What Do You Think? Can A Service Like Togally Help Pro Photographers Earn A Living?

Will this service help draw in a new type of customer to photographers?

Will this service help draw in a new type of customer to photographers?

San Diego, California based start-up company, Togally, is hoping that it’s new platform will help connect photographers with clients by taking a slightly different approach. The company has designed and built a website which allows photographers (which they refer to as “togs”) to post a free profile on their website so that anyone with an internet connection and a need for a photographer can look them up and hire them. ( I find it to be like a combination of the services Thumbtack and ImageBrief provide.)

Togally offers two different types of service a custom package which the is essentially completely user defined or a guaranteed package which offers the client a fixed price for a specific amount of hours and photographs. The pricing for these types of packages appear to start at $50 for an hours worth of time and three pictures; the prices go up to $1000 for a full days work and 20 photos depending on the type of photography needed. The lowest rates being for portrait type work and the highest rates reserved to commercial photography gigs.

The platform offers clients fixed rate packages with a la carte options.

The platform offers clients fixed rate packages with a la carte options.

Me being the skeptic that I am, signed up for an account so I could look through the talent pool. I have to say, I was honestly surprised to see such a large majority of  professionals with rather impressive portfolios on there. I also found it interesting that you could book just about any type of gig. There’s pricing for corporate photography, real estate, advertisements, even sporting events.

However, most of the advertisements for Togally are aimed at average people who just need to hire an affordable photographer to cover events like birthday parties and reunions. Togally hopes to draw in new customers who are tired of being behind the camera  themselves and not being in any of the photos they take or customers wanting better quality photos than they’ve been able to capture with their cameraphones.

As the founders of the company are well aware, times are tough for photographers trying to make a living from their craft. As we all know, the industry is pretty saturated at the moment which got me wondering if I would use a service like this were it available in my area (At the moment it’s only available in the San Diego area). At the moment, the service is free, but as it picks up steam they will start tacking on fees, which I presume will be paid by the photographer. With rates that are already on the low side, any cut in the margin will hurt.

What do you guys think, is this the kind of business model that will help draw in new clients who would not otherwise have had the resources (or motivation) to hire a pro “tog”?

  • Fotoguy

    $50 for a 1hour shoot? Assuming a mediocre wage and conservative estimate of costs, that’s 4 shoots a day just to earn a lower-class wage. With travel time and post-processing, client cancellations, and unbooked times, that’s roughly 14-16 hours work a day. I don’t know about you but there’s no way I’m working 14+ hour days for a pittance, especially when it’s the risk of owning my own business. Even if this website can generate enough clients (doubtful).

    • Jon Margalit

      Hi Fotoguy,

      I’m the founder of Togally.com and I greatly appreciate your honest feedback!

      $50 is just an entry point to get clients comfortable with hiring a photographer in a difficult economy. Togs have the ability to upsell and easily turn a 1 hour shoot into $200. Plus, referrals and testimonials are valuable too.

      We hold clients money in escrow once the job is booked, and award Togs a cancellation fee if clients do not provide proper notice. Plus, it’s 100% free to join our site. You can pick and choose which gigs are worth your time. There is 0 opportunity cost to join and find profitable gigs.

      Thanks again for taking time to communicate. This type of feedback helps us make our company better and we greatly appreciate it!

      • Allen Taylor

        Hi Jon,

        While I appreciate your response, this is not been my experience or anyones else’s I’ve seen. Fotoguy is on the right track, because the type of customers going on here are only interested in bargains. I’m not saying other situations can’t happen, but its far far far from the norm and anyone would be a fool to base business decisions or make a living of that premise. Nothing personal, but I saw nothing in this article to make me think that this is any different then the current offerings already out there.

  • RJMang

    Great, let’s help reduce yet another service to the lowest common denominator: price.

    • Jon Margalit

      Some people want and need pics taken to capture life’s memories. It’s important that we provide them affordable options so that they too can share in the joy those memories bring. Please consider there are so many people that can’t and won’t ever pay premium prices, and now those people can afford it.

      Thanks for sharing your honest opinion. We greatly appreciate feedback as we strive to make everyone as happy as possible.

      Jon

  • Jim Johnson

    The problem with the photo industry is not that people can’t connect with photographers, it’s that people have a different relationship to photographs than they did 15 years ago.

    Prints aren’t important now. Images are considered a form of everyday communication now. Phones can produce the superficial qualities of higher end photography now. People now have thousands of (unseen and unused) photos at their fingertips at all time. All of these things mean that the customer base— the people who see real value in professional photography— is dwindling.

    This seems like another service offering to fix photographers’ woes. To me, it’s a bandaid solution.

  • http://tahoeshooter.com Jon Peckham

    Worthless. It will never go anywhere.

    • Jon Margalit

      A Tog made $250 for a 90 min shoot yesterday. We think it has value to both Togs and clients. Oh, and we delivered the lead to him for FREE.

      Thank you and warmest regards.

      • Allen Taylor

        Not to be nasty, but this only has value and meaning if we know what the 90 minute shoot was and what it was used for. As well as, one experience does not create a norm. I hope that you can truly find an option that really helps photographers in the long term and not just once in a blue moon. Is there an option/feature that wasn’t expressed in this article that shows that? Because so far I’m not seeing it.

        • SFolino

          If that shoot was incremental business and he didn’t need to cover his overhead, then $250 for a 90 minute shoot is acceptable. My insurance is $950 per year, my studio rent is $1600 per month. With utilities, etc., I need $100 per day, 5 days per week, 52 weeks per year just to cover my overhead.

          • Allen Taylor

            “he didn’t need to cover his overhead”, is an assumption. Like, what if it was for a national commercial shoot for McDonalds? Which is why I asked for details.

          • Joshua Mitchell

            I’m sure Togally is paying the “togs” insurance and all of the other various expenses the photographers are still footing on their own bill to provide a quality experience. Or am I wrong? Does Togally take care of that?

        • http://www.jason-kirby.com/ Jason Kirby

          This is Jason, co-founder of Togally. The job for $250 was for showing up at a local beach and capturing a proposal. The client also chose an upsell and ended up spending a total of $325 to receive all of the final images from the shoot. I spoke to both the photographer and the client after the shoot and it went beautifully. The photographer even told me, and I quote, “Easy Money,” he only had to respond to the job posting, discuss details, show up, shoot the gig and upload the photos. The money was direct deposited to his account.

          • Allen Taylor

            Hi Jason,

            Thanks for sharing the details. One can only hope this is the norm and not the exception.

          • Not a Tog

            This wage is not exciting or positive to me. I would charge a minimum of $600 for this and have charged more before the industry got over saturated with fauxtographers. But then again I don’t just show up to the beach and take snapshots–I try to create art.

          • Joshua Mitchell

            So essentially half the going professional rate, same amount of work, and Togally gets a cut. If that’s the success story…

  • George W. Groovy

    Another internet start-up looking to profit at another’s ( photographers in this case ) expense – they’ll get paid from the advertisers, the data miners, and from the inexperienced photographers willing to pay them for ‘special promotional’ treatment. All the while the ‘service’ will be encouraging ‘buyers’ to race real wages to the bottom! This IS NOT a word of mouth referral service, is a middle-man scam!

    • Jon Margalit

      Hi George,

      Jon here, founder of Togally.com.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I wanted to clarify things a bit for you:

      We don’t sell advertisements, and we don’t sell ‘special promotional treatment’ either. Some of our Togs have over 25 years experience and are very happy getting new clients from us at no cost.

      We have many upsells for the Togs to increase their earning potential. Each package price is a starting point for clients to ease them and make them comfortable. Our goal is to make the masses aware that now Togs can be hired for anything, not just for special occasions.

      Togally is not here to scam anyone and you’re welcome to call me directly if you have any further questions (619-583-0007). This company was co-founded by the oldest and most trusted camera store in San Diego, George’s Camera. We have over 30 years of great reputation and amazing customer service to uphold.

      We truly value your feedback and wish you the best.

  • Clichey

    this is horse shiet

    • Jon Margalit

      Thanks Clichey!

      Horse shiet has been known to be a very powerful fertilizer. It will help us grow ;-)

      In all honesty, I do appreciate you taking time to comment, even if it’s not nice. I take everything to heart and strive to improve the site for all.

      • Clichey

        We don’t need another getty company for destroy the profession, but thank you for you effort.

    • Cedric

      What an interesting point of view. I especially admire the detailed analysis. It makes your statement totally unquestionable ! [Warning : contains a massive amount of irony]

      • Clichey

        Try to pay your bill with Irony and 50$.

        • Cedric

          Nobody forces you to ask for that kind of prices or to use these services. If some do, then they probably find it interesting in some way.
          Companies like Getty like you mentioned don’t “destroy the profession”. But if you’re not ready to evolve constantly and integrate the fact that these companies are now part of the work environment of your profession, then you’d better quit right now and find an other job.
          It’s too easy to blame these companies because making a living out of photography is not easy.
          I only hope that you don’t insult your prospects if they don’t like your pictures like you did with Jon, because in that case you would destroy the profession.

          • Clichey

            Cedric, franchement je pense que tu ne sais pas de quoi tu parles.

          • Cedric

            Toujours très constructifs comme débats, c’est un vrai plaisir !

          • Clichey

            Ok voici du constructif:

            1.Le site propose de payer te payer au minimum 30 dollars la photo si le client l’accepte

            Donc si le client n’accepte aucune photo, toi tu n’es pas payé pour ton travail. Merci de me dire ou est l’avantage pour le photographe avec le déplacement, l’usure du matériel, le temps passé etc.

            2. exemple de tarif: 1000$ pour une journée de boulot en plus produite 20 images, et le tout pour utilisation commerciale,

            Passons sous silence le fait qu’il n’y aucune mention des droits d’auteurs derrière tout ça,

            mais 1000$ = 750 euros divisé par 20 (photos) = 37,5 euros la photo.

            Sur chaque boulot un photographe paye en gros 20% de charge soit 7,5 euros

            et je passe aussi sous silence la TVA

            Donc ok ma photo m’a rapporté 30 euros.

            Super.

            30 euros c’est juste le prix de loc d’un appareil (HT bien sur) comme le 5D mark II à la journée.

            Moi je devrais être content qu’un photographe amateur aussi bon soit il, se fasse payer 30 euros par une boite pour lui faire l’image de sa pub, sans payer de droits d’auteurs, sans aucun contrôle de l’utilisation qui en sera faite ??? Alors que pour le faire dans des conditions décentes et sérieuses, un photographe en demanderait environ 100 fois plus ? (là encore HT) sur une durée limitée, pour une utilisation précise…

            Non tu piges toujours pas pourquoi ça va tuer le métier ???

            Si ton métier c’est photographe, alors je te plains car tu n’as rien compris à ce qui se passait en ce moment,

            Va donc t’inscrire sur ce site et gagner tes 30 dollars. (pardon euros) et on verra comment tu passes l’année.

            et si tu as un “vrai” métier pour vivre à coté, je ne sais pas ce que c’est mais j’espère qu’un type va monter une boite qui proposera la même chose mais 100 fois moins cher, fait par des amateurs, j’espère que ça ne te dérange pas si ils s’installent en face de tes bureaux au fait ?

            Tiens voilà un peu de lecture
            http://www.upp-auteurs.fr/index.php

  • Dean

    Hiya!

    Wow, so much negativity. Personally, I’m all for anything that might help. I say, if it flies, then it flies, if not, then it no harm trying.

    • http://www.jason-kirby.com/ Jason Kirby

      Hi Dean,

      I am the co-founder of Togally. Thank you for the support! Enjoy your day.

      Jason

  • jdavidpage

    This would be an excellent system if the photographers could price their own three simple price tiers instead of these very arbitrary ranges that “Togally” has predetermined as what the market supports. Togally can still take whatever percentage they take off of the presumably more expensive pricing that a higher-end professional would charge.

    Looking at your site, no where did I see simple licensing terms explained for the consumer. With real estate photography, are they receiving a limited license, exclusive license, or copyright? If someone wants me to photograph a 6,000 sq ft home, is it still $200?

    When I photograph products, you price it per hour and number of photos – what about per piece? Am I going to run into a client that wants me to attempt to shoot 30 products in an hour because that’s what he paid for?

    When the client chooses the 3 / 7 / 15 photos who does the editing? What “light editing” is included?

    You have taken an art form and boiled it down until it’s Price vs Qty. I can definitely say I’m not interested in this business model as it currently stands, and the small group of budding photographers who sent me this link will be getting this comment as an answer to their question. And I get the whole “tog” term, but I really hate it. Of course, once you’ve boiled down photography like you have, maybe all you really end up with is a tog instead of a photographer.

  • http://www.amcknight.com Alex McKnight

    IF you watch the 2:18 video, it appears as though the market Togally is after is NOT a national ad for McDonalds. Before you get caught up in the how it is going to ruin your business, and it might for some, watch the video so you can see and hear the target market Togally is after.
    If usage is a factor, don’t join.
    If your CODB (Cost of Doing Business) will not allow you to work in such a way, don’t join.
    However, if you base your prices on hours or quantity, then go right ahead…at the very least with Togally you’ll get a better idea as to why they didn’t choose you.

    And remember, prospects buy for their reasons, not yours.