CanvasPop Photo Printing API: Create Canvas Prints and Monetize Your Images

CanvasPop’s new Photo Printing API has already won the hearts and minds of big name photo and image partners like 500px, East Coast pixels (creators of the Photo Toaster app) and Selfless Portraits. Now, any web or mobile developer can integrate the photo-to-canvas printing API into their service delivery and automate canvas printing direct to the end-customer.

CanvasPop’s lead developer Paul Brohman, spoke with ProgrammableWeb about how creators can monetize from their image gallery and why an API onboarding strategy may need a hybrid approach to build groundswell.

CanvasPop’s service allows anyone with an image to upload their designs to the cloud service and arrange canvas prints which are then delivered anywhere in the world. The service is used by artists, home decorators, event managers, and photographers to instantly create large canvas reprints of their work.

CanvasPop’s new Photo Printing API aims to help image creators and app developers to generate a new revenue stream by monetizing their image-related services. For example, a photographer with a blog could use the API to direct sell canvas prints of their work to end-customers. Mobile app developers with an image manipulation product could add the CanvasPop Photo Printing API to their app to create a revenue stream where app users could automate printing their images direct to canvas. CanvasPop’s service would take care of the canvas printing and direct-to-customer delivery, and forward a commission payment to the app developer for the app user’s use of the service.

“The API is aimed at any site that has a stockpile of editable images”, Brohman said. “But the main target audience are photo apps, this provides an ongoing way to generate revenue.”

The API strategy model taken up by CanvasPop will be of interest to other software-as-a-service providers with a web and mobile interface to customers:

“What we had to do to tackle onboarding quickly was to create a hybrid between a true API and a kind-of SaaS solution. In the future, we want to give partners more control with a full REST implementation. This would allow people with more developer experience to tailor User Experience with a little more flexibility. In order to do the communications with iOS and web services, we use REST protocols. After that, we open more of a cart-based SaaS solution, and that’s what we want to move on next.”

Developers signing up to the API can pick a funnel to follow, either for website interfaces or for Android/iOS developers. For the web services, CanvasPop provides a few code samples to add to your webpages. For mobile, code samples are provided with REST endpoints catalogued.

“Your CanvasPop account will help to funnel you”, Brohman said. “You can get code samples, there are screenshots provided and when you have a quick prototype, you can walk through your own test order. We’re seeing developers get up and running in a half-hour, but for iOS it can take up to a day.

We’re now rapidly developing new features: we want to make Integration as fast as possible. The focus now is to build up our code libraries so that for Android and iOS developers integration can happen in just minutes.”

For more on photo printing APIs, check out Janet Wagner's recent post on photo printing API standards.

Be sure to read the next Photos article: Today in APIs: Apple's iOS Camera APIs Make Manual Controls Available for First Time