BritePic.jpgAdvertising start-up AdBrite has launched an elegant way to put ads on digital photos, a potentially revolutionary way for photographers to make money.

The feature, called BritePic, was released five days ago, and 144,000 pictures have already been uploaded to AdBrite’s system to claim it, co-founder Philip Kaplan tells VentureBeat.

BritePic uses software to implant ad code directly into digital photos, and provides a host of other nifty tricks that will make the photographer’s trade easier, and more creative. It lets them insert watermarks, add captions, and more. Until now, most photographers have a difficult time tracking where their photos are used — not to mention demanding payment for them when there is so much ripping off going and when much art if for free anyway. This way, photographers get more money the more times it is viewed, even on other sites. For every dollar an advertiser pays for an ad on the photos, AdBrite keeps 30 cents, the photographer gets 70 cents. Adbrite tracks the views, and bills the advertiser accordingly.

Scroll over the photo below to see how the ad pops up.

Judging from the reception so far, people are digging it, said Kaplan, who built the feature. He said 61,000 photos were loaded yesterday to claim the feature. Today, by mid-day 50,000 photos were uploaded. Kaplan has a creative gene — he was founder of Fuckedcompany, a site that chronicled the hardships of the dot-coms after the burst of the Internet bubble.

Until now, the format for embedding images into a web page uses a simple code definer. AdBrite’s BritePic lets you adds more code that you can play around with to customize. Here’s how it works: You register at BritePic, upload a picture, give it tags (so that AdBrite knows what sort of advertising to seek for your photo from its advertising clients), and then answer a few questions. Do you want to add a watermark? Do you want to show the advertising? How big do you want the photo? BritePic generates some code, based on your answers. It then gives you a preview of what the photo looks like. If you want, you can change the code by hand, to resize the photo, change caption, etc. It gives you a visual dashboard (see below), so that this is easy to do.

BritePic code also includes Flash player to show the image with the additional features. Check out the menu in the bottom left of the image above, which includes code needed to embed the photo elsewhere, a zoom to get a closer look at the photo, etc. Techcrunch had an early review of BritePic here.

BritePic doesn’t host image files, so you’ll need to give it a URL where it can pull your photo from. If you’re using photos for a WordPress blog, you’ll need to tinker with the code slightly (Kaplan says BritePic will be posting such instructions shortly).

What’s remarkable is that this hasn’t been done before. Kaplan said the company worked for seven months on a video feature that is similar to this, which you can also find on the site. However, he then realized the photo version would be more popular. The number of images dwarfs the number of videos on the web.

Kaplan said it is almost like a digital rights management (DRM). Sure, techies can get around the ad code (they can view source code and revert to original html), but they’re unlikely to bother, he said. The feature encourages distribution.