Custom AI Image Selling Platform

Shoothill – The Software Specialists
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We were challenged with developing a way for users to search for relevant image content, which simply wasn’t possible using Instagram hashtags.

About the Client

Oodls is a start-up based in Edinburgh, Scotland, who is looking to disrupt the world’s stock photography industry by allowing Instagram users to directly sell their images to businesses simply, easily and affordably.

As part of their business plan, Oodls needed an online portal that would categorise, integrate and present Instagram photos to commercial designers in an easy to use way.

Oodls look after all licencing and copyright and pay the original owner of the image through the Oodls platform.

The Challenge

The main challenge with the project was bringing relevant search results so people could find exactly what they were looking for.  As Instagram uses simple tags for users to search for content, this is extremely limiting, as a lot of people simply don’t tag their image correctly, and so that causes a huge problem when trying to present a relevant image back to potential buyers.

This would obviously be a key restriction to Oodls business plan, so it was essential the problem was solved.


Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning we developed an advanced search facility that used deep neural networks based on Microsoft Conative Services to be able to interrogate and recognise the content of any image.

The result is a search facility where an end-user can be incredibly specific with their search terms, (for example “an old man with a black dog”) thus allowing users to find their perfect image incredibly fast. As some images do already have a set of tags from the original photographers’ images pulled through the Instagram API, our system assigns additional tags based on the actual content of the image and this makes future searches even more accurate

Added to this, there is also a large set of useful filters that allows users to find images by, date, author, size, image quality, orientation as well as the number of people within an image and all thanks to the Shoothill AI.


The project was seen by both parties as a massive success, with the AI creating a brand-new way for Oodls customers to search and purchase online imagery, while at the same time giving Shoothill yet more experience in this exciting new area.

In summary, the project not only allowed us to help Oodls to develop something completely unique in their marketplace, but it also allowed us to create the PhotoVamp suite (image auto-detection, captioning and colourisation) which gives a tiny glimpse into what’s possible with AI in the future.