Snappr is a new photographer client matchmaking startup that wants to put photographers out of business

Aug 26, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Snappr is a new photographer client matchmaking startup that wants to put photographers out of business

Aug 26, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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I don’t know why so many photographers seem to be obsessed with racing to the bottom. But, for those that are, new Australian startup “Snappr” wants to help you win. Or, lose, depending on your perspective. That’s the thing about racing to the bottom. Even if you win, you lose, because you’re not making any kind of sustainable income.

With prices starting at only $59, it’s certainly not going to make photographers a whole lot of money. Oh, and if $59 didn’t appear bad enough already, bear in mind that’s Australian dollars. This means around around US$45. Yes, that’s right, a photographer will travel to you, photograph you for however long, and give you 5 high res digital files for only US$45.

I just don’t know where to begin with this. It’s no surprise such a service now exists, though, really. There are more cameras in the hands of the general population now than ever in history. Many think they’re pretty good at it and want to start charging. Some consumers of photography, and even photographers themselves, don’t really understand the value of photography.

Most working photographers are constantly bombarded by those shopping based on price. Some of them believe that getting more business means being cheaper than the other guy. This simply isn’t true.

Of course, when somebody thinks their work is pretty good, and decides to start charging, they have to start somewhere.

how_snappr_works

If this is your hobby, and you’re just looking to recoup some of your costs, then go ahead. Knock yourself out. If it helps you sustain and fund a passion you love, then I’m all for that. But, a word of warning. Something I’ve noticed across all creative industries. The less the client wants to pay, the more demanding they are. Customers like this can often start to make you hate the thing you once loved.

You’ll still also need to register as a business, declare your income and pay tax. Once you add your travel costs into the mix, is US$45 even going to cover it? Let alone actually fund any new gear. Oh, yes, and Snappr will want their cut, too. You may find that you end up paying to do the shoot instead of being paid. If you’re going to be doing that, you might as well just keep shooting what you want to shoot instead of being at the behest of others.

If you want to actually run a profitable business, forget about it.

Snappr’s prices do go up to $749 (US$572) for a full 7hr shoot with all digitals included, but it’s still really not a sustainable income. Sure, if you’re doing it 5 days a week it sounds like a decent income. But, again, Snappr’s cut, travel and other costs, tax. It all gets eaten up very quickly.

Will you realistically be able to do it 5 days a week, though? Snappr expect 60 images per hour. On a 7 hour shoot, that’s 420 images. How much of what’s left is going to cover your time to edit 420 deliverable images? How much time is that going to take? Are you going to shoot for 7 hours, and then edit for 7 hours? How long do you think you can maintain 14 hour days 5 days a week before burning out?

low_fixed_pricing

“Low fixed pricing” is what it says on the website. Prices set by Snappr, locking you into whatever they want to charge the customer. You can’t even set your own prices for your own work. Even starting out independently as an inexpensive freelance shoot & burn photographer, at least you’re in control of your own prices. You can increase them and tweak your model as you grown and gain more experience.

With bills to pay, families to feed, new and replacement gear to fund, I don’t know how anybody genuinely believes they can make a sustainable income on a model like this. The only ones who’ll actually be making anything from this are the team running Snappr.

I know a lot of photographers complain about low priced amateurs “muscling in” on their business. Personally it doesn’t bother me. The people who want to spend that little on photography aren’t my clients. Never will be. It’s that simple. So, I don’t consider those photographers to be my competition.

So, I certainly don’t feel threatened by a service like Snappr. But, I don’t like to see companies taking advantage of photographers. Especially when they’re masquerading as a company claiming to benefit photographers.

An article about Snappr on Resource Magazine suggests that a number of the photographers they feature don’t even shoot for them any more. At least one claims he never has and didn’t even sign an agreement to do so.

It astounds me that any photographer can be suckered into to something like this. It really does. If you’re that desperate that you’re willing to charge this little to find clients, you’re probably better off finding another profession.

Are you a “Snappr” photographer? Would you even consider signing up to a service like this as a photographer? Do I sound like a grumpy old man or does this service have even a single redeeming quality that I’m just not seeing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

[via Resource Magazine]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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8 responses to “Snappr is a new photographer client matchmaking startup that wants to put photographers out of business”

  1. John Flury Avatar
    John Flury

    There was a company in Switzerland that tried the same thing. Didn’t work out, which is no surprise. The client in the end simply has no idea what he’s going to get. And at that price point, why not simply ask uncle Bob, he’d be delighted. On the other hand, if the “bottom feeder” clients use this service, we don’t have to deal with them, right?

  2. Brandon Nehus Avatar
    Brandon Nehus

    This is funny. There should be no reason for any self-respecting pro to feel threatened by a business model like this.

    1. Travis Alex Avatar
      Travis Alex

      Then I would argue you clearly are out of touch with how much the business market has changed. To businesses and corps, it’s about stretching the dollar and getting the most for the cheapest possible. Look at Time Warner’s new slave contracts that give no professional photographers right to anything. There will be bigger name companies and the way down to starts who will have no experience in hiring a photographer, and use this because it’s “easy”.

      1. Brandon Nehus Avatar
        Brandon Nehus

        Who knows, maybe you’re right. It would seem to me that the the larger corporations who aren’t going to care about detail/quailty of the final product would consider buying a stock photo before hiring an underpaid photographer who can’t produce a quality image. Quality over quantity, Travis.

        1. cbenci Avatar
          cbenci

          I agree Brandon.

          This will appeal largely to the stock photo buying crowd… But I have a theory when it comes to dealing with corporate jobs. Marketing managers tend to organise photo shoots and marketing managers like to surround themselves with people that make them look good. Cheap and nasty doesn’t cut it at board meetings and justifying ones corporate existence.

          While services like ‘Snappr’ (I really dislike this trend of misspelling words for the sake of it. If the domain name is gone, think of another name. I digress…), services like ‘Snappr’ will probably have a minor effect on things, it will be at the bottom end of the market.

          Professional companies will want professional suppliers and that’s really it.

          I will probably eat my words at some point (uber anyone?), But this is a little different as industries and business models that have been really affected by the interwebs are mainly unskilled.

          You still have to pay for expertise and quality results.

  3. Fred Smith Avatar
    Fred Smith

    1) Just because Snappr came up with an innovative business plan doesn’t mean it is sustainable or profitable. This could be another idea that flops.
    2) The company obvious sees an equivalence between the work of most photographers regardless of background, experience and ability. To them, a corporate headshot is a corporate headshot (or wedding or whatever) regardless of who shoots it and the convenience of going through Snappr is easier than having someone in HR calling around trying to find the right photographer.
    3) This could work or it might fail. Let us know in six months what you find out.
    4) I doubt any professional with a following would have a client using this service, but I’ve been wrong before.

  4. Ralph Hightower Avatar
    Ralph Hightower

    Do they offer Groupon discounts?

  5. cbenci Avatar
    cbenci

    I normally like to stay reserved and in-check on forums but, I’m am sure “Snappr” will get the fuckwits they deserve – both clients and photographers.