounds, you can earn up to $160 p/hr.

How it works - The basics

Step 1: Find a clear patch of ground (at least 2x2m in size).

Step 2: Wait for an overcast day then photograph it in rows. Typically this is 150-200 photos.

Step 3: Send a sample to us. Once approved, you'll receive anywhere from $60-160 for your photos!

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In detail

Step 1: Ensure that your camera matches these minimum requirements:

  1. It's a DSLR (no smartphones, sorry)
  2. It can shoot in RAW
  3. It can shoot in manual mode
  4. It has a minimum of 15 megapixels
  5. It scores at least a 200 in the Sports (low-light performance) here.


Step 2: Wait for an overcast day.

Why overcast? When the sky is cloudy, the light is the softest. This is crucial, because sharp dark shadows (seen on sunny days) ruin textures! So the best time to shoot is on a cloudy day.

Alternatively, if it's never cloudy where you live, you can wait for the sun to go down enough that the ground is entirely in uniform shadow. The only problem with this is that because it's typically at sunrise or sunset, the light changes quickly! So you'll need to photograph it relatively fast.

Step 3: Find a suitable surface.
Eg. Dirt, mud, snow, sand, leaves, rocks, pebbles, mulch, forest floor etc.

Acceptable surfaces are:

  • Large: Minimum of 2x2m (7x7ft). The larger the better!
  • Uniformly lit: No shadows from trees or other objects nearby.
  • Repetitive: We require that every surface is fairly repetitive. So avoid anything with an identifiable one off object. Eg. A large rock in an otherwise bare patch of dirt.



Step 4: Set your camera to Manual, and follow these guidelines:

  • Shutter speed: At least 1/80, preferrably 1/150. The higher, the faster your shutter, and therefore the less motion blur in each photo.
  • F-stop: At least of f10. This will ensure that the entire surface is in focus. Blur ruins photos, which is why this is important.
  • ISO: Maximum of 400 for an entry level camera, and up to 1600 for a high-end camera.
  • White Balance: Cloudy (or custom to the light on set)
  • Exposure: After following the settings above, point at the surface and check that the exposure falls in the suitable range.
  • Focus: Set to Auto-Focus.
  • Zoom: Max 50mm. Once set, lock it! If the lens moves during photographing, the batch may be rejected. So don't change it.
  • Format: Set to RAW
  • Polarisation: If you have a polarisation filter (+$20 extra per surface capture if you do!) rotate it, so that the reflection is eliminated.

Step 5: Photograph it in rows.

  1. Point directly down at the surface
  2. Ensure your feet aren't in the shot
  3. Half-press the shutter to focus on the ground.
  4. Holding very still, full-press to take the photo.
  5. Take a half-step to the right or left, and take another photo. Ideally you should have at least 70% overlap from the previous photo.
  6. Repeat this till you reach one end of the surface.
  7. Then take a half-step down and repeat in the opposite direction.
  8. Continue until the entire surface is photographed.

Step 6: Capture reference photos.

  1. Take one photograph of the entire surface (usually a few steps back, from an angle).
  2. Point facing towards the light source (if sun is overhead anywhere is fine), then get low and photograph it an angle towards the light. This is to show us what the reflection of the surface is.
  3. Optional: If you have an Xrite ColorChecker (+ $20 bonus per surface if you do!) place it on the surface and capture it so it fills about 70% of the frame.

Step 7: Submit it for review.

  1. Convert all your RAW photos to JPG, level 9, (but keep RAW files for later) using software like Lightroom.
  2. Upload the JPGs to one folder of Dropbox, or Google Drive.
  3. Share the folder (instructions: Dropbox | Google Drive)
  4. Send the link using this form.
  5. Your photos will be reviewed for accuracy, and you'll receive a reply within 3-5 days.
  6. If approved, you'll be asked for the RAW files.
  7. Once we've received the RAW files, you'll be sent anywhere from $60-160 depending on the pay scale below.

Pay Scale

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Photo Quality Scoring

Average: The minimum acceptable level of photo quality.

  • Low blur
  • Acceptable surface coverage

Good: Some or all of the following traits:

  • Above average camera or lens
  • Low ISO (noise)
  • Very sharp photographs (no blur)
  • Lots of photo coverage (small steps between photographs)

Best: Photos contain ALL of the Good traits, plus:

  1. Used a Polarized Filter
  2. Captured a Color Passport

Note: Using the requirements of Best does not guarantee that score. For example, if you used a Polarization filter and ColorChecker, but the photos were slightly blurry or had other problems, you may be awarded a 'Good' score.