The Pickens Technical College Photography program initiates you into the world of professional photography by not only honing your artistic skills but also by helping you create ways to find work doing what you love. Building your professional website, making sure you showcase your best work, networking with other professionals, and getting client referrals are all part of what it takes to be a professional photographer. Finding work, if you’re a freelance photographer, will take a sizeable chunk of your time, no matter how you go about it.
But a photography service called Snappr has started to take hold in Western US cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Portland. It recently made its service available in Sacramento and Denver as well. If it catches on, it could change the way many photographers find work.
The Uber of Photography
Snappr’s service is pretty simple. It lists local photographers for hire for people to find and book. Snappr simply makes hiring photographers easier and faster. For photographers, Snappr’s founder and CEO Matt Schiller explain how his service can be game-changing: “The principle behind our business is that we’re a software company that automates 80 percent of what a photographer does,” Schiller said. “We take everything out of the hands of photographers except the actual shooting.”
Schiller founded Snappr because he knew that professional photographers spend inordinate amounts of time responding to inquiries and reaching out, trying to find clients. Most of their leads and inquiries don’t go anywhere. There are only so many weddings happening on a given day, after all. That’s a ton of time wasted on maybe getting a client or two. Snappr’s customer-facing side has set prices for various photography “packages.” For example, a client can pay $149 for a two-hour, 10-photo “short shoot” package with image enhancement included, then choose which photographer they want.
Snappr simplifies the hiring process for photographers on a job-by-job basis, but the service has been criticized by photographers, as well. One of the loudest critics of Snappr is the American Photographic Arts (APA) association, which has concerns about Snappr’s business model and its overall impact on professional photographers’ earnings.
The APA has a point. Many photographers want to set their own prices and service packages. Part of being a freelance photographer is building up your experience so that you can start raising your prices as you see fit. By participating with Snappr, you’re locking your prices in for your services.
The Snappr Effect
As Snappr spreads to more cities, its effect on the professional photography market will become clearer. At the very least, Snappr appears to be a good way for new professional photographers to take a chance on themselves. One barrier to this service for photographers is Snappr’s high entry-level. Snappr CEO Schiller says his service only accepts about five percent of photographers who apply, so appearing on Snappr might take you a while. If you do make it on the service, it can act as a way to fill in gaps in your schedule with paying clients, or, if you manage to get on the service soon after Pickens, it can be a great way to start your career.